March 16, 2012
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Senior OF Alex Robinson (Dallas, Texas/First Baptist Academy) delivered a two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the second inning to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead and fellow senior RHP Will Hudgins (Richmond, Va./Douglass Freeman H.S.) and the Irish bullpen made the run stand en route to a 1-0 victory over Kansas in second day action from the 2012 Irish Baseball Classic at Wolf Stadium. Notre Dame improved to 10-5, while the Jayhawks dropped to 8-9. The Irish have secured a berth into Sunday’s championship game.
Hudgins upped his record to 3-1 on the year with 7.2 scoreless innings of work. Freshman Cristian Torres (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula H.S.) worked a perfect ninth inning for his first career save.
Hudgins has now tossed 17.0 consecutive scoreless innings. Hudgins surrendered just six hits and only one extra base hit. He added eight strikeouts and failed to walk a batter for second straight outing.
Hudgins has allowed just two earned runs over his last four starts (29.1 IP) which equates to a 0.62 ERA. He has been even better over his last two outings. The right-handed hurler has fanned 19 without a walk in shutout victories over both Michigan (8.0 IP) and Kansas (7.2 IP). Hudgins tossed 108 pitches against the Wolverines and 99 today against the Jayhawks. Of his 207 offerings, 159 have gone for strikes – a remarkable 76.8 percent.
Hudgins, who has now made 69 career appearances (just one shy of a tie for 10th in school history), improved his career record to 13-2. His career winning percentage of .867 would stand second all-time, but Hudgins remains one decision shy of the needed 16 career decisions. Herb Kelly (1912-14) holds the school record for career winning percentage (22-2, .917).
Hudgins’ effort Friday was not without some stressful moments. After cruising through the first four innings and Notre Dame clinging to a 1-0 lead, Hudgins allowed a leadoff double in the Kansas fifth inning. He answered with a strikeout, but another base hit left Jayhawks on the corners with one down. Hudgins got out of the jam following a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
Kansas managed to have its leadoff hitter reach in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but Hudgins and senior southpaw reliever Joe Spano (Verona, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) staved off the scoring opportunities each time. Hudgins even struck out the side in the seventh following a hit batsman.
Spano relieved Hudgins with two outs in the eighth inning and a runner on first base. The reliever promptly induced a ground out to end the inning. Spano got credit for his second hold of the season
Torres cruised through the ninth and retired the Jayhawks in order, including a strike out.
Notre Dame has now collected three shutouts in 2012 – all coming on the spring break trip. The Irish have blanked Michigan, UTSA and Kansas. Notre Dame’s ERA over its last six outings is a paltry 1.50. The Irish have fanned 45 and walked 10 in 54.0 innings of work.
Sophomore 3B Eric Jagielo (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North H.S.) continued his torrid stretch. He went 3-for-4 with a trio of singles. Jagielo has now collected back-to-back three hit games and three such outings over his last five games. He is batting .385 (10-for-26) with four runs scored, two doubles, two home runs and nine RBI over Notre Dame’s spring trip.
Robinson went 1-for-3 with the RBI single in the second inning.
Frank Duncan was a tough-luck loser for Kansas. The righty dropped to 3-2 on the season despite a quality start. Duncan allowed one earned run on four hits in 7.0 innings. He struck out five and walked four.
Notre Dame returns to action on Sat, Mar. 17 at Noon CT against Indiana State for its third game from the 2012 Irish Baseball Classic. In-game updates will be available on twitter at @NDBaseball and facebook at NDBaseball while fans can listen to all the action locally on 103.1 FM and on the internet at UND.com.
— ND —