March 28, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame collected 12 hits, its most since Feb. 19, and second-most on the year, but were unable to deliver with runners in scoring position as UIC upended the Irish, 5-3, at Frank Eck Stadium Monday night. Notre Dame dropped to 9-12-1 on the year, while the Flames improved to 10-10 with their seventh consecutive victory.
The Irish went just 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight on the base paths, including six in scoring position. In fact, Notre Dame advanced a runner into scoring position with less than two outs in each of the third, sixth, seventh and eighth innings without producing a run.
Freshman LHP Anthony McIver was charged with the loss and dropped to 1-2 on the season. The rookie worked 5.0 innings and was charged with four runs, all earned, on five hits. He walked three and struck out three.
UIC starting pitcher Charlie Weinberg picked up the win. He improved to 2-3 on the year. Weinberg did not exactly fool the Irish, allowing seven hits in 5.0 innings, but allowed just two earned runs. He struck out two and walked one.
Notre Dame had five players with at least two hits for the second straight game. Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico went 2-for-5 with an RBI single. Freshman CF Eric Jagielo went 2-for-3 with a walk, run scored and double. Freshman 1B Trey Mancini went 2-for-4 with a run scored and double, while fifth-year senior RF Herman Petzold went 2-for-3 with a walk and RBI and senior 3B Greg Sherry went 2-for-4.
Jason Ganek was credited with the save, but it was far from easy.
After UIC added a huge unearned insurance run in the top of the ninth to extend its lead to three runs, 5-2, Notre Dame threatened for a come-from-behind victory for the second straight game. Petzold drew a leadoff walk. Sophomore DH Adam Norton then struck out. Petzold did scamper to second base on a wild pitch and Sherry singled to centerfield to put runners on the corners with one out.
Sophomore C Joe Hudson, serving as the tying run at the plate, popped out, but DeSico followed with an RBI single to make the score 5-3. Senior SS Mick Doyle stepped to the plate as the winning run, but Ganek struck out Doyle swinging to end the game.
Ganek allowed one earned run on two hits in 1.0 inning. He struck out two and walked one.
Not to be lost amid the disappointing loss, freshman Sean Fitzgerald was lights out after replacing McIver. Fitzgerald allowed just one unearned run in 4.0 innings and limited the Flames to just two hits. He also struck out a career-best six, including four looking. The six punch-outs are the most by an Irish reliever since Evan Danieli had six strikeouts against Michigan on May 13, 2008.
UIC grabbed the game's first lead in the top of the second inning. McIver issued a leadoff walk to Joe Betcher and was then called for a balk. After Matt Serna executed a sacrifice bunt, Jon Ryan gave the Flames a 1-0 lead with an RBI ground out.
UIC pushed its lead to 4-0 in the top of the fourth inning following a pair of two-out hits, the first being a two-run double from Ryan and the second was a RBI single from Andy Leonard.
The Irish quickly answered with a pair of runs in their half of the fourth. Jagielo singled and Mancini doubled to open the frame. Grosso followed with Notre Dame's third consecutive base hit to make the score 4-1. With runners on the corners and no outs, Petzold grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that plated Mancini to bring the Irish within two runs, 4-2. Norton singled to record Notre Dame's fourth hit of the inning, but Sherry lined out to end the inning.
UIC needed just seven hits to total its five runs. The Flames scored three of their five runs with two outs and stranded just two.
Notre Dame returns to the diamond against Central Michigan at 5:35 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Frank Eck Stadium. The game can be heard on WHME Harvest 103.1 FM and UND.com. Sophomore RHP Adam Norton will take the mound for the Irish.