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?
You would expect a cat to trounce a bird in any matchup but this was for the Big East regular season championship. The 10th ranked Louisville Cardinals hosted the 16th ranked Pitt Panthers in a 3 game regular season ending series and both teams laid it all on the line. Louisville needed to win two out of the three to force a tie for first place, it started Thursday night with 5-2 Cardinal victory. Louisville followed that win with a 12-4 thumping Friday night.
With the stage set for the all important 3rd game in front of a packed Jim Patterson stadium and an ESPN2 audience, neither team was willing to accept defeat. Louisville struck first with 5 runs in the 3rd inning but the Panthers clawed their way back to a 5-3 deficit. Louisville entered the game with a 36-5 record when scoring first. Clinging to a 7-4 lead going into the top of the 9th, the Cards called on their flamethrower, sophomore Nick Burdi. With a fastball topping out in triple digits, Pitt had their hands full. Burdi struck out the first batter but Pitt still had plenty of fight left and managed to get a couple runners on the bases. Burdi wound up striking out the side and leaving the tying run at home plate.
Burdi picked up his third save in five days, his BE leading 14th of the season. In those three games he has 7 strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched. Pittsburgh’s starter Rhys Aldenhoven (5R 4ER 5H 2BB 5INN) picked up his first loss of the season, falling to 8-1.
The series sweep was the Cards 10th of the season and the win is their 16th straight which is the longest active win streak in the nation and Louisville’s 2nd longest in school history (20 games). During the streak the Cards have a 2.00 ERA, 170 K, 50 BB in 144 INN and have committed just 8 errors. They matched the schools record for regular season victories with 46 (2010). This is the Cards 4th regular season championship in five years. They also ended two of those championships season with sweeps, 2009 against USF and 2010 against Notre Dame.
The BE final standings has Louisville (20-4 46-10) at #1. Pittsburgh (18-6 40-15) finished tied for 2nd with Seton Hall (18-6 36-17). Notre Dame (10-14 31-23) finished tied for 6th with St. Johns (10-14 23-33). In the double elimination BE tournament, the Louisville will face UConn at 5pm Wednesday while Pitt will play the early game at 10am against St. Johns.
Louisville is projected to host Miami, Fla, Illinois and Tennessee Tech in one of the 16 regionals. After the sweep Pitts chance of playing host to a regional seems to have slept away. Pitt is projected to be in a region hosted by Virginia along with Campbell and Holy Cross.
Louisville softball team (44-11) received a #15 seed in the post season and hosting UCLA, UAB and IPFW which started last Friday night. They defeated IPFW on opening day but was eliminated Saturday with losses to UAB and UCLA.
Earlier this week Rutgers hired Louisville’s Senior Associate Athletic Director Julie Hermann as their new AD. She became just the third female AD at a BCS school. Good luck Julie and thank you for your 15 years of hard work at U of L.
It’s 2016 and conference realignment has slowed down. Again. As most expected, the Atlantic Coast Conference has survived another round of unsubstantiated rumors and quasi-sourced reports from university big wigs and industry executives. Overall, the past few years have proven quite productive in terms of membership and revenue.
A combination of ESPN affirming its financial commitment to the conference and the additions of Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati and Connecticut have made way for a 16-team league which boasts a great amount of competitive talent, geographic diversity and athletic tradition.
The ACC now has eight teams competing in men’s lacrosse with Cincinnati, Louisville and UConn adding the niche sport to their athletic departments. Six of the league’s baseball teams are firmly in the Top 25 and seven teams are regulars in the women’s basketball Top 25.
College football has gradually improved over the past two years. The Seminoles and Tigers have continued their top-tier presence in the rankings and Virginia Tech, Louisville, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh add some needed depth to the conference schedule. NC State, Connecticut and Syracuse are steadily improving, the Tar Heels are sanction-free and competitive and Georgia Tech has awoken from its talent slumber.
College basketball is absolutely phenomenal. Along with the annual Tobacco Road matchup, Syracuse-UNC has become epic in its short existence and Pitt has become quite the foe of Duke, NC State and Virginia. Much anticipated matchups between Duke and Louisville and Connecticut and North Carolina have also given way to intense conference-wide games with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The conference now boasts seven teams with national championship histories.
Although there is much competition among the field in both basketball and football, there is a great amount of talent at the top. Many believe multiple ACC representatives will punch cards to the Final Four and there is guarded optimism a team will soon vie for the Coaches’ Trophy at Cowboys Stadium.
As with anything, it takes vision, determination and patience to see a great idea through to fruition. The ACC is no different. Fantasies often begin with unrealistic expectations while goals are accomplished through steady hard work and practical ambitions.
Congratulations, ACC! You had the nerve and foresight to persevere and maintain your athletic tradition while maintaining and promoting solid academics. The Confidential looks forward to many more years of ACC excellence.
**Is this article fantasy or realistic? Join the discussion below and let the Confidential know your opinion.