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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the tag “2013 Big East Championship”

Pitt is eliminated after controversial call

English: Logo for the athletics teams at the U...

English: Logo for the athletics teams at the University of Pittsburgh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pitt Panthers came up short in their attempt to win the BE baseball tourney on Saturday after a 10 inning 3-2 loss to Notre Dame. With an RPI of 65 the loss leaves Pitt on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. They will now have to wait until Monday for the field to be announced to learn their fait. I believe that a second place finish in the BE should be enough to get them in.

Pitts two losses of the tourney came against Notre Dame with errors at critical moments of the game. A pair of crucial errors help to lead them to a 5-3 defeat in their earlier meeting and Pitt committed 5 errors in Saturdays game.

Pitt looked poised to take the lead in the top of the 9th when they had base-runners on first and second but a controversial call stalled their rally. Notre Dame pitcher Nick McCarty threw the ball to first in an attempt to pick off the runner but the throw went into the first base stands. Both runners took two bases on the error which scored the runner from second and gave Pitt the lead but the umpires told the runners to back up a base, putting runners at second and third instead and taking the run off of the board. Pitt coach Joe Jordano protested but after a meeting from the umpires the call was upheld. The ruling made was that the pitcher threw over to first base while still in contact with the rubber which limited both runners to one base. If he had left the rubber then the runners would have been given two bases each. The first base umpire ruled that the pitcher did disengage the rubber but was over ruled by the third and home plate umpires. Still Pitt was in scoring position with one out but the next batter popped out to third and the following batter struck out to retire the side.

The bottom of the 10th started horribly for Pitt as Evan Oswald booted a ground ball from ND Charlie Markson. This was followed by Dylan Wolsonovich error on a grounder by Frank DeSico which gave ND two base runners with no outs. ND bunted the runners up to second and third and Pitt intentionally walked the next batter to load the bases and to set up a double play possibility. Instead Ryan Bull hit a sharp single to center to score the winning run.

The sixth seeded Notre Dame will take on eighth seeded Connecticut for the championship on Sunday.

 

Pitt is only 99 days away from their ACC and season opener on Labor Day against Florida State at Heinz Field. This will probably be one of their biggest season openers in recent memory.

If the ACC were to end the football season with a rivalry game, who would best fit that role for Pitt? Virginia Tech? Miami? Boston College? Penn St? Some other team? What are your thoughts?

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In 2013, Louisville Again Proves Its Worth

#L1C4(Credits: www.gocards.com)

#L1C4
(Credits: http://www.gocards.com)

If any doubt still existed as to whether the University of Louisville was the right choice for membership into the Atlantic Coast Conference, those doubts were dashed on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

As I watched my beloved Cardinals struggle, persevere and then triumph against the Syracuse Orange in the last Big East Championship title game of the modern era, I couldn’t help but think about all the naysayers and detractors of Belknap’s athletic department as the ACC made its decision in 2012.

Louisville basketball has come a long way, to be sure. We were always the known unknown who entered and left conferences. From the Metro Conference to Conference USA to the Big East Conference, the pride of Louisville proved and proved and proved themselves to fans, outsiders and future conference brass by winning national titles and battling our way into Final Fours. When Rick Pitino was hired as head coach after legend Denny Crum wrapped up his career, fans instantly knew the future was bright and we would give our new coach as much time as he needed.

What we have accomplished as members of the Big East is still unfathomable in my eyes. I’m sure the Villanovas and Syracuses and Georgetowns and Connecticuts chided the decision to add us and others to their ranks and assumed they would continue to dominate the league. No one could have written the memorable storyline the Cardinals have produced since 2005.

Louisville became the winningest program since the realignment of 2005 and has now won its third conference basketball championship. As finalists of the tournament in four of the last five years, the Cardinals have continued to prove their worth on the hardwood.

2013 Big East Champions(Credits: www.bigeast.org)

2013 Big East Champions
(Credits: http://www.bigeast.org)

In football, Louisville has always faced an uphill challenge. Scheduling juggernauts like Alabama, Georgia and Notre Dame had been a difficult feat to claim, and recruiting the best players from around the country has never been our trademark. However, the football Cardinals made it their mission to always be satisfied with the progression of the program and to constantly improve from within.

Having won our two Bowl Championship Series matchups (2006 FedEx Orange Bowl and 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl), we put everything on the field when we are placed on the stage and told to perform.

When Coach Charlie Strong chose to extend his contract at Louisville rather than take the Tennessee job with the Southeastern Conference, fans surrounding the university knew what he thought about his current job and the institution. The sigh of relief throughout the River City came from fans who realized that our time had finally come to keep our coach and strive to maintain and surpass our accomplishments.

Although elevated, it is clear head coach Charlie Strong is not satisfied with the heights of the program under his tutelage. The invitation to the ACC combined with the fashion in which Louisville dealt the Gators the loss in the Sugar Bowl sent the city into overdrive.

Coach Charlie Strong celebrates after the 2013 Sugar Bowl victory(Credits: Getty Images)

Coach Charlie Strong celebrates after the 2013 Sugar Bowl victory
(Credits: Getty Images)

All we ask is for a chance to prove our worth. That is all we have ever wanted, and it appears we will soon get our chance once again in the prestigious ACC in 2014.

Louisville to Face Rival Syracuse for Big East Title

Louisville unleashes its inner Cardinal(Credits: Madeline Hack)

Louisville unleashes its inner Cardinal
(Credits: Madeline Hack)

If someone had told me at the beginning of this season that our Louisville Cardinals would contend for back-to-back Big East Championship titles against a historic conference juggernaut in a matchup marking the storied history of the conference as it enters its waning days of existence, I would have thought that person had a great imagination.

Given the preseason hype surrounding this year’s squad, it’s not surprising we find ourselves right where we belong in the title chase.  Nor am I surprised our opponent comes in the form of our rival Syracuse.  However, no one could have predicted the changes the conference will undergo in the next year and that the final tournament would consist of a model foe versus a new foe.

Here’s how we got to the tournament final:

2013 Big East Championship(Credits: www.bigeast.org)

2013 Big East Championship
(Credits: http://www.bigeast.org)

Since joining the league in 2005, Louisville has continued traditional conference rivalries and acquired new ones.  Aside from the annual Cincinnati showdown, no other rivalry has meant so much or garnered as much attention as the yearly conflicts with the Syracuse Orange.  There is no doubt this rivalry will continue once both programs enter the Atlantic Coast Conference.

It is only fitting that this epic tournament final would be fought between a classic powerhouse and our Cardinals, the winningest Big East team since we entered the conference.  Both programs have built lasting legacies as Big East programs and the combination of wins and losses and coaching staffs have allowed us to stand out among other teams.

As preseason favorites to contend for the conference title, Rick Pitino and the Cardinals have not disappointed.  This conference final will be epic – I couldn’t ask for a better way to end an era than with a face-off between two great programs on the national stage.

Having split the first two meetings earlier this season in conference play, the Cardinals and Orange will settle the score under the lights of Madison Square Garden at 9 p.m. on Saturday.

#L1C4 – Louisville First, Cards Forever

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