FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Despite a 3-0 start to the season, Ohio State came into their matchup against Pitt looking to break a six-game losing streak that dates back to the final game of their opening weekend. The Buckeyes saw their lead fade in the late innings and lost on a tie-breaking solo home run for the second time in three games, falling 6-5 to the Panthers in the penultimate contest of their Armed Forces Invitational schedule.
Marcus Ernst, Ohio State’s ascending leadoff man, started the game with a single and would came all the way around to score on throwing errors by the Pitt defense to give the Buckeyes the lead. Cleanup hitter Drew Reckart scored freshman Trey Lipsey on a sacrifice fly, and Ohio State led 2-0 after their first at-bat.
Ohio State starter Nate Haberthier began his outing with two scoreless innings while holding onto the slim advantage. In the third, freshman Tyler Pettorini collected his first collegiate base hit, and after Marcus Ernst’s second hit of the game, came around to score on a Trey Lipsey sacrifice fly to give the Buckeyes their biggest lead of the game at three. Haberthier gave up a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning, drawing the Panthers within a run.
After a scoreless inning for the Pitt staff, Haberthier was knocked out of the game after allowing the Panthers to tie the game on an RBI double. Ethan Hammerberg entered the game and threw a wild pitch that plated another run for Pitt, giving them a 4-3 lead after four innings.
In the fifth, the lead swung in favor of the Buckeyes when Lipsey connected for a two-out, two-run home run to put Ohio State ahead 5-4. However, that would be the last run the Buckeyes could muster in the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, Pitt tied the score at five apiece with a sacrifice fly of their own. TJ Brock, Ohio State’s closer, entered with two outs in the inning for a chance to collect the victory or push the game into extra innings. Brock sat the Pitt batters down in order in the eighth, and while Pettorini picked up his third hit of the game in the ninth to give the Buckeye offense a spark, the Panthers had a chance in the bottom of the ninth to break the 5-5 tie. After inducing an out, Brock gave up a walk-off solo home run to give Pitt a 6-5 victory.
The Buckeyes fall to 3-7 on the season after the tough loss. They will wrap up their trip to Fayetteville, North Carolina tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. against Army before making their way back home to Columbus.