Pittsburgh Panthers baseball

Last updated
Pittsburgh Panthers baseball
Baseball current event.svg 2020 Pittsburgh Panthers baseball team
Pitt Panthers wordmark.svg
Founded1869
University University of Pittsburgh
Head coach Mike Bell (2nd season)
Conference ACC
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Home stadiumCharles L. Cost Field
in the Petersen Sports Complex
(Capacity: 900)
Nickname Panthers
ColorsBlue and Gold [1]
         
NCAA Tournament appearances
1959, 1965, 1995
Conference tournament champions
1995
Conference champions
1994

The Pittsburgh Panthers baseball is the NCAA Division I intercollegiate baseball program of the University of Pittsburgh, often referred to as "Pitt", located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pitt baseball team competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference and plays their home games at Charles L. Cost Field in the Petersen Sports Complex. It is the university's oldest recorded sport, dating to 1869. Prior to joining the ACC in 2013-14, Pitt had won both the Big East Conference regular season and Big East Tournament championships. The Panthers have also received four First Team All-American selections, and have appeared in three NCAA championships. 52 Panthers have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.

Contents

History

Pitt baseball circa the 1890s when the school was known as the Western University of Pennsylvania. The players are posing in front of Main Hall when the campus was located on Observatory Hill on Pittsburgh's North Side. 1890sPittbaseball.jpg
Pitt baseball circa the 1890s when the school was known as the Western University of Pennsylvania. The players are posing in front of Main Hall when the campus was located on Observatory Hill on Pittsburgh's North Side.

Baseball has been called "the first game of consequence played at the University." [2] The first recorded game was a 21–20, five-inning win over the Eckfords of East Liberty in 1869. [3] The team went undefeated until it lost to a high school team in 1870. Although early records are sparse and incomplete, baseball at the university continued to be played against nearby college teams, although sometimes with irregular schedules, throughout the end of the 19th Century, as well as at the intramural level. [2] The student yearbook, The Owl, noted that teams fielded between the years of 1888 to 1894 were especially successful. [4] However, according to the student yearbook, in the early 20th century interest in college baseball at Pitt waned due to a lack of a proper field, strictness of eligibility rules, irregularity of schedules, and the rise of football as the dominant school sport. [2] Pitt did not field a baseball team from 1918 to 1920, although the program was briefly resurrected under coach Dick Harley for four seasons which were highlighted by the play of future Major League Baseball pitcher Steve Swetonic, before the program again disappeared from 1925 to 1938. [5] The program was reestablished in 1939 under coach Ralph Mitterling who led the team for 16 seasons and guided players such as future Major League pitcher Russ Kemmerer. [6]

In 1955, legendary Pitt baseball coach Bobby Lewis took control of the program. Lewis, who is one of two Panthers to have his baseball jersey retired by the school, led the team for 36 seasons until his retirement in 1990. [6] During his tenure, Pitt went 438–389, garnering Lewis the most wins of any coach in Pitt athletics history to that point. [7] Under Lewis, Pitt appeared in the NCAA baseball championship twice, and finished ranked 27th in the final 1967 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll. [8] Lewis coached All-Americans George Schoeppner and Fred Mazurek, future long-time Major League professionals Doc Medich and Ken Macha, as well as other notable athletes such as Mike Ditka and Joe Walton. [7] [9]

The new baseball stadium in the Petersen Sports Complex nearing completion in late October, 2010 PeteSportsComplexOctConst.jpg
The new baseball stadium in the Petersen Sports Complex nearing completion in late October, 2010

Mark Jackson took over for Bobby Lewis in 1991 and quickly turned the Panthers into a contender in the Big East Conference, in which Pitt had begun competing in 1985. Jackson led the Panthers to a regular season Big East title in 1994, earning Big East Coach of the Year honors, and went on to win the 1995 Big East Conference Baseball Tournament, thus earning a bid to the NCAA Championship and finishing the season ranked 28th in the final Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll. [10] [11] His teams posted five winning seasons out of seven years at the helm, including three 30 or more-win seasons. [6] Notable players for Jackson include Jason Conti, who went on to play for five seasons in the Major Leagues, and Josh Tyler who won the 1994 Big East Player of the Year award.

One of the most successful eras of Pitt baseball began with the hiring of Joe Jordano as coach on November 15, 1997. [12] Since coming to Pittsburgh, Jordano has had 38 players taken in the Major League Baseball Draft, 50 of his players sign professional contracts, and 36 All-Big East players. [13] Since 2000, Jordano's teams have produced nine All-Americans, 20 All-region selections, six 30-win seasons, and six Big East Baseball Tournament appearances. Jordano earned the Big East Coach of the Year award in 2004 following a 38–18 season in which Pitt finished second in the conference standings. [14] In 2010, Pitt went 38-18 and appeared in the Top 25 polls of both Collegiate Baseball Newspaper [15] and Baseball America [16] for the first time in its history, earning Jordano the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) East Region Coach of the Year award [17] and the Chuck Tanner Collegiate Baseball Manager of the Year Award. [18] On March 2, 2012, Jordano surpassed former head coach Bobby Lewis to become Pitt baseball's all-time wins leader when he earned his 403rd career victory, a 3-1 win at Coastal Carolina. [19] [20]

In 2011, the program moved into a new facility, Charles L. Cost Field, in the Petersen Sports Complex, from its old facility, Trees Field. [21] The new facilities helped to prompt Rivals.com to name Pitt as one of "college baseball's rising programs" heading into the 2011 season. [22] Pitcher Corey Baker, who in 2010 had been named to the All-Big East First Team, and to the ABCA/Rawlings All-East Region First Team, ended his university career in 2011 as the Pittsburgh Panthers all-time career wins leader, with 24. [23] [24]

In the 2013 season, Pitt's last in the Big East Conference, the team set a record for the most wins in a single season (42) [25] and became nationally ranked in the Top 25 of all five major college baseball polls for the first time in program history, including climbing as high as #16 in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. [26] Pitt moved into the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1, 2013. [27]

Jordano resigned as the head coach of Pittsburgh on June 22, 2018. [28] Mike Bell, former associate head coach at Florida State, was hired as Pitt's head coach in July 2018. [29]

All-Americans

Pitt has had ten different players selected as All-Americans, including four first team selections. In addition, two Panthers have been selected as Freshman All-Americans, [30] [31] [32] and five players have been selected as an Academic All-Americans. [33] [34]

All-East

Pitt has had 34 All-East selections over its history, [13] [30] [35] [36] [37] and one coach, Joe Jordano, was named the ABCA East Region Coach of the Year in 2010. [17]

Big East honors

Pitt has receive 69 All-Big East selections [44] along with conference player, pitcher, rookie, and coach of the year awards. [10] [13] In addition, 36 Pitt players have garnered All-Big East Academic Awards and the team earned the Most Improved Team GPA award in 2008. [12]

Major League Baseball

Pitt has had 60 Major League Baseball Draft selections since the draft began in 1965. Since 1940, 99 total players that have been drafted or signed to professional contracts, including 60 since 2000. [30] [45] [46] [47]

Manager Ken Macha (center) played college baseball at Pitt Ken Macha.jpg
Manager Ken Macha (center) played college baseball at Pitt
Jason Conti spent five years in the Majors with the Diamondbacks, Rays, Brewers, and Rangers Jason Conti.jpg
Jason Conti spent five years in the Majors with the Diamondbacks, Rays, Brewers, and Rangers
Right-handed pitcher Pete Parise went undrafted but is currently St. Louis Cardinals system where he was named the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds 2009 Reliever of the Year Pete Parise.jpg
Right-handed pitcher Pete Parise went undrafted but is currently St. Louis Cardinals system where he was named the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds 2009 Reliever of the Year
Panthers in the Major League Baseball Draft
YearPlayerRoundTeam
1970 George Medich 30 Yankees
1972 Ken Macha 6 Pirates
1981 Allen Lachowicz 1 Rangers
1985 Chris Jelic 2 Royals
1986 Matt Stennett11 Astros
1986 Chuck Scales25 Royals
1987 David Westwood11 Giants
1988 Frank Merigliano16 White Sox
1989 Darnell Dickerson28 Royals
1993 David Sumner41 Blue Jays
1994 Josh Tyler24 Brewers
1994 Eric Dinyar48 Tigers
1996 Jason Conti 32 Diamondbacks
1999 Lou Melucci26 Expos
2000 Joe Lydic7 Astros
2000 Jory Coughenour20 Astros
2002 Brant Colamarino7 Athletics
2002 Eric Ackerman16 Royals
2004 Nick Evangelista26 Phillies
2004 P.J. Hiser29 Indians
2004 T.J. Gornati44 Giants
2005 Ben Copeland4 Giants
2006 Jim Negrych 6 Pirates
2006 Bill Muldowney8 Cubs
2006 Jimmy Mayer30 Devil Rays
2007 Kyle Landis18 Indians
2007 Paul Nardozzi31 Tigers
2009 Chris Sedon10 Tigers
2009 Nate Reed20 White Sox
2010 Joe Leonard3 Braves
2010 Cory Brownsten15 Braves
2010 Danny Lopez17 Mariners
2011 Kevan Smith 7 White Sox
2011 Raymond Black 7 Giants
2011 David Chester33 Red Sox
2011 John Schultz34 Marlins
2011 Travis Whitmore35 Padres
2011 Corey Baker 49 Cardinals
2013 Ethan Mildren12 Twins
2013 Elvin Soto16 Diamondbacks
2013 Matt Wotherspoon 20 Tigers
2014 Luke Curtis18 Brewers
2014 Joseph Harvey 19 Yankees
2014 Matt Wotherspoon 34 Yankees
2015 Marc Berube28 Athletics
2015 Hobie Harris31 Yankees
2015 Rich Condeelis36 Twins
2016 T. J. Zeuch 1 Blue Jays
2016 Charles Leblanc4 Rangers
2016 Alex Kowalczyk12 Rangers
2016 Aaron Schnurbusch28 White Sox
2016 Nick Yarnall35 Dodgers
2017 Josh Falk17 Athletics
2017 Isaac Mattson19 Angels
2017 Josh Mitchell22 Royals
2018 RJ Freure6 Astros
2018 Matt Pidich8 Reds
2018 Derek West28 Braves
2018 Liam Sabino35 Cardinals
2018 Yasin Chentouf36 Tigers

Other Pitt players that had Major League careers include Steve Swetonic, Robert Malloy, Russ Kemmerer, and Jason Rakers.

See also

Related Research Articles

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