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Baseball: Teams travel south to escape cold weather, begin play

Bill Brink | Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cold weather still blankets half of the Big East campuses, but baseball is underway down south.

Notre Dame won two of three in the Big East/Big Ten Challenge in Florida last weekend, including a 10-inning win over Purdue Sunday. The Irish lost to Ohio State 2-0 Friday, but their bats heated up in a 14-7 win over Illinois Saturday.

Their early success puts the Irish (2-1) atop the Big East, but the season is too young for judgment yet. Here’s a look at the conference:

The early leaders: Notre Dame (2-1), Seton Hall (2-1), St. John’s (2-1), West Virginia (2-2)

The Irish travel south again this weekend when they face Gonzaga, Dayton and Creighton in Arizona. Sophomore outfielder Golden Tate hit .500 with four runs, two doubles and two RBIs this weekend. Junior reliever Steve Mazur threw three hitless innings of relief and earned a win over the weekend.

Seton Hall beat Minnesota and Michigan State but lost to Penn State over the weekend. Junior pitcher Sean Black was named a Big East Player of the Week.

The Red Storm scored 33 runs in their first two games, both wins, but lost 4-2 to Michigan. Sophomore third baseman Greg Hopkins also earned Big East Player of the Week honors.

The Mountaineers beat Indiana and Northwester but dropped games to Minnesota and Illinois. They travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for a four-game swing.

The middle: Connecticut (1-2), Pittsburgh (1-2), South Florida (1-2), Georgetown (1-3), Rutgers (1-3)

Connecticut lost two straight before a 10-1 win against George Mason. The Huskies head to Florida again for another game against the Colonials and a game at North Florida.

Pittsburgh lost a 9-8 extra-inning game to Bradley and also dropped a game to Air Force, but beat Navy 3-1. Junior speedster Chris Sedon has stolen three bases in three attempts this season.

South Florida sandwiched a win over Purdue with losses to Michigan and Indiana and tied the Netherlands Tuesday night. Senior outfielder Mike Consolmagno is hitting .467 and slugging .600 so far this season.

Georgetown senior outfielder Sean Baumann went 2-for-5 with a run and four RBIs in the Hoyas’ 10-4 win over Norfolk State Wednesday. Georgetown travels to Davidson, N.C. this weekend for four games.

Rutgers allowed 18 runs in a loss to Miami Sunday. Junior pitcher Kyle Bradley pitched 3.1 innings and gave up six hits, five runs (three earned) against the Hurricanes.

The bottom: Cincinnati (0-3), Louisville (0-3), Villanova (0-3)

The Wildcats are last in the conference in batting average (.172), ERA (9.38) and runs (seven). Cincinnati sophomore outfielder Justin Riddell, however, has the second-highest batting average in the conference at .615.