Brant Colamarino Leads Pittsburgh Baseball Over Notre Dame, 22-18
SOUTH BEND - Freshman first baseman Brant Colamarino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic) hit two home runs in the top of the ninth inning to lead the Panthers over Notre Dame, 22-18, in game three of the Big East series on Sunday.
Pittsburgh held a 12-5 lead after five and a half innings, but with 13 runs in three innings, Notre Dame overtook the Panthers for an 18-12 ballgame heading into the top of the ninth. However, Pittsburgh battled back hard in the final inning and scored 10 runs off of 10 hits to regain the lead and hold on for the win. Eight of the Panthers' 10 runs were scored with two outs while five were attributed to Colamarino alone.
Junior leftfielder Darrin Lenhart (Allentown, Pa./William Allen) started the inning with a single and was replaced with pinchrunner Andre Williams (Johnstown, Pa./Johnstown) to set up Colamarino's first home run of the inning to center field. After pinch hitter Corey Joyce (Scranton, Pa./Lackawanna C.C.) struck out, catcher Doug Caraway (Baltimore, Md./Chesapeake) and senior Erik Katchur (North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin) both singled. Senior shortstop Christopher Happ (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena) then reached first on a fielder's choice with Katchur thrown out on the play, giving Pittsburgh it's second out of the inning. Sophomore Stuart Rykaceski (Pittsburgh, Pa./Woodland Hills) followed with an RBI single before junior third baseman Joe Lydic (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) walked the bases loaded. A wild pitch by the Irish's John Corbin would score Happ before sophomore designated hitter Brad Rea (Gibsonia, Pa./North Allegheny) singled to left center, scoring two more runs and tying the game at 18-18.
With Rea on first, freshman Joe Burger (Beaver Falls, Pa./Blackhawk) walked to set up Colamarino's second home run of the inning, giving the Panthers a three-run lead. Joyce and junior Charis Britt (Penn Hills, Pa./Gulf Coast C.C.) both singled allowing Katchur to bat in his eighth run of the game on a single of his own. Happ then walked the bases loaded but Rykaceski flied out to end the inning.
Senior left-hander Kevin Lazeski (Greensburg, Pa./Greensburg-Salem), Pittsburgh's seventh pitcher of the game, pitched the final one and one-third innings and held the Irish in the bottom of the ninth to earn his fifth win of the season.
The Panthers recorded 30 hits on the afternoon, breaking an Eck Stadium record for hits by either Notre Dame or an opponent, and tying the Big East record for single-game hits in a conference game.
Each of Pittsburgh's starting nine accounted for at least two hits while four batter had four. The Panthers batted through the lineup three time in the game, and were just two batter shy of batting around twice in the ninth inning.
Katchur, who had just nine RBI and two home runs entering the game, hit two bombs, including a grandslam, and accounted for eight of the Panthers 22 runs as he finished the day 4-for-8 with two runs scored.
Colamarino batted 4-for-5 with six RBI and three runs scored. Happ went 4-for-6 with two runs, while Rykaceski was 4-for-8 with an RBI and two runs.
Pittsburgh and Notre Dame combined for 49 hits, good for second place in Big East history, while 40 combined runs was the third-most in the conference record books.
The win gave the Panthers just their second over Notre Dame in the 17-game series history. The Irish, currently second in the Big East standings, took two out of three games on the weekend and hold an overall record of 40-13.
Pittsburgh improved to 29-20 overall and 9-12 in the conference. The Panthers will travel to Toledo (May 10) and Akron (May 11) before facing Big East foe Boston College in their final conference series of the season. Pittsburgh will be vying for a Big East playoff spot, their first since 1995.