April 30, 2013
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The University of Notre Dame witnessed the good, bad and ugly on Tuesday night at Central Michigan, but regardless of the situation the Fighting Irish delivered and snapped their eight-game road losing streak. Junior 1B and All-American candidate Trey Mancini recorded his seventh straight multi-hit game as Notre Dame outlasted the Chippewas, 7-3, at Theunissen Stadium. The Irish have now won eight of their last nine games and improve to 27-16 overall, while Central Michigan drops to 19-23.
Junior RHP Sean Fitzgerald, working on a pitch count, picked up the victory and evened his record at 3-3 on the season. He limited the Chippewas to an earned run on four hits in 3.0 innings of work. Fitzgerald struck out two and walked one.
Junior closer and All-American candidate Dan Slania tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief for his 11th save of the season (in 12 chances). He has recorded 28 saves over his brilliant Irish career. Slania allowed a pair of hits to open the eighth inning, but picked up a double play and ground out to end the threat. Slania collected a pair of strikeouts in the ninth inning. He lowered his ERA to 0.25. Slania has allowed one earned run in 36.0 innings this year.
Mancini, who was earlier in the day was named National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Hitter of the Week, continued his offense tear. The 1B and All-American candidate went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Mancini extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He is batting .619 (26-for-42) with five doubles, three triples and 14 RBI over the 11 games. In fact, Mancini is 18 for his last 22 at the plate.
Sophomore DH Phil Mosey and senior 2B Frank Desico each collected two hits. Mosey went 2-for-4 with a run scored, RBI double and RBI triple, while DeSico went 2-for-5 with a run scored.
Freshman RHP David Hearne got some huge outs as Notre Dame clung to a three-run lead over the sixth and seventh innings. He worked 1.1 scoreless innings out of the Irish bullpen. Hearne struck out three and did not yield a base hit.
Central Michigan chipped away at Notre Dame’s lead with another solo tally in the bottom of the sixth inning to draw within three runs, 6-3, but it could have been far worse. Hearne replaced junior RHP Donnie Hissa with a runner on first and a run already on the board. After a stolen base advanced the runner into scoring position, Hearne balked and plunked a batter, but the Irish rookie evaded further damage inducing a ground out to end the inning.
Hearne retired the first two Chippewas in the bottom of the seventh inning, but an error from junior 3B Eric Jagielo extended the inning. Hearne then picked up a strikeout, which should have ended the inning, but the breaking ball evaded junior C Forrest Johnson behind the dish. With runners on first and second, still two down, Hearne blew a fast ball past Central Michigan pinch hitter Noel Santos to end the inning.
Slania did the rest.
Jimmy McNamara took the loss and dropped to 0-3. He was roughed up for six runs, all earned, on seven hits in 2.2 innings of work. McNamara struck out one and walked one.
After a quick 1-2-3 top of the first inning, Notre Dame rebounded with two runs in the top of the second to grab a 2-0 lead. Mancini crushed a double off the right field wall that would have left the ballpark sans a 25-30 mph wind blowing in from centerfield. Sophomore LF Ryan Bull followed with a ground ball to the right side before Mosey drove an RBI triple into right centerfield. Freshman SS Lane Richards plated Mosey with an RBI ground out.
The Irish increased their lead to 6-0 with a four-run third inning. Mancini and Bull collected RBI singles, while Mosey registered an RBI double. The other Notre Dame run came on an error.
The Chippewas loaded the bases with two outs in their half of the third inning. Jordan Adams then pulled an RBI single through the left side of the infield to cut the Irish lead to 6-1, but Fitzgerald got a foul out to end the threat as Central Michigan left the bases loaded.
Hissa relieved Fitzgerald and tossed a perfect fourth inning, but ran into trouble in the fifth. Central Michigan opened the frame with a single and walk. After a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt, Nick Reginer drove in a run with an RBI ground out. Hissa then plunked Adams, who promptly stole second base, but the Irish right-handed hurler struck out Cody Leichman to end the inning with two Chippewas in scoring position. Hissa and Leichman went toe-to-toe over a 10-pitch at bat before Hissa blew a fast ball past Leichman.
Notre Dame had plenty of opportunities of its own to put the game out of reach, but the Irish were the own worst enemy at times. Notre Dame had three players picked off.
Senior CF and co-captain Charlie Markson added an RBI single in the top of the ninth inning to provide some insurance.
Notre Dame returns to Frank Eck Stadium for a 5:35 p.m. tilt Wednesday with Eastern Michigan. Sophomore RHP Matt Ternowchek will take the mound for the Irish.
— ND —