Feb. 18, 2012
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Notre Dame junior RHP Adam Norton registered his first complete game victory to lead the Irish past Iowa, 5-2, in Saturday action from the 2012 Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge at Frank Russell Memorial Stadium. Notre Dame is now 2-0 on the young season and looks for a sweep Sunday morning against in-state rival Purdue.
Norton allowed just two earned runs on seven hits, struck out four and walked only one. He blanked the Hawkeyes over the final 7.1 innings of the contest. Norton provided the Irish bullpen a much needed day of rest after Friday’s season-opening 13-12 victory over Illinois.
Ricky Sandquist was charged with the loss for Iowa. The right-handed hurler surrendered four earned runs on six hits in 2.2 innings of work. Sandquist struck out four and walked a pair.
Sophomore LF Eric Jagielo paced the Irish at the plate. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored. Freshman CF Mac Hudgins, junior C Joe Hudson and junior RF Charlie Markson all had multiple-hit games. Hudson, who went 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI against Illinois, went 2-for-2 with two doubles and an RBI against the Hawkeyes.
Notre Dame loaded the bases in the first, third, fifth and seventh innings, but managed only one run. In fact, the Irish stranded 13 over the first seven frames, but finally broke through with four runs in the top of the eighth inning. Senior SS Tommy Chase led off the inning with a single — one of the eight times Notre Dame had a leadoff batter reach base. After Mac Hudgins struck out and junior 2B Frank DeSico singled, Jagielo roped a two-run double over the head of the Iowa centerfielder to give the Irish a 3-2 lead. Hudson followed with an RBI double two batters later to increase the Notre Dame advantage to 4-2 and freshman DH Ryan Bull made it 5-2 with a RBI sacrifice fly.
The three-run cushion was more than enough for Norton, who tossed the first opening week complete game by an Irish hurler since Tom Price on Mar. 5, 1994. Norton has actually registered back-to-back quality starts against Iowa. He limited Hawkeyes to an earned run on six hits over 8.0 innings on Mar. 17, 2011, but did not render in the decision.
While Norton seemed in total control on the mound for the Irish, Iowa starter Matt Dermody struggled with his command. The southpaw allowed four hits, walked six and needed 113 pitches over 4.2 innings.
Notre Dame’s only run off Dermody, though, was an RBI ground out in the fifth inning from sophomore 1B Trey Mancini. Dermody proceeded to walk his fifth and sixth batters of the game before getting pulled in favor of Sandquist, who escaped the bases loaded mess with ground out.
With Iowa clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Irish loaded the bases in the seventh with one out on a Jagielo single, Hudson double and Bull walk, but could not mount a run for a third time. Sandquist struck out Markson and freshman pinch hitter Alex Carter to end the threat.
Notre Dame has registered double digits in the hit column over each of its two games in 2012. The Irish had 17 in Friday’s season opener and collected 12 more Saturday. Notre Dame has not had 10 or more hits in consecutive games to open a season since 1998.
Notre Dame has also managed to overcome a remarkable 31 runners stranded on the base paths over its first two games.
The Irish return to action at 10:00 a.m. ET Sunday against the Boilermakers at Al Lang Field. Senior RHP Will Hudgins will take the mound for the Irish.
— ND —