May 3, 2008
STORRS, Conn. – Notre Dame senior Wade Korpi (Lake Worth, Fla.) did not allow an earned run over 7.0 innings and junior Jeremy Barnes (Garland, Texas) drilled a pair of home runs to lead the Irish to an 8-2 rout of UConn in BIG EAST baseball action from J.O. Christian Field Saturday afternoon. With the victory, Notre Dame evens the series and improves to 31-13-1 overall and 14-6, while the Huskies drop to 23-26 and 8-15.
Korpi improved to 6-2 on the year with his second consecutive outstanding start. The southpaw went 7.1 innings and allowed just two earned runs last weekend in a no-decision against St. John’s. Korpi limited UConn to just five hits and one unearned run. He struck out a season-high eight and issued four walks.
Korpi has gone 7.0 or more innings three times this season, including each of his last two outings. The eight strikeouts were the most for the lefty since he fanned a career-high tying 11 against South Florida on May 23, 2006. Korpi, who leads the Irish pitching staff in victories, lowered his earned run average to 3.62.
Barnes provided all the offense Notre Dame and Korpi would need. The second baseman went 3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored, two home runs and a career-best five RBI. After flying out in his first at-bat, Barnes missed out on a two-run home run in the third inning by a couple feet and settled for an RBI double (the ball actually bounded back into the field of play off the top of the fence) to give the Irish a 3-0 lead. He then belted a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning to push the Notre Dame advantage to 4-0.
Barnes capped off his record setting afternoon with a mammoth, three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning. He is the third Irish player to hit two home runs in a game this season – joining junior Evan Sharpley (Marshall, Mich.) and junior Casey Martin (Chesterton, Ind.). Barnes now leads Notre Dame with 42 RBI.
Sharpley gave the Irish a first inning 1-0 lead with an RBI single. Sophomore A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) added an RBI double and senior Ross Brezovsky (Naples, Fla.) went 3-for-4 with a solo home run. The solo home run followed Barnes’ first bomb of the afternoon in the fifth inning. Barnes and Brezovsky are the first Irish players to go back-to-back since Mike Dury and Brezovsky did so against Duquesne on March 11, 2007.
Junior Kyle Weiland (Albuquerque, N.M.) worked 2.0 innings of relief and allowed a run (a ninth inning solo home run). He yielded just one hit and fanned two.
Notre Dame returns to action tomorrow afternoon with the third and final game of the series. First-pitch is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. The game can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 AM and UND.com.
— ND —