Cardinals claim fourth regular-season title in the last five years

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – After closing the regular season with 16 consecutive wins, Louisville has earned the No. 1 seed in the 2012 Big East Baseball Championship, which begins Wednesday, May 23, at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla.

The top eight teams in the final regular-season standings qualify for the Big East Championship, which features a double-elimination format through the semifinal round. The championship final is a winner-take-all affair Sunday, May 27, which will determine the Big East’s automatic entrant to the NCAA Championship. The double-elimination round games will be carried live on ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com. Sunday’s final will be televised at noon ET on ESPNU.

The tournament’s opening ceremonies and awards presentations will be Tuesday, May 22 at 7 p.m. at Bright House Field, followed by the third annual Big East Home Run Derby at 8 p.m.

The Cardinals (46-10, 20-4 Big East), who entered the final weekend of conference play in second place in the Big East standings, extended their winning streak to 16 games by taking three straight against Pittsburgh to win the regular-season title by two games. The late-season rally has become the norm for the Cardinals, who moved into first place in the last weekend of the regular season to take the title for the fourth time in the last five years.

The No. 1 seeding pairs Louisville against Connecticut (30-25, 9-15 Big East), which comes in as the No. 8 seed. The Cardinals and Huskies will meet Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET in first-round play. Louisville won back-to-back Big East tournament titles in 2008 and 2009, while Connecticut is looking for its first championship since 1994.

Seton Hall (36-17, 18-6 Big East) and Pittsburgh (40-15, 18-6) tied for second in the final regular-season standings, but the Pirates earned the No. 2 seed in the Big East Championship based on the conference’s tiebreaking procedure. Seton Hall, which won Big East titles in 1987, 2001 and 2011, will face No. 7-seeded Notre Dame (31-23, 10-14 Big East) at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Notre Dame won five straight tournament championships from 2002 to 2006

Pittsburgh, which won a school-record 40 games in the regular season, opens the Big East Championship with a 10 a.m. matchup against No. 6-seeded St. John’s (23-33, 10-14 Big East) – the winner of two of the last three conference titles. The Panthers won their only Big East tournament title in 1995, while the Red Storm have won a record seven crowns.

Wednesday’s first round is capped by a matchup between No. 4-seeded USF (35-20, 17-7 Big East) and No. 5-seeded Rutgers (26-28, 14-10 Big East) at 8 p.m. The Bulls, who reached last year’s championship game, are looking for their first conference title, while the Scarlet Knights have won three titles, most recently in 2007.

The May 26 Big East Championship final will be televised live on ESPNU, marking the eighth straight year in which the title game will be carried live on the ESPN family of networks.

Coverage of the BIG EAST Championship also will be available on the web at BigEastBaseball.com. The site will include the ESPN3 telecast of all games from the first four days of competition along with live coverage of Tuesday’s opening ceremonies and Home Run Derby.

2013 BIG EAST Baseball Championship Schedule

Tuesday, May 21

Opening Ceremonies/Award Presentations/Home Run Derby – Gates open at 6 p.m.; ceremonies begin at 7 p.m.

                Home Run Derby Participants

Connecticut – LJ Mazzilli (.362, 5 HR, 45 RBI)

Louisville – Zak Wasserman (.223, 0 HR, 20 RBI)

Notre Dame – Trey Mancini (.396, 6 HR, 52 RBI)

Pittsburgh – Elvin Soto (.318, 6 HR, 40 RBI)

Rutgers – Ross Costello (.172, 3 HR, 14 RBI)

St. John’s – Frank Schwindel (.348, 5 HR, 52 RBI)

Seton Hall – Sal Annunziata (.322, 6 HR, 37 RBI)

USF – Jimmy Falla (.306, 2 HR, 46 RBI)

Wednesday, May 22 – Four games

(ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com)

Game 1 – No. 6  St. John’s (23-33) vs. No. 3 Pittsburgh (40-15), 10 a.m.

Game 2 – No. 7 Notre Dame (31-23) vs. No. 2 Seton Hall (36-17), 1 p.m.

Game 3 – No. 8 Connecticut (30-25) vs. No. 1 Louisville (46-10), 5 p.m.

Game 4 – No. 5 Rutgers (26-28) vs. No. 4 USF (35-20), 8 p.m.

Thursday, May 23 – Four games

(ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com)

Game 5 – Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2, 10 a.m.

Game 6 – Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 1 p.m.

Game 7 – Loser of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4, 5 p.m.

Game 8 – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4, 8 p.m.

Friday, May 24 – Two games

(ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com)

Game 9 – Loser of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 5, 4 p.m.

Game 10 – Loser of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 7, 7 p.m.


Saturday, May 25 – Two, three, or four games

(ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com)

Game 11 – Winner of Game 6 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 26 – Championship game

(live television on ESPNU)

Game 15 – Winner of Group 1 vs. Winner of Group 2, Noon

All times Eastern

2013 Baseball Bracket

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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