Aug. 5, 2014
PITTSBURGH - With summer ball winding down and players getting ready to report to campus for fall ball, we revisit baseball's first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. On Tuesday's for the next month, we will conduct a five-part series that starts with an overall review of the 2014 season. Beginning next week, we will break down the position performance - pitchers, infielders and outfielders. Our final installment will take a look at the incoming freshman for 2015.
August 5: 2014 Season Review
August 12: Pitchers
August 19: Infielders
August 26: Outfielders
September 2: Incoming Freshmen
Pitt entered its first season in the ACC coming off a 42-win season, which marked the first time in school history the Panthers reached the 40-win plateau. Led by head coach Joe Jordano, who had been named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year for 2013, Pittsburgh returned six all-conference performers including first-teamer Casey Roche.
The Panthers began the season winning four of its first five games - all on the road - to pick up right where it left off in 2013. However, the gauntlet of the ACC proved to be as challenging as expected, as Pitt finished the season with an overall record of 22-30 and an 11-19 mark in conference play, just missing out on a spot in the ACC Tournament. Heading into the final week of the regular season, Pitt was tied for the final spot, but was swept at Notre Dame to finish one position shy of qualifying for the postseason.
There are a lot of positives to build off of going into 2015 though. Pitt went 6-9 against top-25 competition and 7-12 versus NCAA Tournament participants. One of those wins was a 2-1 walk-off victory against No. 1 Virginia on April 5. Not only was it the program's first win against a top-ranked team, but it was the school's first win against a number one team in any sport since the men's basketball team defeated Connecticut on Feb. 16, 2009.
Charles L. Cost Field continued to give the Panthers a major home field advantage as it has since its inception in 2011. Pitt raised its all-time record at the venue to 65-29 and 35-14 over the last two years. The home season got underway with an eight-game win streak at the stadium in 2014, including the first six ACC contests - which encompassed a three-game sweep of No. 23 Georgia Tech. The trio of wins versus the Yellow Jackets also helped the Panthers establish a program-record six-game home winning streak against top-25 teams.
It wasn't until the following weekend that the Panthers lost their first conference home game of the season, to top-ranked Virginia, ending an 18-game home win streak versus conference opponents that spanned all of the 2013 season as well.
Pittsburgh kept it close all season long, playing in 15 one-run games, coming out on the short end of things nine times. Three of those contests were extra inning affairs while another three were against top-25 teams. Overall, the Panthers also lost nine games when yielding three runs or less.
For the second year in a row, the pitching staff posted a sub-4 earned run average, following up a program-low 3.59 earned run average in 2013. The 3.97 team ERA from 2014 stands as the second lowest by a Pitt team since at least 1993. Three pitchers - Luke Curtis, Joseph Harvey and Matt Wotherspoon - who helped achieve the feat won't be back next season as they were selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.