Aug. 12, 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
For the second year in a row, the pitching staff posted a sub-4 earned run average, following up a program-low 3.59 ERA 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.
Harvey and Wotherspoon were two of the weekend starters. Making 12 starts, the former relief pitcher Harvey recorded a 2.90 ERA in 71.1 innings while going 2-2 and striking out a team-high 56 batters. During the season, Harvey strung together 34.1 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run – with 27.1 straight innings against top-25 teams. His streak was the program’s second longest in school history. Harvey was taken in the 19th round by the New York Yankees.
Wotherspoon, who elected to come back for his senior season after being drafted in 2013, was 5-6, registering a team-best in wins, innings (79.0) and was one behind Harvey with 55 strikeouts. He wrapped up his collegiate career ranking towards the top of Pitt’s record book in numerous categories. He is third all-time in wins (23), strikeouts (257) and innings pitched (327.1). Wotherspoon also sits fifth in school history with 60 games pitched and started 50 of them, which is second at Pitt. He joins Harvey in the Yankees organization after being drafted in the 34th.
Curtis boasted a team-low 2.17 ERA, going 1-2 with a pair of saves in 16 games. In his 14 relief appearances, Curtis held a 2.70 ERA over 20.0 innings. He winds up second all-time with 10 career saves. Curtis was the first Panther taken off the board in 2014, going to the Milwaukee Brewers in the 18th round.
Pittsburgh will also miss departed graduates Jon Danielczyk and Rhys Aldenhoven, Danielczyk put together one of the best relief seasons in school history, appearing in a single-season record 29 games while going a perfect 4-0 with two saves, 45 strikeouts and a 2.61 ERA. In just two seasons pitching for the Panthers, Danielczyk pitched in 51 games (t-14th all-time) and leaves school with the ninth-best ERA (2.22) in a Pitt uniform.
After transferring from Hill College, Aldenhoven was a two-year starter for Pittsburgh. Aldenhoven followed up his impressive 2013 campaign with a 2-3 record and a 4.18 ERA in 10 starts this year.
Hurlers returning to the mound expected to lead the Panthers into 2015 will be starter T.J. Zeuch and reliever Hobie Harris.
A true freshman in 2014, Zeuch had the lowest ERA (2.75) of any pitcher with at least nine starts despite a 2-6 record. He tossed the only complete game for the Panthers and struck out 41 in 55.2 innings. Harris, a transfer from Paris Junior College, will have one year of eligibility remaining in 2015. He was second on the team with 20 appearances and third with three wins and a 2.70 ERA.
Another freshman, Sam Mersing also contributed last year, going 2-2 in 13 games with a 5.12 ERA.