"It was a tough game today," said head coach Joe Jordano. "To end the Big East Tournament on a walk-off loss is a tough pill to swallow but our team played extremely hard and showed a lot of heart out there."
Nick McCarty (5-4) earned the win for the Irish while Jon Danielczyk (JR/Erie, Pa.) took the loss after an impressive outing in relief where he threw 4.2 innings allowing three hits and an unearned run.
Notre Dame struck first when it scored a run in the bottom of the first to take an early 1-0 lead. The Panthers quickly responded in the top of the second. Elvin Soto (SO/New York, N.Y.) got hit by a pitch on a 3-2 count to get on base and moved over to third on a pair of wild pitches. Sam Parente (SR/Pittston, Pa.) then sent a rope up the middle to even the score.
Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) made a spectacular jumping catch at the wall in left to rob the Irish of an extra base hit to start the bottom half of the second. Following that, Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) was able to retire the next two batters for a 1-2-3 frame.
Boo Vazquez (SO/Youngstown, Ohio) flashed the leather to get the first out of the third inning when he came in on the ball and made a diving catch to prevent a bloop single but Notre Dame was able to push a run across in the inning to make the score 2-1.
The Panthers tied the game up in the top of the sixth with one out Soto singled and moved to third on a stolen base and error on a high throw by the Notre Dame catcher. Parente came through with another clutch baseknock, a rip into center, for his second RBI of the afternoon.
Jon Danielczyk (JR/Erie, Pa.) came in out of the pen Pitt in the bottom of the sixth and gave the Panthers the a gutsy performance with his third appearance in as many days to get the Panthers into extra innings.
Pitt had runners on first and second with one out in the top of the 10th after singles from Dylan Wolsonovich (FR/Ford City, Pa.) and Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, Pa.). The Panthers looked like they would take the lead when a pick-off attempt sailed over the first baseman's head but the ball found its way into the stands and the runners could only advance a single base, due to the umpires ruling that the pitcher was still engaged with the rubber on the attempt. The Irish were then able to pitch out of the jam without allowing a run to cross the plate.
A pair of errors put the first two Notre Dame batters of the inning on base in the home half of the 10th. A bunt moved the runners over and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out. Danielczyk was able to get the second out of the inning on a shallow fly to center but the Irish scored on a basehit which went just past the glove of the shortstop for the walkoff win.
"I very much look forward to the opportunity for us to get out on the field again," Jordano said. "I believe we deserve it. This team has worked extremely hard for the opportunity and hopefully we get it."
The Panthers finished their regular season with a school best 42 wins and will await their postseason fate when the NCAA announces regional selections on Monday, May 27, at noon live on ESPNU.