May 11, 2005
COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – The Notre Dame baseball team pushed across runs in five different innings but Michigan struck the biggest blow, surging to the lead with five runs in the 6th before holding on for a 7-6 win in Wednesday night’s annual Baseball Bash at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
Notre Dame (28-19-1) – which has scraped together just a 9-16 record on the road this season, compared to 19-3-1 at home – suffered its fourth agonizing loss in the past five days, with those four defeats coming by a total of five runs. The Irish totaled 17 baserunners and owned doubled up the Wolverines in hits (10-5) but UM delivered in the clutch situations. It marked just the second time this season (16-2-1) that Notre Dame has lost despite outhitting its opponent.
Craig Cooper hit in the leadoff spot for the first time since the season opener vs. Florida A&M and the junior rightfielder responded with a solid all-around game, stroking a pair of doubles to go with an RBI groundout and sacrifice bunt in his five plate appearances.
Matt Edwards entered the game ranked fourth among BIG EAST Conference players in “OPS” (combined on-base and slugging percentages) and the senior first baseman exhibited both skills in the tough loss, launching a 1st-inning home run before adding three walks and scoring twice more from his usual spot in the 3-hole.
Notre Dame sophomore righthander Derik Olvey (2-2) was in line for the win before the UM rally. Olvey ultimately was touched for six runs (five earned) on three hits and two walks in 5-plus innings, with one strikeout and six groundouts.
Michigan’s rally got Brad Seddon off the hook, as the sophomore lefthander racked up eight strikeouts but allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks in 4.0 innings. Junior righthander Craig Murray (1-0) relieved Seddon in the 5th and retired three of the five batters he faced (BB, R) to pick up the win.
Michigan (31-14) used four hits, a walk and two hit batters to rack up the five-run top of the 6th. Jeff Kunkel’s two-run double into the right-center gap cut the lead to 5-4 and ended Olvey’s night. Junior righthander Ryan Doherty then took the mound and Cooper lost A.J. Scheidt’s flyout in the lights, bringing home two more runs on the fluke double. Doherty then hit Mike Schmidt with a 3-1 pitch and it proved costly – as Schmidt came around to score what proved top be the decisive run, scoring on Leif Mahler’s squeeze bunt.
The Wolverines opened the game by manufacturing a run after Chris Getz singled through left side, stole second, took third on Brad Roblin’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Kyle Bohm’ sac. fly.
Edwards quickly tied the game by plunking a 1-0 pitch off the leftfield scoreboard for his 13th home run of the season and 33rd of his career, tying Joe Binkiewicz (’89-’92) and former teammate Brian Stavisky (’00-’02) for 7th place in the Notre Dame record book (just one behind Ryan Topham). It was the first home run for Edwards in 13 games, dating back to April 17.
Junior DH Matt Bransfield followed with a 2-out double down the leftfield line and moved to third when Alex Nettey’s leftside single kicked off the backhanded stab of the shortstop Mahler. Freshman leftfielder Tony Langford – Notre Dame’s batting leader on the road this season – then gave the Irish the lead when he went the other way on a 1-2 pitch, sending the RBI single into right field for a 2-1 game.
Michigan briefly tied the game with a run in the 2nd, as Schmidt drew a leadoff walk on four pitches, stole second and scored on a pair of groundballs (one of them was booted by shortstop Greg Lopez, his first error in 11 games, making the run unearned).
Edwards helped restore the lead in the next inning after coaxing a full-count walk, advancing two bases on a wild pitch and scoring on Bransfield’s sacrifice fly. Ross Brezovsky’s one-out single through the right side then set up another run in the 4th, followed by Lopez’s infield single, a wild pitch and Cooper’s RBI groundout to the right side for a 4-2 lead.
Notre Dame had a golden opportunity in the 6th after another walk from Edwards and Bransfield’s single ended the night for Seddon. Murray then lost Nettey on a five-pitch walk, loading the bases with no outs – but the Irish managed just one run after a double-play ball (plating the run) and a flyout.
The Irish tried to respond to UM’s big inning in the bottom of the 6th, as Murray hit both Brezovsky and Lopez with pitches for another quality no-outs chance. Senior righthander Phil Tognetti then took the mound and Cooper executed the sac. bunt before a Brett Lilley groundout plated one run – but the Wolverines walked Edwards intentionally and Tognetti served up a popup to escape with the 7-6 lead.
Notre Dame then had the tying run in scoring position the next two innings. Cody Rizzo sliced a 2-out single into right field in the 8th and stole second before Brezvosky drew a walk vs. lefthander Clayton Richard, who rolled up a groundout to end the threat.
Cooper then sent an opposite-field linedrive that landed on the rightfield line – but rightfielder Doug Pickens and the second baseman Getz executed perfect throws to force out Cooper as he looked for the triple.
NOTES – ND now is 6-7 in one-run games this season … the game marked the 10th Baseball Bash in the past 11 years (ND leads the BB series, 6-4) … ND has totaled 48 runs in the 1st inning this season (in 48 games) … ND’s 106 HBPs this season ties the 2004 team’s total for 7th in the NCAA record book … Michigan leads the series vs. ND 76-42 (7-5 in Paul Mainieri’s 11 seasons at ND) … the Irish had won 8 of the previous 11 in the series … sophomore LHP Mike Dury tossed a scoreless 7th to extend his shutout streak to his past five outings (7.0 IP) while freshman RHP Tony Langford closed out the 8th and the 9th (he has seven straight shutout outings, spanning 7.2 IP) … the Irish have scored in 195 straight games (426 of the past 427; 665 of 671 in the Mainieri era) … Lilley was 0-for-5 with 3 Ks but posted his 38th error-free games of the season … Edwards career RBI total grew to 184, still 6th in ND history but now five behind ’99 grad. Jeff Wagner … the only teams in NCAA history with more HBPs in a season are: Nevada (125, in ’97), Long Beach State (124, in ’98; 114, in ’99), College of Charleston (122, in ’04), Cal State Fullerton (117, in ’03) and Arizona State (115, in ’00).
MICHIGAN (31-14) 1-1-0 0-0-5 0-0-0 – 7 5 0
NOTRE DAME (18-19-1) 2-0-1 1-1-1 0-0-0 – 6 10 1
Home Run: Matt Edwards. ND (solo in 1st; 13th of season, 33rd of career)
Doubles: Craig Cooper 2 (ND), Jeff Kunkel (MI), A.J. Scheidt (MI).