Saturday, May 9, 2015; Blacksburg, VA, USA; University of Pittsburgh softball team left Tech Softball Park with its heads held high, after losing a heartbreaker to Florida State, 6-2, in the 2015 ACC Softball Championship finale. Photo courtesy of Pitt Panthers. Photo Credit: Michael Shroyer
I usually stick to covering Pitt football and men’s basketball, but the softball team deserves some love after last night.
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After a deep run all the way into the ACC Tournament finals, Pitt earned a bid for its first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. In their first regional game, Pitt fell 11-3 in their first game to the No. 19 Cal Golden Bears, despite leading early.
The beauty is that the tournament is double elimination, and Pitt took advantage of it in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In an elimination game yesterday, Pitt squared off against Oakland. With one out and the bases loaded, a two-run single in the fifth inning by sophomore Kaitlin Manuel gave Pitt a lead and contributed to a 6-3 win for the Panthers. Manuel’s clutch hit came after a catcher’s interference call scored Ohio State transfer senior Shelby Pickett to tie it 3-3.
After Oakland (27-24) took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, Pitt scored six unanswered runs. Senior pitcher Savannah King was pulled in the first inning, and freshman Kayla Harris came in for relief and pitched a great game.
Pitt then had a shot at redemption against Cal, who had lost 9-1 to No. 3 Michigan.
Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, junior Jenna Modic hit a clutch grand slam at 11:11pm last night. Behind Modic’s grand slam and a strong pitching performance from Kayla Harris, Pitt won a second elimination game Saturday with a 6-3 victory against Cal (39-17). She pitched a complete game with 3 runs, 6 hits, and 10 strikeouts.
Pitt (37-21) will face No. 3 Michigan (53-6) at 3:30pm on ESPNU in the Regional Final. In order to advance to the Super Regionals, they will have to knock off the Wolverines twice.
Holly Aprile is in her seventh season at Pitt head coach, and she has the Panthers in uncharted territory.