SOUTH BEND, Ind. -
The No. 15 University of Notre Dame baseball team spotted Seton Hall three unearned runs and a four-run lead and the Pirates held off an Irish rally en route to a 4-3 victory Friday night from Coveleski Stadium. Notre Dame dropped to 12-6 and 0-1 in BIG EAST action, while Seton Hall collected their eighth victory in nine outings and improved to 8-10, 1-0.
Pirates' ace Jon Prosinski picked up the victory and upped his record to 3-2. The right-handed hurler scattered seven hits and three earned runs over 7.0 innings. Prosinski struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Notre Dame junior starting pitcher Sean Fitzgerald took the loss (1-2). He collected his fourth quality start of the season. Fitzgerald limited Seton Hall to four runs, only one earned, on four hits in 7.1 innings of work. The right-hander fanned seven and walked two. Fitzgerald was victimized by a crucial error in the third inning that led to three unearned runs.
Sophomore LF Mac Hudgins and senior CF Charlie Markson paced the Irish offensive attack with three and two hits, respectively. Hudgins went 3-for-4 with an RBI single, while Markson went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Senior 2B Frank Desico, freshman RF Zak Kutsulis each added RBI singles.
Seton Hall really took advantage of Irish miscues from the opening pitch. The Pirates grabbed a 1-0 lead on a Fitzgerald wild pitch in the top of the first inning.
Seton Hall plated three runs in the top of the third inning to grad a 4-0 advantage. Fitzgerald issued a leadoff walk. He then appeared to induce a likely double-play ground ball, but junior 1B Trey Mancini was unable to field the routine ground ball. With runners on first and second with no outs, the Pirates executed a double steal. Fitzgerald got a fly out and ground out, which should have ended the inning, but Giuseppe Papaccio and Sal Annunziata stroked back-to-back doubles to extend their lead.
Notre Dame finally touched up Prosinski in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Sophomore DH Ryan Bull opened with a single and scampered into scoring position following an error. After a wild pitch advanced Bull 90 feet, Kutsulis delivered an RBI single to bring the Irish within three runs, 4-1. DeSico and Hudgins recorded consecutive, two-out singles to make the score 4-3 with the tying run in scoring position for junior 3B Eric Jagielo, but Prosinski escaped the frame with the lead in-tact after Jagielo flew out to centerfield.
Fitzgerald really found his stuff as the game progressed. He retired the final 10 Pirates he faced. Fitzgerald fanned four of the six batters in the sixth and seventh innings.
Notre Dame advanced the tying run into scoring position again the seventh inning, but Prosinski got DeSico to ground out to end the threat. Hudgins then led off the eighth with a single, but Seton Hall reliever Jose Lopez got Jagielo to fly out before back-to-back strikeouts of Mancini and Bull.
Brian Gilbert picked up his second save of the season with a dominant ninth inning. He fanned two and touched 94 MPH on the radar gun on four separate offerings.
Sophomore RHP Matt Ternowchek extended his scoreless streak to open the season to 13.2 innings. The right-handed hurler tossed 1.2 innings and yielded a base hit.
With the defeat, Notre Dame dropped to 7-4 on the season in one-run contests. In fact, seven of Notre Dame's last nine games have been decided by one run, including each of the last three contests. In all, Notre Dame has played in 49 different one-run contests since third-year head coach Mik Aoki arrived on campus. That's 49 of 129 games or nearly 38 percent of Aoki's tenure in an Irish uniform. Notre Dame is 28-21 in one-run games under Aoki.
Nine of the last 11 meetings between the Irish and Seton Hall have been decided by a single run and two and three runs decided the other two games, respectively.
The weekend series against Seton Hall continues through Sunday at Coveleski Stadium. The remaining game times against the Pirates are set for 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 11:00 a.m. Sunday.
-- ND --