MIK AOKI INTERVIEW RYAN BULL INTERVIEW NICK MCCARTY INTERVIEW
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Ryan Bull's single through the left side in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted Notre Dame past Pittsburgh 3-2 Saturday in the semifinal round of the Big East Baseball Championship at Bright House Field.
The win sends the Fighting Irish to the championship game of the tournament for the first time 2006, when Notre Dame capped a string of five straight Big East titles. The Irish will play in the final for the eighth time in search of their sixth Big East crown.
Bull smacked a 1-1 pitch through the infield to end it after Notre Dame loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th. The Irish put their first two men on when Charlie Markson reached on a throwing error by the shortstop and the Panthers couldn't handle Frank DeSico's sacrifice bunt. Mac Hudgins bunted the runners over, and Pitt intentionally walked Big East Player of the Year Eric Jagielo to load the bases. Trey Mancini's fly ball to center was too shallow to bring the winning run home, but Bull ended it with two outs on his sharply hit grounder.
The Irish escaped a jam in the top of the 10th as Pittsburgh had two runners in scoring position with one out. Dylan Wolsonovich and Stephen Vranka hit back-to-back one-out singles to put men at first and second. The Irish caught a break when Nick McCarty's pickoff throw to first bounced into the stands - the dead ball moving the Pittsburgh runners up by only one base, leaving Wolsonovich and Vranka at second and third. McCarthy shook off the miscue to get Evan Oswold to pop up to third before he struck out Boo Vazquez to stand the two runners.
Jagielo had helped the Irish build a 2-1 lead after three innings as his RBI double in the first put Notre Dame on the board and has RBI single brought home Frank DeSico in the third.
Pitt tied the game in the top of the sixth on Sam Parente's one-out single to left-center, which scored Elvin Soto.
The game turned into a battle of relief pitchers as McCarty outlasted Pittsburgh's Jonathan Danielczyk. McCarty got the win, improving to 5-4 after he worked 3.1 shutout innings with two strikeouts. Danielczyk took the loss (2-1) after he allowed just the one unearned run while scattering three hits in 4.2 innings.
Jagielo was the only Notre Dame player with multiple hits as he finished 2-for-4 with two RBI. Parente and Steven Shelinsky Jr. both went 2-for-4 for the Panthers.
Notre Dame (34-23) will face either Connecticut or Rutgers in Sunday's championship game. Pittsburgh, which has a school-record 42 wins, will await Monday's NCAA selection show to learn its postseason destination.