Preview | Pitt softball looks for first ACC win on the road against Notre Dame


Nate Yonamine | Senior Staff Photographer

The Pitt softball team celebrates a run during Sunday’s game against UVA at Vartabedian Field.

By Dylan Grace, For The Pitt News

In the 2022 season, Pitt softball finished last in the ACC conference. After the first six conference matchups, the Panthers are in serious danger of repeating yet another last-place finish. 

The Panthers (14-14, 0-6 ACC) look to record their first win in conference play and break their eight-game losing streak as they prepare for a weekend series against Notre Dame (19-8-1, 4-4-1 ACC).

Pitt enters the weekend following a disappointing home-opening series against Virginia. After getting shutout in last Friday’s outing, the Panthers battled in the final two games of the series. But the Cavaliers’ dynamic offense overpowered Pitt in the late innings, leading to a Virginia sweep at Vartabedian Field.

The Panthers’ late-game inability to capitalize upon runners in scoring position and battle through high-leverage pitching situations has directly impacted their eight-game losing skid. At pivotal moments, the Panthers failed to seize their offensive and defensive opportunities.

But Pitt graduate student shortstop Yvonne Whaley has remained a bright spot at the top of the Panthers’ lineup. Whaley has scored a team-high 17 runs, knocked in 18 RBIs and 12 extra-base hits. In addition, the shortstop continues to bolster her impressive 2023 spring campaign with a batting average of .447 and an OPS of 1.158. 

In conference play this season, Whaley has emerged as one of the best hitters in ACC action with a .476 batting average and a .714 slugging percentage. Like Whaley, junior outfielder Cami Compson has also excelled in ACC play this season. Compson posted a batting average of .438 in six conference games, providing stability in the middle of the Panthers’ lineup.

After a solid start to the season, Panther graduate student Sarah Seamans struggled at the plate in the last series against Virginia, only reaching base once with a double. Batting .386 with six home runs this season, Seamans looks to bounce back offensively against Notre Dame and provide the Panthers with much-needed power hitting.

Panther pitchers graduate student Abby Edwards and redshirt sophomore Dani Drogemuller enter the weekend in the midst of an up-and-down season. Edwards has pitched great outings throughout the season, but has struggled against ACC opponents in the pitcher’s circle. Her 3.42 ERA compared to her 22.91 ERA in conference play highlights the veteran’s early struggles against conference rivals. 

Redshirt sophomore Drogemuller started four out of six conference games for Pitt, posting an ERA of 4.90 in ACC play. Both Edwards and Drogemuller are an integral part of Pitt winning its first ACC game this weekend against a dynamic offense in Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish enter the weekend series after winning the last seven appearances against Pitt. Notre Dame is also red-hot, winning eight of their last ten games. 

A large part of the Irish’s success this season is due to their offensive performance. This year, Notre Dame as a team has hit a batting average of .318 and plated 173 total runs. Irish junior Carlli Kloss leads the team with a batting average of .351. Kloss’ 15 extra-base hits also lead the Irish, knocking in 22 RBIs as well.

Irish starting pitcher Payton Tidd enters the weekend with a 2.74 ERA and a record of 10-4 in the pitcher’s circle. The graduate student has recorded 73 strikeouts this season and has only given up a .242 batting average. First-year pitcher Micaela Kastor provides the Irish with relief help, posting an impressive 1.58 ERA.

As they’ve only faced two conference opponents this year, it is still too early to predict where Pitt will finish in the ACC standings. But with the Panthers’ losing their last two ACC series ending in a sweep, there is a strong reason for concern. A win against Notre Dame may mark a huge turning point for the Panthers’ season, but the Fighting Irish’s duo of high percentage hitting and strong defense will prove difficult for Pitt to overcome. 

The Panthers will take a road trip to South Bend, Indiana, with game one starting on Friday at 5 p.m. EST and coverage airing on ACCNX. 

Preview | Pitt softball looks for first ACC win on the road against Notre Dame