The Pitt baseball team picked a pretty good time to win its first ACC series of the season. On Saturday, the Panthers defeated No. 11 North Carolina in a significant upset, taking two out of three from the Tar Heels.
Pitt (20-31) first shocked the Tar Heels (36-15) in a 7-1 win on Friday. The Panthers were led by starting pitcher Derek West, who had another great outing. West allowed five walks in six innings but also struck out six and gave up only three hits and one earned run. He’s really been on a roll lately and was named the ACC Pitcher of the Week last week after a dominant outing against Florida State.
The Panthers weren’t real competitive in a 10-6 loss in Game 2 but rallied late for a 7-3 win in the finale. That third game was back and forth with both teams each holding two different leads. But after North Carolina went ahead 3-2 in the seventh inning, the Panthers responded with three runs in the bottom half and two more in the eighth to take control. Starter Billy Corcoran gave the Panthers 6 2⁄3 strong innings, allowing only a single earned run. Offensively, the day belonged to senior catcher Cole MacLaren, who was 2-4 with a two-run home run.
The Tar Heels haven’t been invincible this year. They were swept by Clemson earlier in the season and also lost two out of three to Georgia Tech. But they were 9-2 in three-game series’ coming into this one, so they’ve mostly come out on top. In other words, this is a really nice weekend for a Pitt team that’s struggled quite a bit in conference play this year. As we’ve seen from Pitt’s team this year, you can take a game from a better opponent in a series. But winning the second is the hard part and it’s nice to see them accomplish that in ACC play.
Next up is the Backyard Brawl against West Virginia at PNC Park before a road series against Georgia Tech closes out the regular season.