May 22, 2013
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Senior RHP Adam Norton tossed his third complete-game shutout of the season to lead the No. 7 seed University of Notre Dame past No. 2 seed Seton Hall, 5-0, in first day action from the 2013 BIG EAST Tournament Wednesday afternoon at Bright House Stadium. The Fighting Irish improve to 32-23 overall, while the Pirates drop to 36-18. Notre Dame will face No. 3 seed Pittsburgh at 1 p.m. Thursday in a winner's bracket matchup.
Norton cooled off one of the hottest teams in all of college baseball. Seton Hall had won 36 of its last 45 games, including 15 of its last 16 outings, but had no answer for Norton. He improved to 10-4 on the season. Norton became the first Irish pitcher to reach the 10-win mark since Aaron Heilman in 2001. He limited Seton Hall to a mere seven hits, five of which came with two outs, and nine total base runners. Norton struck out seven and registered Notre Dame's first complete-game shutout in the BIG EAST tournament since Dan Stavisky blanked St. John's on May 17, 1996.
Senior 2B and co-captain Frank Desico, junior 3B and BIG EAST player of the year Eric Jagielo and junior 1B Trey Mancini all collected multi-hit games. Mancini extended his hitting streak to a school-record 23 games, while DeSico scored a pair of runs and Jagielo drove in a pair. Sophomore DH Blaise Lezynski also added a two-run home run in the sixth inning.
Notre Dame jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. DeSico roped a 2-2 offering from Seton Hall starter Jon Prosinski that one-hopped the left-field wall for a leadoff double. He moved into scoring position on sophomore LF Mac Hudgins' sacrifice bunt and cruised home on Jagielo's RBI single right back up the middle.
Norton did not walk a batter for the fourth start this season. In fact, Norton went to a three-ball count once the entire contest and it came against the first batter of the game. He uncharacteristically fell behind Zack Granite, 3-0, but rebounded with back-to-back strikes and ultimately got Granite to fly out to centerfield. Norton then retired the next five Seton Hall batters to remain perfect through the first two innings.
Ryan Sullivan opened the third inning with a single off Norton, but the Irish right-handed hurler sent down the next three Pirates to end the inning. Norton worked out of a jam in the fourth, runners on the corners with two outs, preceding a called third strike against Mike Genovese.
Jagielo struck again in the top of the fifth inning. He laced an RBI double to left field that pushed the Notre Dame lead to 2-0.
Norton worked around a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth and Lezynski delivered a towering two-run bomb in the top of the sixth inning that added a couple of insurance runs. The blast was his second of the season and sailed completely out of the ballpark.
Now leading Seton Hall, 4-0, Norton yielded back-to-back two-out base hits in the bottom half of the sixth, but got a fly out to keep the shutout intact. He cruised through the seventh and again yielded a harmless two-out single in the eighth.
Notre Dame extended its lead to 5-0 following an RBI single from Mancini in the ninth, which was more than enough for Norton. He did allow a leadoff single and then plunked a batter in the final inning, but a double-play ground out and strikeout ended the game.
Norton improved to 3-0 in his career against Seton Hall, including victories in each of the last two BIG EAST tournament matchups, and lowered his ERA against the Pirates to a miniscule 1.44. He struck out 20 and failed to walk a single Seton Hall batter in 31.1 career innings of work.
Prosinski took the loss for the Pirates and dropped to 7-4 on the year. The first-team all-BIG EAST selection was roughed up for 10 hits and four earned runs in 5.1 innings. Prosinski struck out one and did not walk a batter.