The offense had a hard time getting going and the No. 15 Notre Dame baseball team fell 10-5 at No. 10 Louisville Thursday night at Patterson Stadium. The Cardinals (20-5, 2-2 Big East) jumped out to an early 6-1 lead and never looked back in the series-opening win over the Irish (15-7, 2-2).
Louisville touched Irish starter Sean Fitzgerald (1-3) for six earned runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings. Fitzgerald hit two batters and walked another and threw a total of 61 pitches in the brief outing.
The Fighting Irish bullpen, which has been stellar this season, allowed Louisville's last four runs over the final 4.2 innings. Zak Kutsulis yielded an unearned run in 2.2 innings on the hill. Matt Ternowchek, who had allowed just one run in his previous 17.1 innings entering the game, gave-up three earned runs in the 8th inning alone after pitching the final 2.0 frames.
Irish third baseman Eric Jagielo was his team's lone bright spot in the loss. Jagielo was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, a home run and a double. The slugger got the Irish back in the game with a three-run blast in the fifth inning to cut the ND deficit to 6-5. Jagielo had fouled off five pitches during the at-bat before planting the 3-2 pitch over the right field wall.
Jagielo leads the Irish with a .410 batting average, seven home runs and 25 RBIs.
Third baseman Ty Young was the star of the night for Louisville. He finished 3-for-5 with two triples and 5 RBIs, including a three-run triple in the fourth inning. He had tripled to plate a run just an inning earlier.
Notre Dame has now dropped three consecutive series-opening games. They have bounced back to win series against Cal Poly and Seton Hall after falling in those openers. The series continues Friday night at 6 p.m. Eastern and concludes Saturday at 1p.m.
Fighting Irish two-sport standout Pat Connaughton, whose season with the ND basketball team ended last Saturday with the ND basketball team, is scheduled to make his second start on the mound in Saturday's series finale. Connaughton pitched two perfect innings in Tuesday's 8-1 win over Kent State in his 2013 debut. He is expected to eventually move to the front of the Irish weekend pitching rotation.