April 7, 2012
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Seton Hall RHP Brian Gilbert tossed a four-hit, complete game shutout to lead the Pirates to a 2-0 victory over Notre Dame Saturday at Owen T. Carroll Field. Seton Hall completed a three-game sweep of the Irish in which Notre Dame allowed just five earned runs over the entire weekend.
The Irish dropped to 17-13 overall and 4-5 in the BIG EAST, while the Pirates improved to 16-14 and 5-4 in the league.
Notre Dame did not go quietly in its half of the ninth inning. After Gilbert retired 13 consecutive Notre Dame batters, sophomore 1B Trey Mancini (Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven H.S.) reached on an error to open the inning. Junior C Joe Hudson (Odessa, Fla./Tampa Jesuit H.S.) nearly legged out an infield single, but was called out and freshman RF Ryan Bull (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie H.S.) followed with a walk to bring the go-ahead run to the plate.
Gilbert stayed in the game and promptly uncorked a wild pitch to move the tying run into scoring position.With Mancini at third and freshman PR Mac Hudgins (Richmond, Va./Douglass Freeman H.S.) at second, senior RF Alex Robinson (Dallas, Texas/First Baptist Academy) stepped to the dish. However, Gilbert buckled down and struck out Robinson swinging.
Now with two down, and the tying run still in scoring position, the Irish called on freshman PH Alex Carter (Winter Park, Fla./Orangewood Christian H.S.). Gilbert's first offering to Carter got away from Seton Hall C Dillon Hamlin and rolled to the backstop. Mancini initially hesitated before breaking for home. The slight hesitation proved costly as Hamlin raced back to the ball and threw accurately and in time toGilbert, who applied the tag on Mancini to end the game.
Gilbert improved to 2-3 on the season with a dominant effort. The right-handed hurler struck out six and walked three. He did not allow an Irish hit after the fourth inning, but it was the second inning where Notre Dame had had a golden opportunity to get to Gilbert.
The Irish loaded the bases on a Hudson hit by pitch, Bull walk and Robinson bunt single, but Gilbert struck out freshman LF Conor Biggio (Houston, Texas/St. Thomas H.S.), got a fielder's choice ground out from freshman SS Kevin DeFilippis (Homer Glen, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) and another punch out of junior 2B Frank DeSico (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius H.S.) to leave the bases loaded.
While sophomore RHP Sean Fitzgerald (McLean, Va./McLean H.S.) mowed down Seton Hall, the Irish continued to waste scoring chances. After leaving them loaded in the second, Notre Dame stranded runners on the corners in its half of the fourth. The Irish left six on thebase paths over the first four innings.
Gilbert settled down and retired the next 13 Notre Dame batters entering the ninth.
Freshman RHP Pat Connaughton (Arlington, Mass/St. John's Prep) was charged with the loss and dropped to 1-2 on the campaign. He worked just 1.1 innings and allowed one run on three hits. Connaughton fanned two and walked two. He left the game after a blister developed on his pitching hand.
Robinson was the lone Notre Dame player with a multi-hit game. He went 2-for-4 with a pair of bunt singles.
Fitzgerald allowed one run on one hit in 3.0 innings of work. He struck out two and did not issue a walk. Senior LHP Steve Sabatino (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township H.S.) fanned the only batter he faced and sophomore RHP Donnie Hissa (Iron River, Wisc./Maple Northwestern H.S.) worked a scoreless 0.1 inning. He yielded a hit and walk, but also collected a punch out. Freshman RHP Matt Ternowchek (Glenmoore, Pa./Downington East H.S.) tossed 2.1 scoreless and hitless innings and senior LHP Joe Spano (Verona, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) picked up a critical double play ground out to keep the Irish deficit two runs. Ternowchek fanned two and walked two.
Seton Hall jumped out to an early lead for the first time all series. The Pirates, who rallied from behind totake both games of Thursday's doubleheader, picked up three straight singles to grab a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Connaughton did limit the damage and stranded a pair of Pirates in scoring position.
Notre Dame and specifically Fitgzerald worked out of a bases loaded jam of its own in the bottom of thesecond. After an error (one of 11 this weekend for the Irish) and walk, Connaughton began to have some problems with a blister. He remained in the game, but was pulled after another free pass.
Fitzgerald entered the game with the bases loaded, one out and promptly induced a 4-6-3 double play ground ball to end the inning.
Fitzgerald retired nine of the 10 Seton Hall batters he faced, including the first six Pirates before issuing a two-out walk in the bottom of the fourth.
Seton Hall picked up its first hit off Fitzgerald to open the bottom of the fifth. Zack Granite legged out an infield single. After a ground out moved Granite into scoring position, Sabatino relieved Fitzgerald and got a strikeout looking. The Irish went to the bullpen and called for Hissa, but the righty left a 1-2 fast ball up and out over the plate to Guiseppi Papaccio, who rifled an RBI single to right field to push Seton Hall's lead to 2-0. Hissa then issued a walk, but picked up a strikeout to end the inning.
Notre Dame returns to the diamond at 3:05 ET on Tuesday, Apr. 10 for a non-conference tilt with Michigan State. In-game updates will be available on Twitter at @NDBaseball and Facebook at NDBaseball, and fans can listen to all the action locally on 103.1 FM and on the Internet at UND.com.