Pitt’s baseball team opened the season this weekend by winning two out of three games over Indiana State. After dropping the opener 4-0, the Panthers rallied to win Game 2 (8-2) and Game 3 (10-1) decisively.
Here are nine takeaways from the Panthers Series Win Over Indiana State:
· The top three in the order led the way for the Panthers in the opening series. Senior Nico Popa and Sophomores Sky Duff and Kyle Hess come away from the first weekend as the clear leaders in the Panther lineup. Each with an OPS over .900, the top three in order shined in week one.
· Billy Corcoran starting on Sunday was a bit of a surprise but Mike Bell’s decision to start his highest upside pitcher has a chance to yield huge dividends. Facing off against opponents’ third-best starter gives Corcoran a clear advantage in nearly every outing of the year.
· It can be tough on the psyche of a team to drop the opening game of a season to an inferior opponent and it would have been easy for the Panthers to fold after finding themselves behind in Game 2. However, the offense came alive late on Saturday and continued on Sunday with 8-2 and 10-1 victories. That resilience is going to be tested all year in an incredibly deep Atlantic Coast Conference.
· In conversations before the season, coach Mike Bell mentioned that he was excited about the position flexibility he had in the infield this year. RS Senior David Yanni slid over to second base in games and two and three allowing Sophomore Brock Franks to slide in at short. Having a deep and reliable infield will be key as the Panthers navigate the long season.
· Pitt has two, if not more, reliable backstops. Junior Riley Wash and Senior transfer Ramon Padilla both logged key innings behind the plate in the opening series both carding multiple hits on the weekend.
· The long reliever is often the unsung hero of good teams and the Panthers might have their hands on a good one with Senior Stephen Hanson. Hanson was brilliant out of the bullpen entering the game in the sixth after five well-pitched innings by Junior starter Matt Gilbertson. Hansen struck out seven while only allowing a pair of hits and a lone walk. The extended relief effort positioned the Panthers well for a Sunday win with a nearly full bullpen available.
· Every baseball game you watch you have the opportunity to see something you’ve never seen before. While inside-the-park home runs do happen a few times each year, actually watching it is rare. RS Senior David Yanni did just that in the ninth inning of Saturday’s contest when he Sycamore right fielder lost the ball as it trickled into the Indiana State bullpen.
T9| Pitt 8, Indiana State 2@dyanni2 laces a shot down the RF line & gets an inside the park home run as the Sycamores lost sight of the baseball!— Pitt Baseball (@Pitt_BASE) February 20, 2021
: https://t.co/dGX1A2NMiv#H2P pic.twitter.com/wtxTrmOmH4
· Poorly timed errors plagued the Panthers this weekend resulting in unearned runs for Indiana State in each of the first two games. Northern teams often struggle defensively early in the season with limited preseason time on the field.
· The Panthers are set to make their ACC Network debut this weekend with an 8 pm duel in Tallahassee on Saturday. Bell’s squad opens ACC play with his former employer after a midweek game against Jacksonville University.
This Week’s Schedule
Tuesday: 6 p.m. at Jacksonville University
Friday: 6 p.m. at Florida State University, ACCNX
Saturday: 8 p.m.at Florida State University, ACCN
Sunday: 1 p.m. at Florida State University, ACCNX
Cover photo courtesy of www.pittsburghpanthers.com