May 22, 2012
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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- After a wild finish to the regular season, the University of Pittsburgh baseball team will begin play in the Big East Tournament on Wednesday in Clearwater, Fla. The eighth seed, the Panthers will take on No. 1 Louisville at 5 p.m. at Bright House Field.
"We are very excited about the opportunity to compete in our fourth straight Big East Tournament. We played a tough schedule down the stretch and played hard and as well as we have all year," said Pitt head coach Joe Jordano. "I know we will be ready and our expectation, as it always is, has not changed and that is to win the Big East Championship. That challenge begins on Wednesday. We look forward to it."
Senior Matt Iannazzo will start the opening game for Pitt. He is certainly no stranger to postseason play, or playoff games against Louisville for that matter. The left-hander pitched a gem against the Cardinals in the first round of the 2011 Big East Tournament, giving up just one earned run in a complete-game performance in the Panthers' 7-2 win.
The Cardinals will counter with Chad Green, one of the few pitchers the Panthers didn't see in the regular season finale series between the two teams. If that series was any indication, Wednesday's game should be highly competitive. Louisville took two of the three games, but one of those wins came in extra innings.
In addition to Iannazzo, two other seniors get to continue their playing careers at Pitt. Rick Devereaux looks to build on an 11-game hitting streak and 19-game on-base streak, while Anthony Defabio attempts to keep up one of the conference's highest on-base percentages.
A pair of younger players also enter postseason play swinging a hot bat. Casey Roche, a sophomore - although with plenty of experience -,carries a seven-game hitting streak and a .333 average. Freshman Boo Vazquez has multiple hits in six of his last seven games and has a .325 average. Overall, the Panthers will have six batters in their lineup with averages higher than .300.
Fans can watch Pitt's game with Louisville live as it will be broadcast on the Big East web site.