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Pitt baseball bypassed for NCAA Tournament

| Monday, May 27, 2013, 1:45 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
University of Pittsburgh's head baseball coach, Joe Jordano walks away from the pitcher's mound during Pitt's game against the University of Akron at Charles L. Cost Field in Oakland on Wednesday evening, May 1, 2013.

The most successful season in Pitt baseball history ended in disappointment Monday when the Panthers were bypassed for the NCAA Tournament.

The Panthers recorded a school-record 42 victories in 59 games but lost twice in the Big East Tournament — part of a 2-6 finish to the season.

Pitt's strength of schedule ranked 202 of 298 schools.

Coach Joe Jordano on Monday defended the Panthers' record, saying the team defeated tough opponents. Pitt went 6-0 against NCAA Tournament teams Wichita State (Missouri Valley Conference champion) and Towson (Colonial Athletic Association champion).

“We played for the Big East championship on the last day of the regular season and lost to the No. 8 team in the country at the time (Louisville),” Jordano said. “We were ranked in all five major polls two weeks ago. When you look at all of that, we had a team that was very capable of competing at the NCAA Regional Tournament.

“But when you have no control over it, it is what it is. As I told my team in a quick email, I couldn't be more proud of what they accomplished this year.”

Pitt was one of only five 40-victory teams snubbed by the selection committee.

The Big East placed two teams in the tournament: regular-season champion Louisville, which is serving as host for a regional, and tournament winner Connecticut.

The ACC, which Pitt will join July 1, put eight teams in the tournament, led by top-seed and conference champion North Carolina (52-8), which earned its 15th bid in 16 years; No. 6 Virginia (47-10); and No. 7 Florida State, which is 44-15 after losing its past four games.

Other ACC teams advancing included Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina State and Virginia Tech.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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