Panthers to Face 10 NCAA Tournament Participants from 2017
PITTSBURGH – Entering her 10th season at the helm of the Pitt softball team, head coach Holly Aprile has announced the Panthers’ 2018 slate.
Pitt is set to take on three teams that finished ranked in the top 25 of the NFCA Coaches Poll including reigning ACC Champion Florida State, who reached the Super Regionals, along with Michigan and Marshall. The Panthers will also face a total of 10 NCAA Tournament teams from 2017.
Pitt will compete in 53 contests this season, 37 of which will be on the road. The Panthers will play a total of 16 games at Vartabedian Field in the Petersen Sports Complex, four of which will be three-day conference series.
The 2018 squad will open the season with three tournaments prior to starting ACC play. Pitt’s slate begins out west as the team heads to Fullerton, Calif., to compete in the Titan Classic (Feb. 9-11), hosted by Cal State Fullerton. Along with the host school, the Panthers will face Loyola Marymount, Utah State and Rutgers.
For the second consecutive year, Pitt will partake in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge (Feb. 16-18), which the Panthers went a perfect 4-0 in last season defeating both Nebraska and Northwestern twice. This season, Pitt will head to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face Wisconsin and Illinois, both of whom made postseason in 2017. UNC will act as the tournament host.
The Panthers final tune-up before ACC play will be at the Chanticleer Showdown (Feb. 23-25), hosted by Coastal Carolina. In addition to the Chanticleers, Pitt will also square off with Georgetown and Saint Joseph’s.
Over spring break, the Panthers begin conference play with a three-game lineup versus NC State (March 2-4) in Raleigh, N.C. before continuing south to Florida. While in the Sunshine State, Pitt will face Florida International (March 7) in a midweek tilt, before concluding break at Florida Atlantic’s Panthers Weekend Tournament (March 8-11). The Panthers will play five games, including one against powerhouse Michigan.
The following weekend before opening at home, Pitt returns to North Carolina to take on the Tar Heels (March 16-18) and resume conference play in Chapel Hill.
Vartabedian Field will see action for the first time in 2018 when the Panthers welcome Saint Francis (PA) (March 21) in a midweek matchup. Pitt then hits the road the same weekend to face Virginia Tech (March 23-25) in ACC play.
The Panthers remain on the road for a single game at Ohio (March 27), before hosting Duke to Pittsburgh (March 30-April 1) for the first time in program history, as the school announced the addition of softball as a varsity sport in December of 2013. The Blue Devils will make their debut in the ACC this season.
The following week, the Panthers will make the short trip to State College, Pa., to take on rival Penn State (April 3), before heading to Tallahassee, Fla., to face the Seminoles (April 6-8).
Pitt will host back-to-back weekends following their trip down south, as Georgia Tech (April 13-15) and Virginia (April 20-22) come to town. In between those series, the Panthers will face Kent State in Ohio (April 18).
Before closing out the regular season, Pitt will face four non-conference foes. The team hosts Marshall (April 28) for a double-header during their bye weekend, then faces Kent State (May 1) for the second time this season, but in Pittsburgh, and ends with a trip to Ohio State (May 2). The Panthers close out the 2018 regular season hosting Louisville (May 4-6) at Vartabedian Field.
The ACC Tournament (May 9-12) will take place in Atlanta, Ga., as Georgia Tech is set to host.
Pitt returns all but one starter from a year ago, welcoming back a veteran team of five seniors, six juniors and five sophomores, while adding four newcomers, three freshmen and a junior transfer to the mix.
Source- Pitt Media Relations