Louisville Sweeps Series From Irish

Notre Dame went into the Louisville series in fifth-place in the Big East standings. The top eight teams qualify for the league tournament and the Irish were sitting pretty before their match-up with the Cardinals. However, two close defeats on Saturday, coupled with another loss on Sunday, will make Notre Dame sweat out the final weekend of conference action.

Louisville got out to a comfortable lead in the mid-innings and never looked back en route to a 7-3 victory over the Irish on Sunday. The Cardinals (36-16, 17-7) swept Notre Dame over the weekend to move within a game of Big East-leaders St. John's and Rutgers, who both sit at 18-6 in the league. The Irish fall to 27-24 and 10-13 in the conference standings.

What does this mean? Notre Dame went from fifth in the standings to seventh over the course of three contests. After a mid-week game with Michigan on Tuesday, the Irish will conclude Big East play at home against Connecticut. The Huskies are 26-24 overall and 8-13 in the league after taking two of three from West Virginia (8-15) over the weekend. Notre Dame needs to avoid the sweep at Frank Eck Stadium if they have plans for post-season play. Cincinnati is in eighth-place at 9-14.

On Sunday, the Cardinals got going with a three-run third inning off of Notre Dame starter Kyle Weiland, who took the loss. The sophomore right-hander falls to 4-2 on the year after going five innings while allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits. Boomer Whiting's RBI double made it 1-0 Louisville and Derrick Alfonso scored on a Weiland wild pitch to increase the lead to 2-0. Daniel Burton's RBI sacrifice fly made it 3-0 Cardinals.

Notre Dame tried to inch closer in the fourth. Danny Dressman singled and later scored on a wild pitch from Colby Wark (3-3). But as was the case this weekend, Louisville responded. The Cardinals took a 4-1 lead on Alfonso's RBI single in the bottom of the fourth and added two more runs in the fifth on RBI's from Burton and Jorge Castillo. After Weiland was relieved by freshman Eric Maust, Louisville plated another run in the sixth inning when Whiting singled up the middle to score Alfonso to make it 7-1.

The Irish tried to make one last push. Notre Dame scored a run in the seventh on a throwing error by the pitcher to cut the deficit to 7-2. In the ninth, A.J. Pollock's bases loaded walk plated Mike Dury to make it 7-3. The tying run was in the batter box in the person of Ross Brezovsky but the Irish left fielder grounded into a game-ending double play. Brett Lilley was the only Notre Dame batter with multiple hits.

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

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