PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team wrapped up its regular season AMCC slate by dropping both games of a doubleheader at 20th-ranked LaRoche on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers dropped the opener, 5-1, then fell 14-1 in the finale.
Despite being swept by the Redhawks, the Panthers did lock up a berth in the 2016 AMCC Playoffs. The sixth-seeded Panthers will travel to Erie for an opening round showdown with third-seeded Penn State Behrend. It will be a best of three games series with the first two games being played on Friday, May 6. Game one will be a seven inning game, with a nine-inning game to follow. Game three of the series will be held Saturday, May 7 if necessary.
"We have battled all year with a young team. I couldn't be more proud of this group of guys," said Pitt-Bradford assistant coach Zach Foster. "It's time to put all of the hard work they have put in into practice and go after Behrend. We owe them."
Kevin Sompel and Austin Parent had two hits while Pat James added one hit and drove in the Panther's only run in the opener. Ryan Nothcott took the loss, allowing four earned runs on seven hits while striking out five over six strong innings.
La Roche jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first before adding one more run in the fifth and one in the sixth to take a 5-0 lead into the seventh.
James put the Panthers on the board with an RBI double to center, cutting the Redhawks' lead to 5-1 in the top of the seventh. However, that's all the runs the Panthers could bring across in the opener.
Ian Velez led the La Roche offense, going 3-4 with three RBI while Shane Roebuck and Tyler Craig drove in two runs each. Tanner Wilt tossed eight shutout innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out 15 to earn the victory on the mound.
La Roche scored two runs in the second and three more in the third to take a 5-0 lead after three.
Rivers brought the Panthers within 5-1 with a solo shot in the sixth, but the Redhawks answered with five runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth to lock up the 14-1 victory.
"We have had ups and downs, successes and struggles, and the guys have handled it maturely like men," Foster said. "The most important thing is they stick together. They are all in."