Notre Dame throws one away against Hoosiers
Isaac Lorton | Wednesday, April 22, 2015
After a 17-year drought, Notre Dame renewed its rivalry with in-state foe Indiana in front of 8,728 fans in Indianapolis in the teams’ 100th meeting by committing two errors in the ninth inning to give Indiana the 6-5 win. Notre Dame committed five errors Tuesday, the most in a single game this season.
“We just made a few uncharacteristic errors today,” Irish head coach Mik Aoki said.
Notre Dame’s fourth and fifth errors of the night proved to be too costly. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Irish got a possible double-play ground ball to short, but on the turn sophomore Cavan Biggio threw the ball low, it skipped past junior first baseman Zak Kutsulis and the Hoosiers tied the game 5-5. Notre Dame compounded the problem with an error on the very next play. Junior shortstop Lane Richards fielded a deep ground ball but threw it away to allow Indiana’s sixth run to score.
“It just happens sometimes,” Aoki said. “Unfortunately for us we were in a position to win, and we kind of just had a nightmare of an inning from a defensive standpoint.”
The Irish (26-13) jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a single from senior left fielder Ryan Bull with the bases loaded. Sophomore catcher Ryan Lidge then brought in the second run of the inning on a fielder’s choice. Richards singled to left field to cap off the stretch and give Notre Dame the early 3-0 lead.
Despite only committing three errors in their past 12 games, Notre Dame’s five errors cost the Irish dearly. Two errors in the bottom of the second sparked the Hoosier offense, and Indiana (22-15) pulled within one of the Irish, 3-2.
Bull again separated Notre Dame from the Hoosiers, smacking the first pitch he saw in the top of the fourth over the right field fence to give his team a 4-2 lead.
The Hoosiers continued to nip at Notre Dame’s heels; in the bottom of the sixth, they got a leadoff double, sacrifice fly and RBI ground out to cut the lead again to one, 4-3.
Senior right fielder Ryan Youngdahl added an insurance run with one out in the top of the eighth with a towering home run of his own over the right field fence. The Irish hit well, Aoki said, with 10 hits and a handful of extra base hits; however, they lacked timely hitting, he said.
“We swung it pretty well today,” Aoki said. “We put some good swings on some balls and put together some pretty good at bats. On the flip side of it, we left a couple of runs out there that would have been nice to have converted, especially if had I known ahead of time that we were going to play the night the way we did.”
Sophomore left-hander Scott Tully earned a quality start for the Irish, pitching 6 1/3 innings while giving up only three runs (one earned) and three hits and fanning four.
The ninth-inning errors, though, proved to be too much for the Irish to overcome.
“We pitched pretty well,” Aoki said. “We just didn’t play very good defense and gave them far too many opportunities. It was one of those nights, I guess, for whatever reason. We just couldn’t play it as clean as we typically do.”
The loss is Notre Dame’s first at a neutral site this season (7-1). The Irish also drop to 15-3 in nonconference games.
Notre Dame will look to rebound when the team returns home to take on Chicago State on Wednesday.
“I impressed upon them very quickly after the game that one of the nice things about baseball is the idea that you get to come right back and play; whether you’ve had a good game or a poor game, there is a new opportunity tomorrow,” Aoki said. “So, we’ll go out there and play it a little bit cleaner and a high level. Just more than anything I think it is an opportunity for us to get out there and play again.”
Notre Dame will face off with Chicago State (9-28-1) tonight at 6 p.m. at Frank Eck Stadium.