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Baseball: ND goes scoreless in series against Texas St.

Vicky Jacobsen | Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Notre Dame lineup may have kicked off the season on a blistering pace, but that came to an end over the weekend as the Irish failed to score a run in a three-game sweep at the hands of Texas State.

The Irish (5-4) lost 6-0 in San Marcos, Texas on both Friday and Saturday night before falling 5-0 on Sunday afternoon.

“We were a team that had swung the bats pretty well, and they shut us right down,” Irish coach Mik Aoki said. “All the credit to them — they did a great job.”

The wins marked the third, fourth and fifth straight shutouts for the Bobcats (8-3), who are on a six-game winning streak. The Texas State pitchers have thrown 50.1 innings without giving up a run and are approaching the collegiate record of 64 consecutive scoreless innings set by Arizona State in 1978.

“I’ve been around college baseball for 25 years as a player and a coach, and that’s as good or better a pitching staff as I’ve ever seen,” Aoki said. “Those guys had really good stuff and they did a really good job of commanding it.”

The Irish had several opportunities Friday against Bobcats junior left-handed pitcher Colton Turner (1-0), who gave up hits to six of the first 12 batters he faced, but he held Notre Dame scoreless and allowed just one more hit before leaving in the seventh inning,

“We got 10 hits in the game and we weren’t able to score a run, which is both a credit to them and kind of a shortfall on our side,” Aoki said. “You hope that if you have 10 hits that you’re able to string a run or two together.

“I want to give them a lot of credit; they made pitches when they needed to. The very first inning they took Trey Mancini, who’d been red-hot coming into the series, and they got him to bounce into an inning-ending double play. And it wasn’t as though Trey got himself out; those guys made good pitches against them all weekend long. They did a good job.”

Irish sophomore right-handed pitcher Sean Fitzgerald (1-1) was charged with the loss after giving up four runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings.

Saturday’s game was scoreless through the first three innings, but in the bottom of the fourth Irish senior right-hander Will Hudgins (1-1) gave up a leadoff double to Bobcats freshman outfielder Brooks Orton, who advanced to third base on an error from freshman center fielder Mac Hudgins and then came around to score on a groundout. Texas State scored four unearned runs in the fifth inning and another in the eighth, but as Bobcats junior right-hander Travis Ballew surrendered just three hits in a full-game shutout.

Sunday’s matinee began as a pitching duel between Texas State sophomore right-handed pitcher Kyle Finnegan (3-0) and Irish junior right-hander Adam Norton (2-1), but the Bobcats again broke through in the fourth and then added two runs in the fifth inning. Norton gave up three earned runs on eight hits in six innings of work, but he still took the loss as Finnegan surrendered just three singles and struck out 12 batters over seven innings.

“We did a much better job of pitching than we had in our previous two weekends, but it doesn’t really much matter when you’re not able to scrape out up run throughout the whole weekend,” Aoki said. “We expected for them to have a really good pitching staff, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.”

Aoki said that the series gave the Irish a good opportunity to see where they stand at this point in the season.

“I think you move on from it and hope that you’re able to get better and that facing a pitching staff with arms like that better prepares us for some of the challenges that we have coming down the road,” Aoki said. “Those guys just did a good job – they don’t have the ranking but as far as I’m concerned they’re probably a top-10 or 15 team.”

The Irish will try to re-awaken the bats when they face Michigan in Baton Rouge, La., on March 10 at 1 p.m.

 

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu