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Pitt baseball sweeps Siena to move to 6-1 on season

Pitt's baseball team looked sharp this past weekend in a three-game series against Siena. The Panthers won all three contests to move to 6-1 on the year.

The team not only won all three games, but looked good while doing it. They won the series by a total run margin of 25-11 and had little difficulty with Siena.

At 0-8 on the year, Siena is winless and, well, these aren't wins that are going to help the Panthers when it comes to finding quality victories on their schedule. But losing these sorts of games are disasters and things that just can't happen if you want to be taken seriously. The baseball team has dropped many games to very beatable opponents over the years and that's one thing that's helped keep them from getting over the .500 hump since joining the ACC. So while these sorts of games aren't RPI boosters, winning them is still sorely needed for programs like Pitt.

Next up for the team are four games against Wofford, USC Upstate, and Wright State next weekend in South Carolina.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Panther of the Week: Mike Young

Michael Young comes away with Panther of the Week honors in a bad week for Pitt

All in all, this was a rough week for the Pitt basketball team. Despite that pesky eight game losing streak early in the year, Pitt was being talked about as the last four in or the first four out. Those talks hit a brick wall after the Panthers lost a 19=point lead at Wake Forest and then were walloped by North Carolina on Saturday. Through it all, senior Mike Young takes home our Panther of the Week honors.

Young was dominating against Wake Forest until he had to sit for a long stretch with foul trouble. Young only played 28 of the 40 minutes due to the foul trouble. Despite missing 30% of the game, the senior still came away with 24 points to go along with two rebounds and one assist. Young also made 8-9 from the free throw line. His stat line would have been even more impressive if it wasn’t for the foul situation. It could have been a special night for Pitt and Young, but that’s been the story of the season - what could’ve been.

Saturday against North Carolina, Young looked like one of the few Panthers not overmatched by the Tar Heels. The Duquesne native finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. He added in one assist and one block to his stat line as well and nailed 7-9 shots from the charity stripe. It’s not the way the senior wanted his regular season at home to end, but he still looked like he belonged with one of the elite teams of the ACC.

Pitt has two road games left before the ACC Tournament.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh

Kayla Harris pitches perfect game for Pitt softball team

Pitcher Kayla Harris continued her incredible start to the season with an unbelievable performance against Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday. The junior not only led Pitt's softball team to a 5-0 win, but pitched the second perfect game in school history.

If it seems like Pitt's softball team just had a perfect game, they did. Last year (nearly a year to the day on February 27), freshman Sarah Dawson threw the first one in the history of the program. Dawson, as I've mentioned this year, is now coming out of Pitt's bullpen. That Pitt has thrown two perfect games in only a little more than a year after never having one before says volumes about how the program is progressing.

Harris is now 6-1 with a 1.46 ERA on the year. She had four strikeouts in the seven innings and 16 of the other 17 outs were all groundouts as only one ball was even hit in the air in play all day.

Unfortunately, the Panthers weren't perfect this weekend. The team suffered its first two defeats (first against Lipscomb and then against Troy) while winning three other games (Lipscomb and two against Southeastern Louisiana). Because of that they may take a bump in the rankings after rising to No. 19/20 in the most recent polls.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. surprises military veteran before Daytona 500

A lucky veteran got a chance to ride in the Goodyear blimp at the Daytona International Speedway, but didn’t realize that one of the people manning the blimp was NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Paul Siverson is a Marine Corps veteran who has served in Vietnam, Somalia and Desert Storm. Siverson also volunteers with Charlotte-based NCServes, where he helps veterans and service members transition back to their civilian lives.

>> Read more trending news

“I always wanted to be a Marine. I came for two and stayed for 30. That’s what I tell people,” Siverson said.

Siverson is also a diehard NASCAR and Earnhardt fan.

To celebrate Siverson’s life of service, Goodyear offered him and his wife a free trip to the Daytona 500 and a ride aboard the blimp.

Photos: Kurt Busch wins 2017 Daytona 500

Siverson got a huge surprise when he found out Earnhardt was waiting on board.

Earnhardt also gave a $10,000 donation to NCServes.

Photos: Kurt Busch wins 2017 Daytona 500

Police: Raven’s safety Matt Elam arrested with drugs, cash, jewels in Miami Beach

Baltimore Raven’s safety Matt Elam was arrested on drug charges Saturday night in Miami Beach, Miami-Dade police said.

The 2013 first-round draft pick is facing a series of drug possession charges, including possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, possession with intent to sell and possession of a controlled substance.

>> Read more trending news  

Elam, 25 and a native of West Palm Beach, was pulled over for speeding through Miami Beach in a Range Rover, police said. During the traffic stop officers found an armed passenger in the Rover and a Gucci bag full of marijuana, cash and jewelry, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Police found more than 4 ounces of marijuana, six Oxycodone pills, almost $950 in cash, a Rolex watch and other jewelry in the vehicle, according to the newspaper.

Elam wasn’t expected to return to the Ravens’ roster anyway. He’s officially a free agent in just a few weeks.

BREAKING: Ravens safety Matt Elam arrested after police find 126 grams of Marijuana and 3 grams of Oxycodone in his vehicle.— Ravens Nation (@RavenNationLIVE) February 26, 2017

“We are aware of the arrest of Matt Elam,” a team spokesperson said. “Matt is not in our plans for the 2017 Ravens.”

The All-American left Florida for the NFL draft after his junior year. He suffered a number of  injuries and didn’t play much after his first season.

Following his arrest on multiple charges, #Ravens say this on FA safety Matt Elam: "Matt is not in our plans for the 2017 Ravens." Oh.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2017

The police records for #Ravens S and pending FA Matt Elam, arrested on multiple charges at 3:45 am today in Florida— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2017

North Carolina Dismantles Pitt on Senior Day.

North Carolina came in waves and Pitt couldn’t handle it, as they drop to the Heels by 18.

Pitt rode the emotions of senior day for as long as they could yesterday before falling to the eighth ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, 85-67. Pitt led around the under 12 timeout, before UNC chipped away and then took over before halftime. The Heels used three point shooting and domination of the offensive glass to take apart the Panthers.

Justin Jackson led all scorers with 23 points, while Joel Berry II and Kennedy Meeks finished with 19 and 18 respectively. The Heels shot 10 out of 24 from beyond the arc and Pitt just couldn’t stay with them.

Seniors Jamel Artis and Michael Young each put up 17 points a piece on their final performance in front of the Oakland Zoo, but it wasn’t enough. Pitt chipped away to cut the Carolina lead to eight in the second half, but the three pointers wouldn’t stop from North Carolina. UNC quickly built the lead back up to take away any doubt in the outcome.

The Panthers were also badly hurt on the boards, as Roy Williams’ squad crushed Pitt in that category. Pitt finished the game with 28 total rebounds. North Carolina had 24....OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS. Yes, that tally is just offensive rebounds. Meeks had seven of the offensive rebounds, but it was really the entire team that crashed the glass, as no other Tar Heel recorded more than four offensive boards.

North Carolina stayed atop of the ACC conference with a 13-3 record and pushed their overall mark to 25-5. Pitt fell to 15-14 and 4-12 in the ACC. Pitt is finished with their season at The Pete (save for maybe a lesser post-season game). They will finish up on the road, with matchups against Georgia Tech and UVA.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh

Girlfriend of late Marlins ace Jose Fernandez gives birth to girl

The late Marlins pitching ace Jose Fernandez would be a father of a baby girl today if he had survived a September boat crash off Miami Beach.

Fernandez’s girlfriend, Maria Arias, gave birth Friday night to Penelope, with whom she was pregnant when Fernandez died Sept. 25, The Miami Herald reported.

>>Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez has died

Fernandez, who was 24 when he died, chose his daughter’s name last summer when he and Arias learned they were expecting, the Miami Herald said.

University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield arrested

University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was taken into police custody early Saturday morning after an alleged incident in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Officers say someone reported that Mayfield was intoxicated, yelling profanities and causing a scene.

An arrest report states that Mayfield told officers he was trying to break up an altercation there.

>> Read more trending stories 

When officers talked to Mayfield, they reportedly found his speech was slurred and his clothing was covered in food.

They said the OU football player even sprinted away from police at one point, prompting the officer to tackle him to the ground and handcuff him.Mayfield was booked into the Washington County Detention Facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

He faces charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing and resisting arrest.

"We are aware of the matter and are learning the details. We don't have any other information at this time," said Mike Houck, Oklahoma team spokesman. 

Mayfield is a sophomore at the university. He was short-listed for the Heisman Trophy last year.

ESPN writer predicts another 8-4 season for Pitt

Earlier this offseason, ESPN ranked Pitt's 2017 football non-conference schedule the most difficult in all of the FBS. The Panthers have been 8-4 each of the past two years and despite the difficult slate, ESPN's Jared Shanker sees more of the same next year.

Projected W-L: The Panthers lose a lot of important pieces, especially on offense, and the schedule is among the toughest in the country. The defense should eventually get better under Pat Narduzzi, but the unit doesn't have the benefit of playing Oklahoma State and Penn State later in the season. The same goes for an offense breaking in a transfer quarterback and new offensive coordinator. A third straight 8-4 regular season is a safe wager.

It's hard to disagree with that. I do think the potential exists for nine wins. Youngstown State, Georgia Tech, Rice, Syracuse, North Carolina State, Duke, and Virginia all look very winnable. Pitt may not be favored in games against North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Miami but you wouldn't write them off in those contests. And while Penn State and Oklahoma State will be very tough games, after beating the Nittany Lions and Clemson this season, no one should say those are guaranteed losses, either.

Eight wins looks like a pretty safe bet to me and I don't think nine is out of the question at all.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

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