Apr 2, 2013, 5:07 PM EDT
The Fighting Irish (15-9, 2-4 BIG EAST), currently ranked #19 in the country and eighth of eleven in the BIG EAST, suffered a disappointing sweep to the Cardinals (22-5, 4-2 BIG EAST) last weekend in Louisville. The Irish won their first BIG EAST series of the year a couple weekends ago against Seton Hall (11-13, 3-3), but the Cardinals proved a much tougher opponent.
Thursday night’s game had Notre Dame’s Sean Fitzgerald pitching against Louisville’s Chad Green. Neither of the right-handers had a very effective outing, with Fitzgerald leaving after 3 1/3 innings, having let up six runs on seven hits and a walk, and Green exiting after five innings, with the score 6-4.
Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo continued to dominate at the plate, going 3-4 with 3 RBI and 2 runs, raising his season batting average to .410.
Shortstop Lane Richards also played well, both offensively and defensively. He had four assists and a putout from the 6-spot in the field, and hit 2-4 with one run from the 7-spot in the batting order.
Louisville extended their lead after Green left, and the final score was 10-5.
Friday night’s game was much closer and was ultimately decided by a walk-off hit from Louisville first baseman Zak Wasserman with the bases loaded and one out. Irish LF Mac Hudgins almost made the catch, but the ball deflected off of his glove, allowing Coco Johnson to cross the plate and end the game.
Notre Dame ace Adam Norton had an outstanding outing, pitching eight innings in 101 pitches with just one run on five hits and a walk. His season ERA dropped to 1.39, and he remains unbeaten since he left the game in a 1-1 tie.
The loss dropped the Irish to a still impressive 9-5 in games decided by one run.
Saturday afternoon, the Irish failed to prevent the sweep, again dropping to the Cardinals 5-10. Saturday marked sophomore Pat Connaughton‘s second start since the end of basketball season, and it appeared that he was still getting into the swing of baseball season, as he only threw 56 pitches over 3 1/3 innings.
The Irish were down 8-1 heading into the top of the eighth inning and were only able to rally up to 8-5 before reliever Kyle McGrath the Cardinals sealed off the win and series sweep.
The Irish have two single games against University of Illinois-Chicago and Valparaiso before the weekend’s BIG EAST series versus Villanova, who is currently winless in the conference.
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