Irish Baseball Rallies Past Rutgers, 5-4

Will Hudgins

May 7, 2011

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Notre Dame rapped out 15 hits, including at least one from all nine starters, en route to a 5-4 victory over Rutgers in the opener of a critical BIG EAST doubleheader on Saturday at Bainton Field. The Irish improved to 17-23-1 overall and 8-10 in the league, while the Scarlet Knights dropped to 16-26 and 7-12.

Junior RHP Will Hudgins improved to 4-0 with another quality relief outing. The sidewinder allowed one earned run, a solo home run, on a pair of hits in 3.0 innings of work. Hudgins struck out three and did not issue a walk.

Rutgers starting pitcher Tyler Gebler was charged with the loss and dropped to 3-5. He was knocked around for 13 hits and five earned runs. Gebler struck out two and walked one.

Gebler managed his way into the eighth inning before Notre Dame got some quality situational hitting. The Irish collected 10 base hits over the first seven innings, but stranded eight along the way.

Freshman 1B Trey Mancini went 4-for-4 with an RBI. Freshman LF Eric Jagielo, sophomore C Joe Hudson and senior SS Mick Doyle all collected multi-hit games. Jagielo had an RBI double and run scored. Hudson scored twice, doubled twice and drove in one run. Doyle went 2-for-3 with an RBI single. Junior CF Alex Robinson extended his hitting streak to a career best seven games with a double in the first inning.

Sophomore DH Adam Norton opened the eighth inning with an infield single. Senior 3B Greg Sherry followed with a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Norton into scoring position. Hudson followed with a shot into the right centerfield gap to give the Irish a 4-3 lead. Doyle then dropped in his second base hit of the afternoon to put runners on the corners with one out for sophomore 2B Frank DeSico. The second baseman took a fast ball on the outside half of the plate and drove it to right field for a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.

Hudgins made the two-run cushion stand. He did surrender a two-out, solo home run off the bat of Michael Lang, which cut the Irish lead to 5-4. Hudgins had not allowed a run, earned or unearned, since March 20 against Gonzaga - a span of 16.2 scoreless innings of work.

Notre Dame jumped on Gebler right out of the gates. After DeSico grounded out on the game's first pitch, Robinson roped a double down the right field line and Jagielo followed with a double to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. Mancini then collected Notre Dame's third straight base hit to push the Irish lead to 2-0.

The Scarlet Knights erased the two-run Notre Dame lead and grabbed a 3-2 advantage in the bottom of the second inning. Rutgers collected four hits, including an RBI double from Jeff Melillo and two-run single from Nick Favatella.

Notre Dame tied the game, 3-3, in the top of the fourth inning. Hudson roped a one-out double and Doyle followed with an RBI single. The two-bagger for Hudson was the first by the Irish catcher since opening the season with four straight games with a double. Doyle was 1-for-19 entering the at bat and the base hit was an infield single.

After struggling with his location, especially with the breaking ball, in the first two innings, senior RHP Brian Dupra settled into a pretty nice groove. The right-handed hurler retired six consecutive Scarlet Knight batters before Pat Sweeney singled with two outs in the fourth, but Dupra promptly picked off the Rutgers shortstop. He has picked off four base runners in 2011.

Dupra allowed a harmless two-out double in the fifth, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth. Michael Zavala and Steve Zavala each singled to put runners on first and second with one out, but Dupra battled out of the jam. He got Melillo to pop out on a 3-2 offering and struck out Sweeney swinging to end the threat. Sweeney had singled in each of his first two plate appearances.

Dupra did not factor in the decision, but did record his ninth quality start in 12 outings this season. He allowed three earned runs on nine hits in 6.0 innings of work. Dupra struck out four and issued one walk. He tossed 101 pitches, 65 of which were strikes.



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