March 17, 2011
SAN ANTONIO - Notre Dame rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extra-innings, but Iowa answered with a run in the top of the 10th inning on a safety squeeze to hold off the Irish, 4-3, in the first game of the 2011 Irish Baseball Classic at Wolff Stadium Thursday. Notre Dame dropped to 7-8, while the Hawkeyes improved to 6-8.
With the game all square, 3-3, in the top of the 10th inning and one out, Mike McQuillan doubled down the left field line off freshman RHP Dan Slania. Junior closer RHP Will Hudgins relieved Slania, but surrendered a base hit to Zach McCool that left runners on the corners and one out. Andrew Ewing proceeded to execute the safety squeeze on a 1-0 offering from Hudgins to plate McQuillan and give the Hawkeyes a 4-3 lead.
Kevin Lee retired the Irish in order in the bottom of the 10th to secure the victory. The Iowa closer improved to 2-0 on the year. He allowed two hits in 1.2 scoreless innings of relief. Lee struck out two and did not walk a batter. He did, though, blow a save opportunity and cost Hawkeyes starter Jarred Hippen a possible victory.
Slania was charged with the loss and dropped to 0-1 on the season. He allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits in 1.1 innings of work.
Freshman DH Trey Mancini and fifth-year senior Herman Petzold each went 2-for-4 for the Irish. Petzold drove in a run. Freshman 1B Eric Jagielo and sophomore C Joe Hudson each went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
After Iowa plated a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning to grab a 3-1 lead, the Irish rallied in the home half of the ninth. Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico reached to open the frame on a two-base error when the Iowa third baseman Ewing air-mailed the first baseman on a routine ground ball. Senior Matt Scioscia pinch hit for junior OF Alex Robinson and ripped a liner directly at the Hawkeyes shortstop. Jagielo followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 3-2.
The base hit ended the day for Hippen. Jagielo swiped second on Lee's first offering and Mancini followed with a single to right field to put runners on the corners with one out. Junior INF Tommy Chase then pinch ran for Mancini and promptly stole second base. Petzold fell behind in the count 0-2 against Lee, but worked it full before lacing an infield single off the glove Iowa third base that scored Jagielo to tie the game, 3-3.
With the winning run in scoring position, Lee managed to strikeout Doyle and got Hudson to pop out to end the Irish threat.
Sophomore RHP Adam Norton registered the best start of his career, but did not render in the decision. The righty logged a career-best 8.0 innings and allowed just one earned run on six hits. Norton struck out five and walked two.
Unfortunately for the Irish, Hippen, Iowa's top starter, was just as effective. The southpaw yielded three runs, two earned, on six hits in 8.1 innings of work. Hippen fanned five and walked one.
Slania replace Norton in the top of the ninth inning and suffered a bit of tough luck. The rookie surrendered a leadoff seeing-eye single before Tyson Blaser dropped down a sacrifice bunt. Slania hustled off the mound and cleanly fielded the ball, but Jagielo dropped his ensuing throw for an error. With two on and nobody out, Andrew Host followed with a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position.
Notre Dame was forced to bring the infield in and Keith Brand slithered a ground ball past a diving Doyle at shortstop for a two-run single (his first career hit) that gave the Hawkeyes a 3-1 lead. Slania avoided any further damage to set the stage for the Irish two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Notre Dame and Iowa face off once against at Noon CT on Friday. The Irish then play Gonzaga at Noon and 11:00 a.m. CT on Saturday and Sunday. All three games can be heard on WHME Harvest 103.1 FM and UND.com.