Baseball splits Opening Day with Cairn University

Junior Aaron Cressley
Junior Aaron Cressley

The Pitt-Bradford baseball team opened its 2014 season on Saturday, March 1, by splitting a doubleheader with Cairn University. The Panthers defeated the Highlanders in game one, 8-2, before dropping game two, 5-4, in 11 innings.

In game one, junior infielder Kyle Mann led the way for Pitt-Bradford (1-1, 0-0) with a 3-for-4 outing at the plate, while tacking on a two-RBI double. Junior Joe Chittester and junior Kody Johnston each went yard during the game to create run support for junior pitcher Aaron Cressley.

Cressley (1-0) was lights out on the mound, pitching five scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits and tallied seven strikeouts in his season debut. Junior Bill Emerick came in to relieve Cressley in the sixth and allowed two runs on three hits and added one strikeout.

The Panthers grabbed the early lead with a three-run third inning that started with a bunt-single from Mann. Junior Eric Olivo scored on a throwing error during the play to put the Panthers on the board.

Moments later, Chittester smashed a two-run home run to make it 3-0 early in the game. One inning later, Mann laced a two-run double up the middle to make it 5-0 Pitt-Bradford.

Cairn avoided the shutout in the sixth with a two-run inning that got the Highlanders on the board for the first time.

Johnston cracked his homer late in the game to give the Panthers the 8-2 victory in game one.

In game two, it was Mann and Johnson at it again with the heavy bat for the Panthers. Mann finished 2-for-6 and Johnston was 2-for-3 with a double.

Sophomore Zach Bican got the nod and was on the hill for Pitt-Bradford. Bican pitched five total innings. He gave up three runs, two earned, and surrendered five hits to go with four strikeouts.

Senior Ross Kaufman took the mound in the sixth for his first appearance of the year. Kaufman gave up one run, two hits and mustered one strikeout. In the seventh inning, sophomore Adam Mellott came on to pitch for the Panthers. Mellott pitched four scoreless innings and registered five strikeouts.

Senior Talas Mahon (0-1) came on in the 11th and gave up the winning run in 1/3 innings.  

Pitt-Bradford was forced to play catch-up when the Highlanders jumped to a 3-2 lead after three innings of play.

In the fifth inning, the Panthers tied the game on a wild pitch, but then took the lead moments later when Cairn’s pitcher made an error on a pickoff. The Highlanders tied it up at four runs each in the sixth inning.

In the 11th, with Mahon on the mound, the Highlanders touched home and stole the victory on a fielder’s choice to end the game.

Pitt-Bradford is back on the mound on Sunday, March 2, for a doubleheader with Juniata College. First pitch is slated for noon.