NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Four Sacramento State pitchers combined to allow just five hits and two runs but Notre Dame held the Hornets to four singles and turned four double plays in a 2-0 win on Wednesday in Indiana.
After playing 18 innings at No. 15 Iowa on Tuesday Sacramento State (22-23) made the nearly five hour drive to South Bend to face a team that is receiving votes in the national polls. Notre Dame (29-16) had also played an extra-inning game on Tuesday, losing to Michigan State 9-6 in 12 innings.
Notre Dame entered the game leading all of NCAA Div. I with 55 double plays turned this season, and four big ones on Wednesday aided their cause. The Fighting Irish got double play grounders in the first, second, sixth, and ninth innings, with the last one ending the game.
Sophomore Jared Paderez got the start for the Hornets and allowed just two hits and one run in three innings. Junior Grant Kukuk allowed a run in two innings before sophomore Chad Perry threw two scoreless innings and freshman Ryan Smith had a perfect bottom of the eighth.
Senior Scotty Burcham had two of the four Hornet hits and drew a walk to keep his red-hot streak going with his sixth straight multi-hit game and his 11th multi-hit contest in the last 15 games. He had the only multi-hit line for either team while sophomore Brandon Hunley and junior Dane Fujinaka also had singles for Sacramento State.
Notre Dame got on the board quickly as Ryan Bull hit a solo homerun with one away in the first inning. The Irish threatened for more in the inning after a walk and a double but Paderez got out of it with a strikeout and a fly out.
In the fourth the Irish got consecutive singles to lead off the inning followed by a hit by pitch to load the bases with none out. Kukuk cut down a runner at the plate on a groundball to third and ended up allowing just one run on an ensuing sacrifice fly.
The Hornets allowed just one Notre Dame hit over the last four innings of the game and got the leadoff man aboard in five innings but the four double plays and four runners left on base prevented the Hornets from scoring.
Connor Hale was the starter for Notre Dame and allowed one hit and three walks over four innings. Junior Nick McCarty, a usual weekend starter for the Irish, made his first relief appearance of the year and was masterful over the last five innings allowing just three hits and one walk with five strikeouts for his sixth win of the year.
The Hornets conclude their 10-day trip with a weekend WAC series at Chicago State. The series begins at 4 p.m. Pacific Time Friday followed by a 1 p.m. start on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday.