Senior LHP Joe Spano.

Irish Baseball Drops Another Nailbiter in Big East

May 4, 2012

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PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – Villanova got a walk-off RBI single from Paul Rambaud in the bottom of the ninth inning to slip past Notre Dame, 10-9, Friday at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth Meeting. The Wildcats improved to 27-20 overall and 9-10 in the BIG EAST, while the Irish dropped to 23-22 and 9-10.

After Notre Dame rallied with three runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game, 9-9, including a pair on a pinch-hit, two-out and two-strike double from freshman Blaise Lezynski, the Wildcats answered in the home half of the ninth.

With one out in the ninth, senior LHP Joe Spano issued a walk – Notre Dame’s only free pass on the contest. Freshman RHP Matt Ternowchek replaced Spano and yielded a single to Adam Nelson. Junior CF Charlie Markson never saw the sinking line drive off the bat in the fading sunlight. With the winning run now in scoring position, Rambaud ripped a single down the left field line to plate the winning run.

Stephen Ostapeck picked up the victory and improved to 4-2. He allowed one earned run on two hits in 0.2 innings of work.

Spano was dealt the defeat and dropped to 0-4. Spano allowed an earned run in 0.2 hitless innings. He walked one and struck out one.

Notre Dame has now lost eight games in BIG EAST action by two runs or less, including three in extra innings and all three were of the walk-off variety.

The Irish were again victimized by their defense. Notre Dame committed five errors, which directly led to six unearned runs. In fact, seven of the Wildcats’ 10 runs in the game reached base on an error or hit batsman or walk.

Sophomore 1B Trey Mancini went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and a solo home run – his ninth of the year. Junior C Joe Hudson, senior RF Alex Robinson and Markson all had two hits. Hudson went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI. Robinson went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI, while Markson went 2-for-4 with a couple of runs scored.

After Villanova plated a pair of critical insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to push lead to three runs, 9-6, the Irish rallied in the top of the ninth. Mancini opened the inning with a towering home run over the left centerfield wall to cut the deficit to 9-7. Robinson then dropped in a one-out single to shallow centerfield to bring the tying run to the plate.

Villanova went to the bullpen and called on Ostapeck. With Robinson on the move, Markson slapped a 3-2 offering from Ostapeck through the right side for a single. Robinson raced to third to put runners on the corners and one out. After Mac Hudgins fouled out, freshman Blaise Lezynski came to the plate as the tying run.

Lezynski eventually worked the count full after falling behind 1-2. With the count full and two outs, Markson took off on the pitch. Lezynski then ripped a double that one-hopped the wall in right field to tie the game, 9-9. Junior 2B Frank DeSico had a chance to give the Irish a lead with the go-ahead runner in scoring position, but Ostapeck picked up a strikeout to end the inning.

The fourth inning summed up the afternoon for the Irish. Senior RHP Will Hudgins got a weakly hit ground ball to freshman SS Kevin DeFilippis at shortstop, but the rookie mishandled the routine ground ball and was charged with an error.

After a sacrifice bunt, passed ball and hit by pitch, the Wildcats had runners on the corners with one out. Hudgins appeared on the verge to get out of the jam after inducing a tailor-made, double-play grounder to Mancini, who fielded cleanly and threw in plenty of time to retire the lead runner, but DeFilippis dropped the throw. A run scored and the Irish failed to get one out, let alone two that would have ended the inning.

Tyler Sciacca followed with an RBI single to make it 5-3. Hudgins again appeared destined to get out of the inning one batter later. Hudgins cleanly fielded another routine double play ground ball, but his throw sailed wide of DeFilippis at second base. Similar to earlier in the inning, a potential Notre Dame double play ball to end the inning failed to result in one out. The error allowed another run to score.

Schrenk singled to make it 7-3 and ended the day for Hudgins. He did not survive the fourth. Sophomore RHP Sean Fitzgerald got the final two outs of the nightmare fourth. In all, Villanova plated four runs on just two hits, but most of the damage came on three Irish errors, a passed ball and hit by pitch.

Hudgins allowed just one earned run on eight hits in 3.1 innings of work. Hudgins struck out one and did not issue a walk.

Fitzgerald kept the Irish in the game with 2.1 scoreless innings of relief. He retired seven of the eight Villanova batters he faced, including three by strikeout.

Notre Dame threatened in the top of the second inning. Mancini led off the frame with a single and moved into scoring position on Robinson’s one-out walk, but Helisek got Markson to pop out. After a passed ball moved both into scoring position, Mac Hudgins followed with a hot shot down the third base line that Wager somehow managed to pick and throw in time to end the inning.

Will Hudgins retired the first two Wildcats on groundouts to open the bottom of the second on just three pitches, but a sophomore 3B Eric Jagielo two-out error at third base extended the inning. Villanova then got a single from Nelson and a hit batsman to load the bases for Calbi, who pulled a 3-2 offering through the left side to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.

After Villanova pushed its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third on a Steve Schrenk RBI single, the Irish immediately answered in their half of the fourth and tied the game, 3-3. Mancini and Hudson opened with back-to-back singles. Robinson executed a sacrifice bunt and Mac Hudgins followed with a two-run single. DeFilippis then walked to again load the bases. Helisek picked up a big strikeout of DeSico and got ahead of Bull 0-2, but a wild pitch allowed Markson to race home to tie the score. Helisek did ultimately punch out Bull to end the inning.

Helisek did not factor in the decision. He struck out seven and walked four in 6.1 innings of work. Helisek allowed five runs, all earned, on five hits.

Senior LHP Steve Sabatino tossed a scoreless inning of relief with a strikeout.

Notre Dame continues its series with BIG EAST foe Villanova at 1:15 p.m. Saturday at Villanova Ballpark in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. In-game updates will be available on Twitter at @NDBaseball and Facebook at NDBaseball, and fans can listen to all the action locally on 103.1 FM and on the Internet at