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Irish reach Big East baseball tourney title game

Notre Dame returned to the Big East baseball tournament championship game for the first time since 2006 thanks to Ryan Bull's 10th inning heroics.

The sophomore brought home the winning run for the No. seven-seeded Irish in a 3-2 victory over No. 3 seed Pittsburgh with a bases loaded single in the bottom 10th Saturday in Clearwater, Fla.

Bull was 1 for 12 in the tournament before his game-winning hit against Pitt (42-17), which Notre Dame had already defeated 5-3 Thursday.

The Irish (34-23) will face No. 8 seed Connecticut (33-26), a 2-1 winner over No. 5 seed Rutgers, in the championship game at noon Sunday. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Before Bull clinched the game for Notre Dame, reliever Nick McCarty had to work his way out of a jam in the top of the 10th.

McCarty put runners on second and third base when the freshman right-hander thought he had a pickoff play at first, but the play wasn't on and first baseman Trey Mancini was playing behind the runner. The throw to first sailed into the stands to put runners in scoring position.

McCarty made up for the miscue by getting Evan Oswald to pop out then he struck out Boo Vazquez to end the inning.

Eric Jagielo, the Big East player of the year, drove in the Irish's first two runs. The third baseman had an RBI double in the first and an RBI single in third inning.

Notre Dame is the first seventh seed to reach the Big East tournament title game. A win Sunday will give the Irish an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

The NCAA selection show is it at noon Monday on ESPNU.

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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