May 1, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. —Â St. John’s freshman Kyle Hansen, younger brother of current Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Craig Hansen, struck out nine in 7.2 innings as the Red Storm defeated Notre Dame, 8-1, and evened the BIG EAST series with the Irish at one game apiece. Notre Dame dropped to 20-23 overall and 8-9 in the league, while St. John’s improved to 28-13 and 11-6.
Hansen, the reigning BIG EAST pitcher of the week, limited the Irish to one run on four hits. Hansen surrendered a leadoff home run to senior left fielder Ryan Connolly in the bottom of the first inning, but he silenced Notre Dame the rest of the way. In fact, Hansen allowed only six base runners before being pulled after a liner deflected off his ankle with two outs in the eighth inning. He retired seven of the last eight Irish batters he faced.
Hansen improved to 6-1 on the year. Over his last two starts, the rookie has punched out 21 in 15.0 innings of work and allowed just two earned runs.
Sophomore southpaw Steve Sabatino lasted just 2.1 innings and was roughed up for six runs, four earned, on five hits in defeat. He dropped to 3-6 on the year. Sabatino did not register a strikeout and walked one.
Connolly provided the only offense for Notre Dame with his solo home run to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Connolly hammered a 1-0 fast ball over the left centerfield wall for his ninth home run of the season to tie the score, 1-1. The senior has now lead off three games this season with home runs.
Jeremy Baltz and Greg Hopkins each went 3-for-4. Baltz drove in three and drilled a two-run home run. Hopkins scored two runs and drove in one. Joe Panik went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and three runs scored.
Sabatino retired the first two Red Storm batters of the afternoon, but Panik took a 2-2 offering from the Irish southpaw and deposited over the right field wall for a solo home run to give St. John’s a 1-0 lead.
After Connolly’s long ball squared the game, 1-1, the Red Storm regained a lead in their half of the second inning. After Paul Karmas opened the frame with a double, Matt Wessinger then reached on an errant throw from junior Greg Sherry at third base. Hopkins and Sean O’Hare followed with RBI singles to make it 3-1 and a double play ground out made it 4-1. Two of the three runs were unearned following the error.
Baltz extended the lead to 6-1 with his team-leading 11th home run of the season, a two-run shot that ended the day for Sabatino.
Johnson relieved Sabatino and worked 2.2 innings of relief. The righty yielded a pair of earned runs on three hits. He fanned one and walked two.
Notre Dame sophomore Joe Spano and junior Todd Miller did their part out of the Irish bullpen. The tandem combined for 4.0 scoreless innings of relief. Spano allowed three hits, with a walk and strikeout, while Miller tossed a perfect ninth inning.
Notre Dame and St. John’s return to action at 12:05 p.m. on Sunday at Frank Eck Stadium. GameTracker, live web stream, live blog and recap of Saturday’s game will be available on UND.com. Tickets for all Fighting Irish home contests this season are available through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), on-line at the official Fighting Irish athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets), and at the Frank Eck Stadium ticket windows on game night.
— ND —