April 23, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame junior Brian Dupra tossed 7.1 solid innings and senior Casey Martin drove in three, including a critical two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to help the Irish knock off Cincinnati, 5-2, in the BIG EAST series opener Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame improves to 16-21 overall and 6-7 in the conference, while the Bearcats drop to 18-18 and 4-9.
Dupra improved to 3-2 on the season with his sixth quality start of the year and longest of 2010. The right-handed hurler scattered seven hits and allowed just two earned runs. Dupra equalled his career-high in strikeouts with eight and also walked just one.
Dupra held the Bearcats scoreless over the first six innings as Notre Dame strolled out to a 3-0 lead. In fact, Cincinnati did not advance a runner to third base until two outs in the seventh inning. Justin Riddell followed with his third hit of the evening to cut the Irish lead to 3-1.
The Bearcats added another two-out run in the top of the eighth inning to cut the Notre Dame lead to a single run, 3-2, but Martin answered in the bottom of the eighth.
After freshman second baseman Frank Desico led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position on senior designated hitter David Mills’ sacrifice bunt, the senior first baseman hammered Cincinnati reliever Andrew Strenge’s first offering deep over the left field wall to push the Notre Dame lead back to three runs, 5-2. The round-tripper was Martin’s fourth of the season.
Senior right-handed closer Steven Mazur made the lead stand and picked up his fifth save of the season. Mazur retired the Bearcats in order in the ninth, including a strikeout of Riddell to end the game.
Martin and DeSico each had three hits. Martin went 3-for-4 with a run scored and added an RBI double. DeSico also went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly went 1-for-4 with a solo home run.
Cincinnati starter Brian Garman took the loss and dropped to 3-1 on the year. The southpaw allowed three earned runs on eight hits in 7.0 innings of work. He struck out three and walked one. Strenge did strikeout two, but also allowed two hits, including Martin’s home run.
Riddell and Jimmy Jacquot combined for five of Cincinnati’s eight hits and drove in both runs. Riddell went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Jacquot went 2-for-4 with an RBI double.
Notre Dame grabbed a 1-0 first inning lead on Martin’s two-out RBI double. DeSico singled with one out, moved into scoring position on Mills’ ground out and coasted home on the Martin two-bagger.
The Irish pushed its lead to 2-0 on Connolly’s solo home run in the bottom of the third inning. The bomb was his seventh of the season. Connolly took a 1-2 slider and pulled it over the left field wall.
Notre Dame returns to action with the second game of the BIG EAST series against Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Frank Eck Stadium.All fans with a ticket stub from the Irish Blue-Gold game will receive free admission.
Live stats, live web stream, live blog and a recap of Saturday’s game will be available on UND.com. Tickets for all Fighting Irish home contests this season are available through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), on-line at the official Fighting Irish athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets), and at the Frank Eck Stadium ticket windows on game night
— ND —