By sweeping Saturday’s doubleheader against Pittsburgh, the baseball team clinched its second consecutive berth into the 2012 Big East Championship.
In the second game of the doubleheader, freshman pitcher Jose Lopez carried the Pirates with 12 strikeouts in seven innings of relief.
Starting pitcher Brian Gilbert was unable to make it out of the second inning after allowing three hits and one run after catcher Elvin Soto singled up the middle.
In the next inning, Pirate catcher Dillon Hamlin singled to left field to bring home freshman third baseman Kyle Grimm to take a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Pirates would score two runs from a single off the bat of Grimm to make the score 4-1.
The Panthers threatened in their last inning, having a chance to take the lead on two separate occasions. Senior pitcher Benny Mejia worked himself out of the late inning jam to seal the Pirate victory.
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Pirates scored first in the fourth inning as junior shortstop Giuseppe Papaccio hit a solo-homerun to left field.
In the sixth inning Papaccio struck again, this time singling to center, which drove home senior right fielder Will Walsh.
Reigning Big East Player of the Week, junior center fielder Scott Kalamar singled to center, scoring Papaccio, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
The Panthers answered in the top of the eight after a single from third baseman Sam Parente scored pinch hitter John Peluso.
Kalamar added an insurance run in the next inning to extend the lead to 4-1.
Pirate pitcher Ryan Harvey shut down the Panther’s offense, striking out nine batters in 7.2 innings of work, allowing only one run.
In the first matchup the Panthers rallied early, scoring all of its seven runs in the first two innings off pitcher John Prosinski, the ace of the Pirate’s rotation.
Prosinski could not work himself out of the second inning as senior Henry Warner relieved him.
The Pirate bats came alive in the sixth inning, scoring three runs to cut the deficit to four.
The Panthers cut a Pirate rally short in ninth inning, only surrendering one run to preserve a 7-4 win.
The Pirates will head to Queens, N.Y., on Thursday to face off against first place St. John’s in the team’s final regular season Big East series. First-pitch is set for 1 p.m.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at email@example.com.