#42 Pittsburgh Softball 2016 Preview

Pittsburgh Panthers

Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #7 ACC
#42 Pittsburgh Softball 2016 Preview
Pittsburgh Team Page


Pittsburgh broke through during the 2015 season with a great run to the ACC Tournament Championship game along with getting their first two wins in program history in the NCAA Tournament. The experience gained from making it to the Ann Arbor Regional Final against eventual national runner-up Michigan and with plenty of offensive production returning, the Panthers should be set up to be in the NCAA Tournament once again.

2015: 37-22, 11-13
2015 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Holly Aprile

Field Players:
McKayla Taylor will be looking to build upon an outstanding freshman season where she hit 14 homeruns and drove in 59 runs while batting .316. Redshirt Senior Maggie Sevilla hit .359 last season and her discipline at the plate is excellent as well. She only struck out 15 times in 198 at bats. The combination of Jenna Modic and Shelby Pickett returns as well in 2016. Modic and Pickett will bring plenty of power to the table offensively for Pittsburgh as they combined for 16 homeruns and drove in 79 runs last season. Thus, opposing teams are going to have a challenge ahead of them in order to keep the Panthers in check offensively all season long.

Kayla Harris is going to have to step up as the ace in 2016 and do it very quickly. Harris was the number two starter in 2015 as a freshman and did pretty well, going 13-13 with a 3.79 earned run average. For Harris to take the next step as a number one pitcher it will be important for her to improve the walk to strikeout ratio. If Harris can get at least a two to one strikeout to walk ratio and cut down the amount of homeruns allowed, she and Pitt will be in good shape.  

Who to Watch:
Sarah Dawson is going to have to come in immediately and contribute as the number two pitcher for the Panthers. Dawson did some nice things in fall ball including throwing five shutout innings against Penn State. If Dawson can throw a good 150 innings or so that will take a lot of pressure off of Harris and give the Panthers a nice combination in the circle this season. That will be a challenge for opponents to deal with.

Final Projection:
The schedule early on should set up for a fast start for Pittsburgh. The toughest test will come on March 6th at the San Diego State Tournament against Texas A&M. A win over the Aggies would be a nice resume builder for NCAA Tournament purposes. During ACC play the Panthers will have a fairly balanced schedule with North Carolina and Florida State coming to Pittsburgh. The two toughest road tests will be to North Carolina State and Notre Dame. If the Panthers can stay around .500 during conference play, it should be enough to get into the ACC Conference Tournament along and keep them safely in position to return to the NCAA Tournament. Another key factor that will help get Pittsburgh back to postseason will be their ability to build upon last year’s success. They are going to get teams best shots more often than not this season. In the end, look for the Panthers to find their way back into the NCAA Tournament as they should be able to out score enough teams to win about 35-38 games.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Shelby Pickett, C/IF, 203
Hits: Two with 71
Home Runs: McKayla Taylor, IF, 14
RBIs: McKayla Taylor, IF, 59
Runs: Shelby Pickett, C/IF, 50
Stolen Bases: Two with 7

Wins: Kayla Harris, P, 13
Innings Pitched: Kayla Harris, P, 155
Strikeouts: Kayla Harris, P, 93
Saves: Kayla Harris, P, 3

Madness 2016 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#62 Olivia Gray


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