Walk off shot lifts Pitt over North Carolina State


By Jessica Boddy / Staff Writer

Despite facing a deep 8-3 seventh-inning deficit, freshman Giorgiana Zeremenko and the rest of Pitt’s softball team kept calm.

In the second matchup of the day at Vartabedian Field on Saturday, the efforts of senior outfielder Carly Thea, junior outfielder Ashlee Sills and freshman infielder McKayla Taylor shortened North Carolina State’s late lead to only one run.

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Zeremenko knew it was a do-or-die situation when she stepped up to the plate. The freshman delivered by blasting a two-run, walk-off home run over the scoreboard. The Wolfpack’s players hung their heads and meandered off the field while Zeremenko’s teammates rushed the plate and exploded in cheers when she finished circling the bases. Pitt won the game, 9-8.

“It felt absolutely amazing, considering that was the only hit I had all day,” Zeremenko said. “But it was a great one and a great team win.”

This was a redemptive win for Pitt, as the previous matchup of Saturday’s doubleheader ended in a 4-0 loss. Although senior pitcher Savannah King threw an impressive nine strikeouts, the Panthers just couldn’t match the Wolfpack’s offense in game one.  

In the third and final matchup on Sunday afternoon, Pitt bested North Carolina State 11-4, winning the series two games to one. This improved the softball squad’s record to 25-7 overall and 7-3 in ACC play.

An early lead allowed the Panthers to stay confident for the remainder of the game.

Capitalizing off of the Wolfpack’s four total errors in the second inning, three of which came from shortstop Renada Davis, Pitt scored seven runs with the assistance of homers from Zeremenko and redshirt junior Shelby Pickett. Pickett batted .426 on the day.

“The early lead kind of relaxes everybody,” Zeremenko said. “Everybody can just stick to their approach, do what they know how to do and just stay relaxed and be able to play our game.”

Although the Wolfpack scored three runners in the top of the third, Pitt’s junior Jenna Modic answered in the bottom by smashing a three-run homer, bringing Maggie Sevilla and Sills home with her. The play brought up the Panthers’ lead to nine runs.

 “That was a really big one,” Pitt head coach Holly Aprile said about Modic’s home run. “When we come back and score after they score, those are really important responses. It’s instant offense.”

Both teams scored single runs in the sixth before Pitt handily closed out the game in the seventh. In that final inning, senior outfielder Jordan Fannin grabbed a sky-high pop-up to right field for the first out, and Modic displayed her athleticism by diving for a line-drive foul ball for the second.

Freshman pitcher Kayla Harris seized control by striking out the final batter to secure the 11-4 win.

King earned the win for her strong start to the game. The senior had the lowest earned run average of the four competing pitchers at 3.07, and she notched 41 strikes in 68 pitches. She totaled 16 strikeouts on the weekend.

“It was awesome. We just have to keep winning the series, and I think its great that we’re making a name for ourselves in the ACC,” King said. “This season has been really fun, especially as a senior. I think we’re just ready to keep it rolling.”

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