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Pitt baseball season coming off the tracks

Photo used with permission of the University of Pittsburgh athletics department -

A few weeks back, I wrote about Pitt's baseball season rebounding after a slow start. After a 3-6 start to the season, the Panthers rebounded to give No. 1 Virginia its first loss, playing competitively in that series. Pitt then went on to take four of its next five games, including taking a series against No. 11 North Carolina.

Since then, the train has again started coming off the tracks. After a series loss to Duke, Pitt has gone on to drop its last seven contests. Also disappointing were losses to nearby Penn State and West Virginia - two teams the Panthers should beat.

It's not only the losses, though. The way in which the Panthers have been defeated is mind blowing as the team has lost each of those seven games by three runs or more. Five of the seven losses have been by at least six runs. Pitt isn't just falling short, but they're getting beaten badly. Overall, the Panthers have been outscored 56-14 in that stretch. Forget baseball, that would be an ugly football score.

After getting some good starting pitching earlier on, that area of the team has taken a step back. After sporting sub-2.00 ERAs, pitchers T.J. Zeuch and Marc Berube now have a combined ERA of over 4.00. Aaron Sandefur's 3.19 ERA is more than respectable, but he's been a hard-luck pitcher with a 1-4 record on the year. All three guys have been decent but have, as expected, run into a little bit of trouble in the difficult ACC.

Despite some early optimism from those earlier ACC series, it's pretty clear that the team still has a ways to go to figure things out in the conference. The team has been offensively-challenged thus far (more on that later) and now that the pitching has had some struggles, too, it makes it very difficult to win games.

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