April 6, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Ball State cashed in two hits and five walks for six 1st-inning runs, as the Cardinals continued their run of success at Eck Stadium with Wednesday night’s 14-5 win over Notre Dame.
Ball State (18-9) – which now has won four of six games vs. the Irish in the 11-year history of Eck Stadium – owned a 12-0 lead after three innings and ultimately made Notre Dame pay for five errors, as half of BSU’s runs (7) were unearned. BIG EAST members West Virginia (5-5) and St. John’s (5-7) are the only teams to beat the Irish more than four times at Eck Stadium while the University of Miami (4-1) joins BSU as the only teams with three-plus wins and a winning record vs. the Irish at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame completed a tough stretch of four games in three days but now gets a day off from competition before heading back on the road for this weekend’s series vs. Boston College, at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Mass.
Freshman righthander Tyler Pritchard (1-0) picked up the win after striking out five Irish batters in five shutout innings, with no walks and four hits allowed.
Senior righthander John Axford (0-1) – who is continuing to make his gradual return from 2004 elbow surgery – took the loss after making his first start in nearly two years.
Ball State’s big opening inning included two hits, five walks, an error and a sacrifice fly. Brad Miller and C.J. Webb both had RBI singles in the inning while two others walked with the bases loaded and two others runs came home on ground balls.
Miller’s leadoff double then led to two more runs in the 2nd, with Miller scoring on a sacrifice fly while Webb added another RBI single.
Three of BSU’s four runs in the 3rd were unearned, including a two-run home run off the bat of Chris Pestle. The Cardinals later tacked on two more runs in the 7th to take a 14-0 lead.
Notre Dame was seven outs away from seeing the second-longest scoring streak in the program’s history (173 games) come to an end – and facing what would have been just the third shutout loss for the Irish in 11 seasons at Eck Stadium – before awakening for four runs in the bottom of the 7th. A one-out error allowed Greg Lopez to reach and pinch-hitter Cody Rizzo then started the two-out sequence with a single through the left side of the infield. Junior second baseman Eddie Smith followed with an RBI single up the middle and senior first baseman Matt Edwards drove a 1-0 pitch that carried over the fence in left-center for his 11th home run of the season and 31st of his career, tying former teammate Paul O’Toole for ninth in the Notre Dame record book.
The Irish added a run in the 8th, after Matt Bransfield beat out an infield single and came around to score on Lopez’s single and Rizzo’s groundball.
Notes – The Irish have totaled 13 errors in the last three games and now have made 27 of their 52 errors this season on the left side of the infield (17 at third base, 10 at shortstop) … junior CF Alex Nettey (0-for-3) saw his hitting streak end at 15 games, one shy of tying Steve Stanley (16, in 2000) for ND’s longest hit streak of this decade … the 14-5 final produced the 6th-biggest margin of defeat for the Irish in Eck Stadium history and the biggest since the 11-0 loss to Rutgers in 2002 (that remains the only game in ND’s last 406, dating back to 1999, in which the Irish have failed to score) … ND’s only other shutout loss in Eck Stadium history was 3-0 vs. St. John’s in 1998 … Pittsburgh (22, in ’00), UConn (19, in ’01) and Miami (19, in ’94) are the only teams ever to score more runs vs. ND in a game at Eck Stadium … Edwards pushed his career RBI total to 169, passing another former teammate (Brian Stavisky, 168) into 9th on that ND list (one behind another three-year standout, Brant Ust) … Edwards now needs just 7 more RBI to move up to 6th on the ND career list.
Ball State (18-9) 6-2-4 2-0-0 2-0-0 – 14 12 2
Notre Dame (14-13) 0-0-0 0-0-0 4-1-0 – 5 10 5
Tyler Pritchard (W, 1-0), Ryan DeGeeter (6), Kory Bucklew (7), Erik Morrison (9) and Mike Singleton, Jon Byerly (7).
John Axford (L, 0-1), Tyler Jones (1), Mike Dury (2), Derik Olvey (4), Joey Williamson (6), Dan Kapala (9), Scott Bickford (9) and Sean Gaston, Nick Mainieri (7).
Home Runs: Chris Pestle, BSU (1 on in 3rd; 4th of season); Matt Edwards, ND (2 on in 7th; 11th of season, 31st of career).
Doubles: Sean Gaston (ND), Brad Miller 2 (BSU), Mike Sullivan (BSU).