Two-Out Hits Doom Irish

Notre Dame dropped its second straight game to Seton Hall on Sunday 11-4. The Pirates used a barrage of clutch hits to take two of three games in the opening series of the Big East for both teams.

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame dropped its second straight game after winning six in a row with an 11-4 defeat at the hands of Seton Hall on Sunday after. The Pirates were able to take the series with wins on Saturday and Sunday after losing to the Irish on Friday evening.

The loss drops Notre Dame to 13-7 overall and 1-2 in the Big East after the season-opening series. The Pirates are now 10-7 overall and 2-1 in conference play.

The reason for Notre Dame's struggles over the weekend was obvious. Notre Dame gave up 19 two-out runs in the three games. The Pirates were 22-for-50 (.440) in the three games.

Seton Hall used clutch hitting to plate eight of its 11 runs on Sunday with two outs.

The Pirates smacked 20 hits of Notre Dame pitchers led by Michael Rogers had three hits, three RBI and three runs scored. Bobby Abreu, Matt Smedberg and Chris Spagnuolo also had three hits each.

"I give them a lot of credit, they pound out 20 hits on a Sunday. A pretty good job," Notre Dame head coach Dave Schrage said.

A.J. Pollock launched a two-run homer in the eighth to get Notre Dame on the board in the eighth. Pollock had a pair of hits for Notre Dame as did David Mills.

Eric Maust started and was tagged with the loss, his first of the season. Maust allowed nine hits and five runs (four earned) in 4.1 innings. Mills relieved Maust and allowed one run, three hits and struck out a pair in 2.2 innings before Todd Miller and Steven Mazur finished the game.

The Pirates' Joe DiRocco allowed just four hits and no runs in seven innings of action as he earned his second victory of the year.

"Our hitters didn't adjust to them throwing fastballs to get ahead early in the count and then they're throwing offspeed late," Schrage said. "We hit a lot of flyballs and not a lot of hard hit balls when we did decide to swing early in the count. We've got to get better that way."

Maust allowed a leadoff single in the first to Abreu, but was able to turn a double-play on an attempted sacrifice bunt and struck out Smedberg to end the inning.

The Irish threatened in the second after Mills singled and Pollock reached on an error, but DiRocco struck out Evan Sharpley and got Jeremy Barnes to ground out to end the threat.

The Pirates and Irish both went down in order in the second. Maust ran into some trouble in the third, but was able to limit the damage.

After a leadoff walk, Maust struck out the next two batters before allowing back-to-back singles, including a run-scoring hit from A.J. Rusbarsky. After he hit a batter to load the bases, Maust got cleanup hitter Chris Affinito to ground out, stranding three runners.

Golden Tate reached on an error in the home half of the third, but Mills grounded into a 4-6-3 double-play to end the inning.

Seton Hall tacked on a pair of runs with two outs in the fourth. After allowing three straight one-out singles, Maust almost wiggled out of the frame with no damage, but Abreu's two-out, two-run single gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead.

Notre Dame was retired on a double-play again in the fourth when Barnes' flew out to center. Seton Hall centerfielder Smedberg easily threw out Sharpley, who was running on the pitch, to end the inning.

Maust's struggles continued in the fifth as the Pirates added two more to take a 5-0 lead. Maust allowed the first three batters of the inning reached base before being replaced by Mills after giving up a sacrifice fly. Mills allowed a run-scoring single to the first batter he faced, but Sharpley prevented another run with a nice play on an attempted squeeze and Mills struck out the next hitter to end the inning.

Cameron McConnell got the second Notre Dame hit with a double in the fifth, but he was stranded at second. Meanwhile, Seton Hall added another two-out run on Spagnuolo's RBI double in the sixth.

Mills and Pollock had back-to-back singles with one out in the sixth, but they were both stranded. Mills walked a batter with two outs in the seventh, but was able to prevent anymore two-run damage by striking out Abreu to end the frame. The Irish went down in order in the bottom of the seventh.

Miller replaced Mills at the start of the eighth and was greeted by a leadoff homer by Rusbarsky that stretched the Pirate lead to 7-0. Miller retired the next two hitters, but five straight hits, including a two-run triple by Rogers, gave Seton Hall a 10-0 lead.

After Pollock's blast in the eighth, the Pirates added their final two-out run in the top of the ninth on a Notre Dame error.

Matt Scioscia and Tate had RBI singles in the top of the ninth, but the Irish were never able to get the tying run anywhere near the plate.

The Irish return to action on Tuesday evening with an independent game against Central Michigan at Frank Eck Stadium at 5:05. Notre Dame will host Oakland in another non-league game on Wednesday before a three-game Big East series at Pittsburgh next weekend. Top Stories