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No. 24 Pitt softball wins four straight games at ACC-Big Ten Challenge

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Photo used with permission of the University of Pittsburgh Athletics Department (www.pittsburghpanthers.com)

Pitt's softball team got into the rankings for the first time in program history with a 5-0 start to the season this past week. This weekend, they picked up where they left off, winning four more games against Nebraska and Northwestern in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. That moves the Panthers up to 9-0 on the season and they'll likely be due for a bump in the rankings this week.

Pitt began the weekend taking both games from Nebraska in short order. They won the first game 9-1 and then took the second, 6-2. Again, pitching was the story as Kayla Harris didn't give up an earned run in the first contest and freshman Brittany Knight, the reigning ACC Pitcher of the Week, gave up only two earned runs in six innings of work.

The Panthers had a little more trouble with Northwestern but still managed to take both games. Pitt needed eight innings to pull out a 2-1 win on Saturday and on Sunday, the team looked ready for their first loss of the year, trailing 3-1 in the sixth (the final inning in softball) frame. But they weren't ready to quit and scored five runs in the inning to take a 6-3 lead and wound up winning 6-4. Pitt got more great pitching from their new rotation of Harris and Knight. Harris was flat out dominant in tossing a one-hitter in the first game against Northwestern and after Knight struggled a little in the second, Harris cleaned things up there, too.

Both Harris and Knight continue to have success. Knight did have some problems in her second game giving up three runs in 3 2/3 innings, but both are 9-0 on the year and both still have ERAs well under 2.00. And the offense has been more than capable so far, scoring at least five runs in seven of their nine games. The team hasn't gotten much power yet as they've hit only two home runs so far, but with pitching like this, I have a feeling they'll be in a lot of games.

Next up is a trip to the Troy Tournament next weekend where the Panthers will play five games against host Troy, Lipscomb, and Southeastern Louisiana. The following weekend, they'll get into ACC play with a series against North Carolina.

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