April 5, 2012
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Notre Dame took no-hitters into the eighth and sixth inning, respectively, in its doubleheader with Seton Hall and limited the Pirates to three earned runs combined in both games, but it was not enough to overcome nine errors in the twin bill.
The Irish entered today with a 14-0 record when leading after seven innings, but Seton Hall rallied from a pair of seventh-inning deficits and swept the Irish, 5-4 in 10 innings and 3-2 in 11 innings, in a BIG EAST doubleheader Thursday at Owen T. Carroll Field.
Notre Dame dropped to 17-12 overall and 4-4 in the BIG EAST, while the Pirates improved to 15-14 and 4-4.
The Irish held a 3-2 lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of the opener, but Zack Granite’s two-strike, RBI double off Notre Dame sophomore closer Dan Slania (Tucson, Ariz./Salpointe Catholic H.S.) tied the game, 3-3. Freshman LF Ryan Bull (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie H.S.) made a sliding effort on the sinking line drive, but the ball bounced out of his glove.
After Notre Dame regained a one-run lead, 4-3, in the 10th inning, Seton Hall answered in its half of the 10th. Will Walsh and Chase Gray collected back-to-back triples to open the 10th – both balls glancing off the gloves of Irish outfielders – against Slania to tie the game, 4-4. After a walk, Slania was pulled in favor of senior LHP Joe Spano (Verona, N.J./Seton Hall Prep).
Spano plunked a batter to load the bases with no outs, but rebounded with a fielder’s choice ground out to third base. Sophomore 3B Eric Jagielo (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North H.S.) fielded the ground ball cleanly and threw home in time to retire the lead runner. Spano induced an identical grounder from Dale Anderson, and again, Jagielo threw home in time to get the runner, but junior C Joe Hudson (Odessa, Fla./Tampa Jesuit H.S.) attempted to complete an inning-ending double play and his throw to first base caromed off the back of Anderson. As the ball bounced away from Irish 1B Trey Mancini (Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven H.S.), Ryan Sullivan scampered home to give the Pirates a 5-4 victory on Notre Dame’s seventh and final error of the game.
Slania was charged with the loss and dropped to 3-1 on the year, while Benny Mejia picked up the victory for Seton Hall and improved to 2-0.
Notre Dame not only committed seven errors in the opener, but also walked six batters and stranded 14 on the base paths. Junior 2B Frank DeSico (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius H.S.), Mancini and Hudson all had two hits. DeSico also scored a run. Mancini went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Hudson went 2-for-5. Junior CF Charlie Markson (Whitefish Bay, Wisc./Whitefish Bay H.S.) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Irish starter RHP Will Hudgins (Richmond, Va./Douglass Freeman H.S.) did not allow a hit or earned run in 5.1 innings of work, but failed to render in the decision. He struck out six and walked five, but was victimized by a trio of errors that led to a pair of unearned runs.
Notre Dame actually trailed the Pirates, 2-1, entering the seventh inning despite holding Seton Hall hitless. However, Mancini gave the Irish a 3-2 lead with a clutch two-out, two-run single in their have of the frame.
The Pirates did not collect their first hit of the opener until one out in the eighth inning following Will Walsh’s single.
Junior RHP Adam Norton (Highland, Ind./Andrean H.S.) was just as brilliant in the second game of the doubleheader, but did not factor in the decision. He did not allow a base hit until a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth inning. Norton had retired 15 of the first 16 Pirates in the game.
Markson collected a second-inning RBI single and Hudson drilled a sixth-inning solo home run. Notre Dame took that 2-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning.
After Norton got a ground out to open the Seton Hall eighth, Dillon Hamlin doubled a 0-2 offering into left centerfield. Jagielo then committed a critical error that not only allowed Michael Betz to reach base but also allowed Hamlin to reach third base. Granite followed with a single to centerfield and the Pirates were within a run, 2-1. Mike Genovese followed with a seeing-eye single through the right side of the infield and just like that the game was tied, 2-2.
Norton picked up a punch out and sophomore RHP Sean Fitzgerald (McLean, Va./McLean H.S.) got a fielder’s choice ground out to end the threat.
The game remained tied, 2-2, until the bottom of the 11th inning. Spano appeared to strikeout D.J. Ruhlman on a 2-2 pitch, but was called a ball. He ultimately walked Ruhlman. Sal Annunziata and Hamlin followed with back-to-back singles, the latter rolling just past a diving Mancini at first base to give the Pirates a 3-2 victory.
Spano picked up the loss and dropped to 0-2. Mejia was credited with the victory (as he was in the opener) and improved to 3-0. Mejia struck out five in 3.0 scoreless innings of relief.
Norton fanned seven without a walk in 7.2 innings of work. He limited Seton Hall to a pair of runs, only one earned, on six hits. Norton has now worked into the seventh inning in six of eight starts.
Notre Dame returns to the diamond at Noon ET on Saturday, Apr. 7. The Irish and Seton Hall will conclude their BIG EAST series. Freshman RHP Pat Connaughton (Arlington, Mass./St. John’s Prep) will start for Notre Dame. 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 UND.com.