Panther Spotlight: Liam Sabino, Kayla Harris, Claudia Bartolome

Kayla Harris, a senior starter pitcher, is the Pitt softball team’s leading pitcher this season. (Photo by John Hamilton | Managing Editor)

Conference play is well underway for spring sports, with some Pitt teams performing much better than others. As regular seasons come to a close, here are some standout athletes of the last few weeks.

Liam Sabino

After dropping its  first three series in ACC play against Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Duke, the Pitt men’s baseball team pulled off a surprising 2-1 series win over the Virginia Cavaliers this weekend. The Panthers won the last two games after dropping the first, and with the 4-1 victory Sunday, the Panthers had their first series win over Virginia in program history.

Redshirt junior Liam Sabino gave the Panthers the early momentum with a home run in the first inning to put them ahead 1-0. His offensive spark that game was representative of his importance to the team.

Sabino — a transfer from Vanderbilt University — has been the Panthers’ best batter this season. He leads the team in home runs with seven, hits with 31, total bases with 61 and stolen bases with 14. He’s tied for third most stolen bases in the ACC, and he’s only been caught stealing once.

Sabino has continued to put up big numbers. In the Panthers’ 8-7 win over Duke last Saturday, Sabino stole three bases. He followed that up with three hits against the Blue Devils the next day.

The Panthers play host to Kent State Tuesday, April 10, before travelling to Morgantown for the Backyard Brawl with West Virginia April 11.

Kayla Harris

Pitt softball, unlike the baseball team, has risen since conference play began. The Panthers are 9-5 in the ACC and have won four of their five series against ACC opponents. They have received a great boost from senior starting pitcher Kayla Harris.

Harris leads Pitt’s pitching staff this season in ERA with 1.94, shutouts with five, and win-loss percentage with 88.9. She posts an 8-1 record this year, and her walks allowed per seven innings — 1.16 — is the 39th best in the country and second in the ACC.

Since ACC play started, Harris has stepped up even more, going 4-0. Her ERA in conference games is 1.24, and ACC opponents have only managed one home run against her in six appearances. She earned possibly her most impressive start of the season against Virginia Tech March 23, posting a complete game shutout with only four hits and one walk given up.

The Panthers will look to bounce back from their first ACC lost series when they host Georgia Tech this weekend.

Claudia Bartolome

The Pitt women’s tennis team is still looking for its first win in conference play. The Panthers, who went 6-1 out of conference, are 0-10 in the ACC. The team only has eight players on its roster, with one senior — Callie Frey.

First year Claudia Bartolome has been Pitt’s only consistent performer this year. Playing at the third and fourth spots in the lineup, Bartolome has the best singles record on the team this year at 17-8 and is the only Panther with a winning record in conference play at 5-3. She has won 11 of her last 14 matches overall. In Pitt’s 6-1 loss to Virginia Tech March 23, she earned the team’s only win of the day.

Pitt has four more opportunities to win an ACC match in the regular season, with two home matches against Georgia Tech and Duke, before traveling to NC State and UNC to end the season. The ACC tournament will take place in Cary, North Carolina, from April 25-29.

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