May 19, 2013
PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team has completed one of the most impressive regular seasons in program history. The Panthers postseason journey begins on Wednesday May 22, at 10 a.m. vs. St. John’s at the Big East Championship.
“We accomplished some great things during the regular season, including playing for the regular season title on the last day,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “With that said, our work is not finished. We very much look forward to the opportunity to play in our fifth consecutive Big East Tournament and compete for a championship.”
“Our team has played very hard this season and I know none of us are satisfied at this point,” Jordano continued. “We want to play as long as we can and I cannot wait until we get back on the field Wednesday.”
Below is a look at some of the highlights of Pitt’s 2013 regular season.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING...
With a 10-2 victory on May 12, Pitt won its 40th game marking the first time in program history that a team has reached the 40 win mark. Additionally with the victory over the Wildcats, head coach Joe Jordano captured his 750th career win.
MOVING UP AND MAKING HISTORY IN THE POLLS...
Following a weekend sweep of Villanova and its 40th victory of the season, the University of Pittsburgh baseball team was ranked in all five major collegiate baseball polls for the first time in program history.
The Panthers were ranked by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (16) for the seventh week this season, Baseball America (21) and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Associate (23) for the second straight week and cracked the rankings in ESPN Coaches Poll (23) and Perfect Game (23) for the first times in school history. The No. 16 ranking from CBN is also a program best. Pitt’s previous best ranking came in May of 2010 when it climbed as high as 20th in the polls.
The seven weeks in the rankings more than doubles the prior best mark of three weeks set back in 2010.
Outside of this season and 2010, Pitt’s only other national rankings came from CBN in the final polls of the 1995 and 1967 seasons when they ranked No. 28 and No. 27 respectively.
Pitt had eight weekend series sweeps on the season its most all-time (7, 2002 and 1995). The Panthers also swept six Big East series (St. John’s, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Georgetown and Villanova) for the first time in program history. Pitt had swept three Big East series in a season on two prior occasions (2010: Villanova, West Virginia and St. John’s; 1994: Boston College, UConn and Villanova).
TOUCH ‘EM ALL...
The Panthers have hit 49 homeruns on the season, good for 12th in the nation and first in the Big East by a 22 homer margin. Pitt has hit a round tripper in 36 of its 55 games including a remarkable stretch from April 6 - April 21 where it hit a long ball in 12 consecutive games. Additionally, The Panthers have 11 multi-homer games on the season and have had a pair of games with three homeruns.
Pitt led all Big East teams in nine major offensive categories, batting average (.305), on-base percentage (.408), slugging percentage (.457), hits (585), runs (422), home runs (49), RBI (374), walks (275) and total bases (875). Not only is Pitt leading the conference in these categories but some are by impressive margins which are listed below.
Category Pitt Closest
RBI 374 Louisville (323)
HR 49 Louisville (27)
Runs Scored 422 Louisville (364)
Total Bases 875 Louisville (771)
Walks 275 Rutgers (238)
Pitt has scored five runs or more in an inning 23 times on the season. Below is a breakdown of the numbers.
First Inning – 4, Second – 2, Third – 2, Fourth – 2, Fifth – 1, Sixth – 6, Seventh – 3, Eighth – 1, Ninth – 2
By number of runs:
5 Runs – 8, 6 Runs – 4, 7 Runs – 10, 8 Runs – 1
30 AND COUNTING...
The Panthers have won 30 games or more 11 times in the program’s history. Of those 11 times, eight have come under current head coach Joe Jordano.
40 – 2013
39 – 1995
38 – 2010, 2004
36 – 2003, 2002
33 – 2011, 2005
31 – 2004, 1994
30 – 1993
Italics = Jordano coached team
POWER AT THE PLATE...
Power at the plate has allowed Pitt to become one of the most productive offensive units in the nation. Coming into the weekend, the Panthers are fourth in scoring (8.0), fourth in runs (407), 12th in home runs per game (0.92) and home runs (47), seventh in slugging percentage (.467), ninth in on-base percentage (.412) and 17th in batting average (.308) among all teams in the Division-I ranks.
On an individual front, Casey Roche is 11th in the nation in Runs Batted In per game (1.18) and ninth total RBIs (60). Stephen Vranka is seventh in runs per game (1.18) and sixth in total runs (59). Steven Shelinsky Jr. is 21st in total homers (12).
Pitt’s lineup features six players with .300-plus batting averages (minimum of 60 plate appearances), 10 players with at least one home run, eight players with at least 30 runs scored, six players with 30 or more RBI, and 12 players with two or more stolen bases.
PATIENCE AT THE PLATE...
While PItt’s power numbers are impressive, the Panthers have also shown impressive plate discipline ranking ninth in the nation and first in the Big East with 275 walks drawn. The 275 walks drawn are the most in school history.
Pitt has five walk off victories on the season. On March 29, Evan Oswald alertly scored the game-winning run on an overthrow in the 15th inning to end the longest game in Pitt baseball history as the Panthers beat Towson 2-1.
In the series finale against Rutgers on April 21, Stephen Vranka smoked a three run home run over the scoreboard in right field with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Pitt a 6-3 victory and series sweep.
The Panthers had a pair of walkoffs against Cincinnati on April 27 and 28. The first walkoff occurred in the second game of the series when Boo Vazquez alertly scored from second on an error. Pitt completed the series sweep with a second-straight walkoff as Ron Sucre drew a bases loaded walk to give the Panthers the win and series sweep.
Most recently, Dylan Wolsonovich hit a walkoff single with the bases loaded in the first game of the Villanova series.
BATS COME ALIVE VS. YSU...
After a series where the Panthers could only manage eight runs in a three game set against USF, Pitt saw its bats come alive in a 24-7 victory over Youngstown State on Tuesday. The 24 runs were the most for the program since 2010 when they also scored 24 at West Virginia in a 24-9 win and ties the third most in school history.
Most Runs in Pitt History
36 - vs. IUP in 1953 (36-6)
25 - vs. Coppin State in 2008 (25-5)
25 - vs. Maryland Eastern Shore in 2008 (25-3)
24 - vs. YSU in 2013 (24-7)
ROCHE HITS FOR THE CYCLE AND HAS 10 RBI...
Additionally in the YSU contest, Casey Roche hit for the cycle going 5-for-7 with 10 RBIs, including a grand slam. Roche is the first Panther to hit for the cycle since Joe Leonard accomplished the feat on April, 14, 2010 in a 23-9 victory over Duquesne.
LONG DAY AT THE BALL PARK...
Pitt played one of the longest games in program history when it defeated Towson 2-1 in 15 innings on March 29. The game was the second game of a double header between the Panthers and Tigers. Remarkably, Pitt only used three pitchers over the 24 innings as Ethan Mildren, Matt Wotherspoon and Jon Danielczyk combined to allow a mere two earned runs while striking out 16. Below are the longest games in Pitt history.
Pitt’s Longest Games
Innings Opponent Result Year
15 Towson W (2-1) 2013
15 Penn State L (2-3) 1948
14 Akron W (4-2) 2007
STORMING PAST ST. JOHN’S…
Pitt’s undefeated weekend against the Red Storm marked the first time in program history that the Panthers have swept the previous season’s Big East Tournament Champion in a three-game series. Pitt has twice taken two-game sets from a defending conference tournament champion, sweeping Notre Dame in 2004 and 2007, but never has it accomplished the three-game feat prior to the St. John’s series.
For the first time since 1994 and second time ever since joining the Big East in 1982, the Panthers have won their first three games of nonconference play (Wichita State) and swept their first conference series (St. John’s) in a single season. Pitt opened its nonconference schedule with wins against Indianapolis, Grand Valley State, and Winona State and swept Boston College to open Big East competition 19 seasons ago.
Not only did the Panthers hand the Red Storm their first three losses at home this season (3-3), but they also delivered St. John’s its first three-game series sweep at home in 17 years (1996 vs. Providence).
SHOCKING THE SHOCKERS…
The Panthers made several runs at history at the expense of Wichita State in the opening series of the 2013 season. Pitt’s three-game sweep against the Shockers marked the first time Wichita State had been swept at home in 43 seasons (1970 vs. Creighton), and the Shockers’ three losses to the Panthers were the first games ever lost at home in the month of February (69-3) under head coach Gene Stephenson (35 years). Pitt’s outstanding effort against Wichita State knocked the Shockers out of the Collegiate Baseball Top-40 Poll after holding a No. 32 preseason ranking.
FIVE YEARS IN A ROW...
By virtue of their sweep of Georgetown, the Panthers qualified for their fifth consecutive Big East Championship. Pitt is one of only four teams - Louisville, St. John’s and UConn - to have advanced to the past four Big East Championships.
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Leblanc Named Perfect Game All-American