Senior Ross Brezovsky gave the Irish a 1-0 lead with an RBI triple in the first inning.

Irish Drop Season Opener, 6-2, Against Liberty

Feb. 22, 2008

Final Stats

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The University of Notre Dame was limited to just six hits on the afternoon in a 6-2 loss to Liberty in the season opener for both teams from the Winning Inning Clearwater Classic.

After the Irish and junior starting right-handed pitcher David Phelps (Hazlewood, Mo.) held the Flames silent over the first three innings, Liberty exploded with four runs in the fourth inning.

The Flames loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth despite not a single ball leaving the infield. Liberty used a pair of walks and a fielder’s choice before David Giammaresi doubled to give the Flames a 2-1 lead. After Aaron Phillips laid down a safety squeeze to make it 3-1, Tim Rotola followed with a seeing-eye single to give Liberty a 4-1 advantage.

The Flames added two more insurance runs in their half of the fifth inning. Aaron Grijalva opened the inning with a single and P.K. Keller followed with a walk. Doug Bream then laced an RBI single back up the middle, just past the out-stretched glove of Phelps. Liberty added its sixth and final run when Giammaresi grounded into a double play.

Phelps (0-1) was charged with the loss. The right-handed hurler allowed six runs, all earned, on eight hits over 4.2 innings of work. Phelps struck out two, walked three and hit one batter. The start is the first that Phelps failed to pitch 5.0 innings since March 22, 2006 against Central Michigan (a span of 16 starts).

Notre Dame did get two strong outings out of its bullpen from sophomores Eric Maust (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Steven Mazur (Round Rock, Texas).

Maust replaced Phelps and worked the next 2.1 scoreless innings. He limited Liberty to just one hit, fanned three and faced the minimum seven batters. Mazur followed with 2.0 perfect innings of relief.

Senior catcher Sean Gaston (Brownsburg, Ind.) was the lone Irish player with a multiple hit effort. Gaston went 2-for-4 with an RBI single. Senior shortstop Brett Lilley (North Canton, Ohio), senior left fielder Ross Brezovsky (Naples, Fla.), sophomore center fielder A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) and junior second baseman Jeremy Barnes (Garland, Texas) all added hits.

Notre Dame grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Lilley led off the game with a walk and came around to score on Brezovsky’s one-out RBI triple.

Clarence Nicely (1-0) picked up the victory for the Flames. He allowed just one earned run over 6.0 innings on five hits. Nicely struck out three and walked three.

The Irish return to action Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. against Iowa and 7:00 p.m. against Albany. Senior left-handed pitcher Wade Korpi will start the first game and freshman right-hander Brian Dupra will take the mound in the nightcap.