ND Drops Opener To UConn

Notre Dame's last Big East series was decided on a couple of big innings. The first game of this weekend's series was decided on a few two-out rallies as Connecticut defeated the Irish 8-5 on Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium.

Notre Dame started strong, but allowed seven two-out runs in three innings as Connecticut came back to take the opener of the Big East series 8-5 at Frank Eck Stadium on Friday night.

The Irish dip to 26-18 overall and 10-9 in the conference while the Huskies bump up to 26-20 overall and 9-10 in the league.

Notre Dame starter Cole Johnson cruised through the first four innings, allowing just a pair of singles, before he ran into trouble in the fifth. Johnson pitched seven innings and gave up 10 hits and seven runs (five earned) and was hit with the loss.

Connecticut starter John Folino gave up a pair of runs in the first and another two in the third, but earned the win after leaving the game with two outs in the seventh.

Jeremy Barnes had three hits and Mick Doyle knocked in three to lead the Irish offense.

A.J. Pollock walked to start the Irish in the bottom of the first and Golden Tate followed with a single. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch before Doyle knocked them in with a two-run single.

Tate led off the third with a single, moved to second on a Barnes single and came home on David Casey's RBI single. Barnes scored on a sacrifice fly from Doyle.

UConn opened the top of the fifth with a pair of singles, but Johnson would have got out of the inning unharmed if not for a two-run error by first baseman Casey Martin.

Johnson retired the first two batters of the sixth, but a walk and four singles allowed the Huskies to score three runs and pull ahead 5-4.

Brayden Ashdown's RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth, which missed clearing the fence by inches, scored Doyle to tie the game 5-5. UConn third baseman Dale Brannon made a great play on a line drive to get the second out of the inning before Greg Sherry grounded out, leaving Ashdown stranded at third.

Again, in the top of the seventh, Johnson sat down the first two batters only to surrender a single, a walk and a hit batter before Matt Burnett's two-run single to center gave the Huskies a 7-5 lead. UConn's Joe Pavone laced a one-out triple in the eighth and scored an insurance run on Nick Ahmed's sacrifice fly.

The teams will be back in action at Eck Stadium with a 1:05 game on Saturday afternoon.

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