April 27, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After coming-from-behind to win game one of Friday’s BIG EAST doubleheader, St. John’s took an early lead with four runs in the top of the first inning on its way to a 6-4 victory to complete a doubleheader sweep of Notre Dame. Freshman DH Ryan Bull went 3-for-5, and sophomore 3B Eric Jagielo finished 2-for-3, but the Irish offense failed to come register a clutch hit in a number of scoring opportunities.
Junior RHP Adam Norton (3-3) was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs in 4.2 innings. Meanwhile, Red Storm starter Sean Hagan (5-2) lasted 6.0 innings striking out five for the win. St. John’s (27-16, 13-4 BIG EAST) exited Friday with a four-game lead in the BIG EAST over Notre Dame (22-19, 9-8).
St. John’s jumped out to a 4-0 first inning lead as they took advantage of Norton’s pitches over the middle of the plate. The Red Storm quickly loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a hit by pitch. Then, Jeremy Baltz lined a two-run double off the left field fence for his team-leading 40th and 41st RBI of the year. Sean O’Hare followed with a two-run double into the right-center field gap.
The Irish chipped away at the St. John’s lead with a run in the home half of the first. Jagielo’s one-out double put runners at second and third before sophomore 1B Trey Mancini collected an RBI ground out.
However, Notre Dame missed an opportunity to further cut into the lead in the bottom of the third, trailing 4-1. Singles by junior 2B Frank DeSico and Bull followed by a Jagielo walk loaded the bases with one down for Mancini, the Irish cleanup hitter.
Mancini, though, popped out to short right field, which was not hit deep enough for DeSico to score. Hudson then flied out to centerfield to end the threat.
Norton worked through the next three innings without trouble. But he was again threatened with a big inning in the fifth as the Red Storm chased him from the contest and padded their lead with two runs. Kyle Richardson, who finished the game 3-for-5, led off the inning with a single. Then, Norton plunked Matt Wessinger before Frank Schwindel lined an RBI single to center to end Norton’s evening.
Norton was relieved by senior LHP Steve Sabatino. The Red Storm took a 6-1 lead on an RBI ground out by O’Hare (2-for-4, 3 RBI).
Jagielo’s solo home run in the fifth brought the Irish a run closer, 6-2. The long ball over the right field wall was his team-leading 10th of the season.
In the seventh, with reliever Eddie Medina on the mound, the Irish tacked on another run. Bull sent an RBI single to right, scoring freshman SS Jason McMurray (2-for-4), who led off the inning with a triple. Trailing 6-3, the Irish again appeared on the brink of a big inning as Bull’s single put runners on the corners with no out for the middle of the order.
But St. John’s LHP Kevin Kilpatrick relieved Medina and danced out of trouble. Jagielo rifled a missile right at the St. John’s shortstop, and Mancini grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Mancini, who was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Monday, struggled in the doubleheader going 0-for-6.
Kilpatrick nearly silenced the Irish bats over the final three innings, only allowing one base runner, to earn his third save of the season. Junior C Joe Hudson doubled in the eighth and would later score on an RBI ground out from junior CF Charlie Markson to cut the Red Storm lead to 6-4.
The Irish bullpen kept the team within striking distance by pitching 4.2 shutout innings in relief of Norton. Sabatino, sophomore RHP Sean Fitzgerald, sophomore RHP Donnie Hissa, and senior LHP Joe Spano combined for four strikeouts while only allowing two hits and two walks.
A doubleheader was played between the two teams on Friday due to the threat for inclement weather on Saturday with temperatures in the mid-40s accompanied by rain.
Notre Dame and St. John’s will close the series at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Frank Eck Stadium. In-game updates will be available on Twitter at @NDBaseball and Facebook at NDBaseball, and fans can listen to all the action locally on 103.1 FM and on the Internet at UND.com.
— ND —