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ND falls to Chippewas, 4-3

| Thursday, April 24, 2014

Irish freshman second baseman Cavan Biggio knotted the score at 3-3 when he scored on a groundout in the bottom of the seventh inning, but a Central Michigan sacrifice fly in the eighth gave the Chippewas the 4-3 win and handed Notre Dame its first midweek loss of the season Wednesday night.

Irish senior catcher Forrest Johnson connects with a pitch during Notre Dame's 12-2 win over Connecticut on April 26, 2013.Oe Kenesey | The Observer
Irish senior catcher Forrest Johnson connects with a pitch during Notre Dame’s 12-2 win over Connecticut on April 26, 2013.
“I think it was one of those nights,” Irish coach Mik Aoki said. “Could we have played it a little cleaner? Yes, but give credit to Central Michigan, they had some really good players.”

The Irish defense committed three errors, two of which led to runs. The defensive miscues, one of which was made by junior starting pitcher Scott Kerrigan, marred an otherwise strong outing by the right-hander.

“We were a little sloppy with the baseball. Unfortunately it’s a little bit of a recurring theme throughout the year,” Aoki said. “Obviously you’re not going to be able to get through an entire season without that happening. Unfortunately it happened at a difficult time for us.”

Kerrigan gave up three runs, just one of them earned, in seven innings of work. He allowed one walk and scattered six hits across six different innings.

“I thought overall Scott pitched very well again,” Aoki said.

The Chippewas (26-15, 12-3 MAC) took the lead in the top of the first. Redshirt freshman left fielder Alex Borglin reached on a throwing error by Irish sophomore shortstop Jack Flaherty, who was in the starting lineup for the first time. Borglin scored when junior first baseman Cody Leichman doubled to left field.

Central Michigan added to their lead in the second inning when junior second baseman Pat MacKenzie walked, moved to third on a double from sophomore shortstop Morgan Oliver and then scored on a sacrifice fly.

Junior first baseman Blaise Lezynski pulled the Irish (16-24, 4-17 ACC) within one with a solo home run to right in the fourth inning. The homer was the first for the Irish since March 15, when junior right fielder Robert Youngdahl and senior catcher Forest Johnson both went yard against Appalachian State. Lezynski also singled to center in the eighth inning.

“It was nice to see Blaise have a big night at the plate, especially after having struggled over the weekend against Miami,” Aoki said.

In the sixth inning, Central Michigan’s designated hitter, redshirt freshman Adam Collins, hit a single to right and then moved to second courtesy of an error by Kerrigan and continued to third on a groundout. He scored on a sacrifice fly from MacKenzie.

Junior third baseman Phil Mosey began the Irish rally in the seventh with a leadoff triple to center and then came home on a wild pitch. Cavan Biggio then doubled to left-center and scored the tying run.

But with junior right-hander Christian Torres on the mound, Collins, who would score the eventual winning run, secured a walk. Senior right-hander Donnie Hissa replaced Torres but allowed Collins to round the bases, giving up two singles and a sacrifice fly. Torres (2-3) was charged with the loss.

“There were a couple of hits, but they were in the bad-luck category,” Aoki said of the eighth-inning singles. “Neither one of them were hit particularly hard. They found the right place on the field and then they score on a sacrifice fly.”

The Irish will continue with non-conference action over the weekend when they host Northeastern at the U. S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind. Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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