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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

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Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • May 28, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

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Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • May 28, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Pitt baseball secures 100th ACC win in series against Georgia Tech

A+Pitt+player+runs+to+third+base+during+Sunday%E2%80%99s+game+against+Georgia+Tech+at+the+Charles+L.+Cost+Field.
Jonathan Guo | Staff Photographer
A Pitt player runs to third base during Sunday’s game against Georgia Tech at the Charles L. Cost Field.

Although Pitt baseball (13-15, 3-12 ACC) lost its series to Georgia Tech this weekend, the Panthers picked up a win against the Yellow Jackets in their Saturday matchup, securing the program its 100th ACC win. 

Competing in the ACC is daunting, with some of the nation’s top-ranked teams residing in the conference. But Pitt baseball continues to show its grit and put up a fight against these opponents. 

Head coach Mike Bell knows the challenges of competing in one of the nation’s toughest conferences.

“We know what we’re up against, and what you sign up for to compete in the ACC, it’s one of the premier baseball leagues in the country,” said Bell. 

Coach Bell also acknowledged that there’s always something to learn from when going up against these conference teams. That goes for this series against Georgia Tech as well. 

“We saw some good things from some young guys,” Bell said. “Ryan Zuckerman is a true first-year and had three hits yesterday and made some nice plays today at third. We just collectively up and down need to focus in and do a better job.”

When going up against these challenging opponents, it’s not solely skill that’s necessary to put up a performance. Senior catcher Jayden Melendez mentioned some of the other factors that help give Pitt its edge. 

“Our grittiness really sets us apart,” Melendez said. “We’re able to battle adversity really well, and we’re gonna continue to show that for the rest of the year.”

Junior first baseman Luke Cantwell (33) catches the ball during Sunday’s game against UVA at Charles L. Cost Field. (Jonathan Guo | Staff Photographer)

But Pitt baseball has a lot to work on this season, as it currently ranks last in the ACC. Sophomore infielder Jake Kendro said that he wants to see his team clean up their performance by the end of the year.

“We’ve come a long way, we’re fighting in every game, we’re really battling,” Kendro said. “We have close games and we’ve had comebacks. We are really playing as a team and trying to pull through for each other. We want to continue to keep striving to win games, keep our heads down and make our routine plays, just keep playing normal baseball.”

Despite its record, Pitt continues to fight and show off its gritty mentality. Coach Bell also believes Pitt has a special culture that puts players first. 

“I’ve always said this is a players-first program,” Bell said. “For me, Pitt stands for [putting] players first [and its] integrity, toughness and team. When you think about that and these men out here it’s why we do what we do. It’s all for the student-athlete, that’s what our culture’s about.”

Melendez and Kendro also have a lot of pride in Pitt’s culture, saying it is one of the best they’ve seen in their careers.

“This is honestly one of the best teams I’ve been a part of,” Melendez said. “In terms of talent in terms of camaraderie, there’ve been hard times, there’ve been good times, but all in all we always go back to that locker room with our heads up.” 

“This is a really close group. We all hang out outside of baseball,” Kendro said. “We’re really tight-knit. I think we have really good chemistry as a team.” 

Bell believes that not only does the culture of Pitt baseball help them to stand out, but the drive and heart of their players are unmatched. 

“Our players’ toughness and togetherness is undeniable,” Bell said. “What they go through here day in and out, the weather, the travel and competing in one of the toughest conferences in the country — it takes a special individual to really succeed at this place.” 

Melendez feels that leadership on this team is demonstrated by multiple different players. 

“I could list a ton of guys who step up for this team,” Melendez said. “Honestly, I could list the whole line up. I don’t think there’s a certain guy I could point out. Everybody as a whole is just really there for each other. It’s a collective thing we really embrace as a team.” 

Now with 100 ACC wins under their belt, Pitt baseball will continue its season with the anticipation of meeting up with more conference opponents in the future and hopefully add to this climbing number of wins. 

“The grit that we all come here with and have is different,” Kendro said. “We’re ready for anything.”

 

About the Contributor
Camille de Jesus, Staff Writer