A late 5-1 lead turned into a 6-5 deficit, which turned into an 19-6 win all throughout the final inning-in-a-half.
Penn State scored 13 runs in the top of the ninth inning for possibly the most tightly contested 19-6 game in college baseball history.
It was a wild, fun and, ultimately, rewarding night for Penn State baseball (25-24) in its rivalry win over Pitt (27-23) at PNC Park.
A pair of three-run homers in the top of the ninth opened the floodgates, and eight runs came in.
Both starting pitchers wriggled out of trouble in the first inning.
Penn State put runners at the corners with one out in its first at-bat, but Pitt starter Jonathan Bautista got Josh Spiegel to strike out and Johnny Piacentino to ground out and keep the game scoreless.
In Pitt’s half of the first, the Panthers loaded the bases with one out, but Penn State pitcher Tommy Molosky struck out Bryce Hulett and got Jack Anderson to ground out and avert the threat.
After neither team scored in the next two innings, Penn State drew first blood in the fourth. The Big Ten’s leading hitter, Matt Wood, doubled to lead off. After advancing to third on a balk, Wood came home on a passed ball for the game’s first run.
Molsky’s day ended after four innings. The Penn State starter gave up no runs on two hits, walking two, striking out four and hitting three. Bautista went four for Pitt, giving up an unearned run on three hits, striking out six and walking none.
Pitt tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when Jeffery Wheeler greeted reliever Steven Miller with an RBI single, scoring CJ Funk.
Penn State answered in its next at-bat. With two outs in the top of the seventh, No. 9 hitter Derek Cease singled home Kyle Hannon, who stole two bases earlier.
Penn State added on with three runs in the eighth, scoring on a Billy Gerlott double, a Kyle Hannon sacrifice fly and a Derek Cease single.
Pitt roared back in the bottom half. It started with a pinch-hit double by Luke Lambert that scored Funk. One batter later, Wheeler drove in his second and third runs to make it 5-4, then Ron Washington tied the game with a sac fly.
Finally, Pitt got its first lead of the night when Bryce Hulett singled home Tatum Levins to make it 6-5.
In the top of the ninth, Penn-Trafford graduate Josh Spiegel hit a three-run homer to put Penn State back ahead, 8-6. Three batters later, Hannon hit another three-run homer to put the game out of reach.
For Penn State, Carson Kohls got the win, and Kyle Demi took the loss for Pitt.
Penn State returns to Big Ten play Thursday, hosting Illinois for a three-game series to close out the regular season.