Pitt's softball season got underway this weekend to mostly positive results.
The good? The Panthers started off with four consecutive wins over St. Bonaventure (two), host Mercer, and Central Michigan on Friday and Saturday. The not so good was a disappointing 4-3 rematch loss to Central Michigan on Sunday in their finale. The Panthers trailed 4-1 in the final inning before getting a two-run homer to make things a little closer at 4-3.
Overall, Pitt got good offense (11 home runs) and strong pitching over the five games, including a pair of complete game shutouts by Kayla Harris and Sarah Dawson.
You might recall that the softball team gained some national recognition last year in reaching the NCAA Tournament and nearly winning the ACC Tournament. The team even reached the regional final and nearly advanced before falling to Michigan. It was one of the program's best seasons and things are certainly looking up. As I wrote earlier, the Panthers returned the core of last year's successful team and also rewarded coach Holly Aprile with a contract extension this past fall.
Winning four out of five to start the season isn't terrible, but the Central Michigan loss (at the moment) doesn't look like a great one. The Chippewas weren't ranked and didn't have any votes in the opening college softball poll (Pitt, for the record, had two). They also dropped two games over the weekend before beating the Panthers in the championship game. They are favored to win their conference (the MAC), however, so maybe it won't end up quite so bad.
Pitt will play in another tournament in Florida next weekend with Jacksonville (host), Penn State, Georgetown, and Radford. Those are four more teams without votes in the college softball poll, so the Panthers need to pile up some more wins there.