Pitt baseball releases 2016 schedule


Pitt has announced the spring baseball schedule. Heather Tennant | Staff Photographer

By Chris Puzia / Assistant Sports Editor

Pitt announced its 2016 baseball schedule Monday, unveiling another series of steep challenges in the competitive ACC.

The regular season starts on Feb. 19, with the Historic Dodgertown Classic in Vero Beach, Florida, where Pitt opens up against Niagara. Head coach Joe Jordano said in a release that the schedule will give his team a chance to test itself before ACC play begins.

“This schedule continues our philosophy of trying to play quality opponents prior to the start of the ACC season while combining quality opportunities for our young players to gain valuable experience as well,” Jordano said.

The season-opening tournament will also see the Panthers square off against Toledo and Ohio State before facing Niagara once more.

Looking ahead, the highlight of the schedule comes near the end of the conference season, when the Panthers host reigning national champion Virginia for a three-game series from April 30 to May 1.

Last season, Pitt finished 20-32, with a 9-20 conference record, as the team still searches for its first winning season since 2013, when it posted a 42-17 record in its final Big East year.

ACC play begins for Pitt on March 11, the start of a three-game road set against North Carolina. Last season, Pitt took the series from the Tar Heels on a walk-off from Eric Hess. The team will open its home conference slate one week later, when it hosts Florida State.

The Seminoles are one of five College World Series regional qualifiers the Panthers will see this season, along with Notre Dame, Clemson, Miami and Virginia.

Last season, Pitt opened its ACC schedule hosting top-ranked Virginia. In the first game of the series, T.J. Zeuch threw eight shutout innings to preserve a 1-0 win before the Cavaliers took the other two games in the series.                                                            

Jordano said the difficult schedule will not intimidate the Panthers.

“It is certainly challenging, and I know all of us are looking forward to a quality season,” Jordano said.

One of those challenges comes in a 12-game stretch from April 1 to April 20, when the team will only play three home games compared to nine on the road. One of those away matchups comes on April 12, when Pitt will travel to play the rival West Virginia Mountaineers, who finished 27-27 last season.

Later in the season, Pitt will host West Virginia in a rematch on May 17, as part of a four-game homestand to close out the regular season.

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