May 15, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. - Notre Dame sophomore 1B Trey Mancini collected his 11th and 12th home runs of the season and drove in four as the Irish powered past Northwestern, 9-4, Tuesday at Rocky Miller Park. Mancini is now tied with Patrick Kivlehan of Rutgers for tops in the BIG EAST in round trippers.
Sophomore Sean Fitzgerald picked up the victory in relief and improved to 6-3 on the year. The right-handed hurler tossed 2.0 scoreless innings and struck out four. Fitzgerald came into the game with the Irish lead 8-3 after Northwestern had loaded the bases with nobody out. He simply struck out the next three Wildcats to keep the Notre Dame lead intact.
Mancini went 2-for-5 with two run scored and four RBI. He leads the Irish in RBI with 44. Junior 2B Frank DeSico broke out of his slump with a career-high equaling four hits. He went 4-for-5 with a couple of runs scored and two RBI. Sophomore 3B Eric Jagielo added his 11th long ball of the season - a two-run blast in the fifth inning.
Senior RF Alex Robinson added a multi-hit outing. He went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Eight of the nine Notre Dame starters picked up at least one hit.
Junior RHP Patrick Veerkamp started for the Irish and did not render in the decision. The right-handed hurler allowed a pair of runs on five hits in 3.0 innings of work. He struck out one and walked one.
Sophomore RHP Dan Slania worked the ninth inning and collected a strikeout.
Dan Tyson was charged with the loss for Northwestern. The southpaw dropped to 3-4 on the campaign. He allowed six runs, all earned, on eight hits in 4.1 innings. Tyson struck out six and did not walk a batter.
Notre Dame jumped on Tyson right out of the gate. DeSico and freshman DH Ryan Bull opened with back-to-back singles and coasted home on Mancini's towering three-run home run to left field.
The three-run cushion was short-lived. Northwestern cut the Irish lead to a run, 3-2, on a Kyle Ruchim RBI double and Colby Everett RBI single. Veerkamp evaded further damage thanks to a double play ground ball to end the inning.
DeSico picked up his second single in as many plate appearances in the top of the second inning to push the Irish lead to 4-2.
Tyson seemed to fine a rhythm in the second, third and fourth inning as he retired eight straight Irish batters at one point, but could not survive the fifth.
DeSico singled for the third consecutive at bat. After Bull grounded out, Jagielo stroked a two-run bomb to give Notre Dame a 6-2 advantage. He momentarily tied Mancini for the team-lead in home runs, but Mancini regained the club lead as he followed with a solo home run ¬- another towering drive to left field - to push the lead to 7-2.
It marked the second time this season that Jagielo and Mancini collected back-to-back home runs. The sophomore tandem accomplished the same feat against Michigan on March 11 in Baton Rouge, La.
After working out of Sabatino's jam in the bottom of the sixth inning, Fitzgerald worked out of his own mess in the seventh. Northwestern loaded the bases with one out on a pair of singles and walk, but the Irish sophomore got a pop out and fly out to keep the Notre Dame cushion five runs (8-3).
Notre Dame opens a critical BIG EAST series against Connecticut at 3:00 p.m. Thursday at J.O. Christian Field. Senior RHP Will Hudgins will take the mound for the Irish. 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.