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    Irish Blank USF, 8-0, Behind Another Dominant Dupra Performance

    FIGHTING IRISH Freshman 1B Trey Mancini smashed his team-best eighth home run of the season in the 8-0 victory over USF on Friday night.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Freshman 1B Trey Mancini smashed his team-best eighth home run of the season in the 8-0 victory over USF on Friday night.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    May 13, 2011

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    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Senior RHP Brian Dupra struck out nine over 7.0 scoreless innings and freshmen Eric Jagielo and Trey Mancini each blasted two-run home runs to lead Notre Dame to an 8-0 shutout of USF Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish improve to 19-24-1 overall and 10-11 in the BIG EAST, while the Bulls drop to 22-26 and 11-11.

    With the victory, Notre Dame moves into a tie with Seton Hall for eighth place in the BIG EAST standings. With both USF and Louisville losing Friday night, Notre Dame is now just one game behind Cincinnati for fifth. Only the top eight teams in the regular season standings advance to the annual BIG EAST Championship on May 25-29 in Clearwater, Fla.

    Dupra improved to 3-5 on the year with another top-notch outing. The senior co-captain limited USF to six hits and only one extra-base hit. Dupra collected his 10th quality start of the season. He has now allowed two earned runs or less in nine of his 13 starts. In fact, Dupra has allowed no earned runs in five separate outings in 2011.

    Dupra, who lowered his ERA to a miniscule 2.37 this season, is now just one start shy of becoming the fifth pitcher in Notre Dame history to record 50 career starts. He also moved into sole possession of seventh place on the Irish all-time innings pitched list with 302.0. Dupra is one of seven pitchers in school history to amass 300.0 career innings.

    Freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald registered his third save of the year. The rookie tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief and faced the minimum six batters. Fitzgerald struck out one, did not issue a walk and got a double play ground out.

    Jagielo and Mancini provided all the offense the Irish would need. Jagielo went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a two-run single and two-run home run, while Mancini added a mammoth two-run bomb of his own.

    USF starter Randy Fontanez, who no-hit the Irish in 2010, was saddled with the loss and dropped to 5-5. The righty was removed following the second inning with an undisclosed injury. Fontanez gave up two runs, both earned, on two hits in 2.0 innings of work.

    Notre Dame wasted no time in ending any notion of another no-hitter from Fontanez. Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico laced his first offering of the game to centerfield for a single and moved into scoring position following junior CF Alex Robinson's perfectly executed sacrifice bunt.

    With DeSico at second base, Jagielo pulled a 2-2 fastball over the right field wall to give the Irish a 2-0 lead. The round tripper was Jagielo's third of the season and first since March 13 against Kent State when he ripped a two-run bomb in the bottom of the eighth to give Notre Dame a 2-0 victory over the Golden Flashes.

    After Fontanez retired the Irish in order in the bottom of the second inning, on just four pitches no less, the Bulls ace left the contest.

    Dupra found his grove following the top of the first. He did allow one-out base hits in each of the second, third and fourth innings, but evaded any damage with over-powering stuff. Dupra collected six strikeouts over the first four frames.

    Dupra seemed to lose a bit of his command in the top of the fifth. USF picked up a one-out base knock for the fourth consecutive inning and another single with two down to put runners on the corners. Dupra then issued his second free pass of the game to load the bases, but Dupra got Sam Mende swinging to end the threat.

    Dupra actually got a strikeout to end three of the first five innings for the Bulls.

    He racked up two more strikeouts in the USF sixth inning, but issued a leadoff walk in the seventh. Dupra buckled down, got a tailor-made 4-3 double play and Daniel Rockhold popped out to end the inning.

    Zach Pietrzyk replaced Fontanez and was brilliant until his sixth inning of relief. Pietrzyk retired the first 15 Irish batters he faced until sophomore DH Adam Norton doubled in the bottom of the eighth inning. In all, USF retired 20 consecutive Notre Dame hitters following Jagielo's home run.

    The Irish blew the game wide open in the eighth with six runs. Senior SS Mick Doyle had an RBI single. After a DeSico single and error allowed a run to score, Jagielo hit a routine pop up in front of the pitcher's mound. Rockhold, the USF catcher, slipped on the wet turf and was unable to make the play. Two more Irish runners came into score to push the Notre Dame lead to 6-0 and Mancini closed the outburst with a two-run shot over the scoreboard in left field.

    Notre Dame and USF continue their critical BIG EAST series at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday at Frank Eck Stadium. The game can be heard in South Bend on WHME / Harvest 103.1 FM and around the world at UND.com.

    As always, please visit UND.com regularly for full coverage of all Notre Dame athletics news and events.

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