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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.