Written by Nate Barnes / Assistant Sports Editor
After a season that saw Pitt baseball head coach Joe Jordano attain multiple milestones, the Big East rewarded him with the title of Big East Coach of the Year. It marks the second time in Jordano’s career he earned the award after previously receiving it in 2004.
Coach Jordano led Pittsburgh to a 40-15 record overall, the first time in team history the Panthers reached the 40-win plateau. During the season, Jordano also won his 750th game as a collegiate baseball head coach on May 12 at Cost Field against Villanova—the same day Pitt recorded it’s 40th win of the year.
Jordano led the Panthers—picked to finish seventh in the Big East preseason coaches’ poll—to a tie for second in the conference with a 18-6 record that saw Pitt record a school-record six three-game sweeps in conference play. Additionally, Pitt cracked the rankings in all five major national baseball polls which included a No. 16 national ranking from Collegiate Baseball.
In addition to Jordano’s achievement, pitcher Ethan Mildren, outfielder Casey Roche and catcher Elvin Soto were named to the All-Big East First Team while pitchers Matt Wotherspoon and Rhys Aldenhoven, outfielders Steven Shelinsky Jr. and Stephen Vranka and designated hitter Boo Vazquez were named to the All-Big East Second Team.
On the mound, Ethan Mildren anchored the staff with a 9-3 record and a 2.45 earned run average. Mildren finished tied for the conference-lead with 14 starts, and finished ninth in ERA. Mildren finished with a conference-best 106 and two-thirds innings pitched.
Roche finished first in the Big East in runs batted in with 63, and tied for second in home runs at nine. Roche’s .345 batting average was good enough to place him ninth among all Big East hitters.
Soto hit .325 to lead all Big East catchers while hitting six home runs and driving in 41 runs. Soto finished with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .950 and recorded 18 extra-base hits.
Among second team selections, Aldenhoven finished with the conference’s eight-best ERA at 2.42, which helped him stay undefeated at 8-0 until his final start at conference-champion Louisville where he picked up his only loss of the season. Wotherspoon’s record ended at 9-2 with a 3.82 ERA, throwing 99 innings in 14 starts and striking out 77 batters to lead all Panther pitchers.
In the outfield, Shelinsky set a school-record by recording 47 walks to tie for the conference lead. The necessity to pitch around Shelinsky derived from his Big East leading 12 home runs this season. Shelinsky finished with a .314 average and 52 RBI to accompany his 12 long-balls.
Out of the lead-off spot, Stephen Vranka hit .316 with seven home runs and 46 RBI. Vranka stole 16 bases in 19 attempts, recorded 22 extra-base hits, and a OPS of .959. Vranka also led the conference in runs scored at 63.
Designated hitter Boo Vazquez led the Panthers at .346 with two home runs and 29 RBI. Vazquez’s average placed him seventh among all Big East hitters.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 15:31
Written by Dave Uhrmacher / Sports Editor
Everyone knows this Pittsburgh Penguins team can score.
When a team scores at a rate of more than four goals per game in the playoffs, a one-goal performance such as the two-overtime thriller Sunday night in Ottawa rings like warning bells in a firehouse full of sleeping servicemen.
Simply, panic can ensue.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 05:32
Written by Nate Barnes / Assistant Sports Editor
Pitt men’s basketball will participate in the 2013 Legends Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to an official release that named the Panthers among four host teams of the tournament.
As part of its non-conference schedule, Pitt will host two games in Pittsburgh at the Petersen Events Center between Nov. 17-21. Pitt then travels to the Barclays Center to play on Nov. 25 and 26.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 05:29
Written by Nate Barnes / Assistant Sports Editor
Pitt baseball, ranked 16th in the nation, entered the weekend series against 10th-ranked Louisville with an opportunity to secure the Big East regular-season championship and an all-but-guaranteed spot in the NCAA tournament.
But three games later, the Panthers saw their standing fall from first to third in the conference after Louisville swept Pitt in three suffocating games.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 05:28
Written by Ellie Petrosky / Assistant Opinions Editor
Respect is a value that has been taught to sports teams as long as they have been in existence. But recently there have been a slew of stories about the disrespect between referees and players in the world of soccer suggesting that, maybe, respect is not held in as high regard as it used to be.
Long gone are the days when opponents would congratulate each other willingly on a good pass, move or match. Lost are the moments when opposing coaches would shake hands with each other, grins on their faces, commending each other on a battle well-fought. Left behind are games during which a player would help an opponent up after knocking him down in the play before. Erased are the times when coaches would wholeheartedly thank and show appreciation for the referees who officiated their game.
Unfortunately for soccer lovers like me, the news of unsportsmanlike conduct during soccer games reaches public attention much more often than heartwarming stories of opponents looking out for and assisting each other.
Just recently, there have been two incidents of soccer players attacking referees after calls did not go their way.
During an Indonesian Premier League game on April 21, Persiwa Wamena player Pieter Rumaropen punched referee Wasit Muhaimin in the face after one of his teammates was called for a foul inside the penalty box, resulting in a penalty kick for the opposing Pelita Bandung Raya. Members of Persiwa argued with the referee over the foul, but none as violently as Rumaropen, who punched the referee in the face.
Muhaimin was sent to the hospital because of profuse bleeding from his face that required stitches. A replacement official issued a red card to Rumaropen, who was then sentenced to a lifetime ban from league play by the IPL disciplinary board.
On April 27, referee Ricardo Portillo was attacked by a teenaged player while refereeing a soccer game between two Utah club teams. Portillo had blown his whistle on the player for a foul committed during a corner kick. The foul resulted in Portillo issuing a yellow card to the player, who immediately began arguing with the referee over the call. As Portillo was writing down the details of the yellow card, the player landed a punch to the referee’s jaw.
Portillo was taken to a hospital where he lapsed into a coma and eventually died as a result of his injuries. The player who attacked Portillo has been held in a juvenile detention center and is being charged with homicide by assault.
As the daughter and sister of soccer referees and a former referee myself, I’m horrified by the lack of respect shown toward referees in soccer games today. The thought that someone I love could leave home to officiate a game and never return is terrifying and unnecessary.
Believe me, I understand that referees are not perfect, as I’ve been on both sides of the whistle. But, as a player, a call that doesn’t go your way isn’t grounds for attacking the person who made it. The root of this issue lies with parents and coaches not holding their children and players accountable for their own actions.
Coaches should enforce penalties for arguing with a referee over a call. In my experience, the moment someone mouthed off to a referee was the moment his or her butt met the bench. I have never had a coach who tolerated the act of talking back to a referee.
In addition, parents should also hold their children accountable for their behavior on the field. When kids are on the field, they might remain under the supervision of another adult, but it is still up to the parents to enforce the same conduct on the field that they expect at home.
From the very first time players put on their shin guards and cleats, coaches and parents should teach them to respect the referees. They should understand that there are penalties for being impudent toward referees. Before every game, coaches should remind them to take their fouls in stride and consider them to be constructive criticisms instead of personal attacks. They should be told that they’re going to make mistakes and that they’re not perfect. They should be told that even though they will be called for fouls at one time or another, they should take responsibility for their missteps, learn from them and focus on the next play, even if they don’t agree with the call. They should be told why referees are there and why they call the fouls they do.
Referees aren’t present at sporting events to make life difficult for the teams, choose sides or to be a pain. Nor are they there to be choked, abused or used as punching bags. Referees are present at sporting events to keep play safe and to keep players from incurring unnecessary injuries.
Many referees, especially at the recreational level, are volunteers who take time out of their lives to keep your loved ones safe during their contests. They shouldn’t be worried about putting themselves at risk for bodily harm while working to keep others safe.
As with any profession, there is risk, but that risk shouldn’t be magnified by players throwing tantrums and left hooks because they don’t get their way.
Referees should be paid in respect, rather than with injury.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:59