March 11, 2004
ROUND ROCK, Texas – Freshman righthander Derik Olvey (Pelham, Ala.) returned to action with five strong innings for his first win of the season while the Notre Dame offense manufactured four single-run innings to defeat Penn State, 4-2, in first-day action at Dell Diamond in the Round Rock College Classic.
Notre Dame – continuing one of the best starts in the program’s 112-year history – outhit Penn State (5-4) by an 8-2 margin, despite the absence of sophomore rightfielder Cody Rizzo (sidelined with a wrist injury). The Irish improved to 10-1 for just the second time in the last 68 seasons and could match the 1960 team’s 11-1 start with a win over Arizona on Friday (that 1960 team then lost its 13th game).
Olvey (1-0), who missed his previous start in San Antonio due to illness, combined with classmate Jeff Samardzija (Valparaiso, Ind.) in limiting Penn State to a pair of hits and seven total baserunners. Olvey allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and three walks in five innings, with four strikeouts in his 86-pitch outing.
Samardzija retired 12 of the 13 batters he faced for his first save of the young season, continuing an impressive start to his two-sport Notre Dame career (he also lettered as a receiver with the Irish football team last fall) that includes a 0.96 ERA and just one hit allowed in 29 opponent at-bats (for a .034 opponent batting average). The 6-5, 205-pound righthander also has totaled four strikeouts and just three walks in 9.1 innings of work this season – with Thursday’s outing including five groundouts, two infield popups and a strikeout (he set down the final seven batters).
Junior third baseman Matt Macri extended his hot hitting by collecting three RBI singles, with the 3-for-4 day boosting his season batting average to .419 (tops among Irish regulars).
Both teams plated single runs in the 1st and 4th innings, with errors leading to an unearned run for each team.
Notre Dame took its third lead of the day in the top of the 6th, with senior catcher Javi Sanchez drawing a one-out walk on four pitches before sophomore DH Steve Andres delivered a single through the right side that ended the day for senior righthander Jim Farrell (1-2). Macri then worked to a 1-1 count versus righthander reliever Josh Palm before scoring Sanchez with a single through the left side.
Macri now is batting .474 (9-for-19) in five games during the spring break trip to Texas.
Junior righthander Chris Niesel is slated to start Friday’s game versus Arizona (3:00 p.m. CST) while sophomore lefthander Tom Thornton is the likely starter in the Saturday morning game vs. Texas Tech (11:00 a.m.). Friday’s forecast calls for possible showers and there likely are no gaps in the weekend schedule for a potential makeup game (the Round Rock Classic includes seven teams that play in a rotating format).
#8 Notre Dame (10-1) 1-0-0 1-0-1 0-1-0 – 4 8 2
Penn State (5-4) 1-0-0 1-0-0 0-0-0 – 2 2 1
Derik Olvey (W, 1-0), Jeff Samardzija (6; SV, 1) and Javi Sanchez.
Jim Farrell (L, 1-2), Josh Palm (6) and Matt Harter.
Double: Scott Gummo (PSU).