Things (again) started off well for Pitt’s baseball team this weekend but the Panthers ultimately fell short, dropping a series to Florida State. Pitt remains without a series win in the conference this season.
Pitt has gotten off to some good starts in their last few ACC series. In fact, this was the third straight time they took the opening game only to still lose the series. The team is showing some progress in that regard but haven’t been able to close the door and get a second win.
The series was a homecoming for head coach Mike Bell as the Panthers hired him away from Florida State in the offseason. Bell had been the associate head coach with the Seminoles before taking the head job at Pitt.
Surprisingly, Pitt (17-30) dominated No. 23 Florida State (29-16) in the opener, winning 10-0. Derek West (2-2), who has been the team’s best starting pitcher, went seven innings, giving up only five hits while striking out nine batters.
The Panthers were crushed in Game 2, losing 15-6. All three of the Panthers’ pitchers gave up at least three earned runs. Pitt was actually in it most of the way, trailing only 5-4 heading into the 7th. But they allowed four runs in that inning and six more in the 8th to put the game out of reach.
Game 3, which I caught on WatchESPN, was another rough one with the Panthers losing 12-6. Pitt was again in this one and even took a brief lead in the 4th inning, going up 2-1. But the pitching was again an issue with the Seminoles scoring 11 runs in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings.
Every game was ultimately a blow out. But while the Panthers came up short this weekend, they still came away with a win against a ranked team and were somewhat competitive in both losses until the train came off the tracks. Given how much of a rebuilding this year this has been for the team, another series loss is hardly a surprise. This is a team that has some pieces right now but needs a lot more.
Next up for Pitt is a midweek game against Western Michigan and a series against No. 13 North Carolina over the weekend.