Aug. 19, 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. We are currently breaking 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 looks to be in good shape at infield heading into the 2015 season, returning all five starters, including at catcher. The only departed player from the infield is Steven Shelinsky, Jr., who started just one-third of his games at first, with the remainder coming as the designated hitter.
Shelinsky, who began his career in 2010 with the Panthers, was coming off a season where he collected second-team All-BIG EAST honors following a conference-best 12 homers. He followed the 2013 campaign up with by batting .235 in 45 games with three home runs to go along with nine doubles and 24 runs batted in.
The four returning infielders will bring a wealth of leadership and experience to the 2015 squad, as all four are about to begin their fourth collegiate seasons. First baseman Eric Hess, second baseman Matt Johnson and third baseman Jordan Frabasilio will enter their senior seasons while shortstop Dylan Wolsonovich will be a redshirt junior.
The lefty-hitting Hess led all infielders with a .262 average in 51 games, including 41 starts, but hit a team-best .282 in ACC games. With 17 walks, Hess' .360 on-base percentage ranked third on the team. He also added five doubles, a homer and 17 RBIs. Hess provided a steady glove at first base, making only two errors in 398 chances for a stellar fielding percentage of .995 - the sixth-best in the ACC last year.
Sliding into second base last year was Johnson, who transferred in from Paris Junior College. In his first season with the Panthers, Johnson posted a .227 average with 39 hits, seven doubles, 14 RBIs and 24 runs scored in 51 starts. A patient hitter, Johnson walked 20 times - good for third on the team - to help raise his on-base percentage to .330.
A two-year starter, Wolsonovich became the top option at short the third weekend into the season. He was second among infielders with a .254 batting average, tallying 46 base knocks, 30 runs, 25 RBI, six doubles and five stolen bases. Ranking second on the team with 28 walks, Wolsonovich was just four points behind the team-leader in in on-base percentage at .372. Wolsonovich finished the season fourth on the team (first among infielders) with 11 multi-hit games and third with five multi-RBI games.
Frabasilio, another transfer, from South Mountain Community College, stepped right into a starting role for Pitt at the hot corner. Making 44 starts - all but one at third - Frabasilio hit .226 with eight doubles and a pair of round trippers. He drove in 14 runs on the year and scored 22 times.
Rounding out the starting infielders is rising sophomore Manny Pazos, who started 37 games at catcher as a true freshman. Pazos will look to improve as a sophomore after hitting just .143 with three doubles, 12 RBIs and 12 runs. Defensively, Pazos threw out 14 would-be base stealers, which was tied for fifth in the ACC.
Pitt will also have a number veterans coming off the bench next season ready to contribute. Rising sophomore Nick Yarnall saw the most action out of the dugout, playing in 40 games overall, including 12 starts at DH. In limited hitting opportunities, Yarnall hit .241 with a pair of doubles, seven RBIs and 12 walks in 58 at-bats for a .392 on-base percentage.
Another true freshman who saw time behind the backstop and at third in 2014 was Caleb Parry. Parry played in 26 games, with 10 starts at catcher and seven at third. He batted .175 with two extra base hits and drove in a pair of runs.