The No. 15 Notre Dame baseball team is used to playing in one-run games, but that experience was not enough Friday night in Louisville. The No. 10 Cardinals edged the Irish 2-1 with a walk-off victory at Jim Patterson Stadium when Coco Johnson scored the winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Johnson crossed the plate for the Cardinals (21-5, 3-2 Big East) on a fly ball to left field that Irish outfielder Mc Hudgins nearly caught but was not able to hold onto. Notre Dame closer Dan Slania (0-1)gave-up his first run of the season in the loss for the Irish (15-8, 2-3). He had fired 22.1 scoreless innings to start the season.
Notre Dame starting pitcher Adam Norton held Louisville to just a run over 8.0 innings to drop his season ERA to 1.39. The senior entered the weekend tied for the national lead with six wins in 2013. The only run Norton allowed followed a walk by Cardinal leadoff man Adam Engel in the bottom of the first inning.
Louisville starting pitcher Jeff Thompson struckout seven in 7.0 innings. He allowed Notre Dame's only run on an RBI single by catcher Cole Johnson in the top of the seventh. The Irish left 10 batters on base and went just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
The Fighting Irish have lost the first two games of the series, meaning they have suffered their first series loss of the 2013 season. They are now 9-5 in one-run games this season.
The Irish look to salvage a win in Saturday's season-finale. Notre Dame two-sport standout Pat Connaughton is expected to start on the mound. He fired 2.0 perfect innings in a pitch count start earlier this week against Kent State.