Pitt Game Notes
PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team will continue its homestand, hosting the third-ranked Tar Heels of North Carolina in a three-game tilt at Charles L. Cost Field.
The series will get underway at 6 p.m. on Friday with game two scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday. The weekend will come to a close on Sunday at noon with all three games set to air live on the ACC Network Extra.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Pitt (16-18, 7-11 ACC) hosts a three-game tilt with No. 3 North Carolina (29-8, 14-4 ACC) at Charles L. Cost Field as the two teams square off in a Coastal Division showdown. The Panthers are coming off a mid-week split with Penn State and Kent State as Pitt defeated the Nittany Lions 9-1 but fell to the Golden Flashes 12-8. Pitt’s last ACC series came in a 2-1 series loss to Miami as the Panthers claimed their first-ever victory over the Hurricanes in a 10-3 weekend opener before falling 1-0 and 5-3 in the final two games.
On the bump, Josh Mitchell will get the call in the opener, bringing a 1-3 record and an ERA of 3.80 into the outing. The redshirt junior has tossed 45.0 innings, allowing 19 earned runs off 49 hits and 15 walks, fanning 39. In game two, Josh Falk will take the hill as the senior has been dominant thus far. Falk boasts an ERA of 2.55, which ranks ninth in the ACC, and a record of 3-4. Falk has tossed a team-high 60.0 innings, allowing just 17 earned runs off 42 hits and 21 walks, whiffing a team-best 54 batters. Freshman Dan Hammer will close out the weekend in search of his first win, with a record of 0-3 and a 4.04 ERA. In his 35.2 innings pitched he’s allowed 16 earned runs off 35 hits and 17 walks, striking out 31.
Offensively, freshman Alex Amos paces the Panthers with an average of .265. First baseman Caleb Parry is hitting at a .256 clip with 20 RBIs, while Nick Banman leads the squad with 23 runs batted in. P.J. DeMeo’s slugging percentage (.410) is tops on the squad, while Amos’ .369 on base percentage tops the team.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA
The third-ranked Tar Heels pace the ACC’s Coastal Division as one of the three ACC squads ranked in the NCBWA’s top five. North Carolina saw its 11-game win-streak snapped this week as the squad brings in a two-game losing streak after dropping the series finale against NC State on Sunday and falling to Liberty on Tuesday. The Tar Heels have claimed series victories over nationally-ranked Virginia and Georgia Tech, as well as Miami and NC State. Additionally, North Carolina earned sweeps over Florida State and Boston College.
North Carolina’s pitchers pace the league with a team ERA of 2.60, led by ace J.B. Bukauskas. The ace boasts an outstanding 1.40 ERA with an unblemished 6-0 record. In his 58.0 innings, he has allowed just nine earned runs off 32 hits and 15 walks, fanning 81 batters, which ranks second in the ACC. Luca Dalatri will take the hill in the second game, bringing in a 4-2 record and an ERA of 2.39. Dalatri has tossed a team-high 60.1 innings, surrendering 16 earned runs off 51 hits and 11 walks, striking out 53. North Carolina’s series finale starter has yet to be named.
SERIES WITH NORTH CAROLINA
The games will be the 10th, 11th and 12th all-time meetings between the two programs in a series dating back to the 2014 season, Pitt’s inaugural year as a member of the ACC. North Carolina holds a slight 5-4 advantage.
Last season, the Tar Heels took the opening two games of the series before Pitt claimed a 5-0 shutout victory in the finale.
INSIDE THE ACC STANDINGS
The Panthers sit in a three-way tie for fourth in the ACC’s Coastal Division with Duke and Virginia Tech. North Carolina leads the way in the Coastal with Virginia in second and Miami in third. Georgia Tech rounds out the squad. In the Atlantic, Louisville paces the field, with Clemson in second and Wake Forest third.
Overall, the Panthers are tied in eighth with Duke, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. Louisville currently sits atop the standings, followed by Clemson and North Carolina in a tie for second.
Redshirt senior Jacob Wright brings in the longest active hit streak, sitting at four games. Teammates Caleb Parry, David Yanni and Jacob Wright all boast three game marks, while Alex Amos and P.J. DeMeo start new streaks at one. Parry strung together a seven-game streak earlier this season, the longest of any Panther hitter, while Frank Maldonado, Nico Popa and Wright all saw six game streaks.
Amos and Yanni have the longest active reached base streak for the Panthers at six games, while Wright and Chentouf both sit at five. Maldonado’s 15-game streak was the longest of the season, while Parry (14), Wright (13) and Chentouf (11) each boasted double-digit streaks.
PITCHERS LEAD THE WAY
The Panther pitching staff has been stellar to start the season, ranking eighth in the ACC with a team ERA of 3.99. The starting trio of Josh Mitchell, Matt Pidich and Josh Falk have shined in their collective 27 outings, led by Falk’s 2.55 ERA. Hard throwing righty Dan Hammer has also shined for the Panthers in his freshman season, with 31 strikeouts in just 35.2 innings pitched.
In the bullpen, Sam Mersing (30.0 IP), R.J. Freure (24.0 IP), Chris Gomez (21.0 IP) and Isaac Mattson Isaac Mattson (18.0 IP) have seen the most work, as Freure has been lights out in his freshman campaign. The rookie leads the bullpen with an impressive 32 strikeouts, while Mersing and Mattson have whiffed 28 and 24, respectively. Freure has held opponents to a .241 average and boasts a record of 4-1 in 13 appearances. Mattson leads the team in saves with four, while Yaya Chentouf and Mersing each have two.
The Panthers will get nearly a week of rest following the North Carolina series, as Pitt hosts SIU Edwardsville in a three-game weekend series April 29 and 30. A two-game mid-week tilt with Maryland Eastern Shore will close out Pitt’s nine-game homestand May 2 and 3 before the Panthers head to Georgia Tech for a Saturday-Monday night series in Atlanta.
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