Weekend Sports Recap: Softball opens with split weekend in LA

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Joy Cao | Staff Photographer

Taleb Rahmani heaves his opponent off the ground. The Panthers won seven out of 10 matches against Virginia Friday.

By Marshall Worth, Staff Writer

Pitt athletics traveled far and wide this weekend, with six teams competing all across the country. While men’s basketball’s win at home over Georgia Tech grabbed most of the headlines, other squads suited up for both conference and non-conference play — and experienced an even mix of results.

Maria Doku | Staff Graphic Artist

Softball loses three of its first five games to start the season

Pitt softball traveled to Los Angeles over the weekend to play in UCLA’s Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament. Pitt played double headers on Friday and Saturday, winning and losing one game each day.

The season got off to a hot start on Friday, as Pitt rallied behind a lights-out pitching performance from junior Brittany Knight and timely hitting to beat CSU Bakersfield 5-1 in tournament-opening play. Knight struck out six and allowed only one run over seven innings of work.

Game 2 didn’t fare as well for the Panthers, who were unable to overcome an early 3-0 deficit against Cal Poly. The offense came alive in this one, scoring eight runs on 12 hits, but it still wasn’t enough as the Panthers lost 9-8 on a seventh-inning walk-off. Pitt was powered by home runs from Hunter Levesque, Kaitlyn Kruger and inside-the-parker by Katlyn Pavlick.

Pitching and defense led the way for Pitt in the tournament’s second day, as the Panthers gave up only five runs in their two games. The day began with a 2-1 win over San Diego, again led by a complete game from Knight, who struck out three this time around. Senior Walker Barbee and junior LoLo Sanchez drove in one run each, which proved to be enough for Pitt to get the win. 

The weekend’s most difficult challenge came late Saturday when the Panthers faced off against host and No. 4 UCLA. Just as happened in Friday’s loss, Pitt found itself trailing after the first inning and couldn’t produce enough offense to claw back. A pair of UCLA home runs made the score 4-0 after four innings, which would hold until the game’s end. Pitt’s offense was silenced by Los Angeles first-year pitcher Becca Miller, who threw a complete-game shutout.
Pitt fell again to the Bruins on Sunday, but the final game of the weekend was nowhere near as competitive as those of Friday and Saturday. The Panthers surrendered 13 runs in the bottom half of the first inning and managed only a trio of singles in response. Knight took the loss on the mound and falls to 2-1 on the season.

The Panthers will be in Clemson, South Carolina, next weekend for the Big 10/ACC Challenge. They are set to take on Maryland and Michigan State. 

Pitt wrestling dominates Virginia

No. 10 Pitt defeated Virginia in a home match on Friday, improving its record to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in the ACC. The Panthers won seven out of 10 matches, and cruised to victory despite falling behind 5-0 in the opening round. Redshirt senior Micky Phillippi, redshirt first-year Cole Matthews, redshirt senior Taleb Rahmani, redshirt junior Jake Wentzel, redshirt junior Gregg Harvey, redshirt sophomore Nino Bonaccorsi and senior Demetrius Thomas all scored individual wins for the Panthers. 

Pitt will now turn its attention to UNC and prepare for its next meet in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this coming Friday at 7 p.m. 

Gymnastics falls by the slimmest of margins

Pitt faced off against NC State on Saturday, losing despite recording its poorly timed second-highest team score of the season. Three Panthers recorded individual victories, and two set career highs.

Senior Michaela Burton posted a 9.850 on bars, tying a season high and earning her the win. Fellow seniors Alecia Petrikis and Deven Herbine posted identical 9.875 scores on vault, enough to share the day’s top spot and serve as new personal bests. Pitt was unable to earn wins on beam or floor, but Burton placed top three in both events, along with a third-place floor finish for sophomore Olivia Miller. The Panthers are set to host Towson and Yale for a tri-meet on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Fitzgerald Field House.

Track competes in Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Indiana

Pitt track visited Notre Dame over the weekend for the 2020 Meyo Invitational. The meet spanned two days, and although a first place finish alluded Pitt, the program left South Bend with numerous top-three finishers.

Friday’s notables include a third place finish for junior Jaylyn Aminu in the women’s 60-meter preliminary round, a third place finish in the women’s 4,000-meter relay and a second place finish in men’s 4,000-meter relay. On Saturday, Greg Lauray, Eddita Pessima and Nikki Scherer each placed second in men’s high jump, women’s 60-meter hurdles and women’s 400-meter Championship, respectively. The women’s 4×400 relay group also finished third. 

Pitt will make the long trip to Seattle next weekend to participate in the Husky Classic.

Maria Doku | Staff Graphic Artist

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