April 21, 2014
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Notre Dame baseball team looked to sneak a road Atlantic Coast Conference series win Monday night as it carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth inning at No. 11 Miami. However, the wheels came off in the second to last frame for the Irish as the Hurricanes plated four runs to earn a 6-3 win and clinch the hard-fought series victory.
Irish starter Pat Connaughton (1-3) was cruising through seven innings as he had thrown only 79 pitches and had worked himself out of several jams. The eighth inning wasn’t as easy for the 6-5 righty as he got into some trouble after recording a strikeout to open the frame. After leadoff hitter Dale Carey earned a five-pitch walk, left fielder Tyler Palmer hit a triple to left center that just got past the outstretched mitt of Zak Kutsulis and scored Carey to tie the game at three. Next, DH Zack Collins hit a sac fly to leftfield that scored Palmer and gave Miami the lead for the second time in the game. A walk and single from Fieger followed to give Miami runners at the corners with two outs. That would do it for Connaughton as senior Donnie Hissa entered to try and limit the damage. The first batter was walked on a 3-2 count to load the bases and what followed was two more bases-loaded walks that plated two runs before Hissa induced a groundout to end the inning with the Hurricanes up three.
After a solid seven innings, Connaughton ended up suffering the loss as he was charged with all six runs on seven hits and four walks. He did strike out a season-high eight on 108 pitches. Hissa walked three in 0.1 innings of work.
While they did score a run in the fourth and two in the seventh, the Irish offense failed to capitalize on several opportunities that could have extended their lead as they left six runners on base. Notre Dame managed just four hits on the night, but did show patience at the plate with six walks, including five from Hurricane starter Bryan Radziewski.
Radziewski earned the no-decision after hurling 120 pitches in seven innings as he gave up three runs on four hits. He struck out an impressive nine Irish batters. Reliever Bryan Garcia earned the win to improve to 4-2 after he had two no-hit innings.
On defense, the Irish infield tallied its first two double plays of the series to up its season total to 49.
Notre Dame scored first in the series-deciding game as freshman Cavan Biggio moved into a tie for first in the ACC with his seventh sac fly of the campaign. The Irish got to that point by loading the bases beginning with junior Mac Hudgins getting hit by his team-leading ninth pitch of the year. Junior Ryan Bull followed with a walk and junior Phil Mosey hit a single to bring up Biggio. Unfortunately, the inning ended prematurely as Bull was caught in a rundown after the fly out as he didn’t get back to second base in time.
The ‘Canes answered back immediately in the bottom half of the fourth as the Irish killer Collins clubbed a double down the right-field line to plate Carey. Willie Abreu followed that up by lofting a single to right field that brought around Collins to give Miami its first lead since Saturday night.
Notre Dame reclaimed the lead in the top of the seventh as it took advantage of poor pitching from Radziewski. With one out, junior Kevin DeFilippis walked and then advanced to third on a passed ball followed immediately by a wild pitch. Radziewski then walked junior Robert Youngdahl to put runners on the corners. Junior Conor Biggio hit into an unfortunate fielder’s choice that eliminated DeFilippis from the base paths, but a fine piece of hitting by Hudgins ended with two Irish runs crossing the plate. Down 0-2 in the count, Hudgins fouled off a pitch, took a ball that allowed both runners to steal a base and get into scoring position and fouled off another pitch. With the count 1-2, Hudgins hit a ball through the right side gap to score both runners and put the Irish up 3-2. Coming into the game he was hitting .273 with runners in scoring position and .333 with two outs and improved both statistics as he notched his eighth and ninth RBI of the 2014 campaign.
In addition to Hudgins’ and Biggio’s solid days at the plate, Mosey (1 H, 1 BB), DeFilippis (1 H, 1 BB) and Bull (2 BB) got on base twice.
Notre Dame (16-23, 4-17 ACC) gets right back to action at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday as it plays host to Central Michigan (25-15) at Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo, Mich. Fans can follow the game through gametracker and WatchND’s audio broadcast (WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend).
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director