The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

Pitt softball has a mixed showing in Kennesaw State Tournament

Senior+Kat+Rodriguez+swings+while+up+to+bat+during+a+game+against+UVA+at+Vartabedian+Field+on+March+26%2C+2023.+
Nate Yonamine | Assistant Visual Editor
Senior Kat Rodriguez swings while up to bat during a game against UVA at Vartabedian Field on March 26, 2023.

Pitt softball (5-4, 0-0 ACC) battled through an up-and-down weekend at the Kennesaw State Tournament. The Panthers took three out of five contests, improving their record to 5-4 in the young season. The weekend slate, featuring back-to-back doubleheaders, presented the Panthers with plenty of opportunity for growth early in the 2024 season.

The weekend started on a rough note for the Panthers, as Ole Miss (9-1, 0-0 SEC) defeated Pitt 11-0. The Rebels held the Panthers to one hit on the night — senior infielder Amanda “Tuta” Ramirez’s single in the second inning. Ramirez was the lone Panther to reach base against the Rebels.

The Rebels permanently took the lead in the top of the third. A costly error fielding a bunt by junior infielder Desirae Martinez allowed Ole Miss to advance their runners into scoring position. Ole Miss senior infielder Paige Smith capitalized on the Panthers’ mistake, bringing home both runners on a double and taking a 2-0 lead.

The Rebels never looked back as they blew the game open in the fourth, scoring five more runs. The Ole Miss onslaught continued in the fifth as they added on another four runs for the final score of 11-0.

Ole Miss’ pitching dominated the Panthers all night. Specifically, Rebel sophomore pitcher Grace Sparks pitched lights out. She played the entire game, struck out four and walked none.

Meanwhile, Pitt struggled on the mound. Starting pitcher senior Olivia Stefanoni lasted 3.1 innings, conceding four earned runs and seven hits. In relief, the Panthers’ struggles continued, as Ole Miss added on four more runs and hits.

The Panthers rebounded in the second part of Friday’s doubleheader, defeating East Tennessee State (2-8, 0-0 SoCon) 6-2

The Buccaneers got on the board first with an RBI single in the top of the first. The Panthers responded back with a run of their own, as Martinez’s sacrifice fly scored senior infielder Kat Rodriguez.

East Tennessee State kept the pressure on, retaking the lead with an RBI double in the top of the second. However, the Panthers answered the call with junior infielder Ana Hernandez’s two-run homer, taking a 3-2 lead. The clutch home run was the first of Hernandez’s Pitt career.

Over the next five innings, junior starting pitcher Kyra Pittman blanked the Buccaneers. Pittman pitched all seven innings, walking just three batters, while giving up one earned run. The solid outing earned Pittman her second win of the season.

At the plate, Pitt continued their timely hitting, scoring six runs on six hits. Martinez, Hernandez and Rodriguez continued their solid performances, each recording an RBI over the five remaining innings, as the Panthers split the doubleheader.

The Panthers rematched East Tennessee State for the first half of Saturday’s doubleheader. Pitt’s offensive explosion led them to a 14-6 victory. Four Panthers had multi-hit performances. Additionally, another four Pitt players had multiple RBI games. 

Lead-off hitter Rodriguez stole the show. Rodriguez scored twice and had two RBIs. She also had a game-high three hits and two stolen bases. 

To start the game, the Buccaneers once again took an early lead, this time 2-0 off a pair of RBI singles. Pitt duplicated the Buccaneers with a pair of RBI singles of their own as Ramirez and junior utility player Kylie Griggs knocked in a pair of runs.

In the bottom of the second, Pitt took a commanding 6-2 lead. The Panthers took advantage of East Tennessee State’s mistakes, scoring three unearned runs in the frame. With an RBI triple from first-year outfielder Ahmari Braden and an RBI single from senior outfielder Cami Compson, Pitt tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third, extending their lead to 8-2.

The Buccaneers made things interesting, making the score 6-8 in the sixth frame. However, the Panthers emphatically slammed the door shut, scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth for the final score of 14-6.

Pitt softball swept Saturday’s doubleheader with a 4-3 extra innings victory over Kennesaw State (2-8, 0-0 ASun). The Panthers put up a solid performance behind the plate, recording 14 hits as a team. However, Pitt struggled throughout the contest with bringing its runners home, stranding six on base. These missed opportunities had the chance of haunting the Panthers, as the game headed into extra innings.

Luckily for Pitt, the Panther pitching staff put together a solid performance. Stefanoni and Pittman combined for nine total innings of work. Stefanoni threw 92 pitches and struck out eight over the first 4.1 innings of action. Pittman closed out the game, allowing one earned run and shutting out the Owls over the last three innings.

For the third straight contest, Pitt’s opponents scored first, as the Owls earned an early 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, Compson launched a home run over the center field wall to take a 2-1 Pitt lead. The Panthers extended the lead to 3-1 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Kennesaw State showed resilience, with runs in the fifth and sixth, sending the contest to extra innings at three a piece.

Pitt ultimately persevered, as Hernandez scored in the top of the ninth on a groundout to third to seal a 2-0 day for the Panthers.

The Panthers dropped the weekend finale on Sunday 2-1 to Ole Miss. Despite similar results, Pitt had a significantly improved effort. Statistically, the teams played very evenly in an exciting contest. Both squads left six runners on base and walked once, while the Rebels had five hits to the Panthers’ four.

Pitt took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second off an Ole Miss error, as Hernandez scored from third. The Panthers held the slim lead all the way until the bottom of the sixth, where Ole Miss scored twice.

Pittman had another solid showing. She let up one run and two hits over 5.2 innings pitched. In relief, Stefanoni conceded three hits and one run over the final 0.2 innings of work, as Ole Miss took the lead.

Ultimately, the Panthers failed to score in the top of the seventh, dropping the contest 2-1.

Pitt softball next takes the diamond in Tampa Florida for the South Florida Showdown. Pitt begins the meet Friday, Feb. 23, with a doubleheader against Yale and Washington.

About the Contributor
Alex Porter, Staff Writer