Junior All-American candidates Trey Mancini and Eric Jagielo each collected multiple hits, but it was not enough to overcome three errors and eight free passes as the Notre Dame baseball team saw its five-game winning streak come to a end, 12-6, against Eastern Michigan Tuesday at Frank Eck Stadium. The Fighting Irish, who had won eight of their previous nine games, drop to 27-17 overall, while the Eagles improve to 21-21.
Mancini extended his hitting streak to a career best 12 games. He has collected at least two hits in eight consecutive games. Mancini went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI single. He is hitting an absurd .609 (28-for-46) with five doubles, three triples and 15 RBI over the hitting streak. Mancini is now hitting .387 on the year.
Jagielo also went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a pair of RBI singles. He lifted his batting average to .390 on the season.
Ternowchek was charged with the loss and dropped to 4-4 on the campaign. He was roughed up for seven runs, all earned, on five hits in 2.2 innings of work. Ternowchek struck out two and walked one.
Ben Dartnell picked up the victory in relief and improved to 1-0. He was nearly flawless. Dartnell struck out three over 3.0 innings of hitless relief.
Things actually looked good for the Irish in the early stages of the game.
Notre Dame grabbed a 2-0 lead with solo runs in each of the first two innings and Ternowchek retired the first five Eastern Michigan batters in the game before a meaningless error extended the second inning. He worked around the defensive miscue with a strikeout and seemed in control before running into trouble in the top of the third.
After a one-out bunt single and fly out, Ternowchek plunked John Rubino on a 1-2 offering with two down. Sam Ott followed with an RBI single and Lee Longo delivered a critical blow one batter later with a three-run home run. He golfed another two-strike offering from Ternowchek up into the jet stream and over the left-field wall to give the Eagles a 4-2 advantage.
The Irish regained the lead, 5-4, with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Jagielo had an RBI single, senior CF and co-captain Charlie Markson executed a sacrifice fly and freshman SS Lane Richards laced an RBI double, but freshman C Ricky Sanchez grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning with the bases loaded.
The momentum was short lived as Ternowchek struggled mightily in the fourth inning. The first three Eagles reached base on a double, walk and single. Just like that, the game was tied, 5-5.
Ternowchek was replaced with freshman RHP Connor Hale, who proceeded to walk the next two hitters that gave Eastern Michigan a 6-5 lead. After inducing a double-play ground out that pushed the Eagles' advantage to 7-5, Hale issued another walk before freshman RHP Nick McCarty came into the game and ended the inning with a strikeout.
Notre Dame got a couple of base runners in the bottom of the fourth inning with two outs, but Eastern Michigan went to the bullpen and called on Dartnell. The southpaw simply shut down the Irish over the next three innings. Dartnell faced just one over the minimum in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The only Notre Dame base runner over the span came via an error.
The Irish managed just one hit against the Eagles bullpen between the fifth and eighth innings. Eastern Michigan, on the other hand, took advantage of four walks, a couple errors and seven hits to blow the game open in the late innings.
Brian Valente tossed 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. He retired all four batters he faced.
Senior 2B and co-captain Frank Desico went 1-for-5 but scored three runs.
Notre Dame returns to Frank Eck Stadium and opens a critical three-game BIG EAST series at 5:35 p.m. Friday against league-leader USF. Sophomore RHP Pat Connaughton will take the mound for the Irish.