Feb. 25, 2011
SEATTLE – Senior RHP Brian Dupra struck out a career-high 11 in 6.0 shutout innings as Notre Dame opened its three-game series against Seattle with a 5-0 victory Friday afternoon at Husky Ballpark. The Irish captured their third consecutive game and improved to 3-1. The Redhawks dropped to 2-3.
Notre Dame managed only six hits on the day, but back-to-back two-out hits from sophomore C Joe Hudson (Tampa, Fla.) and freshman 1B Trey Mancini (Winter Haven, Fla.) in the eighth inning put the game out of reach. Hudson went 1-for-4 with a run scored and two-run double, while Mancini went 1-for-3 with a run scored and two-run home run. The blast was Mancini’s second of the season. Junior Alex Robinson (Dallas, Texas) scored two runs and swiped a base.
Dupra (Rochester, N.Y.) picked up the victory and evened his record to 1-1 on the year. He limited Seattle to just four hits, but did need to pitch out of trouble on a couple occasions.
Notre Dame spotted Dupra an early 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. After Seattle starting pitcher Max Whieldon (0-2) retired six of the first eight Irish batters, Robinson drew a leadoff walk. Senior SS Mick Doyle (LaGrange Park, Ill.) followed with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt to move Robinson into scoring position. Robinson scampered to third base following a passed ball. Fifth-year senior OF Herman Petzold (Saint Clair Shores, Mich.) laced an RBI single back up the middle for his team-leading sixth RBI of the season.
Josh Kalalau, who was the only player in the game with more than one hit, led off the fourth inning with a double, but Dupra induced a pair of groundouts sandwiched around a strikeout to keep the Redhawks off the scoreboard.
Kalalau doubled again in the sixth inning, but Dupra recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat. He actually struck out the side in the sixth, his last inning of work. It marked the second time in the game Dupra retired the side on strikeouts. He also struck out the side in the second inning.
Dupra’s 11 strikeouts were the most by an Irish pitcher since Steve Sabatino totaled 11 at Villanova on May 15, 2010. In fact, a Notre Dame pitcher has not posted more strikeouts in a game since Tom Thornton fanned 12 against Kent State on June 5, 2004.
Dupra, who walked his first batter of the season in the second inning, has now punched out 16 in 13.0 innings in 2011. He lowered his season ERA to 1.38.
Freshman RHP Dan Slania (Tucson, Ariz.) replaced Dupra and tossed a scoreless seventh inning before the Irish were able to relax thanks to Hudson and Mancini.
Robinson again led off an inning with a walk and Doyle singled, but Petzold grounded into a tailor-made double play. Freshman OF Eric Jagielo (Downers Grove, Ill.) was plunked to put runners on the corners with two outs for Hudson, who ripped a 3-2 offering from Seattle reliever Conor Spink into right centerfield for a two-run double. Mancini then belted Spink’s next offering over the right field wall for a two-run bomb to push the lead to 5-0.
The five-run cushion was more than enough for the Irish bullpen. Slania retired the first Seattle batter in the eighth and fellow freshman Anthony McIver got the final two outs of the inning. Sophomore RHP Patrick Veerkamp tossed a scoreless ninth inning.
Notre Dame’s bullpen has now thrown 10.2 innings this season and still has yet to allow a run. Irish relievers have fanned 11, walked three and are holding their opponents to a .225 batting average.
Whieldon was charged with the tough-luck loss for Seattle. The 6-foot-10 righty limited the Irish to only one run on one hit in 7.0 innings of work. He struck out five and walked four.
The Irish and Redhawks return to Husky Ballpark for a doubleheader at Noon PT on Saturday, Feb. 26.
— ND —