Kevin DeFilippis

Three-Run Eighth Inning Rally Lead Irish Past Butler, 6-5

May 1, 2012

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Down 5-3 in the eighth inning, Notre Dame rallied for three runs as freshman SS Kevin DeFilippis laced a go-ahead RBI single, and sophomore RHP Dan Slania induced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play as the Irish held on to defeat Butler, 6-5, Tuesday at Frank Eck Stadium.

Notre Dame (23-20) won for the fourth time this season when trailing after seven innings as they used small ball to both tie and take the lead. The Irish victory also snapped a four-game losing streak.

Sophomore RHP Sean Fitzgerald (5-3) earned the win, tossing 4.1 shutout innings in relief, and Slania picked up his ninth save. Chase Byerly (2-3) was saddled with the loss for Butler (20-25) after surrendering the lead in the eighth.

To start the Irish rally, junior C Joe Hudson lined a single to right field, and senior RF Alex Robinson singled back up the middle. Then, junior CF Charlie Markson, trying to advance the runners into scoring position, legged out a bunt single. On the play, Butler C Radley Haddad threw wide of first base allowing Hudson to score.

With runners now on first and third, Irish coach Mik Aoki called for a squeeze bunt, which freshman LF Mac Hudgins executed to perfection, and Robinson scored on to tie the game, 5-5.

Butler then drew the infield in with one out, following a wild pitch that advanced Markson to third. DeFilippis subsequently lined an RBI single to left to give the Irish a 6-5 lead. The hit marked the freshman’s second RBI on the season and proved to be the game winner.

In the ninth, senior LHP Steve Sabatino encountered trouble, walking a batter, hitting another and recording only one out. However, Aoki brought in Slania, his closer, who induced a game-ending double play from Griffin Richeson.

The Irish struck in the third inning to grab an early 3-0 lead. With one out, junior 2B Frank DeSico singled and stole second during freshman DH Ryan Bull’s at-bat. Bull then proceeded to send an RBI double into the left-center field gap to give the Irish the lead. He later took third on a passed ball and scored on a balk by Bulldogs’ starter Mike Hernandez.

Sophomore 1B Trey Mancini then put the Irish up 3-0 with a towering home run down the left field line. The long ball was his eighth of the season.

However, Butler responded with a five-run fourth in which they batted around. All five runs were scored with two outs. With runners on first and second, Irish RHP starter Patrick Veerkamp walked Lucas Calderon to load the bases. Bob Akin followed with a two-run single to left that found a hole between short and third.

Veerkamp again walked another batter to load the bases. Then, with Pat Gelwicks at the plate, he tried to pick-off the runner at first, but fired the throw down the right-field line allowing two runs to score.

The Bulldogs increased the lead to 5-3 and chased Veerkamp from the contest when Gelwicks sent an RBI single to left.

Prior to running into trouble in the fourth, Veerkamp kept the Irish infield defense on its toes. All nine outs in the first three innings were via groundouts.

Meanwhile, after giving up the lead in the fifth, Notre Dame squandered a couple scoring chances, as they could not get a big hit off of Hernandez.

Hernandez scattered 10 hits over a career-high 7.0 innings for the Bulldogs, and he struck out four Irish batters.

In the fifth inning, the Irish ran themselves out of a chance to cut into the 5-3 deficit. Bull started the frame with a single, and Jagielo singled with one out in the fifth to reach base safely for the 31st consecutive game. After Mancini struck out, Hudson sent a grounder up the middle, snared on a diving stop by Butler SS Griffin Richeson. He flipped late to second, but 2B Austin Miller fired to the plate to nail Bull, who tried to score from second.

DeSico singled to start the seventh, but was quickly erased after Bull hit into a double play. Jagielo lined a two-out double into the gap. However, the Irish failed to take advantage as Mancini struck out.

Five Irish batters finished the contest with multiple hits, led by Hudson, who went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. DeSico, Bull, Jagielo, and Markson all contributed two hits, and eight of the nine Irish batters reached base.

Notre Dame will conclude its six-game homestand when it hosts Valparaiso (22-20) at 5:35 p.m. Wednesday 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

— ND —