May 16, 2013
CINCINNATI, Ohio – A few short hours after being informed head coach Brian Cleary was being relieved of his duties, the University of Cincinnati put together its best performance of the season and raced past the University of Notre Dame, 9-5, Thursday night at Marge Schott Stadium. The Fighting Irish drop to 30-22 overall and 9-13 in the BIG EAST, while the Bearcats improve to 23-31 and 5-17.
Justin Glass and Ryan Quinn each collected four hits, and Matt Williams drove in three, including a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Notre Dame senior RHP Adam Norton suffered through his most difficult outing of the season. He surrendered seven runs, five earned, on 11 hits in 6.0+ innings. Norton fanned three and walked one. He failed to throw 7.0 innings for just the third time in his 14 starts this season.
Senior 2B and co-captain Frank Desico was the lone Irish player with more than one hit, despite Notre Dame’s 11 on the night. Junior 1B and All-American candidate Trey Mancini extended his hitting streak to a career-best 20 games. Eight other players had exactly one hit.
Matt Ring picked up the victory for the Bearcats and improved to 3-1 on the season. He was not all that impressive, as he allowed four runs; all earned, on six hits in 6.0 innings, but did exit the contest with the lead. Ring struck out four and walked two.
Thomas Gentile picked up his first save of the campaign with 3.0 solid innings of relief. He scattered five hits and allowed one run and seemed to evade every potential Irish threat.
Notre Dame had runners in scoring position in each of the third, sixth, seventh and eighth innings and failed to convert on any of the opportunities. The Irish stranded a base runner a third in the third, runners at second and third in the sixth, then runners on the corners in each of the seventh and eighth.
The missed opportunities in the sixth and seventh proved to be the most costly.
Freshman DH Zak Kutsulis drew a leadoff walk and raced home on junior 3B and All-American candidate Eric Jagielo’s RBI double that gave the Irish a 4-2 lead. Mancini then reached on an error and both moved into scoring position with one out after sophomore RF Ryan Bull’s sacrifice bunt. Ring got a strikeout and foul out to end the threat.
The Bearcats seemed to carry that momentum into their half of the sixth inning. Devin Wenzel opened the frame with a single and Jeff Wallace laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Norton’s throw tailed inside the first-base line and got away from DeSico, who was covering the bag. Wallace not only reached on the error, but Wenzel scampered to third.
Norton then issued an uncharacteristic four-pitch walk to load the bases. Quinn followed with an RBI single and Ethan McAlpine tied the game, 4-4, with a fielder’s choice ground out. Forrest Perron gave the Bearcats a 5-4 lead with a sacrifice fly. Two of the three runs were unearned.
With the Irish now trailing, 5-4, DeSico and sophomore PH Phil Mosey collected back-to-back two-out singles in the top of the seventh. Jagielo stepped to the plate, but Gentile got the Irish All-American candidate to pop out to end the inning.
Williams’ two-run bomb in the seventh ended the evening for Norton and Cincinnati’s two additional runs in the eighth put the game out of reach.
Notre Dame’s offense showed life in the top of the second inning. Mancini ripped a single to centerfield and Bull followed with a sacrifice bunt. Senior CF and co-captain Charlie Markson tied the game, 1-1, with a single back up the middle. Freshman SS Lane Richards followed with a hit-and-run double down the left-field line that plated Markson and the Irish led, 2-1. Sophomore LF Mac Hudgins then hit with a hard grounder at the Cincinnati first baseman that ricocheted off his glove and into right field. Richards cruised home on the error that gave the Irish a 3-1 advantage.
The Bearcats scratched a run off Norton in the fifth inning that cut the Irish lead to 3-2. With two outs and runners on the corners, Cincinnati executed a first and third steal situation to perfection. Williams took off from first base and drew a throw. He stayed alive in the run down long enough to allow Glass to race home from third base.
The Bearcats would grab the lead an inning later and never look back.
Notre Dame returns to action at 7:00 p.m. Friday with the second-game of the BIG EAST series with Cincinnati. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.