Stillman Wins HBCU Baseball Classic at PNC Park

Stillman College jumped out front early, then battled back late to defeat Wiley College, 16-11, and win the Inaugural Pittsburgh HBCU Baseball Classic at PNC Park. The game, which was broadcasted live on HBCU League Pass Plus, was a fall NAIA exhibition game.

Fans from both schools and across the Pittsburgh community attended the game, hosted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. From the picturesque backdrop of the Roberto Clemente Bridge crossing the Allegheny River, to players’ photos on the scoreboard and fall ball chases by kids in attendance, the game presented the atmosphere of a professional ball game.

“We were really excited about having an opportunity to play here, what it does for our program and what it does for our school in terms of getting us more visibility in this part of the country,” said Terrance Whittle, head baseball coach and director of athletics. “It was great to be here with the revelry that the park has and the excitement the park gives off the players and the fans. One of the best parts about it was the foul ball chasing. I think everyone got a kick out of that and hearing the applause when a kid got the ball. That made the atmosphere any better.

Stillman jumped on top early with a two-run bottom of the first. Bobby Woodard led off the night with a single and scored on a wild pitch. Moments later, Bilal Whittle scored on a deep sac fly by Kobe Lewis. It was the first of four RBI for Lewis on the night. He added a 2-run single in the bottom of the second. Sam Fleming also singled in a run in the second to extend Stillman’s lead, 5-0. Troy Davis singled made it 7-0 Tigers with a two-run single to right in the third inning.

However, a mid-game struggle in the bullpen led to nine runs for Wiley College, as the Wildcats took the lead 9-7 in the top of the fourth. Three bases-loaded walks, two hit batters and two wild pitches helped produce seven of Wiley’s runs, while the other two scored on a double down the line by Jhan Carlos Javier. Javier led the Wildcats with a 2-for-3 day.

Stillman responded in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Lewis singled in a run, followed by a Josh Ervin single to tie the game, 9-9. Jared Hines delivered a two-run single to right to give Stillman the lead, 11-9. In the sixth inning, Ervin delivered again, beating out an infield single that scored two on a hit-and-run. The freshman catcher from Clay-Chalkville High School started and played the entire game behind the plate, while also driving in the eventual winning runs.

Wiley added a run in the seventh, but Stillman countered with three in the bottom of the seventh. A wild pitch in the eighth pushed across one more Wildcat run.

Ervin led Stillman with a 3-for-6 night at the plate, while Lewis and Hines each had two hits. Woodard hit 1-for-1 with a pair of walks and three runs scored. Griff Minor, Josh Wilson and Tre’en Dorsett each had a hit.

The Tigers worked 12 pitchers on the mound, with Steven Oates getting the start. Oates, Minor and Isidro Jimenez Rosario each pitched one no-hit inning. Bobby Woodard was credited with the exhibition win after holding Wiley at bay in the fifth inning.

Stillman allowed only three hits but allowed 18 walks. The Tigers struck out nine, included three by Dorsett in the top of the ninth.

In addition to the game, Stillman College baseball players had the opportunity to meet with students at Perry High School earlier in the day Monday and discuss college opportunities and learn more about Stillman. The team practiced at Point Park University prior to arrival at PNC Park.

“We want to thank the Collaborative for inviting us. We got a chance to showcase our school, showcase our athletes, talk about our brand a little bit and also help bring some students to Stillman College,” Whittle said.

Stillman also had flavor in the pregame festivities with Dr. Cynthia Warrick throwing out the honorary first pitch to Troy Easterling II, and Stillman alumni Kenny Stockard and TL Davis Jr performing the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” alongside the Urban Impact Jazz Band.

The Tigers will remain in Pittsburgh until Wednesday, visiting local high school students to talk about HBCU opportunities.

Stillman College will begin its NAIA regular season in February 2023.

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