#44 Pittsburgh Softball 2017 Preview

Pittsburgh Panthers
Overall Rank: #44
Conference Rank: #6 ACC
 Pittsburgh Logo
When thinking of college softball powerhouses, the Pitt Panthers might not come to mind but thanks to head coach Holly Aprile that might be changing soon. The team made their first ever NCAA and ACC Tournament appearances in 2015 and followed it up with another 30-plus win season last year. Pitt returns ten players from 2016 and six new freshmen, along with one transfer to this year’s team roster.  That lineup should help the team to continue their recent success.
2016: 31-21, 8-14
2016 Postseason: None
Coach: Holly Aprile
Key Departed Players:
Maggie Sevilla, IF, .351BA, 11HR, 38 RBI
Jenna Modic, IF/P, .329 BA, 12 HR, 37 RBI
Shelby Pickett, C/IF, .330 BA, 7 HR, 28 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Giorgiana  Zeremenko, C, .392, 17 HR, 52 RBI
Sarah Dawson, P, 6.25 ERA, 52.2 IP, 22 SO, 8-0 record
Kayla Harris, P, 3.40 ERA, 158.2 IP, 16-11 record
Erin Hershamn, OF, .366 BA, 7 HR, 31 RBI
McKayla Taylor, IF, .331 BA, 10 HR, 36 RBI
Olivia Gray, IF, .325 BA, 4 HR, 20 RBI
It won't take long to see where this year's team stacks up as they play in the 2017 ACC/Big Ten Softball Challenge (Feb. 17-19). Pitt will travel to Tallahassee, Florida to face Nebraska and Northwestern at the Florida State Softball Complex. The Panthers will take on each Big Ten team twice over the weekend. When it comes to winning, good pitching always can keep a game close and Pitt has a returning staff that should be able to get the job done. Last year Kayla Harris carried the bulk of the load along with Sarah Dawson, who despite a high era managed an 8-0 record that included the team's first ever perfect game pitched on February 27, 2016 against Providence. Playing in the tough ACC should help to get the team ready come tournament time. While I don't look for Pitt to have a fairy tale year and end up World Champions, I look for them to get some attention and hold their own against any top team they play.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament