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Baseball: Irish rally past Cardinals

Alex Barker | Monday, April 27, 2009

Sophomore Golden Tate’s first career home run helped the Irish overcome a five-run deficit to defeat Louisville 13-12 Sunday in the rubber match of their weekend series in Louisville.

The series victory gives the Irish (25-16, 10-8 Big East) their second straight in Big East play and hands the Cardinals (29-13, 12-6) their first conference series loss at home this season.

In the decisive third game, the Irish found themselves down 12-7 heading into the seventh inning. Sophomore catcher Cameron McConnell drew an opening walk and sophomore second baseman Greg Sherry followed with a single. Junior center fielder A.J. Pollock was then hit by a pitch, loading the bases for the Irish. Two batters later, senior shortstop Jeremy Barnes drew a walk to score McConnell.

Now down 12-8, the Irish were about turn the game around for good. Sophomore David Casey stepped up to the plate and hit his second home run of the weekend to tie the game.

After two more innings of scoreless play, Tate took the plate in the top of ninth inning and knocked a 2-2 fast ball over the left-field wall to give the Irish the one-run lead. Freshman Will Hudgins took the mound in the bottom of the ninth and sent down three of the Cardinals’ first four batters to record the save, his second in as many days.

Freshman Ryan Richter (5-1) got the win in the contest behind three scoreless innings of relief.

Sherry and sophomore Mick Doyle paced the Irish by both going 3-for-4 with one and three runs scored, respectively.

In game one, Notre Dame took a one-run lead into the ninth inning after overcoming a 6-0 deficit, but couldn’t hold on and fell 8-7. The Cardinals got a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to claim the victory.

Junior Steve Mazur (2-2) took the loss in the contest allowing two runs in one inning of work.

The Irish bounced back in game two behind a barrage of home runs to knock off the Cardinals 11-5.

Senior Evan Sharpley, Pollock and Doyle all contributed long balls and sophomore Brian Dupra (5-4) went seven solid innings in the win. Dupra was by no means dominating, but got the job done. He allowed five runs on 12 hits. Hudgins went two innings to earn his first career save.

The Irish find themselves back in the thick of the Big East race after this weekend’s victory. They are tied for fifth place with Cincinnati, just two games behind the second-place Cardinals.

Notre Dame will face non-conference opponents Illinois-Chicago and Bowling Green this week before continuing conference play at home against Connecticut next weekend. Tuesday’s matchup with Illinois-Chicago is scheduled to begin at 6:05 p.m. at Frank Eck Stadium.