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ND drops series to Northeastern

| Monday, April 28, 2014

In its first series against Northeastern, Notre Dame captured Friday’s victory but dropped the Saturday and Sunday contests to give the Huskies the series win at U. S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind.

As the probable starter for Friday’s game, senior right-handed pitcher Sean Fitzgerald was a last minute scratch due to a sore forearm. Normally Saturday’s starter, sophomore left-handed pitcher Michael Hearne was bumped up in Fitzgerald’s place. Hearne (4-4) pitched eight-and-two-thirds innings to earn the 8-4 win for the Irish (17-26, 4-17 ACC). Senior right-handed pitcher Donnie Hissa closed the game and earned his second save on the season.

As a team, the Irish collect 12 hits, scoring all eight of their runs in the first four innings.

Though the Huskies (18-22, 4-8 CAA) opened the first inning with two runs on three extra-base hits, Notre Dame quickly responded in the bottom of inning, scoring four runs thanks to two Northeastern errors and three hits off junior starter Nick Berger (1-4).

Junior first baseman Blaise Lezynski led the offensive effort with three singles and two RBIs for the Irish, while senior outfielder Connor Lyons led Northeastern, scoring two runs and picking up three of the team’s ten hits.

On Saturday, the Irish allowed five unearned runs as the Huskies evened the series at one with a 6-2 victory. Though Notre Dame outhit Northeastern, as the teams managed nine and eight hits respectively, Notre Dame’s three errors proved costly in comparison to an error-free game for the Huskies.

Northeastern senior right-handed pitcher Chris Carmain pitched seven innings, allowing only two earned runs and striking out four Notre Dame hitters. Freshman right-handed pitcher Ryan Civale finished the game for Northeastern, shutting out the Irish offense for two frames.

On Sunday, the Notre Dame offense was quieted for all nine frames as Northeastern won the rubber match, 4-0.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Dustin Hunt claimed his fourth win, as the Andover, Mass., product remains undefeated on the season. Hunt finished seven frames, allowing only seven hits and one walk while striking out eight. In all four of Hunt’s wins this season, the freshman has collected at least seven strikeouts, including nine in seven shutout innings against Niagara on March 16. Notre Dame junior right-handed pitcher Pat Connaughton pitched six-and-two-thirds innings for the Irish, taking home the loss and allowing all four of Northeastern’s runs.

Again, Lyons led Northeastern as the senior finished with three hits and one run. For Notre Dame, eight different players got a hit, though no player collected more than one in the game.

Against Notre Dame, Lyons picked up eight hits in 14 strikeout-free at bats over the weekend. This season, the senior is hitting .357 and is in the midst of a six-game hitting streak. Over the last six games, Lyons is 15-for-27, including two doubles and a triple.

Currently, Lezynski leads Notre Dame at the plate, as the first baseman is hitting .325 on the season. The junior leads the Irish in hits, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, RBIs and doubles.

Notre Dame returns to the field Wednesday as the Irish host Western Michigan at Four Winds Field in South Bend. The first pitch will be at 5:35 p.m.

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