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2023 Season Preview: Pitt Baseball Starts Season Against Maine in Florida



The Pitt Panthers 2023 campaign starts this weekend with a three-game series against Maine in the Snowbird Classic at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. It’s the ninth year in a row that the Panthers will begin their season in the Sunshine State.

The new season kicks off on Friday (Feb. 17) with a 2 p.m. first pitch. Junior right-handed pitcher Kyle Mosley will get the start on the mound for the Panthers. Saturday (Feb. 18) and Sunday (Feb. 19) are both slated for noon starts. All three games will be streamed live on FloBaseball. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Ethan Firoved will start for Pitt on Saturday afternoon, while graduate student righty Erubiel Candelario will get the nod on Sunday.

Pitt is scheduled to play 15 of its first 16 games in Florida to start this season. The Panthers are hoping to build off a promising 2022 season, where they posted a winning record with 29 victories, which tied for the program’s most since joining the ACC in 2014. The Panthers recorded five ACC series victories, including wins over a pair of top-five ranked teams (Louisville and Clemson). The Panthers qualified for the ACC Tournament for the second year in a row and just the third time since joining the league. Pitt advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2018 as the No. 11 seed, recording wins over No. 7-seeded Georgia Tech and No. 2-seeded Louisville. The Panthers ended the regular season with an RPI ranking of 69, the 37th-toughest strength of schedule, 12 wins against quadrant one teams and 10 wins against the NCAA Tournament field.

Pitt returns its entire coaching staff from last year. Mike Bell is entering his fifth season after being rewarded with a five-year new contract in August of 2022. Joe Mercadante enters year two as an assistant coach. He primarily works with the outfielders and assists Megahee in the recruiting and offensive efforts. Former Major League catcher Devin Mesoraco is in his third year serving as a volunteer coach. He works primarily with the program’s catchers.

The Panthers return 15 players from last year. Returners include sophomore infielder Tommy Tavarez, graduate student infielder Sky Duff, junior outfielder Dom Popa, redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Brady Devereux, sophomore left-handed pitcher Quin Konuszewski, junior catcher Johnny Long III, sophomore catcher Luke Lambert, redshirt junior infielder Cameron Barto, graduate student outfielder Kyle Hess, sophomore right-handed pitcher Jonathan Bautista, sophomore right-handed pitcher Kyle Demi, senior catcher/infielder Jack Anderson, sophomore left-handed pitcher Will Droll, junior outfielder CJ Funk and junior right-handed pitcher Logan Evans.

Pitt added 24 newcomers to its roster for the 2023 season. The class of newcomers features 11 freshmen and 13 transfers. Joining the Panthers are infielder Justin Acal, right-handed pitcher Nash Bryan, right-handed pitcher Erubiel Candelario, left-handed pitcher Sam Falace, right-handed pitcher Matthew Fernandez, left-handed pitcher Ethan Firoved, infielder Brett Heckert, infielder Nolan Kutney, infielder Anthony LaSala, right-handed pitcher Gavin Lill, outfielder Carlos Martinez, infielder Noah Martinez, catcher/infielder Jayden Melendez, right-handed pitcher Kyle Mosley, outfielder AJ Nessler, left-handed pitcher Zack Oswald, right-handed pitcher Holden Phelps, left-handed pitcher Ryan Reed, infielder Drew Ripepi, right-handed pitcher Dylan Simmons, right-handed pitcher Ryan Slattery, right-handed pitcher Jack Sokol, outfielder Caleb Sturtevant and infielder Matt Travisano.

The Panthers will be tasked with replacing two of its three weekend starting pitchers in Matt Gilbertson and Billy Corcoran, along with reliever Baron Stuart. Corcoran and Stuart both signed with MLB clubs as undrafted free agents — Corcoran with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Baron Stuart with the New York Yankees.

D1Baseball ranked both graduate student Kyle Hess and junior CJ Funk among the top 150 outfielders in the country heading into the 2023 season, with Hess ranked 98th and Funk ranked 108th.

A pair of Panthers represent their hometown of Pittsburgh in the starting lineup — senior catcher/infielder Jack Anderson (Mars) and junior outfielder Dom Popa (Seton-LaSalle).

Following their series against Maine, the Panthers will head to Port Charlotte, Fla., to take on Harvard in a four-game series next weekend (Feb. 24-26). On Friday, the Panthers took a tour of Ed Smith Stadium, the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles. 


Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

Who are the candidates to replace the weekend starters?

1 year ago

Does anybody know how or if it’s possible to get the white baseball hat? I’ve been trying to get one since they came out.

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