Pittsburgh Panthers softball
|University||University of Pittsburgh|
|Head Coach||Holly Aprile (5th year)|
|Home Stadium||Vartabedian Field
in the Petersen Sports Complex
|Colors||Blue and Gold
|NCAA Tournament Appearances|
Pittsburgh Panthers softball is the NCAA Division I intercollegiate softball program of the University of Pittsburgh, often referred to as "Pitt", located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pitt softball team competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference and plays their home games at Vartabedian Field in the Petersen Sports Complex.
The inaugural season of Pitt softball was in 1998 with the program guided by its first head coach, Michelle Phalen. The program competed as an independent during its first season in NCAA Division I and then played in the Big East Conference from 1999 to 2013. Phalen guided the program to its first winning season (31-27) and first Big East Tournament appearance in 2006 as well as its first season over .500 in Big East play (12-10) in 2008, a year that saw Pitt upset multiple nationally ranked teams. In 2009, Holly Aprile, and assistant coach in charge of pitchers and catchers under Phalen, took over as the head coach of the program. April began her tenure by leading the team to three consecutive winning seasons, a first for the program to that point, and led the 2011 team to a single season school record of 34 wins that included a victory over national ranked Georgia Tech. On July 1, 2013, Pitt moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 2015, Pitt reached the ACC Softball Tournament championship game and earned the program's first NCAA tournament appearance on way to an appearance in the Regional Final and a program best 37-22 record.
The team's home field includes the 600-seat Vartabedian Field, a softball ballpark that is part of the Petersen Sports Complex on the University of Pittsburgh campus that open for the 2010-11 school year. Vartabedian Field features a skinned infield with an artificial grass outfield. The stadium includes team dugouts, hitting and pitching practice areas, lighting, and a press box. The first softball game played at Vartabedian Field was a 2-1 Pitt victory over Penn State on March 29, 2011. Prior to the program moving into the Petersen Sports Complex and Vartabedian Field, the team played home games at Trees Field on the Pitt campus.
Current coaching staff
- Holly Aprile - Head Coach
- Gina Fuchs - Assistant Coach
- Chelsea Leonard - Assistant Coach
During Pitt's time as a member of the Big East Conference, Pitt players garnered 20 All-Big East selections including five First Team All-Big East selections. Two Panthers have also received ECAC All-Star status. Numerous players have also won Big East Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week honors.
- Big East Rookie of the Year
- Tori Nirschl, 2013
- Big East First Team All-Conference
- Francesca DiMaria, 2003
- Francesca DiMaria, 2005
- Joey Scarf, 2006
- Jessica Dignon, 2008
- Samantha Card, 2008
The following eight no-hitters have been thrown by Pitt pitchers over the program's history.
- March 11, 2000 Gina Bessolo vs Colgate (won 8-0)
- April 7, 2001 Gina Bessolo at Syracuse (won 2-0)
- March 16, 2002 Nikki Gasti vs Jacksonville State (won 2-0)
- April 3, 2002 Gina Bessolo vs Youngstown State (won 10-0)
- February 23, 2003 Nikki Gasti at UNC-Charlotte (won 1-0)
- April 5, 2008 Kayla Zinger vs Connecticut (won 1-0)
- March 30, 2010 Alyssa O'Connell vs St. Francis (won 9-0)
- March 26, 2011 Cory Berliner at Seton Hall (won 9-0)
- Jessica Dignon played for the Washington Glory in 2008 and USSSA Pride in 2009.
- Reba Tutt played for Akron Racers in 2011.
- "Pitt Picks USC's Phalen To Head Softball Program". The State (Columbia, South Carolina). July 18, 1997. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- Greer, Jeff (March 13, 2008). "Baldwin High graduate helps Pitt softball team improve". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- Pitt Softball Record Book (PDF). Pittsburgh Panthers Athletics. 2013. pp. 9–11. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
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- The Olympic Sports Complex: Only Big Dreams (PDF), University of Pittsburgh, 2009, retrieved 2010-05-03
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- Pitt Softball Record Book (PDF). Pittsburgh Panthers Athletics. 2013. p. 8. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- "Baldwin grad lifts Pitt softball team". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 3, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- "Softball's Tori Nirschl Named Big East Rookie of the Year". PittsburghPanthers.com. May 8, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- Pitt Softball Record Book (PDF). Pittsburgh Panthers Athletics. 2013. p. 7. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- "All-Time Player List". National Pro Fastpitch. Retrieved June 3, 2013.