Posted: 5:11 p.m. Sunday, April 14, 2013
After last week's debacle against South Florida, there were a lot of questions about Pitt baseball. But the program had a huge 24-7 win over Youngstown State in the middle of the week behind Casey Roche's big performance. And after the Panthers' latest sweep over No. 16 ranked Notre Dame, we shouldn't be asking if this team is for real anymore.
The team is indeed for real. NCAA Tournament for real? Only time will tell. But for now, they've positively answered nearly ever test they've had.
I questioned coming into the series if Notre Dame was a bit overrated and that was seemingly proven by the sweep. The Irish are a good team as their wins over Top 25 teams will prove. But being swept against Louisville and now Pitt pretty much has to show they probably aren't as good as their most recent ranking.
Pitt's offense had some highlights this weekend, but it was the starting pitching that did the heavy lifting. Ethan Mildren got things off to a good start with a complete game shutout in the opener. Mildren's only getting better and better as the year goes on - that was his third straight complete game. Matt Wotherspoon also had another dominant outing, going eight innings giving up only two runs. And in the finale, Rhys Aldenhoven threw seven shutout innings.
All in all, two earned runs by the starters in 24 innings? Sick. The combined ERA of the three is now 2.67.
Offensively, first basemen Eric Hess, outfielder Steven Shelinsky, and designated hitter Boo Vazquez all had hits in each game of the series.
Pitt is now 24-9 on the season and should have a strong chance to be ranked. The Panthers still aren't all that proven - these were their only games over a ranked team. But at this point, more than halfway through the season, it's hard not to take notice of what Pitt is doing.