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No. 1 Seminoles sweep Irish in three games

| Sunday, April 6, 2014

Notre Dame lost two one-run games this weekend in a three-game sweep by No. 1 Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Irish (10-20, 1-14 ACC) lost, 8-7, in 12 innings Friday night after carrying a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the eighth. The Seminoles (26-5, 13-2) swept a doubleheader Sunday with 11-2 and 4-3 wins.

“It’s tough,” Irish coach Mik Aoki said. “I thought we played well enough to come away with two wins with a couple better bounces of the ball or a pitch made here or there. I was encouraged by that. … We’re putting ourselves in a position to win a lot but we just haven’t learned to win.”

On Friday, Notre Dame used a five-run eighth inning to take a 7-5 lead, aided by three Florida State errors. Irish freshman catcher Ryan Lidge’s double off Seminoles sophomore right-hander Jameis Winston gave the Irish a 6-5 lead. One batter later, junior right fielder Robert Youngdahl singled home Lidge.

But Notre Dame pitchers walked eight Seminole hitters in the final five innings, and Florida State scored a run in the eighth, ninth and 12th.

“We could have closed that game out by not creating offense for them,” Aoki said.

Seminoles freshman catcher Gage West led off the 12th with a triple off Irish sophomore right-hander Nick McCarty. Florida State senior shortstop Casey Smit brought West home with a single to hand the Seminoles the walk-off win.

McCarty (1-6) took the loss, while Seminoles freshman right-hander Taylor Blatch (1-0) earned the win.

Due to rain, Saturday’s game was moved to Sunday. The doubleheader was Notre Dame’s sixth doubleheader of the season and second in as many weekends. The Irish are 2-10 during twin bills.

Irish sophomore left-hander Michael Hearne (1-4) lasted just 1 1/3 innings in Sunday’s first game and gave up eight runs, three earned, as well six hits and one walk. Florida State jumped on Hearne and the Irish early, scoring nine runs in the first three innings, including six in the second.

Notre Dame hammered out 14 hits but could only muster two runs and committed three errors.

“Defensively, I thought we played horrible,” Aoki said. “We went back to some stuff from our team since that first weekend against FAU.”

Both junior designated hitter Conor Biggio and freshman third baseman Kyle Fiala went 3-for-4 in the game.

In the second game, Irish junior right-hander Pat Connaughton (0-2) had his longest outing of the year, going five-and-two-thirds innings, giving up four runs on seven hits but walking seven.

“This has kind of been his trend for us,” Aoki said. “His first outing is usually pretty good and then he has a few rocky ones, and he gets himself back into it. He’s getting himself into a routine, and he’s getting those runs he needs. He was a lot better today.”

Florida State grabbed a 4-1 lead after a three-run fourth inning but the Irish scored one in the sixth and one in the seventh. Notre Dame threatened to tie the game in the ninth with runners on the corners with one out.

But junior third baseman Kevin DeFilippis grounded into a game-ending double play, and the Seminoles earned the sweep.

“I was encouraged by the way that we played,” Aoki said. “I was encouraged by the way we fought back in games one and three. And, to be honest with you, I thought we kept playing hard in game two even though we were getting our lunch handed to us.”

Coming into the series, Notre Dame pitching had only allowed two home runs, but the Seminoles tagged the Irish for five dingers over the weekend.

“They’re really talented,” Aoki said. “That’s a really, really good offense.”

Notre Dame will try to rebound when it plays Chicago State on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at CSU Baseball Stadium in Chicago.

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About Matthew DeFranks

Matthew DeFranks is an Assistant Managing Editor and a senior Finance major and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy minor from Miami. He loves a solid 2-3 zone, Sperry's, fantasy football drafts, How I Met Your Mother, Cuban food, free parking, beaches, good hip-hop and airports. He hates wearing white socks, the Florida Gators, pickles, Shakespeare, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the Patriots, death metal, Ed Hardy shirts and airports.

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