PITTSBURGH - With summer ball complete and players returning 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 next week.
August 5: 2014 Season Review
August 12: Pitchers
August 19: Infielders
August 26: Outfielders
September 2: Incoming Freshmen
Pitt will need to fill two big voids in outfield going into the 2015 season, having to replace a lot of production in departed graduates Casey Roche and Stephen Vranka – both three-year starters.
Roche, the starting right fielder leaves his legacy all over the Pitt record book after a final successful season in blue and gold. In 2014, he started 51 games and led the team with a .272 average and seven stolen bases, and ranked second with 55 hits, 11 doubles, three homers and 30 runs batted in. For his career at Pitt, Roche ranks third in games played (202), games started (197), RBIs (149), triples (10) and total bases (351), fourth in hits (240) and runs (161) and fifth in doubles (46), all while hanging on to a .318 batting average.
As the only player to start all 52 games in 2014, Vranka led the club with 57 hits, 40 runs, 13 doubles, five triples, seven stolen bases and 33 walks while adding a .268 average, two homers and 22 RBIs. Vranka also concludes his Panther career an extremely accomplished student-athlete. After four years, he is second all-time in school history triples (15), fourth in runs scored (161), sixth in doubles (44).
The Panthers will have just one reliable outfielder returning next season in top-prospect and starting left fielder Boo Vazquez. However, Vazquez also split time at DH. The rising senior’s average dipped to .246, but he made up for it in power and production, blasting a career-best six homers and 39 RBIs. With eight doubles and two triples, Vazquez ranked second on the squad with 16 extra base hits and a .400 slugging percentage.