April 30, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame freshman LF Eric Jagielo delivered a two-out, walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Irish a 2-1 victory over Seton Hall Saturday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame, which evened the critical BIG EAST series, improved to 15-21-1 overall and 6-10 in the league, while the Pirates dropped to 20-20 and 7-10.
Jagielo made a winner out of fellow Irish freshman Sean Fitzgerald. The right-handed hurler collected the first victory of his career and improved to 1-0 on the season. Fitzgerald tossed 3.0 scoreless innings of relief and limited Seton Hall to just one hit. He fanned one and walked one.
George Fernandez was charged with the loss and dropped to 1-1. The righty surrendered one earned run on two hits over 3.2 innings of work. Fernandez punched out two and walked two.
Notre Dame did not have a leadoff batter reach base once over the first 11 innings, but senior SS Mick Doyle led off the 12th with a walk and moved into scoring position following sophomore 2B Frank DeSico’s sacrifice bunt. The Irish caught quite a break on DeSico’s bunt. The Notre Dame leadoff hitter popped up the bunt, but it landed just inside the foul line. Doyle, who had to hold up in the event the ball was caught, would have likely been forced out at second base, but Fernandez threw to first instead to retire DeSico.
After senior 3B Greg Sherry grounded out to second base, which moved Doyle just 90 feet from home, Jagielo slapped a 1-0 offering from Fernandez into left field to give the Irish victory.
Senior RHP Cole Johnson did not factor in the decision, but was lights out once again. He tossed his fourth career outing of 9.0 innings or more and first since April 9, 2009, against Cincinnati (9.2 innings). Johnson allowed just one earned run on three hits, two of which were singles, in 9.0 innings of work. He struck out two and walked three.
Johnson actually took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He issued a leadoff walk to Zack Granite to open the contest, but proceeded to retire the next 10 Pirates before another free pass with one out in the fourth. Johnson sent down the next five Seton Hall batters before running into a little bit of trouble in the sixth.
The Pirates had runners on first and second with just one out after an Irish error and hit batsman, but Johnson induced a 5-4-3 double play to take the no-hitter into the seventh inning.
Johnson retired the opening hitter of the Seton Hall seventh on a line out. He then issued a walk to Dale Anderson before Mike Genovese broke up the no-hit bid with a clean single to right field.
While the no-hit was gone, the Irish clung to just a 1-0 lead and the Pirates drew even. Chase Gray slashed an opposite field RBI double to tie the game, 1-1, but Johnson and a huge defensive play from junior CF Alex Robinson would keep the score tied. With the go-ahead run at third base and still just one out, Frank Esposito hit a fly ball to centerfield. Robinson charged the fly ball and uncorked a strike to sophomore C Joe Hudson, who tagged out Anderson at the plate.
Johnson retired six of the last seven Pirates he faced to send the game into extra innings. He lowered his season ERA to 2.78. Johnson, who received 19 runs of support in his first start of 2011, has benefitted from a total of 19 runs over his last 10 starts of the season combined.
DeSico was the lone player on either side to register a multi-hit game. He went 2-for-5 with an RBI single.
Seton Hall starter Jon Prosinski settled down a wild start to the game. He walked four over the first 1.1 innings of work, but did not allow a base hit after the fourth inning. Prosinski retired 11 straight at one point and 13 of the last 14 Irish hitters he faced. Prosinski allowed just one earned run on four hits in 8.0 innings. He struck out four and walked five.
Notre Dame and Seton Hall conclude the series at 11:05 a.m. on Sunday morning at Frank Eck Stadium. The game can be heard in South Bend on WHME / Harvest 103.1 FM and watched live at UND.com.
As always, please visit UND.com regularly for full coverage of all Notre Dame athletics news and events.
— ND —