Pittsburgh Panthers baseball
|Pittsburgh Panthers baseball|
|2019 Pittsburgh Panthers baseball team|
|University||University of Pittsburgh|
|Head coach||Mike Bell (1st season)|
|Home stadium||Charles L. Cost Field|
in the Petersen Sports Complex
|Colors||Blue and Gold|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|1959, 1965, 1995|
|Conference tournament champions|
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.
Baseball has been called "the first game of consequence played at the University." The first recorded game was a 21–20, five-inning win over the Eckfords of East Liberty in 1869. 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. The student yearbook, The Owl, noted that teams fielded between the years of 1888 to 1894 were especially successful. 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. 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. 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.
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. During his tenure, Pitt went 438–389, garnering Lewis the most wins of any coach in Pitt athletics history to that point. Under Lewis, Pitt appeared in the NCAA baseball championship twice, and finished ranked 27th in the final 1967 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll. 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.
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. His teams posted five winning seasons out of seven years at the helm, including three 30 or more-win seasons. 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. 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. 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. In 2010, Pitt went 38-18 and appeared in the Top 25 polls of both Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and Baseball America for the first time in its history, earning Jordano the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) East Region Coach of the Year award and the Chuck Tanner Collegiate Baseball Manager of the Year Award. 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.
In 2011, the program moved into a new facility, Charles L. Cost Field, in the Petersen Sports Complex, from its old facility, Trees Field. The new facilities helped to prompt Rivals.com to name Pitt as one of "college baseball's rising programs" heading into the 2011 season. 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.
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) 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. Pitt moved into the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1, 2013.
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, and five players have been selected as an Academic All-Americans.
Big East honors
Pitt has receive 69 All-Big East selections along with conference player, pitcher, rookie, and coach of the year awards. In addition, 36 Pitt players have garnered All-Big East Academic Awards and the team earned the Most Improved Team GPA award in 2008.
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.
|Panthers in the Major League Baseball Draft|
|1988||Frank Merigliano||16||White Sox|
|1993||David Sumner||41||Blue Jays|
|2006||Jimmy Mayer||30||Devil Rays|
|2009||Nate Reed||20||White Sox|
|2011||Kevan Smith||7||White Sox|
|2011||David Chester||33||Red Sox|
|2016||T. J. Zeuch||1||Blue Jays|
|2016||Aaron Schnurbusch||28||White Sox|
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