The Huskies got six-plus innings of shutout ball from Mike Tarsi and four runs in the fifth and sixth innings were enough to beat the Irish 5-0 at Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame falls to 27-25 on the season and 10-14 in the Big East standings. Connecticut improves to 29-24 overall and 9-13 in the conference. Cincinnati lost to Louisville on Thursday 6-4 and fell to 9-15 in the league. The Irish retain seventh-place in the Big East while UCONN steps up to eighth-place with the Bearcats not far behind. Tomorrow, Notre Dame and Connecticut will do battle again. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM at Frank Eck Stadium.
It was a pitchers' duel for the first four innings on Thursday. Tarsi and Irish starter Joey Williamson shut down the opposition through these frames. But the Huskies finally struck in the fifth. UCONN scored twice in the fifth off of Williamson. Harold Brantley's RBI single made it 1-0 and it was 2-0 when Dale Brannon added another RBI base hit.
In the sixth, the Huskies would extend the lead. Pat Mahoney's triple to right center scored two runs to increase the advantage to 4-0. That would be all for Williamson (4-3), who gave up four runs on seven hits in five innings.
Notre Dame could not get anything going off of Tarsi (5-4). The biggest threat came in the fifth with UCONN leading 4-0. Ross Brezovsky and Ryan Smith both singled to lead off the frame. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, the Irish could not convert on the scoring chance. Brett Lilley flied out and Danny Dressman grounded out to end the inning. Tarsi was relieved in the seventh after walking Dressman to load the bases. Reliever David Erickson got A.J. Pollock to strike out looking to end that scoring chance. Tarsi struck out six in 6.2 innings of work. Erickson got his second save of the season by pitching the final 2.1 innings.
The Irish did pound out eight hits. Three players had multiple hit performances. Smith was 3-for-4 on the night while Brezovsky and Matt Weglarz both added two hits.
***The Notre Dame Sports Information Department contributed to this report.