Pitt Begins Spring Season on the Road
PITTSBURGH – Returning for her second season as head coach of the University of Pittsburgh softball team, Jodi Hermanek has announced the Panthers’ 2020 non-conference schedule.
Pitt’s non-conference schedule features one team that finished in the top 25 of the NFCA Coaches Poll, including No. 1 UCLA, who won the College World Series a year ago. The Panthers’ lineup consists of 25 games with 18 on the road and four tournament appearances in the UCLA Tournament, ACC/B1G Challenge, ECU Tournament and Campbell Tournament.
The 2020 squad will open the season with three consecutive road tournaments. First, the Panthers will travel to Los Angeles, Calif., for the UCLA Tournament, where they will face off against CSU Bakersfield (Feb. 7), Cal Poly (Feb. 7), San Diego (Feb. 8), and UCLA (Feb. 8-9). This tournament marks the first time in program history the Panthers meet with CSU Bakersfield and Cal Poly. Pitt and San Diego will meet for the third time to break a 1-1 series tie, while the Bruins have won once against the Panthers in 2012.
Pitt will then head to Clemson University, one of five host sites for the ACC/B1G Challenge (Feb. 14-16). The Panthers will be competing against both Michigan State (Feb. 14, 15) and Maryland (Feb. 15, 16) twice in Clemson, S.C. The Panthers lead the all-time series with Michigan State, 3-0, as Maryland leads Pitt, 3-8.
Next up, the Panthers will travel to Greenville, N.C. to compete in the East Carolina University Tournament (Feb. 21-23). Pitt will face off against UMass (Feb. 21, 22), Towson (Feb. 22), and host university, ECU (Feb. 21, 23). Pitt and the Pirates have not met since the Panthers traveled to Greenville in 2017.
The Panthers will continue their road stretch in Greenville, S.C. for the second time to matchup against Furman (March 10), where the Panthers lead the Pirates 1-0 all-time. Following, Pitt will visit UNC Charlotte (March 11) before heading to its last non-conference tournament.
Pitt’s last tournament will be played in Buies Creek, N.C., where the squad will compete in the Campbell Tournament (Feb. 13-14). The Panthers will meet Saint Joseph’s University (Feb. 13, 14) twice while matching up with host school Campbell (Feb. 13, 14) twice, as well. SJU comes to the tournament after completing their first winning season since 2015, falling to the top seed in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship last spring.
The Panthers will visit longtime rival Penn State (March 18) for another midweek matchup. The Panthers and Nittany Lions met twice last season where Pitt was successful in UCF’s Knight Classic (Feb 24), but fell to Penn State once in the regular season (March 27). Pitt will then travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Buckeyes (March 24). Ohio State was victorious in the last meeting and leads the Panthers, 4-14.
The Panthers will play their first non-conference home contest in a doubleheader against St. Francis (PA) (April 1). This will be the first meeting of the teams since fall play, where the Panthers split a doubleheader with the Red Flash, losing one game, 6-7, and winning the second, 6-0 (Oct. 5).
Following, Robert Morris and Kent State will travel to Vartabedian Field for back-to-back home games (April 7, 10). The Panthers were victorious twice against the Colonials in fall ball (Oct. 12), as the Golden Flashes lead Pitt, 13-14, in the series. The Panthers will visit Kent, Ohio five days later for another contest against the Golden Flashes.
Pitt will host Northern Kentucky for the first time in program history for two contests (April 25, 26), before closing out non-conference play at home against Cleveland State (April 29). Pitt leads the Vikings 12-3 all-time, winning the last matchup in 2004.
Returning for the Panthers are seniors Walker Barbee, Alexee Haynes, Kaitlyn Kruger, and Connor McGaffic, redshirt junior Brittany Knight, juniors Morgan Batesole, Brie Horrell, Hunter Levesque, and Chandler Walter, and sophomores Hannah Bach, Abby Edwards, Katlyn Pavlick, and Sarah Seamans.
One of Pitt’s most notable returners is Levesque, who earned All-ACC Second Team honors. In her second year as a Panther at center field, Levesque complied a team-best .322 batting average and a .611 slugging percentage. The Troy, N.Y. native also picked up National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mid-Atlantic All-Region Second Team honors in May 2019.
The Panthers also welcome seven newcomers to the team in transfers redshirt sophomore Jada Crittendon and junior Loo Sanchez, as well as freshmen Hope Alley, Kayla Lane, Taegen Lewellen, Becca Miller, and Makenzie Stiles. Crittendon comes to the Panthers following two years at Virginia Tech, while Sanchez spent the past two seasons at Mercer.
Source- University of Pittsburgh Media Relations