LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
The University of Notre Dame found itself down 6-1 in the fourth inning, only to rally within a run, 6-5, but an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth and three two-out runs in the bottom of the eighth inning was too much to overcome as 10th-ranked Louisville doubled up the 15th-ranked Fighting Irish, 10-5, Thursday night at Jim Patterson Stadium. Notre Dame drops to 15-7 overall and 2-2 in the BIG EAST, while the Cardinals improve to 20-5 and 2-2.
Chad Green picked up the win for Louisville and improved to 4-2 on the season. The right-handed hurler allowed four runs, all earned, on five hits in 5.0+ innings of work. Green struck out one and walked a pair.
Kyle McGrath picked up his first career save with 2.1 scoreless innings of relief. The southpaw entered in the seventh inning with the Cardinals clinging to a 7-5 lead. He silenced the Irish bats. McGrath allowed a pair of hits, but also struck out five and did not issue a walk. He retired seven of the last eight batters he faced.
Notre Dame junior RHP Sean Fitzgerald took the defeat and dropped to 1-3. He was knocked around for six runs, all earned, on seven hits in 3.1 innings. Fitzgerald walked one and did not collect a strikeout.
Junior 3B All-American candidate Eric Jagielo was simply phenomenal in defeat. He went 3-for-4 with a double to the opposite field, a rocket single back up the middle and a three-run home run off the scoreboard in right field. Jagielo drove in three and scored a pair of runs. He raised his team-leading batting average to .410. Jagielo also leads the Irish in home runs with seven and RBI with 25.
Jagielo got the Irish back in the game with one loud swing of the bat in the top of the fifth. With Notre Dame down 6-1, Jagielo and Green faced off in an 11-pitch battle. Jagielo fouled off five pitches before crushing a 3-2 offering halfway up the scoreboard in right center field.
Notre Dame then drew within a run, 6-5, in the top of the sixth inning on senior CF Charlie Markson's RBI ground out, but the Irish gave the run right back in the bottom half of the frame. Senior 2B Frank Desico committed an error to open the inning and then junior 1B Trey Mancini committed an error with two outs that allowed an insurance run to score.
Jagielo ripped a single back up the middle with two outs in the seventh to bring the potential tying-run to the plate in Mancini, but McGrath got the All-American candidate to strikeout to end the threat.
Louisville put the game away with three runs in its half of the eighth inning - all after Irish sophomore reliever Matt Ternowchek retired the first two Cardinals of the inning.
Mancini went 2-for-4 with an RBI double. Freshman SS Lane Richards went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Freshman DH/LHP Zak Kutsulis limited Louisville to an unearned run on a base hit in 2.2 innings of work. He struck out one and walked one.
The Cardinals grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Adam Engel ripped a double on Fitzgerald's first offering of the night, moved to third on Nick Ratajczak's fly out and cruised home on Ty Young's RBI ground out. It took the Cardinals four pitches to grab the one-run lead.
The Cardinals extended their lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Young struck again, this time with an RBI triple into the right centerfield gap. Markson ranged into deep right centerfield and made a diving effort to catch the line drive, but it bounced off the end of his glove and rolled to the wall. Young then cruised home on Cale Sturgeon's sacrifice fly.
After Notre Dame cut the deficit to 3-1, Louisville, and specifically Young, struck again in the bottom of the fourth. Young ripped a three-run triple, his second three-bagger of the night and third, fourth and fifth RBI of the game that gave the Cardinals a 6-1 advantage.
Young went 3-for-5 with two triples, two runs scored and five RBI. Sturgeon went 1-for-3 with a run scored, two-run double and three RBI.
Notre Dame continues its three-game BIG EAST series with No. 10 Louisville at 6:00 p.m. Friday.
-- ND --