April 23, 2014
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Just one inning after the University of Notre Dame baseball team plated two runs to tie the game at three, Central Michigan used a sac fly in the eighth inning to regain the lead as the Chippewas went on to a claim a 4-3 victory over the Irish Wednesday night at Homer Stryker Field.
Central Michigan (26-15) used timely hits and spectacular plays in the field to knock off the Irish. They scored runs in the first, second, sixth and eighth innings and stole hits from Irish batters with diving catches by centerfielder Nick Regnier in the second and third innings. Central Michigan also caught the Irish stealing a base once and prevented junior Conor Biggio from scoring in the sixth as Logan Regnier tossed him out from right field.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame struggled in the field as it had three errors, including two that led directly to Chippewa runs. In the first inning, sophomore Jack Flaherty short hopped a throw to first that put Alex Borglin on base. Later in the inning, Borglin scored on a Cody Leichman double off the left-field wall. Later in the game, the Irish trailed 2-1, but a fielding error by starting pitcher Scott Kerrigan led to another run that gave Central Michigan a two-run lead.
The loss spoiled another solid outing by Kerrigan. The Saugus, Calif., native went seven innings and gave up three runs (one earned) on six hits and one walk. He also struck out a career-high eight batters as he K’d the side in the third and struck out two more in the fourth.
Kerrigan earned the no-decision after he exited the game with the score tied at three. Once he left, the Chippewas took advantage of Notre Dame’s bullpen to pull off the win. After freshman Jim Orwick struck out his only batter, junior Cristian Torres walked his only batter. That brought in senior Donnie Hissa, who gave up back-to-back singles to load the bases. With one out, Pat MacKenzie hit a fly ball that drifted into foul territory. Left fielder Mac Hudgins went over and made the catch, hoping that his throw would beat Adam Collins to the plate. However, the throw was offline as Collins crossed the dish to score what proved to be the winning run.
Torres (2-3) was issued the loss despite facing only one batter, while Adam Aldred (5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R) earned the win to improve to 4-3. Closer Tim Black picked up his seventh save after pitching 1.1 hitless innings.
Earlier in the game, the Irish were down 2-0 and desperately needing a spark. Junior Blaise Lezynski provided just that as he hit his first homer of the season and the third of his career to trim the lead to 2-1. The homer was the first for the Irish since Robert Youngdahl and Forrest Johnson hit bombs against Appalachian State March 15. Lezynski led the Irish with two hits on the night to raise his season average up to .320.
Later in the game, the Irish turned the momentum in their favor as they plated two runs in the seventh to tie the game at three. A big Phil Mosey triple to left center led off the inning. A few pitches later he scored on a wild pitch to move the score to 3-2. After Cavan Biggio hit a double to left center, catcher Ryan Lidge moved him over to third with a solid sac bunt. Flaherty then tallied his first career RBI as he hit a slow grounder to third that was enough to score Biggio.
With the loss, Notre Dame, who had three starters from this past weekend’s series at Miami unavailable Wednesday night, suffered its first midweek loss of the year and its first non-conference loss in its last 10 games. The Irish also fell to 4-12 in one-run games.
Notre Dame (16-24) has a bye from Atlantic Coast Conference action this weekend, but will play host to Northeastern in a three-game series at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director