Pitt softball, baseball struggle to keep seasons strong


Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Infielder Haylie Brunson (2) prepares to bat during a game between Pitt softball and Virginia on March 24.

By Will Christie, Staff Writer

Pitt softball (18-17, 2-9 ACC) and baseball (14-16, 5-8 ACC) both have been struggling to keep their seasons alive. Softball dropped two games to North Carolina on Sunday but defeated Saint Francis on Tuesday. Meanwhile, baseball lost two in a three-game series against Notre Dame (17-13, 7-8 ACC) and faced an additional loss to Youngstown State (7-25, 3-8).


Softball lost their doubleheader 2-0 against North Carolina (17-24, 6-8 ACC) on Sunday at the Anderson Softball Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Coming into the contest with a solid 17-15 record, the Panthers looked capable of overcoming North Carolina. 

North Carolina had a losing record of 15-24 prior to the doubleheader. Before the doubleheader, North Carolina only had a batting average of .270. During game one, their batting average increased to .500. Pitt gave up six runs in the bottom of the third, allowing the Tar Heels to cruise to a 10-6 victory.

Graduate student Abby Edwards only pitched one strikeout in the bottom of the third. As the starting pitcher, Edwards had an earned run average of 3.99, with 2.2 innings pitched. Edwards’ career earned run average currently is 4.82. Overall the game was an improvement for her, despite allowing seven hits. 

Sophomore Adriana Romano stepped in for 2.2 innings. Romano had zero strikeouts during her play time and allowed six hits, which led to her having an earned run average of 5.79. Junior Julia Grobman stepped in for 0.2 innings to close out the bottom of the sixth. 

Overall, pitching in game two was much stronger, as North Carolina earned only three runs. Redshirt sophomore Dani Drogemuller pitched for all six innings. With a game-earned run average of 3.91 — which is slightly higher than her career 3.71 — Drogemuller struck out nine batters.

On the batting side, Pitt seemed to inconsistently earn runs, as the Panthers earned no more than two runs in each inning of game one. They struggled to get runners on base, especially since four of Pitt’s runs were scored off of three home runs. Pitt’s batting average in the first game was .276

Pitt’s offense was even worse in game two, as they hit an average of .136. Pitt could not seem to make anything work and only earned three total hits. Graduate student Sarah Seamans was one of those three hits. Seamans, with a career batting average of .297 and 43 total hits this season, had an underwhelming performance. 

Graduate student Yvonne Whaley also fell off in game two. Whaley performed well in game one, earning two hits. But the graduate student just could not replicate this performance in game two. Whaley currently has a career batting average of .383 with 87 hits. 

Following the doubleheader in North Carolina, the Panthers returned home to take on Saint Francis. Pitt rebounded well, earning a 4-0 victory over the Red Flash. The Panthers look to maintain their success on Friday at home against Georgia Tech. The first pitch is set for 6 p.m. and coverage will air on ACCNX.


Pitt baseball had a rough go of it as well, losing their series against Notre Dame and a single game against Youngstown State. Notre Dame defeated Pitt in the series 2-1. The Panthers looked to rebound against Youngstown State but fell 9-4.

Pitt’s performance against Notre Dame was solid. The Panthers put up a serious fight in game one of the series, only losing 10-8

Panther junior CJ Funk hit a three-run home run at the bottom of the seventh, bringing the score to 10-7. That was Funk’s 10th home run of the season, while his batting average currently sits at .283. Funk also had four RBIs against Notre Dame.

Junior pitcher Matthew Fernandez also put on a performance by shutting out Notre Dame in the last five innings. Fernandez — who has a 4.28 earned run average — threw eight strikeouts and only allowed for one hit. 

But Pitt could not perform the same comeback efforts in game two, with Notre Dame crushing them 11-2. However, it was able to come out with a win in game three, defeating Notre Dame 9-5. Pitt was able to end the series on a positive note. 

Youngstown State previously lost to Pitt 13-7 in their last game. Since Youngstown State has a significant losing record, this rematch seemed like a good way for Pitt to rebound from the Notre Dame series. But Pitt could not recover and lost the game 9-4

Pitt was able to get on base after Penguins first-year pitcher Braden Gebhardt hit graduate student Sky Duff forcing a walk. Senior Noah Martinez fouled out to third base, but another walk allowed Duff to advance to second.

Graduate student Kyle Hess hit a single. Following that, Funk doubled to center field. This allowed Pitt to score two runs and secure an early lead. It seems as though Pitt relied too much on the poor performance of Gebhardt to win the game. 

Pitt ended up obtaining a batting average of .133 during the game. If it were not for early game luck, Pitt most likely would have not put any runs on the board. Pitching from Pitt also underperformed, with an earned run average of 4. 

Sophomore pitcher Jonathan Bautista started for Pitt. Bautista entered the game with an earned run average of 6.86. After the game, Bautista’s earned run average improved, dropping to 6.66. Bautista stood strong in the first three innings. However, Bautista allowed for five hits and four runs, putting Pitt in a tough position at the top of the fourth inning. 

Pitt rotated through three other pitchers. Fernandez, who played excellently against Notre Dame, stepped in for Bautista and allowed four hits and three runs. Afterward, sophomore Ethan Firoved and redshirt junior Brady Devereux both allowed two runs. 

Pitt’s most recent game against Kent State on Tuesday also ended in a loss. Kent State defeated Pitt 5-2. Unlike the softball team, Pitt baseball failed to come up with a new game plan to secure the win. 

The Panthers will play their next game against Virginia Tech (18-11, 5-9 ACC) on Friday at 6 p.m. with live coverage on ACCNX.