Irish Fall to Bearcats

Notre Dame has had two recurring problems this season. The Irish have been unable to drive home runners, creating missed opportunity after missed opportunity. Notre Dame also has allowed tons of unearned runs because of faulty defensive play. On Thursday night at Cincinnati, both these glaring holes continued to surface at the wrong time.

Despite out hitting the Bearcats 10-7, Notre Dame committed one crucial error that led to three unearned runs in losing to Cincinnati 4-3. The Irish fall to 13-15 on the season and just 1-5 in Big East play. Tomorrow, Notre Dame will try to even the series when David Phelps (4-2) takes the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM.

The Irish were in control early versus the Bearcats. Notre Dame plated three runs in the first inning to take a 3-0 lead. Tony Langford's groundout scored Brett Lilley to make it 1-0. Ross Brezovsky scored on a Danny Dressman RBI single. It was 3-0 when Jeremy Barnes singled to score Dressman. On the night, Lilley was 3-for-4 while Brezovsky and Dressman both had multiple hit performances.

Unfortunately, that's all the offense the Irish would muster. Cincinnati plated a run off of Dan Kapala (0-3) in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to 3-1. The fifth inning would be Notre Dame's undoing. After retiring the first two batters of the frame, Kapala's throwing error on a bunt attempt opened the floodgates for the Bearcats. After Cincinnati loaded the bases, Neall French cleared them with a triple, driving in all three runs and letting the Bearcats take a 4-3 lead. French was 3-for-4 on the night with three RBI's.

After the first inning, Notre Dame had opportunities to add to their three-run output but could not get the big hit when needed off of Cincinnati's Steve Blevins (5-4). This has been a major problem this season for the Irish offense. In the third inning, Langford and Dressman led off the frame with singles but were left stranded. In the fourth, the same scenario played out with Brayden Ashdown and Lilley singled to lead the inning off. Again, the Irish were unable to score any runs. In the seventh, the bases were loaded with two outs. But Eddy Mendiola, who was pinch-hitting for Mike Dury, struck out swinging to end the scoring threat. In the eighth, two runners were on with one out but A.J. Pollock hit into a fielder's choice for the second out and Brezovsky grounded out to close the frame.

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