STEUBENVILLE—It was the 5th Annual Kloska Community Day at Franciscan University on Saturday, and despite the Barons dropping both games 6-1, 8-7 to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, game two of the afternoon brought some exciting baseball to Vaccaro Field.
In game one, the Barons were victims of three different two-run innings from the visiting Panthers. Franciscan committed five errors combined in the third and fourth innings that assisted Pitt-Bradford in scoring their four runs over those two innings.
"We normally play good defense," head coach Bob Marrow said, "but today we weren't as sharp as we needed to be. We made some mistakes and it cost us."
One of those mistakes included Anthony Pontarelli getting picked off first base to end the third inning. Meanwhile another runner on third was ready for clean-up hitter Charlie Parsons to bring him home. But because of the pick-off, he was forced to start the next inning at the plate with the bases empty. Parsons picked up the pace with a solo homerun down the left field line, his second of the year. That was the only offense Franciscan managed in the 6-1 outcome.
Daniel Brink was tagged with the loss as he threw for six innings giving up all six runs (four earned) on seven hits while striking out two and walking two. "He threw well enough to win," Marrow said. "He just didn't have plays made behind him."
In the second game the Barons faced a 6-3 deficit going into the bottom of the fifth inning, but they stormed back to take a 7-6 lead as they took advantage of two walks, two errors, and hit by pitch to score four runs.
Unfortunately for the home team, in the next half inning the Panthers regained the lead with two runs to go ahead 8-7. "[In the sixth inning] Charlie [Parsons] was tired," Marrow said of game two's starting pitcher. "He had thrown a lot of pitches. Giving the lead back to them in the top of the sixth [was the difference.]"
In the bottom of the seventh the Barons made a threat to come back as Thomas Costello singled sharply through the left side to start the inning. Brink was up next as a pinch-hitter; he hit a soft liner to the shortstop, who made a quick throw to first base to double up Costello who was caught too far off the bag. Jordan Banks then grounded out to the third basemen to end the game.
"We usually hit and we usually play defense," Marrow said. "This is the most talented, deepest team we've had, and we've played some difficult teams. We were tied for third in the conference coming into today. We played well, we just didn't play well enough to win."
The Barons move to 4-13 overall and 3-5 in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference; they travel to St. Vincent College for a single, nine-inning game on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.