Notre Dame scored three runs in the bottom of the first and starting pitcher Cole Johnson made sure that they stood up as the Irish defeated Villanova 3-1 at Frank Eck Stadium on Friday night.
Notre Dame improves to 17-10 overall and 3-4 in the Big East while the Wildcats dip to 14-13 overall and just 1-6 in the conference.
Johnson hurled his second straight complete game and scattered seven hits while striking out five and walking just one.
Villanova starter Brian Streilein also went the distance and did not allow a run after the first inning, but that was not enough.
Golden Tate started the Irish half of the first with a single and moved to second on David Mills' sacrifice bunt. A.J. Pollock followed with a walk and both he and Tate came home on David Casey's two-run double. Jeremy Barnes plated Casey with the third run with a double.
Notre Dame managed just three hits the rest of the way and no Irish batter had multiple hits, but Notre Dame was able to rely on Johnson the rest of the way.
The final eight innings were not all smooth for Johnson and he used diving catches from Evan Sharpley and Barnes to get out of the fourth. Villanova's Joe Cotter led off the fifth with a triple, but was stranded after Johnson got a strikeout and two lineouts.
The Wildcats had two runners on with one out in the sixth, but second baseman Ryne Intlekofer made a diving grab to start a double-play that ended the frame. Johnson used another double-play to get out of another two-on, one-out jam in the seventh and a third twin-killing to get out of the eighth.
Villanova finally got a run in the ninth, but after the Wildcats had the bases loaded, they could not get more than that.
The series will conclude with a doubleheader on Saturday. The first game will start at 1:05, followed by the nightcap thirty minutes after the end of the opening contest. Sunday's game was moved to Saturday because of the threat of inclimate weather.