Pitt hit the road for their fourth straight road series of the season facing the highest-ranked team in the ACC, Georgia Tech, and came away with a 2-1 series victory. Things looked bleak for the Panthers on Friday, but a seven-run ninth inning resulted in a 11-9 series-opening victory. After dropping a tight one in Game Two, 5-3, Pitt bats were on fire in Sunday’s rubber match plating 18 runs on 19 hits on the way to an 18-12 win while securing a statement series win over the Ramblin Wreck.
1. It was a slugfest on The Flats this weekend as the Panthers bats plated 32 runs on their way to a statement road series win over Georgia Tech. Those 32 runs are the most ever scored by a Pitt team in an ACC series.
2. The last time Pitt went down to Atlanta, David Yanni had a rare three home run game. It seems Russ Chandler Park suits his eye as he went 6-for-12 this weekend with two long balls and a double.
3. Copy and paste this every week now: this team is incredibly resilient. Obviously, the ninth inning comeback on Friday was a model for resilience, but it didn’t stop there. On Saturday, despite taking the loss, Pitt managed to string hits together and bring the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth. On Sunday, Pitt jumped out to an 11-0 lead, but to no surprise, Georgia Tech did not lie down. Coming into the weekend, the Jackets lead the ACC in runs scored in conference games by nearly 30 runs. Despite Georgia Tech’s best efforts, the Panther offense continued to put runs on the board and answer every time the Jackets threatened.
4. As always, it was not a perfect weekend. There are improvements to be made and this weekend the weak point was in the form of the bullpen. Pitching to a 14.05 ERA on the weekend, the Panther bullpen was anything but sharp. Both allowing runs on Friday, it was promising to see Chase Smith and Jordan McCrum return on Sunday and throw scoreless innings.
5. Coach Bell was excited about his lineup flexibility coming into the year and he showed it off this weekend with three unique lineups. Pitt has lacked depth offensively in year’s resulting in less than favorable matchups at the plate. Bell is giving plenty of opportunities to plenty of players right now which should yield positive results as the season plays on.
6. 7-8-9 in the Panther lineup has been quiet in the past weeks. Production from the bottom of the lineup is a sign of a consistent offense and consistent they were this weekend. Bryce Hulett, Riley Wash, and Bryce Franks all had multi-hit games this weekend with Hulett and Wash each having a pair of them. Keep an eye out for the bottom of the order production. If they continue to impact the game from the seven, eight, and nine spots there is a lot to like moving forward.
7. In his six years at Pitt, David Yanni has played all over the field. In his most recent years, his home was at shortstop and while his glove was always pure, it was clear that he could be a top of the conference defense at second base. Mike Bell’s move to put the defense-first Bryce Franks at short and move Yanni over to second has proved to be a resounding success. Franks and Yanni are both fantastic defenders at their position with Yanni’s quick glove and Franks’ impressive footwork.
8. Pitt sits in a three-way tie for first place in the ACC with North Carolina and Georgia Tech. The 6-3 start is the Panthers' best ever in its ACC history.
9. The loss of Billy Corcoran is still a concern moving forward. Stephen Hanson has been a more-than-serviceable stopgap in the Sunday role for the time being, but as the Panthers begin to play midweek games and require more innings, Corcoran’s loss will play a bigger impact. There is hope for his return later this year, but, as with any injury, they are being cautious.
Pitt concludes its five-week road series stretch this weekend with three games in Charlottesville against the Wahoos. Check the game times below and be sure to tune in to see the conference-leading Panthers in action!
Fri: 4 PM at Virginia, ACCNX
Sat: 1 PM at Virginia, ACCNX
Sun: 1 PM at Virginia, ACCNX