The University of Notre Dame used a five-run fifth inning and the No. 15 Fighting Irish never looked back en route to an 8-1 victory over Kent State Tuesday night at the U.S. Steel Yard. Notre Dame improves to 15-6 overall, while the Golden Flashes drop to 8-13.
Sophomore RHP Matt Ternowchek picked up the win in relief and improved to 3-0 on the year. He limited Kent State to an earned run on two hits in 3.2 innings of work. Ternowchek struck out two and walked one. The run that he did allow was the first of the season, which snapped a streak of 15.0 scoreless innings to open the year.
Freshman Zac Kutsulis went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple and two-run single. He also added 1.2 perfect innings of relief. Kutsulis fanned three.
Sophomore RF Ryan Bull went 2-for-4 with an RBI single, double and run scored. Junior 3B All-American candidate Eric Jagielo went 2-for-2 with a double, run scored, RBI and two walks.
Notre Dame had the first seven batters of the fifth inning reach base and five scored. The five-run inning is the largest for the Irish this season.
Sophomore RHP Pat Connaughton made his season debut and worked on a pitch count and did not render in the decision. He was slated to throw 30 pitches, and actually tossed 32 in a pair of scoreless innings of work. Connaughton retired all six Golden Flashes he faced, including one via strikeout.
Kent State grabbed the game’s first lead in the top of the fourth inning. Alex Miklos opened the frame with a triple to centerfield. It appeared destined to be a routine fly out to centerfield off the bat, it, but senior CF Charlie Markson hesitated and was not able to get back to catch the fly ball. Miklos collected a stand-up triple and cruised home on Evan Campbell’s sacrifice fly to give the Golden Flashes a 1-0 lead.
Notre Dame wasted a two-out double from Jagielo in the first, but did not waste Bull’s two-out, two-bagger in the fourth. Kutsulis followed Bull’s double with an RBI triple off the wall in right field to tie the score, 1-1. The Irish were unable to grab the lead as Markson grounded out to end the inning.
The five-run fifth inning and Irish bullpen did the rest.
Junior RHP Donnie Hissa, freshman RHP Nick McCarty and freshman RHP Connor Hale combined for the last 1.2 scoreless innings of relief.
Notre Dame opens a huge three-game BIG EAST series at 6:00 p.m. Thursday at No. 10 Louisville.