April 17, 2004
BETHESDA, Md. – Sophomore DH Matt Bransfield drove in seven runs – highlighted by a pair of two-run blasts in the nightcap – as the fourth-ranked Notre Dame baseball team swept a BIG EAST doubleheader from host Georgetown (18-7, 11-4) at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda, Md.
Notre Dame (29-5, 10-2 BIG EAST) racked up 59 baserunners in the two games and overcame an early 7-4 deficit in the opener, outscoring the Hoyas 25-4 the rest of the day. The Irish also turned in a strong defensive effort, turning three double plays in each game while making just one error in both ends of the doubleheader.
Eight of the nine Notre Dame starters totaled three-plus hits in the doubleheader, led by Bransfield (4-for-9), senior catcher Javi Sanchez (4-for-10, 3 RBI) and freshman centerfielder Danny Dressman (4-for-10, 2 RBI).
The big offensive day matches Notre Dame’s second-most runs (29) ever in 77 all-time BIG EAST doubleheaders. Saturday’s first win, coupled with Thursday’s 17-5 over Oakland, produced the program’s most runs in back-to-back games (35) since the 1993 Irish team scored 37 in consecutive postseason games. The 18 runs are the third-most for the Irish this season, behind a pair of 19-run games vs. Winthrop and Minnesota at the FAU Classic in late Feb.
The Irish remain one of just five teams out of 287 in Division I baseball among the leaders for fewest losses (4-5), joining Texas (37-5), Albany (21-4), Stanford (28-5) and Eastern Kentucky (24-5) in that distinction.
Notre Dame flipped its starting rotation, with sophomore lefthander Tom Thornton (5-1) and junior righthander Chris Niesel (5-2) both yielding four earned runs while overcoming early struggles to register the wins.
Thornton allowed seven total runs in 4.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and two walks while striking out six GU batters. Niesel was touched for 11 hits in 8.0 innings but did not walk a batter while posting three Ks. Thornton saw his career ERA with the Irish rise to 2.35 (still below the standing ND record) while Niesel pushed his career record at ND to 18-3, for an .857 win pct. that would rank 4th in the ND record book and 2nd-best since 1914.
The Irish batted around three times in the opener and once again in the nightcap while totaling 29 hits, 12 walks and eight hits batters in the doubleheader.
Sophomore leftfielder Steve Andres hit his fifth home run of the season in the opener, a two-run shot for an early 2-0 lead, while Bransfield smacked his team-leading seventh and eighth home runs of the season in the second game (on an 0-2 pitch down the leftfield line and a first-pitch shot to dead-center).
(Due to the margin of victory in both games, see boxscore/play-by-play links for detailed recaps of the day’s scoring).
NOTES – Junior RHP Grant Johnson is slated to get the start on Sunday while the bullpen options should include freshman RHP Jeff Samardzija, who was slated to fly into the D.C. area on Sat. night following spring football practice … a win in its next game will land the Irish on 30 wins quicker than any previous ND team (the top-ranked 2001 team was 30-5-1) … senior 2B Zach Sisko (3-for-6, RBI, 2 R) turned in a solid day while again filling the spot of injured classmate Steve Sollmann … ND entered the week as the nation’s 16th-ranked scoring offense and now is averaging nearly 9 runs per game (8.94), which would rank 2nd in the program’s history and best since 1958 … the Irish have scored in 123 straight games, the 3rd-longest scoring streak in the program’s history (’30-’37) behind two previous streaks in the 10-year Paul Mainieri era (133 from ’95-’97, 231 from ’99-’02) … ND also has scored in 347 of its 348 games and in 590 of 594 during the Mainieri era (99.33%) … Bransfield has hits in 18 of his last 20 games and 11 of the last 12 while boosting his season batting avg. to .337 … Andres has hits in 16 of his last 17 games and is batting .358 overall … Sanchez has hits in 13 of his last 14 games … ND’s .967 fielding pct. now includes 21 games with 0-1 errors (13 with 0, 8 with 1) … junior 3B Matt Marci still has just 5 errors all season (.952 fielding pct.) and has not made an error in his last 13 games (45 chances), with just 1 E in his last 23 games and 78 chances (he has 29 total error-free games) … sophomore SS Greg Lopez has 26 error-free games … ND now has totaled 12 double-digit hit games (15 with 12-plus, 10 with 14-plus) and 14 games with 10-plus runs (12 with 12-plus, 7 with 15-plus) … the Irish have won by a margin of 5-plus runs 18 times this season, also posting 7 double-digit victory margins (plus 4 wins by 12-plus) … ND is 68-10 in April during the past four seasons.
#4 Notre Dame 0-4-0 0-7-6 1 – 18 15 1
Georgetown 0-1-4 2-0-0 0 – 7 12 3
Tom Thornton (W, 5-1), Dan Kapala (5), Rico Bertucci (7) and Javi Sanchez, Sean Gaston (6). Eduardo Pena (L, 4-3), Mark Dutmers (5), Travis Danysh (5), Kevin Field (5), Tyler Abbott (5) and Michael Lombardi, Brandon Davis (7).
Home Run: Steve Andres, ND (1 on in 2nd; 5th of season).
Doubles: Andres (ND), Cody Rizzo (ND), Javi Sanchez (ND), Billy Quinn (GU).
#4 Notre Dame (29-5, 10-2 BIG EAST) 0-0-3 5-2-1 0-0-0 – 11 14 1
Georgetown (20-22, 5-10 BIG EAST) 2-0-1 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 4 12 2
Chris Niesel (W, 5-2), Joe Thaman (9) and Javi Sanchez, Sean Gaston (8).
Erick Chandler (L, 4-4), Michael Halloran (4) and Michael Lombardi, Brandon Davis (9).
Home Runs: Billy Quinn, GU (1 on in 1st; 1st of season); Matt Bransfield, ND (1 on in 3rd and 5th; 7th and 8th of season).
Doubles: Danny Dresssman (ND), Andrew Cleary (GU).