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Author: John Schultz

Game time!

John became Pitt’s all-time scoring leader last weekend in a win over Georgetown. 

Hello Everyone,

It’s been almost a month since my last posting, and for that I apologize. As many student-athletes will tell you, it’s extremely difficult to keep up with the “student” aspect of college while in season. Since baseball spends more time on buses and hotels than any other collegiate team due to our extensive schedule, sometimes I need a sabbatical to play catch up with classes. However, the good news is that final examinations are next week, and after that I am a free man. Being a senior, I just endured my final class as an undergrad this morning at 8 a.m. Overall, I’m pretty pumped about that.

Since it’s been a while and past game details are difficult to remember, I’m going to save everyone the frustration of misinformation by just posting past game scores prior to now.

at         Connecticut                 L 7-0              

at         Connecticut                 L 9-2  

at         Connecticut                 W 4-0 

            Ohio                            L 9-4  

            Notre Dame                W 6-5

            Notre Dame                W 3-2

            Notre Dame                L 8-6

at         Cleveland St.              W 13-5

at         Kent State                   L 9-5

            Villanova                     W 15-6

            Villanova                     W 9-5

            Villanova                     W 7-3

at         Penn State                   L 5-4

at         Georgetown                W 15-9

at         Georgetown                W 13-4

at         Georgetown                L 3-2

            Youngstown St.          W 7-2

So, 17 games and 10 wins later, our team currently stands at an overall record of 22-13 and 8-4 in the Big East, which is good enough for a tie for second place.

Up next for PITT is a home series against Rutgers, starting tonight at 6 p.m. This game marks the first “Pack the Petersen Sports Complex event” which includes a $250 prize for the fan with most school spirit. Since the latest season of Jersey Shore is over (no pun intended since we’re playing Rutgers), we’re anticipating a crowd of crazily clad fans to fluster our fist-pumping foes.

Using the fist-pumping personification, I’ll transition into my shout-out section: 

  1. First shout-out goes to the ridiculous hairstyles that have been popping up on our team as of late. In the locker room yesterday I think I counted 3 faux-hawks, 2 mullets, and as Jersey Shore would call it, “a great big blowout.” Which leads me to my next point: I would like to make sure PITT security realizes that although New Jersey native Alex Caravella looks like he’s not from PITT due to his horrendous hairstyle, he actually is on our team. It might be difficult to differentiate, but please let him in our locker room. He’s not trying to sabotage us.
  2. A special shout-out and thank you goes to everyone who contributed to the First Pitch Event against Villanova, christening the opening of our new ballpark. It was awesome to see all of the supporters of PITT baseball and contributors to the new ballpark in attendance. Without their efforts, the dream of a new sports complex would have never been realized.
  3. Another thank you goes out to PITT football for sending us some of their spikes to use on the new turf field. They’re lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. Although they still have not yet helped me steal more bases.
  4. Congratulations to Corey Baker for breaking PITT’s all-time career wins mark as a pitcher. You’re really good.
  5. My final shout-out and final “John C. Schultz Memorial Salt Truck Award” goes to the entire team for their actions after losing to Ohio. The reason it is the last salt truck award to be given out this year is that the trophy was tossed in the trash as a result of the less-than-ideal mood in the locker room post-game.

 I’d also like to note that another first in my blog’s history is currently occurring. As you might have noticed due to the shorter sentence structure toward the end of this posting, I just found out today’s game is being switched to a doubleheader starting at 4pm due to impending bad weather in this weekend’s forecast (weird, that never happens in Pittsburgh). Therefore, I pretty much have to leave for the field in about five minutes.

With that said, see you next time!

Spring Break, Not-So Sunny Skies

Hello again,

It’s been a little bit since my last post, so there’s a lot to cover in this week’s posting. Last week, we headed to South Carolina with the expectation of enjoying the exquisite baseball experience that the southern climate has to offer. Not so much. Battling brutal temperatures and precipitation (which caused another game to be canceled) along with our opponent, we managed to split two games in South Carolina with Wofford. Immediately after the series ended, we hopped back onto our bus and headed to North Carolina for two games against NC A&T. After sweeping the series in another awful atmosphere weather-wise, we once again got on the bus and drove to supposedly sunny Florida. Yet again, we were welcomed with wacky weather. On a side note, typically tundra-like Pittsburgh was unseasonably warm and sunny throughout spring break. Perhaps our team is to blame for bringing the cold climate with us to everywhere we traveled to throughout the trip. Regardless, we ended our spring trip with a record of 6-3, with wins in Florida against Central Michigan and Army (twice) while losing to Michigan State and Indiana.

Ironically enough, the cold weather and our team returned to Pittsburgh simultaneously, just in time for our home opener in the brand new Petersen Sports Complex. Unfortunately, the rain-soaked struggle between us and Kent State ended in a 10-8 defeat, literally and metaphorically raining on the parade surrounding the opening of our new field. Luckily, we had an instant chance of redemption with the first annual Panther Classic this past weekend. As anticipated, we won all four of our games, taking two from Niagara and also beating Toledo and Youngstown.

After our most recent midweek mishap against Akron, 4-3, on Tuesday, and the most recent rainout on Wednesday versus Penn State (weird), we enter the opening weekend in the Big East with an overall record of 12-6. Interestingly enough, we open up at the University of Connecticut, where it is supposed to snow substantially while temperatures are not expected to climb over 40 degrees this weekend. Sounds like perfect baseball weather if you ask me.

Congratulations to sophomore Alex Caravella for winning the season’s second “John C. Schultz Memorial Salt Truck Award.” Rightfully so, Alex was not the happiest dude during the bus trip, especially after his roommates released a rather embarrassing series of video messages from one of his New England College Baseball League summer sweethearts. There’s something about Alex’s sleek, suave Jersey Shore persona that stuck in the mind of the lucky lady, which was enough for her to send him a CD in which she was “super excited” to speak about every tidbit of each day. Maybe it’s the massive blowout hairstyle he has.

And now for a few shout outs:

1. Congratulations to Corey Baker for tying the all-time career wins mark for PITT pitchers. Hopefully you will surpass the other starters this weekend.

2. Other congratulations to roommates Travis Whitmore and David Chester for winning the Big East player of the week award in back-to-back weeks. As for their other roommate, junior catcher Rick Devereaux, sorry about your luck if you’re feeling a little left out right now.

3. Shout-out to the creative crew of Matt Iannazzo, Cole Taylor, Alex Caravella, and JR Leonardi for coming up with a new post game victory dance to the beat of “We No Speak Americano” in the locker room. For undisclosed reasons, everyone who witnessed it for the first time stood speechless.

4. A special shout-out goes to Coach Cheesebrough for going beyond his expected effort to keep himself in shape so he can be the best batting practice pitcher in program history. Balding because of biological factors, Coach combines a perfect pitching procedure with a positive, proactive persona. While some people donate their bodies to science, Coach Cheesbrough donated his to baseball. All of us cannot express how forever indebted we are to him for that.

(Un)Expected Off Week

Hi there,

Good to see all of you are still reading my blog. This week was supposed to mark the opening of the greatly anticipated Petersen Sports Complex. However, schedulers failed to realize how remarkably rainy and cold Pittsburgh is in February. Therefore, it was probably not the best idea to predict playing this weekend. Looks like my Bieber bet last blog held up. Whew. Instead of imposing upon myself what was sure to be an extremely excruciating experience, we went to watch “Hall Pass” on our open Saturday night. All I can say is that it was just delightful.

Luckily, the powerful PITT Panthers have big plans for playing over spring break. As all northern teams should do this time of year, we travel south to Wofford and North Carolina A&T before heading back to sunny Florida for a couple of contests against quality competition.

With the uneventful week that transpired, I’ve chosen to comprise a list of nicknames given to guys on the team.

  1. Whitey                                                (Travis Whitmore)
  2. D-O Double                                        (Kevin Dooley)
  3. Señor                                                  (Ron Sucre)
  4. Tik                                                      (Casey Roche)
  5. Big Bossman                                      (Brad Johnson)
  6. The Bill                                               (Phil Konieczny)
  7. Jersey                                                 (Alex Caravella)
  8. Meatball                                             (Anthony Defabio)
  9. Slick Rick                                           (Rick Devereaux)
  10. Jelly                                                    (Jeff Kelly)
  11. Bobblehead                                        (Matt Wotherspoon)
  12. Wizard                                                (Evan Oswald)
  13. Daniel Daniel Danielczyk                 (Jon Danielczyk)
  14. Flip                                                     (Derik Wilson)

Congratulations to student manager and director of operations Jonah Rosenthal for winning this week’s “John C. Schultz Memorial Salt Truck Award.” Before Tuesday’s practice, Jonah was given his typical duty of setting up the field, including the Power Hummer which we use to simulate a pitcher during situational games. However, since we practiced outside due to the nonsensically nice weather the week before, he had to wheel it from the new practice facility to the indoor Cost Center. This is no easy feat as it’s about a three-block walk with hills hindering his effort. Needless to say, he was not happy, especially after we drove by in our cars laughing while he struggled in the snow.

Lastly, here are a few shoutouts:

  1. First one goes to my main man Coach Lipari for his exceptional batting practice before Sunday’s simulated games, especially since he was not slated to throw that day. Sure, any common coach would have collapsed under the pressure. However, PITT’s perfect batting practice pitcher gutted out a promising performance that had the hitters prepared to face live pitching.
  2. Second shoutout goes to the epic battle that ensued at Sunday’s practice between senior first baseman David Chester and freshman reliever Casey Roche. Seemingly unsatisfied from his scheduled pitching program, “The Mental Assassin” confidently called out Chester. Although he painted the corners with such style and grace comparable to the way Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, the classic confrontation came down to the fifth and final pitch of the at-bat. By the beard of Zeus, Chester crushed a ball to right-center field, throwing his bat down decisively to proclaim victory while Casey hung his head in devastating defeat.
  3. Last shoutout goes to freshman pitcher Luke Novosel for his tactics to terrorize PITT’s heavy hitters at the plate during Sunday’s simulated game. Hardly happy with controlling the inside half of the plate, Novosel instead pulled a page out of Napoleon’s book and pushed his invasion further inside, plunking five hitters without hesitation. The effort is believed to be a new league record that resulted in battered and bruised position players.

Bieber Fever??

Hello Everyone,

Welcome back to my blog. We returned from our first week of play at Clearwater, Fla., and were welcomed back to Pittsburgh with roughly 10 inches of snow immediately after our arrival. Unfortunately, we are supposed to open the new Petersen Sports Complex this weekend with a three-game series against IPFW. An optimist would suggest that all it will take to make this possible is a couple of warm days (and when I say warm I mean over 40 degrees) and all of the snow will melt off of the turf. Realistically however, there’s a better chance of me going to see Justin Bieber’s new movie “Never Say Never.” Don’t get me wrong, I think the kid’s an innovator, but I don’t get how he could have a movie documenting his life at 16 years old.

But I digress. This weekend delivered a series of compounding challenges that the mighty PITT Panthers had to come. First of all, we ran out of sun tan lotion, resulting in some serious sun burn for a majority of the players. Luckily, the tans are starting to set in. If anyone on campus is unsure of who plays on the baseball team, just go outside into the frozen tundra and look for guys with awkward farmers tans. As far as the games went, the Big East/Big Ten challenge confirmed the competiveness between the two conferences. Despite the fact that we escaped with a 2-1 record, compiling wins over Illinois (10-6) and Iowa (3-2 in 12 innings), while losing on Sunday to Purdue (5-3), each game could have gone either way. It was arguably the best opening weekend I’ve had as a PITT Panther not only because of the quality teams, but also the minimal mistakes and competitive climate every team brought to the table. Especially since our Saturday night game was at the Phillies’ spring training complex, Brighthouse Field (home of the Big East playoffs), the environment eerily felt like a playoff atmosphere.

Congratulations to senior Phil “The Bill” Konieczny for winning the “John C. Schultz Memorial Salt Truck Award” for the first week. Although slightly biased, Phil wins the award for not sticking to the infield/outfield routine that he and I have had for years. Due to some sort of salty situation, Phil refused to go “down low” with his high five after our pregame infield/outfield. As a result, I was left in a crouched position while sticking my hand out, looking like I had no friends. With the award, future plans for Phil include disproving Einstein’s theory of relativity, and ending world hunger (he is a 4.0 student in computer engineering, which is nationally ranked at PITT).

With that, I have a few shout-outs:

1. Freshman Brad Johnson for the establishment of his self-created “Johnson Nation.” We are all lucky to be a part of it. There’s not much else I can really say.

2. Second shout-out goes to David Chester for not only his 3-5 performance in game one against Illinois in which the Gentle Giant grinded out a triple, but for the radio announcer’s description of him during game two against Iowa. He described David as “an eighteen year-old playing against kindergarteners.” The announcer also thought that it looked like Chester was swinging a toothpick, which came under controversy after sports science revealed that a toothpick would be illegal to use in games since they have more “pop” than the new metal bats.

3. Third shout-out goes to redshirt sophomore closer and road roommate Ray Black. He ended up getting the win in game two, but no one really cares about that. Sure, he was sporting a 96 MPH fastball that night, fearlessly firing the ball past every batter he faced. However, he horrified the defense when he stepped into the on deck circle to hit. He didn’t even need to swing. Luckily, for the sake of our team dignity and his own personal safety, Coach Jordano made the correct call and pinch hit for him.

4. Lastly, a shout-out and thanks to the worker at the first game who used a hammer and WD-40 to remove a bat weight that was stuck on my bat. I’m not really sure how I would have hit with the weight still on it. Product promotion isn’t really my thing, but boy does WD-40 work wonders.

Back better than ever

Hello everyone and welcome back to another year of PITT baseball. For you first timers out there, my name is John Schultz and I am a senior outfielder on the team. This is my second year doing a blog for all of you to follow, and I’d like to thank College Baseball Lineup for inviting me back. Especially with the great anticipation and expectations our program has for this year not only with the highest preseason ranking in school history, but also the inaugural season in the Petersen Sports Complex, this is a great opportunity to highlight all the positive things going on for PITT athletics.

With that said, I’d like to do a quick recap of last year. The Panthers finished the 2010 campaign with an overall record of 38-18 while finishing 3rd in the Big East regular season. This was highlighted by an offense with a combined average of .363 (second in the country), numerous team and individual school records shattered, and the only team in the country boasting two 10-win pitchers before postseason play in Corey Baker and Matt Iannazzo. A few tough losses and a 1-2 showing in the Big East tournament left us watching the field of 64 for NCAA Regionals from our television sets back home. However, we tried hard, are still dear friends, and finished the year as one of the winningest teams in PITT baseball history.

This year, we return a senior-laden staff (despite losing Big East POY Joe Leonard). Combining that with a talented freshman class, there is a lot of excitement going on in the locker room. Although the season officially starts Friday with the Big East/Big Ten challenge in Clearwater, Fla., we have a lot to look forward to this week with moving into the new sports complex and locker rooms. There will also be new equipment issued before we travel, which is always viewed as a 2nd Christmas and official holiday among the players.

With the awesome upgrades throughout PITT athletics, I figured I’d make a few upgrades to my blog as well. Along with a shout-outs section this year, I will also include player interviews and the newest feature of PITT baseball, the addition of the “Schultz Memorial Salt Truck of the Week Award.” This highly prestigious award goes to the player on the team with the best outburst, meanest comment, or humdrum attitude throughout the course of each week. Look for each of these segments starting next week.

Until then, stay classy and I hope you spent time with that special someone on Valentine’s Day.