Ford City grad Dylan Wolsonovich aids in Pitt's resurgence
By Matt Grubba
Published: Monday, May 13, 2013, 12:21 a.m.
Pitt's baseball team is reaching new heights this season, and Ford City grad Dylan Wolsonovich has been an integral part of that success.
Wolsonovich has established himself as the team's starting second baseman in his redshirt freshman season, and in his first year on the diamond, the 17th-ranked Panthers already have amassed their highest win total in program history.
As Pitt reached 40 wins in a season for the first time with a three-game sweep of Villanova over the weekend, Wolsonovich was in the center of the action. His walkoff single won the first game of the series in a Saturday doubleheader, 4-3, and he hit a three-run triple to help Pitt (40-11, 18-3) win the second game, 12-4.
“We worked our butts off to prepare for this season, and we're going to see where it takes us,” Wolsonovich said. “It's been a great season so far, and we want to see how far we can go.”
Wolsonovich has had a solid year at the plate with a .291 average, 33 runs scored and 21 RBI for the Panthers. He also has a .383 on-base percentage this season, which give Pitt a potent run-scoring weapon at the No. 9 spot in the lineup.
While sitting out for a redshirt year isn't always a move players embrace when they reach college, Wolsonovich attributes much of his personal success to the work he put in and the things he learned during his year on the bench.
“I really worked a lot harder during the offseason. I didn't come in (as a true freshman) prepared like I wanted to or like I should have,” Wolsonovich said. “I knew what I had to do coming into this season, so I trained harder, practiced a lot more and refined a lot of things to try and start and help our team win games. I didn't mind the redshirt at all because it really helped me, and I still had four more years to play.”
His work leading up to this season was recognized by longtime Pitt coach Joe Jordano, who picked up his 750th career win Sunday when the Panthers topped Villanova, 10-2.
“Dylan worked really hard to get where he is. He came in with a great attitude, he made some adjustments, and overall, he did what he had to do to earn the position,” Jordano said. “When you hit lower in the lineup, the tendency is to get more fastballs. He's done a real good job waiting for his pitch, and when he gets it, he hits it hard.”
Defensively, Wolsonovich has had the benefit of partnering with rangy senior shortstop Evan Oswald as he settled into an everyday role. Wolsonovich has been a part of 23 double plays in the middle of the infield this season and has committed 10 errors.
“That's a combination that evolves, and as the season has progressed, those two have done a really nice job together,” Jordano said. “Evan has been rock solid at shortstop, and that stability has helped Dylan be solid at second base.”
But as good of a first year as Wolsonovich has had on the field, he and his teammates have much greater achievements in mind.
The buzzword around the Panthers' dugout has nothing to do with a win total, or even a Big East championship, something the first-place Panthers haven't won since 1995. The word they're using is Omaha (Neb.), the site of the College World Series, an event Pitt has never reached.
“At the beginning of the year, we didn't say we wanted to win 40 games or win the Big East. We want to go to Omaha. We want to go the whole way,” Wolsonovich said. “On the way, we want to win the Big East and do those other things, but Omaha is our goal. We've been working hard and winning games, and we have to keep that up.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
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