April 27, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Five Irish defensive errors spoiled a strong outing by senior starting RHP Will Hudgins as Notre Dame dropped a back-and-forth game one of a doubleheader Friday to St. John’s, 6-4. After loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Irish (22-18, 9-7 BIG EAST) had a chance to win the game, but junior C Joe Hudson flied out to end the game.
St. John’s (26-16, 12-4) relief pitcher Stephen Rivera earned the victory and improved to 5-0, while James LoMangino picked up his sixth save. Hudgins (3-2) was tagged with the loss despite surrendering just one earned run in 8.2 innings, which was the longest outing of his Irish career.
With the score tied, 3-3, in the ninth, St. John’s scored three runs with two outs on a bases-loaded walk by Dan Slania followed by a two-run single by Kyle Richardson.
To start the inning, Hudgins induced a routine ground ball from Frank Schwindel to senior 3B Tommy Chase. However, Chase could not field the ball cleanly and was charged with an error. After Jeremy Baltz singled, Sean O’Hare sacrificed the runners to second and third with one out. Hudgins loaded the bases with an intentional walk before inducing a fielder’s choice at the plate for the second out.
Then, with the bases still loaded, Irish coach Mik Aoki pulled Hudgins for sophomore RHP Dan Slania. After initially working ahead in the count, Slania walked Bret Dennis on a full count to give St. John’s a 4-3 edge. Then, Richardson lined a two-run single to center to increase the lead to 6-3.
The two insurance runs proved important as the Irish nearly completed a dramatic ninth inning rally. Freshman LF Mac Hudgins started the inning with a triple before freshman SS Jason McMurray singled him home. Then, with one down, St. John’s summoned LoMangino, its closer out of the bullpen.
LoMangino induced a ground ball to second by junior 1B Eric Jagielo, which looked to end the game, but St. John’s 2B Eric Dennis threw wide of the bag to keep the Irish alive. Freshman PH Alex Carter, who replaced Chase, then drew a walk to load the bases for Hudson, the Irish’s leading hitter. However, Hudson sent a soft fly ball to left to end the game.
The Irish could not finish a second comeback after rallying to tie the game in the eighth. Trailing 3-2, senior RF Alex Robinson delivered a two-out RBI single to right. The Irish capitalized on two walks by Kevin Kilpatrick to put runners on first and second with one out.
Prior to the late inning lead changes, Hudgins and St. John’s starter Matt Carasiti were locked in a pitcher’s duel for the first six innings.
Hudgins struck out five while allowing just five hits and two walks but was victimized by five errors. Meanwhile, Carasiti, after struggling in the first inning, allowed two earned runs in 6.0 innings while striking out six.
Notre Dame grabbed the game’s first lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. DeSico led off the game with a single and moved to second following freshman DH Ryan Bull’s walk. Jagielo then lined into a double play, but sophomore 1B Trey Mancini walked and Hudson was plunked to load the bases.
With the bases loaded and two down, Carasiti uncorked a wild pitch to give the Irish a 1-0 lead, and Robinson followed with a perfect bunt single to push the Notre Dame lead to 2-0.
However, Carasiti settled down to hold the Irish offense in check. He allowed just three base runners over his final five innings. In addition, Carasiti retired 13 of his last 14 batters faced, including the last five in a row. Also, in the third, he struck out the side, retiring Mancini, Hudson, and Robinson.
His pitch count caught up to him though, and he was pulled after the sixth with 108 pitches.
Meanwhile, Hudgins retired the first seven St. John’s batters of the game, including the first two on strikeouts, before surrendering his first hit to Zach Lauricella in the third. Hudgins effectively located his pitches on the corners of the plate to create poor contact from the Red Storm hitters.
In the sixth, the Red Storm plated their first run of the game via a leadoff walk and Irish defensive miscue.
With two out, Hudgins induced a routine ground ball from Pat Talbut. However, Mancini dropped the throw, and the ball skipped away from him allowing Lauricella to score from first.
Then, in the seventh, the Red Storm seized their first lead of the game with two runs. Frank Schwindel doubled down the left field line for just the second hit off of Hudgins. Then, Jeremy Baltz followed with an RBI single to center to tie the game and advanced to second on an error by CF Markson.
The miscue would prove costly, when, with one out, when Danny Bethea grounded an RBI single to right to give the Red Storm a 3-2 lead.