PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team picked up a thrilling 7-3 win in its season opener at Chatham Tuesday evening.
Down to their last out and down 3-2, the Panthers rallied for five runs in the top of the ninth to take a commanding 7-3 lead and hold on for the win.
"It's always good to get a win on opening day," Head Coach Zach Foster said. "I'm proud of the guys and the way they grinded the game out. They are a gritty group of guys. Boyer threw the ball really well. When he is dialed, in it is fun to watch. It makes my job easy. Bacha did a good job making an adjustment after his first inning to close the game out. We came up with a couple timely walks and hits with two outs. Timmy had a big two-out hit and Sawyer added another RBI. The bats were a bit rusty to start but they didn't panic and stuck to their approach and got the job done."
Ryan Boyer started the game on the mound for the Panthers and delivered six scoreless innings while striking out 11 and allowing just three hits.
Andrew Bacha was credited with the win throwing the final three innings.
Dalton Renn went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Sawyer Packard went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The Panthers wasted no time getting their offense rolling in 2018, jumping out to two quick runs in the top of the first inning.
Hoops led off the game with a walk and then stole second base. Clinger then walked.
Dalton Renn delivered a single down the left field line to score Hoops and advance Clinger to third, giving Pitt-Bradford its first run of the season.
Tim Brown then reached on a fielder's choice that allowed Clinger to score and double the Panthers' lead.
Boyer rode into the fourth having sent down the first nine batters faced while striking out six. But Chatham got to him in the fourth.
After a one-out walk, Chatham doubled to right center to score their first run of the game.
Boyer and the Panther defense later escaped and left two men on to preserve the 2-1 lead.
Chatham threatened once again in the bottom of the sixth. Two-straight walks and a single loaded the bases with no outs.
But Boyer did his best Houdini impersonation and used two strikeouts and a ground out to escape unharmed.
However, Chatham would break through in the bottom of the seventh, turning a pair of hits into as many runs to take a 3-2 lead.
After a quiet eighth inning, the Panthers came alive in the top of the ninth.
Brody Wood led off the frame with a single, but two-straight retired batters brought up Hoops as the Panthers' last chance at extending the game.
Hoops worked a walk, and Clinger did the same to load the bases.
With the tying run at third, Austin Parent worked the count full, and took ball four to send Wood home as the tying run.
Similarly, Dalton Renn worked a walk on a full count to bring Hoops home to put the Panthers ahead, 4-3.
Brown then came through with the big hit, a single to right center that scored Clinger and Parent and put Pitt-Bradford ahead, 6-3.
The Panthers then added another as Packard singled home Dalton Renn.
The Panthers worked a clean game in the field, making no defensive errors.
Bacha worked a scoreless ninth on the mound to secure the victory.
Up next, the Panthers will take on D'Youville for a non-conference game Wednesday at Houghton. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.