May 14, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame secure a three-game BIG EAST series sweep of USF with victories in both ends of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish blew open a 5-5 deadlock with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, three on freshman 1B Trey Mancini's team-best ninth home run of the year, en route to a 10-5 triumph in the opener. Senior RHP Todd Miller tossed 7.0 solid innings to help Notre Dame take the nightcap, 6-3.
Notre Dame improved to 21-24-1 overall and 12-11 in the BIG EAST, while USF dropped to 22-28 and 11-13.
With the series sweep, the Irish moved into a tie with Cincinnati for fifth place in the BIG EAST standings with one weekend left in the regular season. Only the top eight teams in the regular season standings advance to the annual BIG EAST Championship on May 25-29 in Clearwater, Fla.
Notre Dame travels to conference rival Louisville for a three-game set that opens at 6:00 p.m. ET on Thursday. Both Friday (7:00 p.m.) and Saturday's (1:00 p.m.) game will be televised on CBS College Sports. All three games in the series can be heard in South Bend on WHME / Harvest 103.1 FM and around the world at UND.com.
In his final start and appearance at Frank Eck Stadium, Miller improved to 4-3 on the year. The senior RHP limited the Bulls to three earned runs on eight hits in 7.0+ innings. Miller struck out three and did not issue a walk. He has walked only 10 batters in75.0 innings of work this season.
After USF tagged Miller with four hits over the first 2.1 innings, the Irish starter retired 13 of the next 15 Bulls, yielding just a pair of singles. With Notre Dame holding a 6-1 lead,Miller did run into trouble in the eighth inning. USF got a double and single to open the inning and sophomore RHP/DH Adam Norton replaced Miller.
Norton promptly plunked his first batter to load the bases, but got back-to-back groundouts and a strikeout to limit the damage.
Notre Dame took a 6-3 advantage into the ninth inning. Norton did surrender a leadoff hit in the frame, butfreshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald turned a 1-6-3 double play and struck out Andrew Longley to end the game. Fitzgerald has collected four saves in 2011, including two in the series with USF.
Fifth-year senior Herman Petzold paced the Irish offense with three hits. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. Senior SS Mick Doyle and sophomore 2B Frank DeSico each had two hits. DeSico went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Doyle went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.
Notre Dame failed to walk a single batter in the contest for the third time this season and first time since March 4 at Winthrop.
Kyle Parker was saddled with the loss for the Bulls. Parker was knocked around for three earned runs on fourhits in 4.0 innings. The southpaw walked one and struck out one.
After the lead changed hands three times over the middle innings, a pair of perfectly executed safety squeeze bunts from DeSico and Robinson and one powerful stroke from Manciniturned the tide of the contest.
Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, but USF equalized with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth.
The Bulls grabbed their firstlead of the weekend with a run in the top of the fifth, but the Irish answered with two runs to grab a 4-3 advantage.
After USF regained the lead in the top of the sixth inning, 5-4, senior 3B Greg Sherry opened the home half of the sixth. Hudson followed with a single and Doyle moved both Sherry and Hudson into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.
With runners at second and third, DeSico dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Sherry scored without any problem to tie the score, 5-5, and DeSico reached when Jimmy Moran was unable to field the bunt cleanly.
Robinson followed with Notre Dame's third consecutive bunt. Hudson scored easily to give the Irish a 6-5 lead. DeSico moved into scoring position and freshman LF Eric Jagielo walked to set the stage for Mancini.
The freshman hammered a 1-0 breaking ball from Moran off the Frank Eck Stadium/Jake Kline Field sign down the left field line for a three-run home run to push the Notre Dame lead to9-5.
Freshman RHP Dan Slania did the rest. The rookie tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. Slania struck out three without a walk.
Freshman LHP Anthony McIver recorded the victory in the opener and improved to 2-4. The southpaw allowed four hits and two earned runs in 2.0 innings of work. McIver fanned two andwalked one.
Matt Reed took the loss for USF. He surrendered four runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits in 1.0 inning.
Mancini went 2-for-4 with tworuns scored and three RBI. Hudson went 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Nortondrove in a pair.
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