The first game of the Pittsburg State doubleheader Friday against Southwest Baptist was not looking good early on.
In fact, the Gorillas dug themselves a 6-0 hole by their half of the third inning.
Pitt State righted the ship, first with its offense in the bottom half of the third and then relief pitchers Brett Cares, Ryan McKay and James Fitzgearlds combined to allow no runs on three hits over four innings. McKay earned his second win and Fitzgearlds his fourth save during a 7-6 opening victory.
Southwest Baptist came back for the split with a 9-5 win in the nightcap.
The nightmare inning for the Gorillas in the opener was the third.
The generally reliable Matt Stalcup walked two batters. The defense committed an error. With the bases loaded and two outs, third baseman Spencer Blacksher found a Stalcup offering to his liking and blasted a grand slam, helping Baptist claim its 6-0 lead.
The Gorillas responded with big hits of their own — starting with singles by Tory Stoffregen and Ryan Bilovesky in the third. Unlike earlier in the game, Pitt State came through with runners in scoring position. Brad Foss got into a pitch for a three-run blast and the Gorillas had their first runs.
Pitt State came back in the fourth with its second consecutive three-run frame, taking advantage of a Baptist error on an Austin Lastimado grounder. Ryan Ventura doubled home Lastimado; Ventura was thrown out at third going for a triple, which could have proved costly. Tory Stoffregen doubled, then Southwest Baptist brought in Ryan Harralston to face Evan Thomas.
This proved to be a good pitching change for Pitt State, as Thomas rocketed a game-tying homer to left.
Neither team scored again until the bottom of the sixth — Stoffregen and Thomas at the center of the game-winning action.
With one down, Stoffregen doubled down the right field line and Thomas doubled to left to score Stoffregen.
Fitzgearlds, a left-handed side-armer, closed the door on the Bearcats.
In the second game, Southwest Baptist paid back Pitt State.
The Gorillas took a 3-1 lead into the fifth.
The Bearcats scored seven unanswered runs, five in the fifth and two in the sixth. This outburst was highlighted by a Ross Wolfe three-run home run.
Dustin Caplette earned a complete-game victory for the Bearcats, allowing five runs (four earned) on 12 hits and striking out seven over nine innings.
Ventura, Stoffregen, Thomas, Ian Robinson and Luke Bordewick each picked up RBI for the Gorillas.
Pitt State (10-6, 7-5 MIAA) and Baptist close out their three-game set today at 1 p.m., a single game at Al Ortolani Field.