Gorillas sweep Bearcats
Michael Admire Sports Writer
Confidence is back in the Pitt State Gorillas’ lineup after winning three straight against conference opponent Southwest Baptist. The Gorillas and Bearcats split a double header last Friday, and then weather pushed Saturday’s twin bill back to Monday, March 28. Led by timely hitting and Scott Brady’s complete game, the Gorillas swept their first double header of the season.
“Well, I thought that we came out strong as a team,” said true freshman Evan Thomas. “We just came out and executed on offense extremely well today. Better than we have all season, I think.”
In game one, the Gorillas leaned on another solid outing by Ryan Sorell. He pitched two and 2/3 innings, striking out four, and not allowing any runs. Tyler Link followed Sorell and gave up the Bearcats only two runs of the game, but Jake Kraft closed down a late threat, pitching a four-out save. With the 6-2 victory in the first game, Pitt State roared into game two.
Chase Barnes got the Gorillas on the board in the bottom of the first with a double and a run scored on Buster Reddick’s single to left field. Pitt State’s offense was silent until the home half of the fourth when Ryan Bilovesky scored on a fielder’s choice. Through four innings, pitcher Scott Brady allowed only two runners to reach base, only one reaching on a hit.
Southwest Baptist rebounded in the bottom of the fifth with three runs of its own. The Bearcats used four hits and two Gorilla errors to take the lead.
“You know, Scott Brady pitched great. The inning they got their three runs, our defense just left us that inning, made Scott throw a lot of pitches that he shouldn’t have to throw,” said head coach Steve Bever, “but he came back and settled in and pitched really well.”
Brady dialed back in and finished off a complete game, allowing nine hits and only two earned runs. Pitt State did not fall behind for long. In the bottom of the sixth, Brian Dean scored on Jason Grave’s single.
“We had a couple sacrifice bunts and got guys in, and drove them in, in big situations. We made our hits count. It was timely, which is what baseball is always about,” Bever said.
The game was knotted up at three heading into the bottom of the ninth. Bever tabbed Evan Thomas to pinch hit.
“He brought me with a fast ball inside, so I just pulled it down the line and got a double,” Thomas said.
“Evan getting that lead off double is just huge in a game-winning situation like that,” Bever said. “If you can get the lead off batter to second base with no outs, you got a chance to win it.”
The Bearcats then brought in right-hander Niko Saladis. Saladis pitched to Taylor Sibala in the dirt, advancing Thomas to third. Saladis then retired Sibala and on ball four to Jeremy Graves, Thomas swiped home on a wild pitch.
“I actually thought it hit him in the foot so I kind of hesitated but then I took off and then beat the throw,” Thomas said.
“At that point you don’t care how he gets in. Whatever it takes to get him you know,” Bever said. “It’s big for us to win this series.”
Pitt State’s 4-3 victory marked their first series win of the year, first double-header sweep of the year, and moved their record to .500.
“Those three things make this a really big day for us to get to that point,” Bever said. “With a big series with Fort Hays coming up, it’s nice to get some momentum going into that.”
Pitt State hosts Fort Hays this weekend with the first game starting at 6 p.m. on Friday.