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Big East baseball tournament delayed again because of heavy rains in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — Heavy rains continue to stall the Big East baseball tournament, now a full day behind schedule after USF had a game postponed for the second time in three days.

The Bulls' game against Connecticut, once scheduled for Wednesday night, was postponed after a six-hour rain delay Thursday and is scheduled for 10 a.m. today, though Big East officials contacted the Rays to check on the availability of Tropicana Field.

The two lowest-seeded teams in the tournament, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, have been eliminated, with top-seeded Louisville advancing to a semifinal that should take place tonight, weather permitting.

The loser of today's USF-Connecticut game plays in an elimination game at 4.

All six games have been decided by at least five runs — Louisville beat Notre Dame 12-2 in a game completed Thursday morning, with the Cardinals getting seven runs off Irish starter Ryan Richter.

West Virginia set a Big East tournament record for runs in a 20-8 seven-inning win over Pittsburgh. Centerfielder Austin Markel went 4-for-5 with two triples, a home run and six RBIs. Shortstop Jedd Gyorko went 4-for-4 with four RBIs.

ACC: Tommy Oravetz hit a two-run homer to cap a four-run first to help Florida State earn a 4-2 victory over Miami at the tournament in Durham, N.C. The Seminoles (42-14), who face Georgia Tech at noon Saturday, are assured of a berth in Sunday's championship game. The Hurricanes (36-19) face Boston College at noon today.

SEC: Jonathan Pigott hit two home runs and had four RBIs to help Florida eliminate Mississippi from the tournament with a 12-2 victory in Hoover, Ala. Preston Tucker also homered for the Gators (39-19), who play Arkansas in an elimination game at 4 today (Sun Sports).

Tennessee AD: Kiffin often 'misunderstood'

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Lane Kiffin has done just what his new boss at Tennessee wanted him to do: put the Volunteers back in the national spotlight.

Although the coach has ruffled feathers with his bold moves and brash comments, athletic director Mike Hamilton told the Associated Press that Kiffin's statements have been "misunderstood."

"Everybody says, 'Does he really understand what he's doing or saying?' Yeah, he does," Hamilton said. "He might have been shocked initially or surprised initially at the attention that anything he says will get."

Kiffin was forced to apologize to Florida and drew a reprimand from the SEC in February after saying that Gators coach Urban Meyer broke rules in recruiting Nu'Keese Richardson, an eventual Vols signee.

Despite the issues, Hamilton sees a football coach who is bright, focused on team goals and doing a good job.

And most important, Hamilton said, "(Kiffin) has gotten Tennessee back on the map."

Irish at Yankee Stadium? Looking to celebrate its football history, Notre Dame is considering a game at the new Yankee Stadium. "I'd be interested as we look forward to scheduling to think about how to sort of echo the history of our program," athletic director Jack Swarbrick said. "Obviously there have been some important Notre Dame games at Yankee Stadium, so I have a general interest in whether that's possible to do." The Yankees declined comment.

Basketball: Illinois coach Bruce Weber will receive a 50 percent raise (from $1 million to $1.5 million) and a three-year contract extension, through April 2015. … Former Tennessee guard Ramar Smith, 22, turned himself in on a charge of aggravated robbery in Knoxville and was released on $15,000 bond.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Fast facts

Big East baseball: Today's schedule

The tournament is at Bright House Field in Clearwater.

Game 8: No. 6 Connecticut vs. No. 2 USF, 10 a.m.

Game 9: No. 4 St. John's vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, 1 p.m.

Game 10: No. 3 West Virginia vs. Game 8 loser, 4 p.m.

Game 11: No. 1 Louisville vs. Game 9 winner, 7 p.m.

Big East baseball tournament delayed again because of heavy rains in Clearwater 05/21/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 21, 2009 11:18pm]
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