May 3, 2013
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The University of Pittsburgh softball team (17-28, 6-13) will try to earn a spot in the Big East Tournament this weekend in its final series of the regular-season against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (29-24, 7-12) at the RU Softball Complex.
The Panthers are currently in 11th place in the Big East Standings, but can play their way into the tournament this weekend against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are currently holding on to the eighth and final tournament spot.
HERE’S THE DEAL:
Spots 1-4 for the Big East Tournament have been claimed by Louisville, Notre Dame, USF and DePaul, but the four remaining spots are up for grabs. Every team in conference besides the top four are under .500 in league action, and eight teams are still in contention for the final berths into the postseason.
If the Panthers sweep the Scarlet Knights this weekend, they would need UConn (7-12) to lose 2-of-3 to DePaul (14-5) AND Seton Hall (6-12) to lose 2-of-3 to Georgetown (9-10). If Pitt ends up taking 2-of-3 from Rutgers, the Panthers would need UConn and Seton Hall to be swept by DePaul and Georgetown.
If the Panthers sweep and UConn ends up taking 2-of-3 from DePaul, Pitt would need the outcome of the Syracuse/Providence series to result in one team sweeping the other, regardless of who sweeps. If the Panthers only win one game this weekend, they will not make the Big East Tournament.
NIRSCHL AND THEA LEAD THE WAY:
Freshman Tori Nirschl has been a consistent force at the plate the entire season. The Pitt leadoff batter paces the team in almost every offensive category, including batting average (.331), hits (47), runs (35), home runs (11) and walks (20).
In conference play Nirschl has continued to produce, but it has been Carly Thea who has stepped up in a big way. In league games, Thea is batting a team-best .333 and has 15 hits, nine runs, seven doubles, one homer and nine RBI. Nirschl and Thea are both batting over .300 in Big East action.
SCOUTING THE SCARLET KNIGHTS:
Rutgers enters the weekend controlling its own destiny. The Scarlet Knights are 29-24 overall and 7-12 in the Big East – currently holding on to the final tournament berth.
RU is led by sophomore pitcher Alyssa Landrith who is 16-14 on the season with a 2.58 ERA. Offensively, The Scarlet Knights have four player who bat over .300, led by Loren Williams with a .319 average. RU’s top three hitters (Williams, Alexis Durando and Chandler Howard) are all within six points of each other in batting average, and they have all hit 11 doubles.
Saturday will feature a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m., while Sunday’s finale is also at 12 p.m. Fans can follow live stats by clicking here, and can also receive in-game updates via Twitter by following @PittSoftball.