April 14, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame senior CF Alex Robinson (Dallas, Texas/First Baptist Academy) capped off a two-run ninth inning rally with a walk-of RBI single to give the Irish a thrilling, 6-5, victory over Cincinnati Saturday at Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame has captured each of the first two games of the series with the Bearcats by a single run. The Irish improved to 19-15 overall and 6-5 in the BIG EAST, while Cincinnati dropped to 11-23 and 1-10.
With Notre Dame trailing, 5-4, and down to its last three outs, freshman SS Phil Mosey (Fishers, Ind./Cathedral H.S.) opened the ninth inning with a single. Junior 2B Frank DeSico (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius H.S.) stepped to the plate in a clear sacrifice bunt situation, but found himself down in the count 0-2 after failing on two straight bunt attempts. Zach Isler then uncorked a wild pitch that moved the tying run into scoring position.
DeSico fouled off a trio of two-strike pitches and ultimately drew a walk. After freshman DH Ryan Bull (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie H.S.) struck out, sophomore 1B Eric Jagielo (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North H.S.) went the other way with an RBI single off Isler to tie the score, 5-5. DeSico and Jagielo each advanced a base when the Cincinnati left fielder's errant throw evaded the cutoff man.
Isler then issued an intentional walk to junior C Joe Hudson (Odessa, Fla./Tampa Jesuit H.S.) to load the bases with one out. Robinson sent the Irish faithful home happy with Notre Dame's second walk-off victory of the season.
Freshman RHP Matt Ternowchek (Glenmoore, PA/Downington East H.S.) picked up the victory in relief. He improved to 2-1 on the campaign. Ternowchek retired the only Bearcat he faced and did so on just two pitches.
Isler was charged with the loss and dropped to 0-4 on the year. He allowed three earned runs on five hits in 3.0 innings. Isler struck out five and walked a pair.
Mosey, Robinson, DeSico and Jagielo paced the Notre Dame attack with two hits apiece. Mosey went 2-for-4 with his first career home run. Robinson went 2-for-5 with three RBI, including a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth. DeSico went 2-for-4 with three runs scored, while Jagielo went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The Irish bullpen was up to the challenge for the second straight day. After Notre Dame's relievers blanked Cincinnati over the final 2.2 innings in the series opening victory Friday night, the quartet of senior LHP Joe Spano (Verona, N.J./Seton Hall Prep), sophomore RHP Donnie Hissa (Iron River, Wisc./Maple Northwestern H.S.), senior LHP (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township H.S.) and Ternowcheck combined to allow just one hit and record a pair of strikeouts over the last 2.0 innings.
Junior RHP Adam Norton (Highland, Ind./Andrean H.S.) did not have his best stuff, but managed to gut out 7.0 innings. He worked out of a Cincinnati jam in his final inning of work. Norton surrendered back-to-back singles to open the seventh. After a fly out, pop out and double steal, Norton picked up a huge punch out with two in scoring position to end the inning.
Norton scattered 11 hits (an array of dinks and dunks) and five runs, all earned. He struck out three and walked one. Norton has now worked into the seventh inning in seven of his nine starts in 2012.
Cincinnati jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Joey Bielek lined a two-out single to right field then moved into scoring position on Norton's wild pitch - just his third of the year - and cruised home on T.J. Jones' bloop RBI single to centerfield.
The Irish answered with a run in their half of the first inning, but it could have been much worse for Cincinnati starting southpaw Zach Morris. DeSico ripped a leadoff single and Bull followed with a walk. After Jagielo popped out, Hudson tied the game, 1-1, with an RBI single. The RBI was Hudson's team-leading 29th.
With runners on first, second and one out, Robinson smoked a liner that appeared destined for centerfield, but Matt Williams speared the hot-shot and promptly flipped to second base to double-up Bull and end the inning.
The Bearcats regained a one-run lead, 2-1, with another solo tally in the top of the third inning. Jones, who gave Cincinnati a 1-0 lead in the first, executed a suicide squeeze to perfection.
The Bearcats increased their lead to 3-1 and again it was Jones who provided the damage. He drove home Justin Glass with a sacrifice fly to straight away center field.
After his first inning troubles, Morris settled down and retired 10 consecutive Notre Dame batters, including six ground outs and three strikeouts.
Notre Dame appeared to have something in the works in the bottom of the fifth inning. Senior 3B Tommy Chase (Cohasset, Mass./Boston College H.S.) reached on a leadoff error and then Morris drilled junior RF Charlie Markson (Whitefish Bay, Wisc./Whitefish Bay H.S.). With two on and no outs, freshman LF Mac Hudgins (Richmond, Va./Douglass Freeman H.S.) missed the sign to sacrifice bunt and swung away on the first offering of his at-bat. The Irish left fielder promptly grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. One pitch later, Mosey ripped a one-hopper right at the Bearcats shortstop and the inning was over almost before it even started.
Cincinnati extended its lead to 5-1 and for the first time of the day it came from someone other than Jones. Ethan McAlpine stroked a two-run home run just over the fence in left field. The round tripper was the first of hic career.
The Irish cut the deficit in half on Robinson's two-run single in the bottom of the sixth, but again missed out on a golden chance for further damage. With the bases loaded, one out and two runs already in for Notre Dame, Markson roped a liner right at the second baseman and freshman LF Conor Biggio (Houston, Texas/St. Thomas H.S.) fouled out to end the rally.
Mosey brought the Irish within a run, 5-4, with a towering solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Morris did not factor in the decision. He lasted 5.1 innings and surrendered three runs, all earned, on five hits. Morris fanned three and walked three.
Notre Dame and Cincinnati return to the diamond at 1:05 p.m. ET Sunday at Frank Eck Stadium. 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.