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Irish reach Big East baseball tourney semifinals

Notre Dame earned a spot in the Big East tournament semifinals and a day of rest with a 5-3 victory over Pittsburgh (41-16) on Thursday in Clearwater, Fla.

Pitcher Pat Connaughton, who is also a guard for the basketball team, gave up nine hits and three unearned runs in six innings, and Frank DeSico led the offense, going 3 for 4 with a double and two RBI.

Dan Slania picked up his 13th save, working a perfect 1 2/3 innings for relief for the Irish.

DeSico put Notre Dame ahead 2-0 in the second with an RBI single, and he boosted the lead to 4-0 with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

Pitt scored its runs in the fifth with a two-run single from Casey Roche, who was then driven home by Sam Parente's single.

Blaise Lezynki gave Notre Dame an insurance run with an RBI single to center in the bottom of the fifth.

The Irish (33-23) will face either the winner of Friday's game between Seton Hall (37-18) and Pitt at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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