Olivia Dunne Supports Paul Skenes' MLB Debut as Pirates Top Cubs 10-9

Paul Skenes, the Pirates' top pitching prospect, made his MLB debut against the Cubs, pitching four innings and striking out seven. The 21-year-old rookie allowed three runs on six hits, with a 101.9 mph pitch, the fastest recorded by a Pirates pitcher in the pitch tracking era.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Olivia Dunne Supports Paul Skenes' MLB Debut as Pirates Top Cubs 10-9

Olivia Dunne Supports Paul Skenes' MLB Debut as Pirates Top Cubs 10-9

On Saturday, top pitching prospect Paul Skenes made his Major League debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. The game was attended by an announced crowd of 34,924, including Skenes' girlfriend, Olivia Dunne.

Skenes, the first overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, pitched four innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out seven. He threw 17 pitches 100 mph or faster, including a 101.9 mph pitch, the fastest recorded by a Pirates pitcher in the pitch tracking era (since 2008). The Pirates ultimately won the game 10-9, thanks to five home runs by the offense.

Manager Derek Shelton attributed Skenes' lack of sharpness to being "a little bit over-amped" due to the crowd and the occasion. Skenes acknowledged that he needs to work on getting outs quicker to increase his pitch count. "I have to get them out quicker, regardless if they're Major League hitters or not, I just have to get them out quicker," he said.

Skenes credits his girlfriend, LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne, for her support leading up to his debut. "It's been great. She's helped me in a lot of ways in terms of managing all the hype... and how to manage everything that goes around being a pro athlete because she's kinda lived it," Skenes said. Dunne, who has an estimated $3.7 million name, image, and likeness (NIL) value, attended the game and was seen waving to fans before Skenes' introduction.

Closer David Bednar praised Skenes' debut, saying it brings a new level of excitement to PNC Park. Catcher Yasmani Grandal, who has caught elite arms in his career, was impressed by Skenes' performance but joked that he'll wait until Skenes wins a Cy Young Award before giving his full assessment.

The debut marks a new beginning for the Pirates, who are showcasing their young, quality arms. While there is still work to be done to become a playoff team, Skenes' performance serves as a beacon of hope for the organization. The 21-year-old rookie expressed his excitement, saying, "It was awesome... everybody talks about the stadium, it's an awesome stadium, awesome Skyline. The fans are awesome, it's just an awesome day."

Key Takeaways

  • Paul Skenes makes MLB debut for Pirates, pitches 4 innings with 7 Ks.
  • Skenes throws 101.9 mph pitch, fastest by a Pirates pitcher since 2008.
  • Pirates win 10-9, thanks to 5 home runs, in Skenes' debut game.
  • Skenes credits girlfriend Olivia Dunne for support leading up to debut.
  • Skenes' debut marks new beginning for Pirates, showcasing young talent.