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Baseball: Wrong end of no-hitter hampers Notre Dame

Jared Jedick | Monday, March 29, 2010

The Irish got swept on their weekend road trip to South Florida, losing three games 4-0, 6-3 and 10-2.

South Florida junior Randy Fontanez no-hit the Irish in the series-opener Friday, and Notre Dame never recovered in suffering a three-game weekend sweep to open Big East play.

Notre Dame (8-15, 0-3) could not find any answers to Fontanez (1-4), who struck out a career-high 12 batters in only the third no-hitter in South Florida history. The 4-0 win was Fontanez’s first complete game shutout and his only win this season. Prior to this game, the Bulls (11-13, 3-0) had lost all five games Fontanez started.

Junior right-hander Brian Dupra started Friday’s game and posted another strong outing but did not get any run support from the Irish offense. Dupra pitched six innings and allowed only two earned runs on nine hits. He struck out four and walked only one batter, but by the end of his night he had thrown 122 pitches.

Sophomore left-hander Joe Spano pitched one inning of scoreless relief before sophomore Will Hudgins gave up a two-run homer in the eighth inning to round out the scoring in the game.

The Irish tried to ruin Fontanez’s big night in the ninth inning, forcing him to toss 21 pitches in the inning. Senior outfielder David Mills reached base via a walk and senior infielder Ryan Connolly reached base on catcher’s interference, but it would not be enough as senior first-baseman Casey Martin struck out to end the inning and the game.

The Irish then played a doubleheader against the Bulls Saturday, losing both games.
In Game 1, the Irish built a 3-2 lead on the back of a career-high four hits from Mills, who also threw two scoreless innings to close out the game for the Irish, but South Florida scored four runs after the top of the fifth inning to take the lead and the win, 6-3, from the Irish. Senior outfielder Bill Warrender went 3 for 4 in his first career start.

Sophomore left-hander Steve Sabatino got the start for the Irish, giving up six runs on eight hits in six innings.

Left-hander Andrew Barbosa (2-1) got the win for South Florida, tossing 6 2/3 innings with eight hits and two earned runs.

In the third and final game of the weekend series, the wheels came unglued for the Irish, seeing them give up seven runs in the second inning, a difference that they could never overcome. Senior right-hander Eric Maust got the start for the Irish, but he lost for his second consecutive outing, lasting only 1 2/3 innings. He gave up seven runs on six hits.

Sophomore left-hander Ryan Richter came in to relieve Maust and tossed 3 1/3 shutout innings with one walk and four strikeouts. Richter is 1-0 against Big East opponents, holding a 0.93 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .103 batting average.

The Irish next return to the field Thursday when they travel to Bethesda, Md. to take on Georgetown. The games are at 1 p.m. Thursday, 3:30 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday.