Sophomore left fielder Mac Hudgins hit his first home run of the season in Notre Dame's 12-2 win over Connecticut.

Irish Roll To A 12-2 Win Over Connecticut

April 26, 2013

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Notre Dame, Ind. –

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The Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team pounded out a season-high 17 hits on the way to a 12-2 win over the Connecticut Huskies to take the BIG EAST series opener Friday night at Eck Stadium.

The middle of the Notre Dame lineup – Mac Hudgins, Eric Jagielo, Trey Mancini and Ryan Bull – combined for 12 of the hits in 17 at-bats and drove in eight runs to pace the Irish attack.

Hudgins turned in a 3-for-5 night and was a triple short of the cycle with two RBI. Jagielo had a 2-for-3 game with a pair of singles and got on base four times with two hit batsmen. Mancini was 4-for-4 with two RBI, getting three singles and a double and Bull was 3-for-5 with two singles and a triple with three RBI.

Connecticut second baseman LJ Mazzilli was three-for-three in the game and drove in one run as the Huskies were held to six hits in the game.

UConn played the game under protest in the sixth inning when Notre Dame changed pitchers with one out as Nick McCarty entered the game to replace starter Pat Connaughton as the umpires questioned McCarty being on the BIG EAST roster for the game.

Connaughton went five-and-a-third innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out four to improve to 2-1 on the season. Huskies’ starter Carson Cross, who entered the game with a 6-2 record and a 1.50 earned-run average lasted just two-and-two third innings while giving up seven runs on nine hits to take the loss.

The Irish win, the fifth in the last six games, improves Notre Dame to 24-16 overall and 5-8 in the BIG EAST. Connecticut falls to 25-17 on the year and 8-8 in conference play.

Connaughton, making his sixth start of the season, got off to a rocky start, giving up a run in each of the first two innings but pitched his way out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the first by striking out Bobby Melley and Eric Yavarone. In the second, he got a foul out to the catcher and a fly ball to right to end a second-inning jam. The sophomore right-hander stranded five runners over the first two innings before settling down to face just three batters in each of the next three innings.

Meanwhile, his teammates were doing quite a bit of damage, putting seven runs on the scoreboard over the first three innings on 10 hits. Hudgins doubled with one out in the first and came around to score on a Jagielo RBI single to tie the game at 1-1. Jagielo would score on a single by Charlie Markson and Mancini scored after Conor Biggio was hit with the bases loaded to make it 3-1 after one inning.

With the score 3-2 in the bottom of the second, the Irish scored twice as Mancini doubled in Hudgins, who scored three runs on the night, and Mancini scored on a single by Bull to make it 5-2.

The score would go to 7-2 in the third on a two-run homer down the right-field line by Hudgins, his first this season, that chased Cross in his shortest outing of the year.

Connaughton would give up just two more hits and in the sixth after a hit and a walk by Melley and Paul; he was pulled with McCarty entering the game.

At that point, the game was delayed 25 minutes while the umpires tried to figure out if McCarty was on the Irish roster for the game as he was not on the lineup card exchanged by the teams at the beginning of the game. After the delay, the umpires ruled that McCarty could pitch and at point Connecticut announced it would play the game under protest. The freshman right-hander slammed the door on the Huskies, pitching two-and-two-third innings while giving up one hit to get the game to the ninth.

Notre Dame added three runs in the sixth as Jagielo was hit by a pitch and singled to third by Mancini. Bull then launched a long fly ball to deep right that drove in Jagielo but Mancini was thrown out at the plate. After a walk to Markson, shortstop Lane Richards singled to the left field gap to score Mancini and Markson, who was running with two outs, and came all the way from first to make it an 10-2 game.

In the eighth, Notre Dame tacked on two more runs as Forrest Johnson scored on a sacrifice fly by Mancini and Frank Desico scored on a Bull single for the final of 12-2.

Donnie Hissa pitched a three-up, three-down ninth to close out the game for the Irish.

The 17-hit game was a season high, surpassing the 16 hits that Notre Dame recorded on Feb. 16 in a 13-3 win over Ohio State.

Notre Dame and Connecticut will meet in game two of the three-game series on Saturday, April 26 at 2:05 p.m. at Frank Eck Stadium.