Junior 3B and All-American candidate Eric Jagielo

Toledo Tops Irish

April 23, 2013

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TOLEDO, Ohio – The University of Toledo took advantage of some good fortune, an uncharacteristic four home runs and extremely sloppy defense from the University of Notre Dame en route to a 15-3 victory Tuesday at Scott Park. The Fighting Irish dropped to 22-16 overall, while the Rockets improved to 15-24.

Jared Locke picked up the victory and improved to 2-4 on the season. He limited Notre Dame to an earned run on six hits. Locke struck out one and walked one.

Irish sophomore RHP Matt Ternowchek was charged with the loss and dropped to 4-3 on the year. He lasted just 1.0 inning and was charged with three runs, all earned. All three runs came on Ben Hammer’s three-run homer in the first inning. He yielded a couple hits, hit a batter and uncorked a wild pitch.

Toledo entered the game with six home runs over its first 38 games, but smacked four alone Tuesday against the Irish. Hammer paced the Toledo attack with four hits, two long balls and five RBI. Ryan Callahan went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI. The Rockets collected their first victory over the Irish since April 2, 1977 and snapped Notre Dame’s 19-game winning streak in the series.

Sophomore LF Conor Biggio registered his second career three-hit game. He went 3-for-4, while junior 3B and All-American candidate Eric Jagielo and junior 1B and All-American candidate Trey Mancini each collected two hits and a double. Mancini drove in a pair and has a team-best 39 RBI on the season.

Senior RHP Breck Ashdown tossed a scoreless inning of relief in his season debut.

Ternowchek had control issues right out of the gate. He fell behind Toledo’s leadoff hitter Tyler Grogg before ultimately plunking him on a 3-1 offering. Ternowchek then allowed an infield single that deflected off his glove and threw his legs. With runners on the corners and no outs, Hammer followed with a towering three-run home run to right centerfield that gave the Rockets a 3-0 lead. Ternowchek settled down and retired the next three Toledo batters after the round tripper but the damage already done.

Notre Dame threatened in the top of the third inning. Biggio opened the frame with a single back up the middle and moved into scoring position following junior C Forrest Johnson’s sacrifice bunt. Senior 2B Frank Desico then lined a hot shot off the pitching mound that bounced high up in the air to Toledo shortstop Nate Langhals, who gunned out DeSico. Locke then got freshman RF Zak Kutsulis to pop out to end the inning.

The Rockets took advantage of a pair of bad-hop singles and some poor Irish defense to push their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the third inning.

After Notre Dame wasted another leadoff single in the fourth inning, the Irish got back-to-back singles to open the fifth. Senior Adam Norton pinch hit for Johnson and flew out. DeSico then fouled out on a 2-0 offering from Locke. Kutsulis followed with bullet into the hole between first and second base, but Rockets’ 2B Zack Michael dove, collected the hot shot and threw out Kutsulis by a step.

Freshman RHP Nick McCarty retired seven straight Rockets before Hammer struck again. He ripped his second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning that gave Toledo a 6-0 advantage. James Miglan made it 7-0 two batters later with an extremely wind-aided solo home run. The fly ball got up into the 25-30 mph jet stream to left field.

Notre Dame finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning. Jagielo ripped a double to open the frame and Mancini followed with an RBI single to make the score, 7-1, but Locke rebounded with three straight ground ball outs to end the inning.

Toledo put to rest any idea of an Irish comeback with a six-run sixth inning. After a hit-by-pitch, seeing-eye single and error loaded the bases for the Rockets with no outs, Notre Dame was forced to bring the infield in. Freshman RHP Connor Hale jammed Grogg with a fast ball, but he somehow managed to drop the pop up in no man’s land behind the second-base bag for an RBI single. Callahan followed with a chopper that bounded over the head of a leaping Richards at shortstop. The Irish rookie did manage to get a glove on the ball, but again with the infield in was unable to field it cleanly.

Those back-to-back hits pretty much summed up the day for the Irish. Hammer followed with an RBI single and another Notre Dame error allowed two more runs to score.

Mancini added an RBI double and sophomore Blaise Lezynski chipped in with an RBI single.

McCarty was tagged for four runs, all earned, on five hits in 4.0 innings of work. He fanned three and did not issue a walk. Hale allowed one earned run on three hits in 1.0 inning of work. Freshman LHP Michael Hearne gave up a pair of runs on three hits in 1.0 inning.

Notre Dame looks to rebound as they play host to Michigan State at 5:35 p.m. Wednesday at Frank Eck Stadium.

— ND —