June 28, 2013
PITTSBURGH -- The University of Pittsburgh baseball team's 2013 season was one of the most successful seasons the program has ever had, cruising through a record-breaking 42-17 (18-6 Big East) campaign that featured eight weekend series sweeps while finding itself ranked in all five major college baseball polls for the first time in history.
"This past season was a special one," said head coach Joe Jordano. "It was our last in the Big East and, although we didn't win a title, it was certainly one to remember. It also solidified the foundation for our exciting and challenging transition to the ACC."
Picked to finish seventh in the preseason coaches' poll with no Panthers selected to the preseason all-conference team, Pitt entered its final season as a Big East program off the radar and distant from any demanding expectations. However, the Panthers managed to exceed all predictions by competing for a share of the regular season title on the final day of conference play and seeing a program-best eight players take home All-Big East honors.
Pitt's offense ranked seventh nationally in scoring (7.5) and in runs (444), 12th in on-base percentage (.403), 16th in slugging percentage (.448) and 20th in home runs (49). In the conference, the Panthers finished first in batting average (.302), on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs, RBI (394), home runs (by a 20-home run margin over Louisville), total bases (926) and walks (292). They were also second in hits (625) and doubles (108), tied for third in triples (23) and fifth in stolen bases (72).
Defensively, Pitt was fourth in the Big East in ERA (3.59) and fifth in strikeouts (349) and batting average against (.258). The Panthers converted 61 double plays on the season as well, which were the most among all conference teams and were tied for 10th nationally.
Below is a monthly view of Pitt's memorable 2013 campaign, featuring the numerous team and individual feats accomplished throughout the course of the season.
- Feb. 15-17: The Panthers complete a three-game series sweep against Wichita State, marking the first time the Shockers had been swept at home in 43 seasons (1970 vs. Creighton) ... Wichita State's three losses to Pitt are its first games ever lost at home in the month of February (69-3) under head coach Gene Stephenson (35 years) ... The Panthers' knock Wichita State out of the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's Top-40 Poll after holding a No. 32 preseason ranking ... Pitt is recognized as the Collegiate Baseball Insider Louisville Slugger Team of the Week ... Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) is named the College Baseball 360 National Player of the Week after going 8-for-14 (.571) with two home runs and seven RBI in the series
- March 13: Alex Caravella (SR/Harrington Park, N.J.) surpasses Corey Baker (64, 2008-11) and Jeff Barnyak (2001-05) to become the Panthers' all-time leader in career appearances after starting against Niagara at home ... Caravella graduated with 69 total appearances in four seasons at Pitt, recording 11 wins and 133 strikeouts in 175 innings of work
- March 24: The Panthers' undefeated weekend against St. John's marks the first time in program history that Pitt swept the previous season's Big East Tournament Champion in a three-game series ... For the first time since 1994 and second time ever since joining the Big East in 1982, the Panthers won their first three games of nonconference play (Wichita State) and swept their first conference series (St. John's) in the same season ... Not only did the Panthers hand the Red Storm their first three losses at home in 2013, but they also delivered St. John's its first three-game series sweep at home in 17 years (1996 vs. Providence)
- March 29: Pitt defeats Towson, 2-1, in 15 innings in the nightcap of a doubleheader between the Panthers and Tigers, tied for the longest recorded game in program history (1948 vs. Penn State) ... Matt Wotherspoon (JR/Mountain Top, Pa.) pitches nine innings and allows just one run and Jon Danielczyk (JR/Erie, Pa.) tosses six shutout innings in relief to hold on for the win as Evan Oswald (SR/Butler, Pa.) scores the game-winning run on a throwing error by Towson's center fielder ... It was the first of six walk-off wins the Panthers would take in 2013
- April 9: Following a series where Pitt could only manage eight runs in a three-game set against USF, the Panthers dominate Youngstown State, 24-7, tying for the third-most runs scored in a single game in program history ... Roche becomes the first Pitt player to hit for the cycle since Joe Leonard in 2010, going 5-for-7 with 10 RBI, including a grand slam, in what was one of the most remarkable individual offensive performances in Pitt baseball history
- April 27: Joe Harvey (SO/Audubon, Pa.) records a win and a save in the same day in a doubleheader against Cincinnati at home ... Harvey was perfect in 1.1 innings with three strikeouts for the save in the opener and held on for the winning decision after allowing no runs in 0.1 innings in the ninth as Boo Vazquez (SO/Youngstown, Ohio) scored on an error by the shortstop for the walk-off victory
- May 5: The Panthers complete a series sweep at Georgetown to secure a berth in the conference tournament ... Pitt is one of only four teams (Louisville, St. John's, UConn) to have advanced to each of the last five Big East Championships
- May 12: With a 10-2 victory over Villanova, the Panthers set a program record in wins with their 40th of the season ... Pitt also tied its program record in conference wins with 18 ... The win also marked head coach Joe Jordano's 750th career win
- May 13: Pitt is ranked in all five major college baseball polls for the first time in program history--Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (16), Baseball America (21), NCBWA (23), ESPN Coaches' (23) and Perfect Game (23) ... The Panthers' No. 16 ranking in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll was its highest ranking in program history as well ... Pitt's seven weeks in the polls more than doubled the prior best mark of three weeks set back in 2010
- May 21: Jordano is named Big East Coach of the Year for the second time in his career ... A program-best eight Panthers also took home All-Conference honors as well ... 1st team: Ethan Mildren (JR/Hopwood, Pa.), Elvin Soto (SO/New York, N.Y.), and Roche ... 2nd team: Wotherspoon, Rhys Aldenhoven (JR/Victoria, Australia), Shelinsky, Jr., Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, Pa.) and Vazquez
- May 22: Mildren defeats St. John's in the opening round of the Big East Tournament to become the fifth Panther in history to have 20 career wins, allowing one earned run on four hits in eight innings of work ... Mildren finished his three-year career at Pitt with a 20-14 overall record and 3.33 ERA
- May 24: Ronald Sucre (SR/Miami, Fla.) hits a walk-off double in the bottom of the 12th inning to give Pitt a 7-6 win over Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament ... The win was Pitt's 42nd of the year.
- June 7: Roche becomes the third Panther to be named the NCBWA District I Player of the Year (consists of all Division-I players in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont)
- June 8: Mildren (12th round, 350th overall by the Minnesota Twins), Soto (16th round, 480th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks) and Wotherspoon (20th round, 606th overall by the Detroit Tigers) are selected in the 2013 MLB Draft ... Mildren and Soto sign with their respective teams
- June 12: Roche is named a Third Team All-American by the NCBWA, becoming the 12th All-American selection under Jordano
- June 13: Mildren, Soto and Roche earn First Team honors on the Rawlings/ABCA All-East Region team and Sam Parente (SR/Pittston, Pa.) is named to the Second Team ... Pitt has had an all-region selection in each of the past five seasons, tying the longest stretch in program history
- July 1: Pitt Joins the ACC
-- 30 --
Leblanc Named Perfect Game All-American
AROUND THE DIAMOND: Season Wrap Up with Coach Jordano
Four Land on All-ACC Academic Teams
Leblanc Garners ABCA All-Region Recognition
Leblanc Named NCBWA All-American
Leblanc Named Finalist for Brooks Wallace Award