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Pitt baseball gets a boost with returning seniors in 2021

Photo used with permission of the Pittsburgh Panthers athletics department (

The 2021 baseball season is a ways off but the Pitt baseball team got some good news in that three seniors plan to return. Those announcing they will be back included shortstop David Yanni, outfielder Nico Popa, and reliever Chris Gomez.

All three were seniors this year when the season was cut short due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. After play ended, the NCAA ruled that players could return for another season of eligibility.

While that year of eligibility is available to players, it wasn’t known which players would take advantage of the opportunity. Some could try to play professionally while others may simply want to get on with their lives.

Popa’s return is probably the most significant. He was a Second Team All ACC Player after leading the team in hitting in 2019 with a .353 average. Yanni, the team’s starting shortstop, was batting .300 this year when the season was interrupted and led the team in RBI last year (41). Gomez had been having a solid year as a reliever in 2020, giving up only two runs in his first four outings (8 23 innings), but had a rough couple games to end the campaign against Miami and South Florida.

The Panthers were 10-6 when the season was canceled.

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