Panthers Softball rout RMU in cross-town battle


Photo by Matt Hawley/Pitt Athletics

Pitt graduate student pitcher Ally Muraskin (30) pitches at a Texas A&M Invitational game against Stephen F. Austin State University on Feb. 25.

By Christopher Cornejo, Staff Writer

Pitt softball hosted their cross-town adversary Robert Morris University (16-10, 5-0 HLC) at Vartabedian Field for a Wednesday evening matchup. The Panthers needed a strong showing, losing seven straight games leading up to their bout with the Colonials. The Panthers (12-14, 1-7 ACC) got back in the win column, drubbing the Colonials 7-2 after posting a season-high 12 hits during the non-conference showdown.

Robert Morris posted the first two runs of the game in the first inning following first-year Dani Drogemuller’s pitching error, as well as two back-to-back singles from senior pitcher Taylor Rhinehart and sophomore outfielder Charlotte Grover to bring two Colonial runners in. Despite the recorded pitching error, Drogemuller ended the game with 10 strikeouts over six innings of work. Drogemuller became the third pitcher since Pitt joined the Atlantic Coastal Conference to record over 100 strikeouts in a single season.

Senior infielders Yvonne Whaley and Sarah Seamans both reached base on a single and walk, respectively. Whaley reached third off another single from sophomore outfielder Cami Compson, but the Panthers faltered and left two runners left on base. The Colonials led 2-0 at the end of the first inning.

Drogemuller made quick work of the visiting batters in the second frame. The first struck out, with the second retiring after a fly out to third, while the third batter struck out swinging. Despite an overall lackluster start to the season from the Panthers, Drogemuller has been consistent on the rubber.

Pitt junior infielder Kayla Lane reached first off of a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Lane then scored when first-year catcher Amanda Ramirez laced a double, bringing the game to 2-1 at the bottom of the second. Two popouts and a groundout from the Panthers finished out the inning.

Drogemuller continued her showcase in the circle, and the Panthers’ offense eventually followed suit. Lane singled to left field to open up the bottom of the third. She advanced to second off a single from Ramirez and then stole her way to third. First-year infielder Kylie Griggs then walked and stole second base, setting up a potential for a flurry of runs from the Panthers. Junior outfielder Bailey Drapola provided just that, with a single bringing both Lane and Griggs in to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead.

Following a double from Whaley, the Robert Morris coaching staff brought senior Dana Vatakis into the circle to replace sophomore Jane Garver. But this didn’t stop the Panthers from tacking on a few more. Senior infielder Seamans doubled to right field following the pitching change, bringing Whaley in to make the game 4-2 in Pitt’s favor.

Despite a few fielding errors and stolen bases, the Panthers held strong in the next inning, not allowing a single run to cross. The Colonials left two runners on base.

The Panthers wanted to put the game to rest, and first-year infielder Haylie Brunson kicked it off with a double down the line. Senior infielder Katlyn Pavlick followed up with a single, sending Brunson to third. Pavlick stole second, but Lane grounded one to the Robert Morris pitcher, handing the Panthers an out. But Ramirez connected yet again, this time with a single down the right-field line, bringing Brunson in and increasing the Panther’s lead to three. Pavlick scored another for the Panthers after a double from Griggs, bringing the game to 6-2.

The Panthers added another run in the fifth inning to put the Colonials away.

The game ended in a resounding 7-2 win for the Panthers, a welcome sight for the Panthers after losing seven straight.

Pitt will travel to New York State this weekend for an ACC matchup series against the Syracuse Orange (17-12, 1-8 ACC). This will be a pivotal series for the Panthers that could set the tone for conference play for the rest of the season. The Panthers will be back at Vartabedian field to host Saint Francis University (18-11, 6-0 NEC) on April 6 at 5 p.m.

Pitt’s series against Syracuse will start this Saturday with a doubleheader. The first game begins at 2 p.m. The teams will wrap up the series with a game at noon on Sunday. All games will be streamed on ACCNX through ESPN.