Feb. 26, 2011
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SEATTLE - Notre Dame got back-to-back quality starts from senior RHP Cole Johnson and senior RHP Todd Miller in its doubleheader with Seattle, but each went in defeat as the Irish offense managed just two runs on seven hits in 1-0 and 7-2 losses Saturday afternoon at a frigid Husky Ballpark. Notre Dame evened its record at 3-3, while the Redhawks improved to 4-3.
Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) was nearly flawless in the opener of the twin bill. The righty blanked Seattle over the first six innings. Johnson retired the first five Redhawks of the game before allowing back-to-back singles in the second. He evaded any damage, getting a ground ball fielder's choice to end the frame.
Johnson again worked out of a difficult situation in the Seattle third inning. The Redhawks had runners on second and third with one out following a walk, base hit and error from Johnson, but he got a punch out and fly out to end the inning.
Johnson settled into a nice grove over the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. He sent down 15 of the next 17 Seattle batters, but Notre Dame was not able to mount anything against Redhawk starting pitcher Brandon Kizer.
Kizer tossed 8.0 scoreless innings and limited the Irish to five hits. He struck out a pair and did not issue a walk. Notre Dame did tag Kizer with hits in each of the first three innings, but two of those hits were followed by double plays and the other, a one-out double from sophomore 2B Frank DeSico (Cleveland, Ohio) in the third inning, went for naught.
Kizer retired 11 consecutive Notre Dame batters before fifth-year senior OF Herman Petzold (Saint Clair Shores, Mich.) reached on an infield single in the seventh inning, but with runners on the corners and one out, Kizer benefitted from a third Irish double play in the contest to escape without any runs crossing the plate.
The game remained scoreless into the eighth inning. Johnson surrendered back-to-back singles with one out before leaving the game. Freshman RHP Dan Slania (Tucson, Ariz.) replaced Johnson, but was unable to keep the scoreless.
Doug Kincaid pulled an RBI single through the right side of the infield to give Seattle a 1-0 lead. Slania did get a double play to keep the Irish deficit at one run, but Bryan Dalton tossed a scoreless ninth inning to register his first save of the season.
Johnson dropped to 1-1 on the season with the loss. He tossed 7.1 innings and allowed just one earned run on six hits. Johnson fanned five and walked one. He has registered quality starts in both outings this year.
Kizer improved to 2-0 on the season and has yet to allow a run, either earned or unearned, on just seven hits in 14.0 innings this season.
After being shutout in the opener, the Irish wasted no time in the nightcap of the doubleheader.
Petzold and freshman 1B Trey Mancini recorded RBI singles in the top of the first inning off Seafth Howe to give Notre Dame a 2-0 advantage.
Miller allowed a run in the bottom of the first, but settled down and retired 10 straight at one point before Kincaid struck again with a solo home run to tie the game, 2-2.
Howe retired five straight, including three consecutive strikeouts, before Petzold drew a two-out walk in the third inning. It would be the last base runner on the day for Notre Dame. Howe sent down the final 16 batters he faced in the game. In fact, the final 19 Irish batters overall were retired.
Notre Dame did not have a base hit after the first inning and did not have a base runner of any kind after the third.
With the game tied, 2-2, Miller ran into trouble in the seventh. After a Mancini error at first put a runner on second base to open the inning, Marcelino Morales followed with a bunt base hit putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Bryndon Ecklund followed with a sacrifice fly to give Seattle a 3-2 lead. Morales moved to third base following Miller's balk, which turned out to be his final pitch of the contest.
Freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald (McLean, Va.) replaced Miller and threw seven consecutive balls, walking two, before leaving the game. Fellow freshman Anthony McIver (Vista, Calif.) did not fare much better. He uncorked a wild pitch to make it 4-2 and a ground out gave Seattle a 5-2 advantage.
The Redhawks added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to close the scoring.
Miller dropped to 1-1 on the season despite his second straight quality start. The right-handed hurler went 6.1 innings and allowed three earned runs on just five hits. He fanned two and walked two. Fitzgerald was charged with an earned run on a couple walks, while McIver fanned one and walked one. Junior RHP Will Hudgins (Richmond, Va.) allowed a pair of earned runs on two hits and two walks in 1.0 inning.
Howe improved to 1-0 on the year. He allowed two earned runs on two hits in 8.0 innings. He fanned four and walked a pair. Blaine Jones tossed a perfect ninth inning.
Notre Dame returns to action next weekend at the Coca Cola Classic on the campus of Winthrop University. The Irish open the tournament at Noon on Fri., March 4 against Manhattan. Notre Dame then plays the host Eagles at 4:00 p.m. later in the day.