March 1, 2009
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Creighton used a dropped fly ball in the top of the eighth inning with two outs to grab a 4-3 lead and tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth inning to secure a 6-3 victory over Notre Dame Sunday afternoon in the final game from the 2009 Phoenix College Classic. The Irish now stand 3-3 on the season, while the Bluejays improve to 1-6 on the campaign.
With the game tied, 3-3, in the top of the eighth inning and two out, Notre Dame appeared to get out of the inning when junior reliever Steven Mazur (Round Rock, Texas) got Nick Becker to hit a lazy fly ball to right field. With junior Brayden Ashdown (Tucson, Ariz.) camped under it, the right fielder lost the ball in the sun and it dropped just a step in front of him to allow the go-ahead run.
The Bluejays added two insurances runs in the ninth inning on Darin Ruf’s clutch two-out RBI single to make it 6-3.
Notre Dame was retired in order in the bottom of the ninth as Creighton closer Kirk Clark picked up his first save of the season.
Mazur was charged with the loss. The righty went 2.2 innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits, but pitched far better. The Bluejays, as they did all afternoon, found every hole and dropped in every bloop hit. Mazur yielded six hits and also struck out three.
Matt Patterson (1-0) picked up the victory in relief. He tossed 2.2 scoreless innings and allowed just one hit. Patterson struck out two without a walk.
Sophomore Greg Sherry (Mendham, N.J.) was the lone Irish player with more than one hit. The third baseman went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Junior A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run — his first of the season.
Creighton drew first blood in the top of the second inning on Scott Thornburg’s solo home run.
The Bluejays pushed their lead to 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning. T.J. Roemmich led off the frame with a triple and coasted home on Jimmy Swift’s ensuing RBI single.
Creighton had a golden opportunity for more damage in its half of the fifth inning, but a pair of spectacular defensive plays by the Irish kept the Bluejays off the scoreboard. After Elliott Soto led off the inning with a single and appeared headed to second base when junior pitcher Eric Maust’s (Alpharetta, Ga.) pitch evaded sophomore Cameron McConnell (Bannockburn, Ill.) behind the plate, but the catcher fired a missile right to the bag in time to peg Soto. Creighton followed with back-to-back hits, double and single, to put runners on the corners with one out, but junior Ryne Intlekofer’s (Moorpark, Calif.) lunging snag of a liner off the bat of Ruf and quick toss to junior Casey Martin (Chesterton, Ind.) at first base ended the inning with a dynamic double play.
Notre Dame rode the momentum of the two defensive plays and cut into the Creighton deficit with a solo tally in the bottom of the fifth inning. Martin laced a one-out single back up the middle and eventually came around to score on back-to-back two out singles from McConnell and Sherry. The Bluejays kept the damage to just one run when Greg Hellhake struck out sophomore Golden Tate (Henderson, Tenn.) with runners on first and second to end the inning.
Notre Dame finally solved Hellhake in the bottom of the sixth inning. The southpaw faced just one over the minimum through the first 4.0 innings and surrendered one hit, but after the Irish recorded three hits in the fifth inning, Intlekofer opened the sixth with a sharp single. Pollock followed with a towering two-run blast that gave the Irish a 3-2 lead.
The lead was short-lived as the Bluejays tied the game, 3-3, on Robbie Knight’s two-out bloop RBI single. After freshman Dustin Ispas (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) relieved Maust and retired two with a run in scoring position, Mazur entered the game and struck out his first batter, but Soto followed with a one-out double before Knight eventually tied the game with his two-out hit.
Neither starter factored in the decision. Maust went 5.1 innings and was charged with a pair of earned runs on eight hits. Maust struck out one and did not issue a walk. Hellhake also tossed 5.1 innings, but allowed three earned runs on seven hits. He fanned three and walked one.
Notre Dame returns to action next weekend with three games at the Rice Classic in Houston, Texas. The Irish will play Oral Roberts (Friday, 1:00 p.m. CT), the host Owls (Saturday, 1:00 p.m. CT) and Washington State (Sunday, 12:00 p.m. CT).