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.