Magical Ninth Inning Comeback Lifts Panthers Past Mount Aloysius

Photo by Erika Helo
Photo by Erika Helo

CRESSON, Pa. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team staged a masterful comeback in the ninth inning to pick up a pivotal Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference victory at Mount Aloysius Tuesday.

Down 16-9, the Panther offense erupted for 12 runs in the top of the ninth and eventually held on for the 21-17 victory.

"That was one of the best games I've been a part of," Head Coach Zach Foster said. "To see our guys not panic down all game, they chipped away and were patient and grinded the game out. I give our guys a ton of credit from top to bottom. Unbelievable come back in the ninth. Our players deserve all the credit there. An absolute team effort."

With the win, Pitt-Bradford improves to 9-7 in AMCC action and sits tied for fourth place with Penn State-Altoona -- its opponent Friday.

Jason Lucarelli delivered the go-ahead hit, a two-run double that completed the Panthers' comeback and gave them the late lead.

The inning got started with a leadoff single from Brody Wood, who put together his best day of the season at the plate going 4-for-5.

Tim Brown then walked and Lucarelli singled to load the bases with no outs.

Samuel Dreistadt knocked a single that scored Wood, and Tyler Hoops sent home Brown on a sacrifice fly.

Sawyer Packard then reached on an error to once again load the bases.

Lucarelli scored on a wild pitch, then Austin Parent drove a double down the left field line that brought home Packard and Dreistadt and cut the Mounties' lead to two.

Dalton Renn singled up the middle to score Parent, pulling to within one.

With two down, Wood and Brown walked, loading the bases for Lucarelli and setting the stage for his go-ahead double.

A two-run single from Dreistadt and an RBI single from Packard gave the Panthers some insurance runs and they took a 21-16 lead into the ninth.

The lead in the ninth wasn't the first of the game for the Panthers, as they used three Mountie defensive errors in the first inning to score six runs.

But Mount Aloysius cut the Panthers' lead in half in the bottom of the first with three runs.

In the bottom of the second, the Mounties took the lead with a four-spot.

A three-run home run to center tied the ballgame and a sacrifice fly later put the Mounties ahead, 7-6.

Later down 10-6 in the sixth, the Panthers got three back and cut the deficit to one as Parent knocked an RBI double and Renn hammered his sixth homer of the season, a two-run shot that brought the score to 10-9.

But the Mounties pulled away with a run in sixth and five in the seventh to take what seemed to be a safe 16-9 lead into the ninth.

Ryan Boyer started on the mound for the Panthers and tossed 4.1 innings, surrendering 10 runs while striking out five.

Benjamin Hayes came on in relief of Boyer in the fifth and gave up six runs during his two innings of work. Sam Gwiazdinski picked up the win, tossing 1.2 innings while striking out two and holding Mount Aloysius scoreless.

Nate Renick got the final three outs for the Panthers, giving up one run but otherwise holding the lead and preserving the comeback victory.

Parent knocked two RBI doubles and drove in three runs. Dreistadt and Renn also drove in three runs.

The 21 runs scored by the Panthers tie their season high previously set against Bluffton on March 6 in Florida.

Pitt-Bradford has now scored 252 runs on the season, averaging nine per game.

Up next, the Panthers will host Penn State-Altoona for Senior Day and its home finale Friday for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.