Thomas Yang | Visual Editor
In a busy weekend for Pitt athletics, the baseball team stood out among the competition with three wins in four games at the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational. Further up the East Coast, the men’s swimming team improved upon its 2018 finish in the ACC Championships, while the softball team continued its struggles in Missouri.
Swimming and diving snatch records at ACC championships
The men’s swimming and diving team finished its ACC competition this weekend at the 2019 ACC Swimming and Diving Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center with a ninth-place team finish and seven individual top-10 finishers. The Panthers surpassed their 2018 10th-place finish by 184 points.
The top individual performance for Pitt came from sophomore Blaise Vera, the only sophomore to advance to the championship final. Vera claimed a silver medal in the 100-yard freestyle — the first top-two individual ACC championship performance in Pitt men’s swimming history — with a time of 42.37.
Junior Samy Helmbacher had three top-10 finishes, including a bronze medal in the 400-yard individual medley and a ninth-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke, netting a school record with a time of 1:55.34. Other top-10 finishes of the weekend include junior Eben Vorster finishing 10th in the 200-yard butterfly and the 400-yard freestyle relay team of Vera, Helmbacher, Vorster and senior Brian Lovasik in sixth.
“I’m extremely proud of this team,” Pitt head coach John Hargis said. “From Blaise and Samy raising the standard of expectation for the entire program to the seniors pouring their hearts and souls into leading this team and showing all of the younger guys how to compete, we’re moving in the right direction.”
The Panthers will participate in the Last Chance Meet Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
Women’s tennis remains winless in conference play
Pitt women’s tennis dropped to 4-7 on the season and 0-5 in the ACC Friday against No. 19 Miami at the Oxford Athletic Club in Wexford.
Ranked No. 99 individually, sophomore Claudia Bartolome defeated junior Daniella Roldan, 6-4, 6-8, 10-5. First-year Mariona Perez Noguera also managed to squeeze out a victory over first-year Carla Girbau, 3-6, 6-4, 10-4. Pitt also scored a doubles win with Bartolome and senior Gabriela Rezende defeating Daniella Roldan and Daevenia Achong, 5-4.
The team continued its losing streak Sunday against No. 15 Florida State. Senior Natsumi Okamoto notched the only win for the Panthers in singles competition, defeating sophomore Ariana Rahmanparast, 1-6, 6-4, 10-7. The Panthers didn’t fare much better in doubles competition, with only one pair edging out the Seminoles. Rezende and Bartolome beat Rahmanparast and first-year Carla Touly, 4-3.
The team travels to Boca Raton, Florida, March 15 to take on Florida Atlantic University.
Pitt baseball had a successful weekend at the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational at in Kissimmee, Florida, earning three wins before falling 4-3 to Central Michigan Sunday. The Panthers had a shaky first day against Hofstra, with their only run coming as an eighth-inning RBI double from redshirt junior David Yanni. Head coach Mike Bell attributed the victory to sound pitching and defensive efforts.
“It was great to see the young arms situationally pitch through some jams, and we played great defense,” Bell said. “You can win a lot of games with a zeros at the end of a line score [zero errors].”
The next game was a much higher-scoring affair, with Pitt decimating Saint Peter’s 17-7. The Panthers scored one run or more in each of the first five innings, and first-year Kris Soto ended things in the eighth inning with his first career home run. The Panthers used that morning win to catapult them to victory again later that day, taking down Butler 4-3 in Pitt’s first extra-innings victory of the season.
Sunday’s game facing the Chippewas featured a Panther shut-out for the first two innings, as Central Michigan racked up an early 4-0 lead. Pitt tried to decrease the deficit with a homerun from senior Connor Perry, a double from first-year Sky Duff and a single from first-year Kyle Hess all chalking points on the board, but the game remained scoreless after that, snapping Pitt’s five-game winning streak.
The Panthers return home Tuesday to face Youngstown State at 3 p.m. at Charles L. Cost Field.
The softball team didn’t have as much luck over the weekend, getting just one win in four tries at the Ole Miss Classic in Oxford, Missouri. Friday brought the Panthers losses from Nicholls State, 5-0, and Ole Miss, 6-1. Pitt had eight hits in the latter loss, but just couldn’t translate them to points on the board.
Head coach Jodi Hermanek earned her 400th career win Saturday against Nicholls State, 5-3. The Panthers began with an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, then ramped it up to score four more in the second. The Colonels scored their first run in the sixth inning, but weren’t able to catch up to the Panthers’ lead. Pitt faced Ole Miss later that day, which saw the Panthers off to a quick lead again, but the Rebels evened the score by the end of the inning. Ole Miss hit an RBI single to tie the game again in the seventh inning, then followed up with a bunt to secure the victory.
The Panthers had a scheduled rematch with Ole Miss set for Sunday, but the game was cancelled due to inclement weather.
Pitt heads to Charlottesville, Virginia, Friday to take on the Cavaliers at 5 p.m.
Pitt gymnastics fell to No. 11 Minnesota in its final dual meet of the season Saturday at Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis, 197.500-193.400. The Panthers failed to score 49.000 or higher on all four apparatuses, though the team had its usual individual success.
Senior Brittany West placed third on beam with a 9.850 and first-year Olivia Miller came in third in the all around with 38.350, including career bests of 9.800 on floor and 9.775 on beam. West scored a team-high 9.850 on beam and senior Charli Spivey also matched Miller’s 9.800 on floor.
Pitt faces Minnesota, Arizona State and Nebraska Sunday in a quad meet in Denver.