Comeback Ruins Irish's Day

Notre Dame starting pitcher Tom Thornton was cruising along Sunday afternoon against Seton Hall in South Orange, New Jersey. The senior took a 1-0 lead to the bottom of the eighth inning and was primed to pick up his sixth win of the season. But some late game heroics by the Pirates sent the Irish home on a sour note.

Thornton allowed a two-out, two-run double in the eighth to Seton Hall's Robbie Hine to catapult the Pirates to a 2-1 victory over Notre Dame, taking two of three from the Irish over the weekend. It's the second straight series that Notre Dame has lost, who dropped their record to 38-13-1 overall and 18-5-1 in the Big East. Losers of four of the past six contests, the Irish got some help on Sunday when Pittsburgh beat second place Connecticut 11-9. That sends the Huskies' conference mark to 15-6-1 while third place St. John's sits at 15-8.

The bottom of the eighth was Notre Dame's undoing. Consecutive bunt hits by Seton Hall's Mike Morano and Dan Lopez put runners on first and second with one out. Thornton induced Mark Pappas to fly out to center field for the second out and that brought up Hine. He made the Irish pitcher pay when he lined a double to left center, scoring both Morano and Lopez to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

Notre Dame went 1-2-3 in the ninth to end the contest and make Thornton the hard luck loser. The senior hurler struck out seven in eight innings of work but took the defeat to make his season record 5-2. A historic note for Thornton: Sunday's start was the 50th for his career. Only four other Irish pitchers have accomplished this feat.

The Notre Dame offense was a no-show. The Irish mustered only five hits off of Seton Hall's Corey Young, who pitched a complete game gem to push his record to 4-2. Alex Nettey was the only Notre Dame hitter with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 in the contest and driving in the Irish's only run of the game with an RBI double in the fifth.

Notre Dame next travels to Michigan on Tuesday to take on the Wolverines at Comstock Park. After that, they end the Big East regular season with three games at Villanova starting on Thursday and a shot at winning the league championship.

***The Notre Dame Sports Information Department contributed greatly to this report. Top Stories