Junior Matt Grosso.

Gonzaga Pulls Away For 7-3 Victory Over Irish

Feb. 28, 2009

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TEMPE, Ariz. – Gonzaga scored two runs in both the eighth and ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie and slip past Notre Dame, 7-3, in college baseball action from the 2009 Phoenix College Classic Friday night at Diablo Stadium. The Bulldogs plated the four runs on a pair of RBI ground outs, a sacrifice fly and wild pitch. The Irish evened their record at 2-2, while Gonzaga, who twice knocked off eighth-ranked Missouri last weekend, improved to 4-1.

A.J. Proszek (1-0) picked up the victory in relief for the Bulldogs. The righty tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. He struck out two and walked two. Notre Dame sophomore right-handed hurler Todd Miller (Frankin, Tenn.) was charged with the loss. He (0-1) allowed three earned runs on four hits in 4.0 innings.

Junior David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.) and junior Matt Grosso (Hebron, Conn.) each had a pair of hits and RBI for Notre Dame.

Notre Dame grabbed an early lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Golden Tate (Hendersonville, N.Y.) led off the game with a bunt single, but was forced out when Mills was unable to execute a sacrifice bunt. Junior A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) followed with a hit-and-run single to right field. Mills advanced to third on the hit and scampered home when Gonzaga’s right fielder Royce Bolinger’s throw air-mailed third base. Pollock moved into scoring position on the throw and raced to third base on senior Jeremy Barnes’ (Garland, Texas) ground out to the pitcher.

Grosso followed with a two-out RBI single to give the Irish a 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs answered with two of their own runs in the top of the second inning. With one out, Anthony Synegal singled to center. Bolinger followed with what appeared to be a routine fly ball to right field, but the ball soared over the head of Mills for a run-scoring triple. Ernesto Ortiz tied the game, 2-2, with a sacrifice fly to center.

The game remained tied at 2-2 until Gonzaga plated a run in the top of the fifth inning. Jason Chatwood led off the inning with a double and came around to score on Ryan Weigand’s RBI double.

Notre Dame drew even, 3-3, on Mills’ clutch RBI single. Sophomore Greg Sherry (Mendham, N.J.) opened the frame with a single and moved into scoring position following Tate’s perfectly executed sacrifice bunt. Mills greeted Proszek with a two-strike single.

Similar to earlier in the game, the Bulldogs answered immediately following a Notre Dame run. Miller walked the leadoff batter and Mark Castellitto followed with a double down the line to put runners on first and second with no outs. Synegal gave the Bulldogs the lead, 4-3, with a RBI ground out and Bolinger added a sacrifice fly to plate a crucial insurance run to make it 5-3.

Notre Dame had golden opportunity to draw even in its half of the eighth inning. Grosso drew a leadoff walk and senior Evan Sharpley (Marshall, Mich.) walked to put on a pair with one out, but sophomore Mick Doyle (LaGrange Park, Ill.) grounded into a fielder’s choice and Sherry popped up the first pitch to end the threat.

The Bulldogs added two more insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning without the benefit of the ball ever leaving the infield. Gonzaga used an infield single, hit batter and sacrifice bunt that sophomore catcher Matt Scioscia (Westlake Village, Calif.) slipped while attempting to field which loaded the bases. After a wild pitch plated a run to give the Bulldogs a 6-3 lead, Weigand make it 7-3 with an infield-in RBI ground out.

Notre Dame went quietly in the bottom of the ninth 1-2-3.

Sophomore Cole Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) started for the Irish, but did not factor in the decision. He allowed two earned runs on two hits in 4.0 innings. Johnson struck out three and walked a pair.

Notre Dame returns to action tomorrow evening against tournament host Dayton. First-pitch between the Irish and Flyers is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at Diablo Stadium in Tempe.

— ND —