Pitt softball posts strong showing at Texas A&M invitational


Photo by Matt Hawley / Pitt Athletics

Pitt junior infielder Kayla Lane (8) bats at a Texas A&M Invitational game on Friday against Missouri State University.

By Chris Cornejo, Staff Writer

Pitt softball (5-4 overall, 0-0 ACC) walked into this weekend’s Texas A&M invitational needing a strong showing to recover from a lackluster start at the Northern Lights Invitational. The Panthers got just that, going 3-1 on the weekend, and improving their overall season record to 5-4.
The first day of the invitational saw the Panthers start perfectly by sweeping their first two opponents. Redshirt first year Dani Drogemuller started the first game against Missouri State (2-8 overall, 0-0 MVC) by striking out two batters in the top of the first inning.
In the bottom half, sophomore outfielder Cami Compson, who turned in a weekend full of big hits, led off by drawing a hit by a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt sent her to second, first year Amanda Ramirez recorded her first hit and RBI with the Panthers by way of a single.
Through the rest of five innings, Drogemuller struck out a total of seven batters and allowed only two hits and a walk. But Drogemuller’s hot streak cooled off in the fifth when two Missouri State batters reached second and third. Following a single, Missouri tied the game at one.
The rest of the game saw no scores from either side, so it went into international tiebreaker rules, which calls for an automatic runner on second at the start of each inning. Compson ran for Pitt first in extra innings, and following a sacrifice bunt by senior infielder Sarah Seamans, reached third. Junior infielder Kayla Lane provided the answer for the Panthers, blasting a two-run homer outside of left field, making it 3-1. First year Kylie Griggs followed suit two batters later, homering for the first time in her career to provide further insurance runs.

Photo by Matt Hawley / Pitt Athletics

Drogemuller sealed the win for the Panthers, forcing two groundouts and striking out one to give Pitt their first victory of the invitational.
Against the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks, the Panthers went down early, following a solo home run by Jacks junior infielder Shaylon Govan. They added three more runs as Govan homered again in the second inning, this time sending two other runners home and making it a 4-0 game.
Pitt fired back with its own two-run homer from first-year catcher Amanda Ramirez, also the first home run of her career. First-year infielder Haylie Brunson led the fifth off with her fourth double of the season, and Seamans followed up with a double of her own, bringing in Brunson. After a deep shot from Lane to the outfield, Seamans reached home. Ramirez continued to rake with her third RBI of the game shortly after, giving Pitt the lead.
Senior outfielder Kaitlyn Pavlick then provided an insurance run with a sacrifice RBI to bring Ramirez home and give the Panthers a 6-4 lead.
Strong Pitt pitching prevented any further Ladyjacks scoring for three shutout innings, giving the Panthers a resounding come-from-behind victory.
But day two for the Panthers started off sour, with Pitt losing to the invitational host, Texas A&M (11-0 overall, 0-0 SEC) 10-0 in five innings.
Pitt had opportunities to score early on. Junior outfielder EC Taylor hit for a single, stealing her way to third in the first inning, but a third strikeout forced the Panthers to leave the inning scoreless. Meanwhile, the undefeated Aggies were prepared to showcase their offensive capabilities. Multiple RBI doubles and triples powered them to a 6-0 lead at the end of the first.

Photo by Matt Hawley / Pitt Athletics

The hosts didn’t let off the gas, scoring again in the second with a solo home run to deep center. Three more runs scored in the top of the third made it 10-0. The Panthers did not last past five innings.
Following the loss, the Panthers rebounded to win their last game by a score of 3-2 against Kansas (6-4 overall, 0-0 Big 12). Drogemuller pitched the whole game against the Jayhawks. She allowed six hits with two earned runs, and also struck out seven. Compson provided the ultimately game-winning runs with a three-RBI double in the fifth.
But Kansas would not go down without a fight, and scored two in the seventh, threatening a comeback. They put two runners on first and second with one out, then loaded the bases with two outs, but Taylor caught a high pop fly in right field to seal the victory for the Panthers.
Pitt next heads to Spartanburg, South Carolina, where the team will play in the Wings ETC Classic on the USC Upstate campus. The Panthers look forward to five games in a span of three days, the first of which is against Tennessee Tech, on Feb. 25 at 11 a.m.