hit in a pinch (1890)

“A thin-faced veteran up in the cranks’ corner glanced at Burns and then at the Kansas Cityan on each corner and observed with a touch of sarcasm. ‘O, well, this does settle it. I’ve watched him for years and I never saw him make a hit in a pinch.'” “They Are the King Hitters,” Kansas City Times, August 1, 1890, p2

No earliest use given in 2009 Dickson Baseball Dictionary