Pitt baseball advances to ACC Tournament semifinals


Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics, Nell Redmond/ACC

Pitt senior infielder Jeffrey Wehler (2) runs during Wednesday’s game in the ACC Baseball Tournament against Georgia Tech in Charlotte, North Carolina.

By Dalton Coppola, Sports Editor

The Panthers went to Charlotte, North Carolina for the ACC Baseball Tournament and needed to pull off two straight upsets to move on to the semifinals — and they did just that. Pitt took down Georgia Tech on Tuesday 12-6, then beat the Louisville Cardinals 6-5 on Wednesday afternoon.

Pitt’s ace starting pitcher senior Matt Gilbertson wasn’t his best on Tuesday against the Yellow Jackets, going five innings and surrendering four runs on nine hits. But the Panther offense bailed him out in the top of the sixth. Pitt scored eight runs on eight hits in the inning to take the lead and never looked back.

Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics, Nell Redmond/ACC

First-year pitcher Jonathan Bautista came in to relieve Gilbertson in the sixth inning and was lights out on the mound. The first-year surrendered just two hits over four innings of work to keep the Georgia Tech offense at bay and secure a Panther victory. The win over the Yellow Jackets set Pitt up to play the No. 2 seed Louisville Cardinals in a win or go home scenario.

The Panthers took a 2-0 lead early against the Cardinals on Wednesday, but that lead quickly disappeared when star junior first baseman Dalton Rushing slugged a go-ahead two-run home run to put the Cardinals up. 

Pitt eventually found itself behind 5-3, but managed to string together a few hits and score in the seventh and eighth innings to tie the game up. Senior pitcher Baron Stuart came in to pitch in the eighth inning and stymied the Cardinal offense, setting up the Panthers with a chance to walk this one off and advance.

After senior infielder Jeff Wehler singled and senior catcher Tatem Levins walked, the Panthers proceeded to strike out and ground out, leaving two men on base for senior first baseman Bryce Hulett. Down to Pitt’s final out, Hulett laced a single into center field to bring home Wehler and send the Panthers into the second round.

Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics, Nell Redmond/ACC

The Panthers will wait for the results from the remainder of the pool play round games before they know who they’ll play in the next round. Pitt will play the winner of Pool C on Saturday at 5 p.m. on ACC Network. Potential opponents include Miami, Wake Forest and NC State.