USF Defeats Pittsburgh, 12-4, at Baseball Championship


CLEARWATER, Fla. - USF scored eight runs in the third inning, straddling both ends of a three-hour, 38-minute rain delay, on its way to a 12-5 win against Pittsburgh Thursday night in an elimination game of the BIG EAST Baseball Championship at Bright House Field.

The Bulls (35-21) remain alive in the bracket and will face the loser of Friday morning's game between Louisville and Connecticut at 6 p.m. Pittsburgh (28-28) was eliminated from the tournament after the Panthers dropped their second game.

USF built a 10-run lead through four innings and was aided by six Pittsburgh errors.

After the Bulls took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, USF sent 12 men to the plate in the third as the first nine batters reached base in the inning and the first eight scored runs. Luis Llerna smacked a two-run single and James Ramsay stroked a two-run double to give the Bulls 5-0 lead, and Todd Brazeal added an RBI single to make it 6-0.

Inclement weather forced the grounds crew to cover the field at that point, but the Bulls remained sharp after the lengthy delay as pinch hitter Kyle Copack drew a walk, rightfielder Jimmy Falla followed with a double and Zac Gilcrease delivered a two-run single to make it 9-0.

USF made it a 10-run lead on Falla's two-out RBI single in the sixth inning.

The Panthers answered in the fifth inning with four consecutive hits, however, as Stephen Vranka smacked a one-out double and came home on Anthony DeFabio's base hit. Rick Devereaux followed with a single of his own and leftfielder Boo Vasquez drove in the two runners with a triple to right-center. Vasquez came in on Casey Roche's chopper in front of the plate to close the deficit to 9-4.

The Bulls added a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, and Pittsburgh managed one in the bottom of the ninth.

Falla went 3-for-5 with three RBIs to lead a Bulls lineup that produced 12 hits. Joey Lovecchio (8-4) came in to pitch following the weather delay and was credited with the win after he worked 4.1 innings and allowed four runs and five hits. Pittsburgh got two hits each from DeFabio, Devereaux and Vazquez, while starting pitcher Ethan Mildren (6-6) took the loss.

2012 BIG EAST Baseball Championship Schedule

Wednesday, May 23
(Live video on
Game 1 - No. 3 Seton Hall 6, No. 6 Rutgers 1
Game 2 - No. 2 St. John's 12, No. 7 Notre Dame 2 (7 innings)
Game 3 - No. 1 Louisville 8, No. 8 Pittsburgh 4
Game 4 - No. 5 Connecticut 7, No. 4 USF 2

Thursday, May 24
(Live video on
Game 5 - Notre Dame 9, Rutgers 0 (Rutgers eliminated)
Game 6 - St. John's 6, Seton Hall 3
Game 7 - USF 12, Pittsburgh 5 (Pittsburgh eliminated)

Friday, May 25
(Live video on
Game 8 - Louisville (39-18) vs. Connecticut (30-25-1), 11 a.m.
Game 9 - Seton Hall (34-23) vs. Notre Dame (30-26), 3 p.m.
Game 10 - Loser of Game 8 vs. USF (35-21), 6 p.m.

Saturday, May 26
(Live video on
Game 11 - St. John's (35-21) vs. Winner of Game 9, 10 a.m.
Game 12 - Winner of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 10, 1 p.m.
Game 13 - Loser of Game 11 vs. Winner of Game 11, 5 p.m. (if necessary)
Game 14 - Loser of Game 12 vs. Winner of Game 12, 6:30 p.m. or 8 p.m.
(if necessary; game would be at 6:30 if Game 13 is not necessary, 8 p.m. otherwise)

Sunday, May 27 - Championship game
(live television on ESPNU)
Game 15 - Winner of Group 1 vs. Winner of Group 2, Noon

All times Eastern