Feb. 13, 2013
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The University of Pittsburgh softball team opens the 2013 season this weekend at the Aggie Classic hosted by Texas A&M University. The Panthers will play Stephen F. Austin and No. 11 Texas A&M twice, and No. 23 North Carolina once.
Pitt's first game is on Friday afternoon at 1:15 p.m. EST against SFA, and will then play the Aggies at 4 p.m. Saturday features the same two teams for the Panthers as the game with SFA is scheduled for 11 a.m. EST, while the game with Texas A&M is at 6:15 p.m. Pitt concludes the tournament on Sunday with a contest against UNC at 11 a.m. EST.
Senior Holly Stevens leads the young Panthers as she is the lone senior on the team. Stevens enters her final season as Pitt's all-time leader in home runs with 27. She is also on pace to become the Panthers record holder for runs batted in.
Sophomore Savannah King will be Pitt's ace in the circle. King had a record setting freshman campaign which saw her set single-season records for wins (19), innings pitched (227.1) and appearances (40). She is also the current record holder for lowest career ERA at 1.72 (minimum 100 innings pitched).
Pitt is arguably one of the youngest teams in the nation as 87.5 percent of the squad is made up of either freshmen or sophomores. Stevens and junior college transfer Lauren Vinson are the only upperclassmen. The rest of the roster is comprised of seven sophomores and seven freshmen.
Maggie Sevilla and Carissa Throckmorton will be called upon to anchor the infield. Both players started all 52 games as freshmen, but Sevilla served primarily as the designated player, while Throckmorton played the outfield. Sevilla will play second base and Throckmorton will play the hot corner at third. Rounding out the infield is freshman Taylor Henry at first base and Maryland-Baltimore County transfer Kaila Balatgek at shortstop.
SCOUTING THE FIELD:
No. 11 Texas A&M (4-0): The Aggies started the preseason ranked No. 17, but jumped six spots after winning its opening tournament at UCLA. Texas A&M rolled its first three opponents (Long Beach State, Cal State Bakersfield and Wright State) by a combined score of 26-1, and then outlasted No. 19 UCLA 7-6 in extras. Nicole Morgan led the offensive charge with four home runs, 10 RBI, seven hits and five runs.
No. 23 North Carolina (3-2): The Tar Heels opened the season with back-to-back losses against No. 10 LSU and Tulsa at the Tiger Classic in Baton Rouge. UNC, however, would rebound to win its final three games, including a payback victory against LSU. Tisha Mahon was 6-for-10 at the plate in the five games.
Stephen F. Austin (2-3): The Ladyjacks participated in the Kajikawa Classic last weekend in Tempe, Ariz., and registered wins against San Diego State and Creighton. Their three losses were at the hands of Oregon State (9-0), Oregon (8-1) and Boise State (8-4). SFA is at No. 7 Texas Wednesday night before heading to Texas A&M. Cadie Weaver smacked two home runs last weekend and collected three RBI on six hits.
Fans can access live stats, audio and a live web-stream (only for the games Texas A&M plays) by clicking on the Tournament Central Page. Live Twitter updates will also be available by following @PittSoftball.