Up Next: UCONN

Rain postponed Tuesday's contest between Notre Dame and Michigan. The Irish were looking for a strong tune-up before this weekend's series against Connecticut. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn't cooperate. Now, Notre Dame can focus clearly on a crucial Big East series that has implications on the team's post-season plans.

The Irish will host the Huskies this weekend in a three-game set at Frank Eck Stadium that'll conclude both teams‘ regular seasons. The first game is scheduled for Thursday at 6:05 PM. Friday's game is at the same time while the finale on Saturday is at 1:05 PM. Notre Dame has won the past three league series at home.

For the Irish, the goal is clear this weekend: don't get swept. Notre Dame (27-23) is 10-13 in the Big East standings, good for seventh-place. The top eight teams qualify for the conference tournament. Cincinnati holds the eighth spot with a 9-14 mark. Connecticut is 8-13 while West Virginia has an outside shot at 8-15. If the Irish get swept, the Huskies will leap them in the standings and more than likely keep Notre Dame from post-season play. Notre Dame has won the past five league tournaments. Once again, if the Irish don't get swept, the chances are good for a shot to make it six in a row.

UCONN had better fortune than Notre Dame on Tuesday with the weather. The Huskies got their game in and it turned into a classic contest. Connecticut scored three runs in the top of the ninth to beat Vermont 12-10 on Dennis Donovan's game-winning two-run home run. UCONN is third to last in hitting in the Big East at .269, third to last in pitching and sixth in fielding percentage.

The Huskies lineup has only one player hitting over .300. Donovan leads the team with a .343 average. Donovan also is tops in hits, RBI's, slugging and on-base percentage and home runs with seven. Second in RBI's is Peter Faste, who has driven in 28 to go along with a .283 average. Dale Brannon is second to Faste in runs with 31 and sports a .393 OBP.

UCONN has the reigning Big East Pitcher of the Week. Mike Tarsi earned the honors after going 1-0 last week, including a win in a 5-0 victory over West Virginia. The junior left-hander did not allow an earned run in 10 innings of work. On the season, Tarsi is 4-4 with a 4.29 ERA and leads the team with 50 strikeouts. Brendan McGinn is 7-1 on the year with a 3.61 ERA in 10 starts. Robert Van Woert has the same mark at 7-1 with a 3.96 ERA. Matt Karl is the closer, registering 10 saves in 2007 with a 3.47 ERA.

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