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Pitt baseball tries to replace key players in 2015

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Photo used with permission of the University of Pittsburgh athletics department - www.pittsburghpanthers.com

After a school record 42 wins in the Big East in 2013, Pitt took a step back last year in their first ACC season, going 22-30. The competition is stiffer and it's probably going to take some time before the team can have that kind of success in the ACC.

The Panthers also face quite a bit of rebuilding as the team replaces the entire starting rotation of Rhys Aldenhoven, Matt Wotherspoon, and Joe Harvey. T.J. Zeuch, who made nine starts, returns, but the team loses quite a bit. The Panthers also lost Luke Curtis and Jon Danielczyk, arguably their two best relief pitchers - Curtis was drafted along with Harvey and Wotherspoon. Pitt also lost reliever Adam Dian, who was a late pickup of the Texas Rangers.

Offensively, the Panthers suffer some big losses as well. Casey Roche and Stephen Vranka, the team's two top hitters (in terms of batting average) are gone. So is slugger Steven Shelinsky, who had a big 2013 season before dropping off quite a bit last year. Boo Vazquez, the team's leader in home runs (6) and RBI (39) last season, returns to help anchor the position players, but Pitt lost quite a bit of production.

Overall, it doesn't mean all is lost. Wotherspoon and Aldenhoven both took steps back last year in the more difficult ACC and had mostly forgettable seasons, struggling to ind consistency. And while Pitt lost some key offensive players, none had great years in 2014.

Still, all of the losses mean that new players will need to step up and produce.

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