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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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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
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Pitt baseball hopes to turn season around against Kent State

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.

Following a disappointing end to a weekend series against Georgia Tech, Pitt baseball looks to rebound in a one-off game against Kent State away from home. 

Bad pitching was a major concern in Pitt’s first and third games of the weekend series, as pitchers combined for a total of 13 earned runs allowed in those two games. 

Senior pitcher Jack Sokol led the Panthers to a win in the middle game, but the bats could not keep up with the Yellow Jackets. Sophomore pitcher Ryan Reed gave up five runs, which left Pitt in a bad spot in its final game of the series. 

As Pitt enters Kent, Ohio, on Tuesday, here are some things to look out for:

The batting from Pitt proves superb

Sophomore infielder Jake Kendro finished an otherwise lackluster series against Georgia Tech by hitting a home run off the centerfield scoreboard. Kendro, a transfer from Tennessee, is hitting at a .321 batting average with five home runs on the season.

Leading the team in home runs is junior catcher Jayden Melendez, who has nine home runs on the season and will look to improve on that number. Melendez also leads the team in slugging percentage, hitting at a .551, which is closely followed by Kendro with a .538.

Although Kent State’s pitchers rank among the best in the MAC, their team ERA is 5.73, so the Panthers will look to take advantage of that. The Panthers have lent their opponents a combined ERA of 6.59, which is well above Kent State’s current mark. 

Stoppable force against a movable object

When it comes to Pitt’s pitching against Kent State’s batting, neither team excels in those categories. Pitt has a team combined ERA of 6.17, third worst in the ACC. Kent State’s team batting average comes in at .256, fourth worst in the MAC. 

Neither team is particularly good at these respective sides of the ball, so it is a complete tossup for which team comes out on top. I’d lean towards Kent State, who boast the fourth most home runs in the MAC at 42 and most doubles at 56. With none of Pitt’s starters having an ERA below 6.18, the Panthers are likely to struggle. 

One factor that may play into Pitt’s favor is an opportunity to cause some strikeouts. Kent ranks fifth highest in total strikeouts in the MAC. The Panthers, who rank second to last in strikeouts thrown, will look to take advantage of a team with a high whiff rate.

Prediction

Both teams will get out to relatively hot starts, and the game is chock-full of home runs. Neither team seems likely to pitch very well, and the bats will flourish on both sides of the ball. This one will go the entire nine innings, ending in a disappointing loss for the Panthers, who have struggled mightily all season. Kendro and Melendez are likely to have good games, but the possibility of a solid performance from the pitchers seems unlikely.

Pitt will fall to Kent State, 7-6. 

About the Contributor
Ari Meyer, Staff Writer