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Pitt's Danielle Drogemuller Has A Bright Future Ahead Of Her

danielle drogemuller photo by pitt.jpg
(Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

There is an ace in Pittsburgh currently flying under the radar. In just her redshirt freshman season, Danielle Drogemuller has grown to be a leader for the University of Pittsburgh, and has already cemented her name in Panthers' history.

“I’ve kind of been a fly-under-the-radar type of player,” Drogemuller said. “Just to be able to perform on this big stage each and every day in the ACC, it kind of puts a chip on my shoulder to let people know that I can do this and I’m capable of performing on this type of stage.”

Hailing from Frankfort, Ill., Drogemuller led her high school team to an 81-13 record through three seasons and collected several honors. When thinking about life after high school, Ohio University was initially the No. 1 school on her list, having committed there during her sophomore year. However, once head coach Jodi Hermanek left to take the job at Pitt, Drogemuller decommitted from the Bobcats during her junior year to follow the woman who believed in her talents the most.

“I’ve known Dani since she was a freshman in high school,” Hermanek said. “I recruited her, and she was committed to me at my former institution. When I got to Pitt, I knew that Dani is a high-level pitcher and belonged at a high-level conference, and it was a no-brainer for us to continue to recruit her to Pittsburgh.”

A high-level pitcher is precisely what she is, but it did take some time for her to prove that.

Drogemuller had her freshman season cut short due to injury. Having suffered a broken bone in her foot early in the 2021 season, she only had the chance to appear in 10 games. Pushing herself to learn from the Panthers ahead of her and even the opposing pitchers while traveling with the team, Drogemuller spent much of last season propelling her training to be who she is now in the circle.

So far during the 2022 season, she has a 3.35 ERA and has had 14 games with seven or more strikeouts. With 145 strikeouts currently on the season, she is just the third Panther since 2014 with 100 or more strikeouts. Her ever-growing strikeout number currently has her sitting in fifth in the ACC.

“I have gotten the name of being a strikeout pitcher, so it puts a little bit of pressure on you when your team is expecting those outcomes from you,” Drogemuller said. “But, I have also embraced that role and that pressure.”

And Drogemuller showed up for her teammates when they needed her most on March 6.

Many thought that the then-No. 3 Florida State Seminoles would coast to yet another home weekend sweep after taking down the Panthers on Friday and Saturday. However, Drogemuller and her teammates had other plans. She handed the Seminoles their first loss of the season and gave her team its first ACC victory of the year.

“That was definitely the biggest stage that I have ever performed on so far in my career,” Drogemuller said. “So, it was just super fun and exciting. It just shows that all your hard work can pay off, and just grabbing that win in Tallahassee was amazing.”

Drogemuller pitched for seven innings, collecting three strikeouts and allowing only one earned run in the upset win over Florida State.

“Dani is a winner, by nature, by trait, by her character,” Hermanek said. “She just knows how to win, she knows how to perform. She thrives in the big moments, on the big opportunities. She is definitely a leader on our team and she’s not afraid to be seen, she is not afraid to be heard.”

With three more years ahead of her as a Panther, Drogemuller is just getting started in her reign as the strikeout queen of Pittsburgh. As the 2022 season for Pitt nears its end, she knows it can only be up from here, as the Panthers look to continue to scratch through a tough ACC schedule.

“I am just excited that I got my year back,” Drogemuller said. “I am looking forward to finishing out this season, and I am hopefully just going up from there in the next three.”

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