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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

51ӰԺ

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

51ӰԺ

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • 10:12 am
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • 12:13 am

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • 10:12 am
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • 12:13 am

Pitt softball looks to build on first ACC win

Senior+second+baseman+Kat+Rodriguez+%2833%29+runs+to+first+after+a+bunt+during+Friday+evening%E2%80%99s+game+against+Louisville+at+Vartabedian+Field.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
Senior second baseman Kat Rodriguez (33) runs to first after a bunt during Friday evening’s game against Louisville at Vartabedian Field.

Pitt softball (9-24, 1-11 ACC) dropped the weekend series to Louisville (22-14. 3-6 ACC). Despite losing the series at home, the Panthers picked up their first ACC win of the season — halting a 10-game conference losing streak. 

After Florida State swept the Panthers, first-year head coach Jenny Allard knew Pitt must “dig deep” to break through in a tough ACC. This past weekend, the Panthers’ efforts started translating onto the diamond, as the contests remained much more competitive. The Panthers must continue building on these improvements, with a weekend series coming up at Boston College (22-11, 4-5 ACC).

The Panthers remained in the games

Before this past series against the Cardinals, Pitt struggled even completing all seven innings against conference opponents. Prior to this weekend, ACC opponents had mercy-ruled the Panthers in five of their last six contests. In these matchups, Pitt lost by an average of 10 runs and conceded an average of 12.5 runs a game. 

This past series, the Panthers gave up an average of 5.33 runs a game and only scored five fewer runs than the Cardinals. To beat Boston College or any team, Pitt must remain resilient and prevent games from getting out of hand. However, this progress only serves as a starting point. Of course, Allard and her Panthers’ ultimate goal remains becoming a perennial winner.

Pitching Improvement 

“We just need to keep the ball in the ballpark right now,” Allard said after the series with Florida State. “So we really need to work on the spin, change of speed, locating, all of it. The pitchers just really have to dig deep. We’ve faced some tough opponents in our conference schedule right off the bat. We’re learning to dig deep and execute pitches.”

The pitching staff responded to Allard’s call to action with solid performances against Louisville. In the first game of the series, Pitt kept the Cardinals in check — holding them to three runs and eight hits. Crucially for the Panthers, they kept the ball in the park. This season, Pitt ranks , allowing 51 homers, 16 more than any other ACC team. These repeated home runs often let opponents jump out to big leads. 

This issue reappeared in the series finale, when the Cardinals won 9-0 off of four home runs. Fortunately for the Panthers, the Eagles rank last in the ACC in home runs, with only 15 on the season. After facing stiff opposition early in the season, the series against Boston College presents an opportunity for the Panthers pitchers to build confidence.

Batting Consistency 

Getting consistent scoring from Pitt bats is increasingly important, especially as the pitching begins keeping them in games. The Cardinals won the first match of their series 3-2 as a result of Pitt’s struggles to create offense. The Panthers only recorded two hits on the night — both solo home runs. With improved hitting throughout the line, impact play like home runs are more valuable. 

The Panthers rank last in the ACC in batting average at . Opposing them this weekend, Boston College earned the second-best team ERA in the ACC at . For Pitt to claim its first ACC series victory against Boston College, its offense must put up an impressive performance.

The series versus Boston College begins at 4 p.m. on Friday in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

About the Contributor
Alex Porter, Staff Writer