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No. 18 Panthers Stay Hot, Win Series Over Virginia

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Pitt Returns Home at 11-5 on the Season

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In the first weekend as a ranked team since 2013, the Pitt left no doubt that they belong in the national conversation with a 2-1 series win over Virginia. Rounding out the longest road trip in the country, Pitt returns to Oakland sitting atop the ACC Coastal.

Pitt narrowly took the opener on Saturday, 2-1 before winning a bit more handily on Sunday, 6-2. The Panthers did lose the finale on Monday, 10-4, but it was still a series win for the Top 20 team.

Take a look at our nine takeaways from this weekend:

1. Pitt’s 1-2 punch of Mitch Myers and Matt Gilbertson accounted for 17 of the first 18 innings of the weekend. With Myers throwing a complete game and Gilbertson completing 8 innings, the Panther bullpen got to join us in sitting back and watching. Virginia’s weekend rotation features three likely Top-10 round picks in this year’s MLB Draft, but Pitt’s rotation clearly outshined the Wahoo arms. Myers dazzled limiting the Cavaliers to three hits and one hit over nine innings. Nearly matching Myers’ outstanding performance, Matt Gilbertson filled up the zone on Sunday allowing two runs while not walking anyone.

2. In his sixth year on campus, David Yanni is making this year one to remember. Slugging two home runs on the weekend, Yanni is up to seven on the season, good for second in the conference. Yanni’s position in the lineup is crucial to Pitt’s offensive success. The top half of the lineup continues to shine for Pitt leaving runners on base for cleanup hitter Ron Washington Jr. and Yanni in the five-hole. Driving in nearly a run a game, Yanni is living up to his veteran status.

3. If you only look at the postgame box score, you will most likely overlook the impact Brock Franks is making on this team. Undoubtedly one of the best defensive shortstops in the league, Franks is yet to make an error on the season while leading the team in defensive assists. On the field, his energy is palpable, always moving around and communicating with every position on the diamond. In addition, he is getting more and more comfortable at the plate with four multi-hit games in the last two series’.

4. This week Pitt plays Bucknell in only their second mid-week game of the season. As the Panthers begin to play more games a week and continue to move through the season, the depth of the bullpen will get tested more than it has at any point this year. Outside of Chris Gomez and Jordan McCrum, this Panther bullpen has largely struggled this season and they will certainly be thrown into the fire sooner rather than later.

5. Pitt’s offense struggled with runners on base this weekend. Going 4-23 with eight strikeouts. Cavalier defenders were the true stars for the Panther offense with runners in scoring position committing multiple errors allowing key runs to score in both games two and three.

6. This weekend was my first weekend seeing the Panthers in person. There is something you can’t see when watching on tv with this team. The energy and enthusiasm they show on the field is that of a team with the utmost confidence. Playing in such a difficult conference, Pitt has struggled in the past to truly feel and act like they belong. That has changed this year.

7. Pitt’s regular lineup has six left-handed hitters and their splits are traditional with a lineup of that makeup. The Panthers feast on right-handed pitching, but team hitting numbers take a dip against southpaws. This weekend was a true microcosm for the season, with Panther bats being much louder in games two and three than against left-hander Andrew Abbott in game one. Right-handed bench players like Ramon Padilla and Matt Tarabek could play an even bigger role as the season continues and they face more and more left-handers.

8. The Panthers road trip is finally over! After 16 straight road games, Pitt returns to Oakland for 16 straight home games. An 11-5 start puts the Panthers in a prime spot to compete for the ACC regular-season crown.

9. In the newest iteration of Baseball America’s Top 25, the Panthers come in at number 14. One spot ahead of D1Baseball.com’s 15 ranking for Pitt. They are the fifth highest ACC team in the Baseball America poll and the fourth highest in D1 Baseball’s.

The Panthers return home to face off with in-state foe Bucknell before returning to ACC play against Virginia Tech. The game times are below.

Wed: 3 PM v Bucknell (ACCNX)

Fri: 3 PM v Virginia Tech (ACCNX)

Sat: 3 PM v Virginia Tech (ACCNX)

Sun: 1 PM v Virginia Tech (ACCNX)