The Notre Dame baseball team's bullpen has been stellar all season, but that was not the case in Saturday's 10-5 loss to Louisville. The Cardinals (22-5, 4-2 Big East) scored eight of their runs off the Irish bullpen to secure the series sweep against visiting Notre Dame (15-9, 2-4) at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Irish two-sport standout Pat Connaughton (0-1) made his second start on the mound in less than a week after joining the baseball team when the basketball season ended last weekend in Dayton. Connaughton was on a pitch count in both starts. He surrendered Louisville's first two runs in 3.1 innings of work. The right hander walked three and struckout two.
Freshman Nick McCarty relieved Connaughton after the starter had yielded a run in the fourth inning. McCarty prompted fanned the next two batters to end the frame. Louisville loaded the bases in the fifth with no outs, but McCarty got a pop out and a 6-3 double play to end the threat.
The flood gates opened in the bottom of the seventh though, with six runs crossing the plate for the Cardinals. All six runs scored with two outs. The final two came after fellow freshman David Hearne had replaced McCarty on the mound. McCarty's line included five earned runs on five hits in 3.1 innings. Hearne yielded a run on two hits in a third of an inning. Connor Hale got the last three outs, but gave-up two more runs.
Notre Dame's lone highlight when Phil Mosey hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the top of the eighth inning.
The 10 runs allowed are a season-high for the Fighting Irish. They had not lost a series this season prior to dropping the three games against their conference rival. Notre Dame returns home to host Illinois-Chicago Tuesday night. They host Valparaiso on Wednesday prior to returning to Big East play at home next weekend against Villanova.