March 11, 2007
The Notre Dame baseball team’s doubleheader action on Sunday at Jack Russell Stadium was a microcosm of the team’s 2007 season, as the Irish erupted for a 14-3 win over Duquesne before being shut out by Ivy League favorite Harvard, 4-0. Notre Dame (4-8) – which rapped out a season-high 19 hits in the win over the Dukes – has batted a combined .413 in its four victories this season (with an average of 12 runs per game in those wins), but the Irish now are batting just .150 in the eight defeats while scoring a total of 10 runs in those losses.
Sunday’s first game was tied, 3-3, entering the late innings before the Notre Dame offense rose up for eight runs on nine hits in the top of the seventh. Senior DH Mike Dury’s grand slam provided half of the RBI and preceded a solo shot from junior second baseman Ross Brezovsky in the big inning. Dury also doubled, walked and was hit by a pitch while scoring twice and being one of seven Irish players with multiple hits (2-for-4) versus the Dukes. Brett Lilley (2-for-2, BB, 2 HBP) reached five times from the leadoff spot and scored four runs, with other top efforts from A.J. Pollock in the 2-hole (3-for-4, 3 RBI, 2 R) and fellow freshman Ryan Smith (2-for-4, RBI, 2 R, 2B), who ended up catching all 18 innings in the long day.
The Irish had plenty of chances in the second game but hit just 1-for-19 with runners on base and 0-for-12 with runners on scoring position (including two early bases-loaded situations). Senior righthander Jess Stewart closed the game by shutting out Harvard over the final three innings, facing just 11 batters with two hits allowed, a walk and a strikeout. Stewart (1-0) earlier was the pitcher of record in the win over Duquesne, after logging 1.2 shutout innings with a strikeout and five batters faced.
Duquesne held an early 2-1 lead before the Irish tied it up in the third, with both teams then scoring in the fifth to set up the tie game entering the lategoing. Senior righthander Dan Kapala (0-1) – making his first start since the 2005 season – allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and one walk while striking out three batters in the controlled three-inning start, as he completes his comeback from 2005 shoulder surgery.
Notre Dame junior lefthander Wade Korpi (5.1 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 2 Ks) joined Duquesne senior righthander Gary Pierpont (5 IP, 3 R/2 ER, 5 H) in earning no-decision, with the Irish then jumping all over righthander Alex Sharick in the top of the seventh. Smith led off by driving a 1-2 pitch into the left-center gap, followed by Billy Boockford’s sacrifice bunt and Lilley’s single up the middle. Pollock then went with the next pitch for an opposite-field single into right field, plating Smith with the eventual gamewinning run.
Junior leftfield Tony Langford followed by working ahead in the count and sending a single into center field that loaded the bases. Sharick then gained the advantage on Dury but the switch hitter connected on a 1-2 pitch and launched a shot that hit high off the light pole in right field for the 8-3 lead. The hits kept coming, as Brezovsky pulled a 1-1 pitch over the leftfield fence, junior shortstop Jeremy Barnes singled to center field and Smith collected his second hit of the inning, on an RBI double pulled down the leftfield line.
Righthander Nick Jones came on in relief of Sharick (0-2), but Boockford greeted him by sending an 0-2 pitch into right field for the opposite-field, RBI single that capped the scoring in the eight-run surge.
The Irish added to their lead with another run in the eighth and two more in the ninth. The 19 hits were the most by a Notre Dame team in the past 34 games, dating back another 19-hit game in a 14-12 win over Rutgers on April 23, 2006.
Notre Dame (4-7) 1-0-1 0-1-0 8-1-2 – 14 19 2
Duquesne (3-7) 2-0-0 0-1-0 0-0-0 – 3 5 1
Home Runs: Mike Dury (ND; 3 on in 7th; 2nd of season/6th of career), Ross Brezovsky (ND; solo in 7th; 1st of season/7th of career). Doubles: Billy Boockford (ND), Smith (ND), Ryan Connolly (ND), Dury (ND), Eddy Mendiola (ND), Aaron Janusey (DUQ), Corey Bugno (DUQ).
Harvard (2-1) 0-0-2 0-2-0 0-0-0 – 4 10 0
Notre Dame (4-8) 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 0 5 3
Doubles: Steffan Wilson (HARV), Matt Kramer (HARV).