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Pitt softball primed for big season in 2018 as they return nearly the entire team

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

Pitt's softball team had a disappointing finish after a strong start in 2017. The Panthers started out 11-1 and, after winning both games against No. 20 Kentucky early on, even secured a first-place vote in the Coaches Poll. Things soured once the team got into ACC play and with a 24-23 record (including 7-17 in conference), the team didn't even make the ACC Tournament, let alone the NCAAs.

Finishing over .500, it's not as if the team had a terrible season. But there's no doubt they have to be better (particularly in ACC play) if they are going to continue to progress as a program. The good news is that the Panthers could be in for a bounceback year in 2018.

I mentioned the recent transfer of pitcher Taylor Rahach, which will bolster the rotation. But one thing that was mentioned in the official Pitt release is that the team returns 17 of its 18 players from last season. The only player not back should be starting first baseman Kaitlin Manuel.

Pitt needs more talent but with everyone a year older and nearly everyone returning, seeing the team return to the NCAA Tournament after their 2015 run in the event wouldn't be a major surprise.

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