March 12, 2011
CONWAY, S.C. – Senior RHP Cole Johnson tossed 7.2 solid innings, but Notre Dame was unable to mount anything against Coastal Carolina reliever Jordan Coons and the No. 24 Chanticleers held off the Irish, 4-3, Saturday afternoon from Watson Stadium. Notre Dame, which won its first game of the day, 3-0, over UAB, dropped to 5-7, while Coastal Carolina improved to 10-4.
Johnson (1-3) kept the Irish in the game despite ultimately picking up the loss. The righty allowed four runs, all earned, on five hits in 7.2 innings of work. Johnson nearly registered his fourth quality start in as many starts. He struck out a season-high seven and walked a pair. Johnson settled into a nice groove and retired the final eight Chanticleers he faced.
Unfortunately, the Irish were not able to muster anything off Coons. The righty blanked Notre Dame over the final four innings of the contest and picked up his first save of the year. Coons limited the Irish to just one hit and struck out six along the way.
Notre Dame did manage to get the leadoff batter on base in both the seventh and eighth innings against Coons, but was unable to execute a sacrifice bunt to advance the running into scoring position on either occasion. In fact, the Irish failed to execute three sacrifice bunts on the day.
Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico and freshman 1B Trey Mancini paced the Irish attack with two hits apiece. DeSico went 2-for-2 with a walk and sacrifice bunt, while Mancini went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and a run scored.
Coastal Carolina starting pitcher Stefan del Pino was credited with the victory and improved to 3-0 on the year. The southpaw scattered six hits over 5.0 innings and allowed three runs, all earned. del Pino walked a pair and did not register a strikeout.
Notre Dame grabbed the game’s first lead with a run in the top of the first inning. DeSico opened the game with a base hit for the second straight outing. After fifth-year OF Herman Petzold popped up the sacrifice bunt attempt, freshman 3B Eric Jagielo was plunked to put runners on first and second with one out. Sophomore C Joe Hudson hit into a fielder’s choice and DeSico was forced out at third base, but Mancini followed with a towering RBI double to centerfield to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. Hudson was gunned down at the plate to end the inning.
Coastal Carolina answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Johnson walked Scott Woodward and Hayes Orton followed with a double off the left field wall. Junior Alex Robinson quickly relayed the ball to senior SS Mick Doyle, who threw a strike to Hudson at the plate in plenty of time to retire Woodward, but the Chanticleer designated hitter dislodged the ball from Hudson’s glove to score and tie the game, 1-1. Orton advanced to third base on the relay throw and coasted home on Tommy La Stella’s ensuing RBI single to make the score 2-1.
After the Chanticleers increased their lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning, the Irish answered with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning to square the score, 3-3. Sophomore OF Charlie Markson ripped a two-out, two-run double to plate Mancini and senior DH Matt Scioscia, who double and singled, respectively, earlier in the frame.
Coastal Carolina regained a one-run lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two down and Jacob May at first base, Johnson got Orton to pop up a 1-0 offering behind the plate, but Hudson was not able to complete the play. May then proceeded to steal second base and cruised home on Orton’s RBI single – his third base hit in as many plate appearances in the contest.
Koons did the rest.
McIver, who replaced Johnson with two outs in the eighth inning, struck out the only batter he faced to end the frame.
Notre Dame concludes its action from the Caravelle Resort Classic at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday against Kent State. The game can be heard on WHME Harvest 103.1 FM and UND.com.