Pitt's baseball team got off to a solid start on the season, winning their series against Coastal Carolina, two games to one this weekend. The Panthers used a split in a doubleheader on Sunday to win the series and get off to a 2-1 season start.
With Matt Wotherspoon on the hill in the season opener, taking over as the new staff ace with Ethan Mildren going to the majors, Pitt won their debut 7-5. In 5 1/3 innings, Wotherspoon did his job giving up only a single unearned run. Both teams took a while to muster any offense as the game was scoreless through four innings. But Pitt scored five runs over the final three innings to win the game.
Returning starting pitcher Rhys Aldenhoven didn't fare quite as well as Wotherspoon in the second game. He went only 3 2/3 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) and wasn't able to pick up the win on that early exit. Hobie Harris came in on relief and while he gave up three runs himself (also two earned), he ate up 4 1/3 innings and picked up the victory as the Panthers went on to a 10-6 win. Pitt again used some late offense, scoring four runs over the final three innings, to get the win.
With the loss of Mildren, Pitt needed to break in a new third starter. Freshman T.J. Zeuch got the first crack at it but didn't have a successful debut. He didn't give up any earned runs, but went only 2 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and four unearned runs. It will be interesting to see if the Panthers try anyone else out there and who holds the job for the rest of the year. The Panthers went on to lose that game 8-5.
Offensively, Boo Vasquez and Jordan Frabasilio stood out. Both went 4-12 in the series, Frabasilio added a home run, and Vasquez drove in four runs. Preseason All-American Casey Roche batted only .167, but he had a home run as well. One other interesting note was Stephen Vranka picking up seven walks in the series.
You could tell it was early in the season as the two teams racked up a combined 19 errors in the three games (Pitt accounted for nine of them). Another issue for the Panthers was the bullpen. The relievers were roughed up for a total of nine earned runs and 11 total. If the starters falter a little as they did this weekend, the bullpen just has to be more solid the rest of the way.
Would have been nice to grab that third game and get a sweep to start the year as they did last season against Wichita State, but any series win is valuable.