Cole Johnson

Irish Waste Johnson's Performance and Squander Game One Of Series With Cincinnati, 5-4, In 11 Innings

April 9, 2009

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CINCINNATI, Ohio – Notre Dame plated two runs in the top of the 11th inning to grab a 4-2 lead, but Cincinnati took advantage of three walks from senior reliever Jeremy Barnes (Garland, Texas) in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score, 4-4, before Cameron Satterwhite gave the Bearcats a 5-4 victory with a walk-off single in the series opener at Marge Schott Stadium Thursday night. All five Cincinnati runs on the night reached base on walks.

Sophomore Cole Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) was spectacular once again for the Irish despite not factoring in the decision. The right-handed hurler went 9.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs on eight hits. Johnson struck out five and walked three. He became the first Notre Dame pitcher to work into the 10th inning since Aaron Heilman tossed 10.0 innings against West Virginia on April 15, 2000. Johnson has now tossed 9.0 or more innings in three consecutive stats.

The Irish took a 4-2 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the 11th inning. After junior A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) ripped a leadoff double, he was caught in a run down when sophomore David Casey’s (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) sharp grounder was fielder by Cincinnati pitcher Tyler Smith. Smith ran directly at Pollock before getting him out diving back to second base. Barnes then singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Junior Billy Boockford (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), who started for the first time since March 7, gave Notre Dame a 3-2 lead with a RBI single scoring pinch runner Ryan Connolly (Binghamton, N.Y.) from second. Sophomore Cameron McConnell (Bannockburn, Ill.) followed with a sacrifice fly to score Barnes to make it 4-2.

Barnes walked Bearcat pinch hitter Zach Collaros to open the 11th. After Barnes punched out Cory Hough, T.J. Jones singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Barnes then uncorked a wild pitch before walking another pinch hitter, Kendall Coleman, to load the bases. He walked his third batter of the inning, Nick Rohlfs, to cut the Irish lead to 4-3.

Barnes was removed for freshman Will Hudgins (Richmond, Va.), who induced a ground ball from Jamel Scott, but the speedy centerfielder legged out a possible inning-ending double play to tie the game, 4-4. Satterwhite then greeted Hudgins with a sharp single to centerfield to give Cincinnati a 5-4 victory.

Barnes picked up the loss and dropped to 0-1 on the season. He was charged with three runs, all earned, on just one hit. All three walks he issued in the 11th came around to score.

Jake Geglein was awarded with the victory. He improved to 3-1 on the year. Geglein tossed 0.2 innings of scoreless relief.

Notre Dame stranded eight runners on base, including six in scoring position. The Irish twice, the third and fifth inning, had runners on first and second base with no outs, but failed to score either time.

Pollock, Casey, Barnes, McConnell and junior Ryne Intlekofer (Moorpark, Calif.) all added two hits for the Irish.

Cincinnati grabbed the game’s first lead with a solo run in the bottom of the first inning. Johnson walked Scott on four pitches to open the game. Scott promptly stole second base. Johnson rebounded to strikeout Satterwhite and got Mike Spina to fly out before Scott stole third base with two outs. Lance Durham, the Bearcats’ leading hitter, was then credited with an RBI single that got underneath the glove of Casey at first base to give Cincinnati a 1-0 lead.

The Irish missed out on a golden scoring opportunity in the top of the third inning. McConnell and Intlekofer opened the frame with back-to-back singles. After Tate was unable to execute a sacrifice bunt and grounded into a fielder’s choice leaving runners on the corners with one out, the left fielder was picked off for the second out of the inning and Mills popped out to end the inning.

Notre Dame did draw even thanks to some clutch two-out hitting from Boockford. Casey ripped a one-out double and moved to third base on Barnes fly out to center field. Boockford followed with a sharp single on Billy Welsh’s first offering of the at bat to tie the score, 1-1.

The Irish again got leadoff singles from Intlekofer and McConnell to open the fifth inning, but were unable to plate a run. Tate again bunted, but Welsh stumbled off the mound before fielding the ball and retiring McConnell at third base. Mills then grounded into an inning ending double play 4-6-3.

Despite missing the scoring chances, Johnson did his part to keep the Bearcats off the scoreboard. The righty retired 10 consecutive Cincinnati batters, including the Bearcats 1-2-3 in the third, fourth and fifth inning. Johnson used just 28 pitches to send down those 10 Bearcats.

Notre Dame had its leadoff batter reach for the third straight inning after Pollock drew a walk in the sixth. Casey finally made Cincinnati pay. The sophomore hammered his second double to drive in Pollock making the score 2-1, but was gunned down trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

Johnson walked Scott to open the sixth, just as he did in the first, and Scott again made the Irish pay. He stole second base and coasted home on Spina’s jam-shot double that landed on the right field line before rolling into the Irish bullpen for an RBI ground-rule double that tied the game, 2-2.

Notre Dame again squandered another scoring chance in the top of the eighth inning. Tate reached on a leadoff infield single and moved into scoring position on Mills sacrifice bunt. Pollock then ripped a single to left field, but Tate had to make sure the ball got through the infield and only advanced to third base. Casey followed with a 3-6-1 double play to end the inning. It was the second time in the game the Irish stranded a runner at third base following a Cincinnati double play.

The Irish stranded another runner in scoring position in the top of the ninth inning. Sherry belted a two-out double off the left field wall, but did not advance any further after McConnell flew out to right field to end the inning.

Notre Dame returns to action tomorrow night with the second game of the three game series with the Bearcats. First pitch at Marge Schott Stadium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sophomore RHP Brian Dupra (Rochester, N.Y.) will take the mound for the Irish.