Junior Matt Scioscia.

Irish Drops First Two Games Of The 2010 Bright House Invitational Saturday

March 6, 2010

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DELAND, Fla. – Notre Dame grabbed early leads against both Harvard and Kansas State in its first two games of the 2010 Bright House Invitational Saturday, but were unable to come away with a victory in either contest as the Irish lost to the Crimson, 9-6, and the Wildcats, 5-2. Notre Dame dropped to 4-4 on the season, while Harvard improved to 1-0 and Kansas State improved to 8-2.

Junior Matt Scioscia led the Irish offensively in the doubleheader. The designated hitter went 3-for-7 in the two games with a double and four RBI. Junior Mick Doyle, senior Ryan Connolly, senior David Mills and senior Casey Martin also chipped in three hits. Doyle and Connolly each double twice. Connolly also added a triple.

Harvard 9, Notre Dame 6

Harvard’s Sean O’Hara went 3-for-3 with a run scored, three doubles and three RBI, while Conner Hulse tossed 7.2 innings of solid relief to lead the Crimson to a 9-6 come-from-behind victory over Notre Dame on Saturday at Melching Field.

Notre Dame raced out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Connolly was plunked to lead off the game and Mills followed with a walk. Scioscia gave the Irish a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to plate Connolly. Mills advanced to third and cruised home on Martin’s RBI single. Doyle then hammered an RBI double off the centerfield wall to push the Notre Dame advantage to 3-0.

The lead did not last very long. The Crimson answered with five runs of their own on five hits in the bottom half of the first inning against Irish starting pitcher Cole Johnson. Harvard loaded the bases with no outs on a single, double and walk. After a fielder’s choice plated the first run of the frame, Dan Zailskas and Brent Suter followed with RBI singles to tie the score, 3-3. Following another RBI fielder’s choice, O’Hara doubled in the fifth and final run to give Harvard a 5-3 lead.

Notre Dame drew even with two runs in the top of the second inning. Junior Cameron McConnell led off the inning with a double, junior Greg Sherry followed with a bunt single and Mills plated McConnell with an RBI single to bring the Irish within a run, 5-4. Sherry scampered all the way to third on the base hit and Mills advanced an extra base when Harvard left fielder Samuel Franklin threw to third base. Scioscia took advantage and plated Sherry with an RBI ground out to tie the score, 5-5.

Johnson settled down in the bottom of the second inning and retired the Crimson in order, but was not able to keep Harvard off the scoreboard in the third inning. The Crimson plated three more runs, two of which came with two out base hits to regain an 8-5 lead.

Notre Dame narrowed the deficit to 8-6 on Scioscia’s RBI single in the fourth inning.

Johnson sent down the first two Crimson batters to open the fourth inning, but Chris Rouches singled to end the day for Johnson. The righty was tagged for eight earned runs on 10 hits in 3.2 innings of work. Johnson walked one and struck out one.

Senior Billy Boockford relieved Johnson in the fourth inning and kept the Irish deficit just two runs.

The Irish advanced a runner to second base with only one out in the fifth, seventh and ninth inning, but failed to score each time.

Harvard finally solved Boockford in the bottom of the eighth inning. He still managed to toss a career-best 3.1 innings and allowed one earned run on three hits. Boockford struck out one and walked a pair. Sophomore Joe Spano added a scoreless inning of relief.

Notre Dame opened the ninth with back-to-back singles from Mills and Scioscia to bring the tying run to the plate, but Harvard closer Robert Wineski got Martin to fly out before enducing Doyle into a game-ending double play ground out.

Scioscia went 2-for-4 with three RBI. Mills, Martin, Doyle and McConnell all added two hits.

Game 2
Kansas State 5, Notre Dame 2

Sophomore Steve Sabatino did not allow an earned run in 5.2 innings of work, but it went for naught as Kansas State benefitted from a critical Irish error in the fifth inning that led to three unearned runs as the Wildcats held on for a 5-2 triumph.

Notre Dame grabbed a first inning lead for the second conscutive game. Mills laced a one-out double and cruised home on Scioscia’s RBI double to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.

Sabatino retired the first four Wildcats of the game and 11 of the first 12 before running into some trouble with two outs in the fourth inning. DeBord reached on an infield single off of Sabatino’s glove and Giller followed with a single. Kindel made it three straight base hits, but Mills’ throw from right field was in time to retire DeBord at home for the third out of the inning.

Kansas State took advantage of freshman Adam Norton’s first error of the season to plate three runs off of Sabatino in the fifth inning. Clement reached on Norton’s miscue to open the frame. After Witt executed a perfect sacrifice bunt, Sabatino got Muenster to fly out, but Junica double home Clement to tie the score, 1-1. Martini followed with an RBI single back up the middle to give the Wildcats a 2-1 advantage. Sabatino then proceeded to plunk three consecutive Kansas State hitters that pushed the Wildcat lead to 3-1.

Notre Dame answered with a run of its own in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Freshman Joe Hudson reached on an infield single to open the inning and moved into scoring position on freshman Frank Desico’s sacrifice bunt. Connolly then double to bring the Irish within a run, 3-2, but Connolly would advance no further as Kansas State starter Evan Marshall got Mills and Scioscia to end the inning.

Notre Dame got another leadoff hit in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Doyle grounded into a double play and senior Brayden Ashdown lined out to end the inning.

Kansas State regained a two-run cushion in the top of the seventh inning. Sophomore Will Hudgins plunked Dellasega with one out and DeBord followed with an infield single. Dellasega and DeBord then completed a double steal to leave runners at second and third with one out. Giller plated Dellasega with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Marshall retired the Irish in order in the seventh inning, but Connolly ended the day for the Wildcat starter with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the eighth.

Kansas State closer James Allen promptly struck out Mills before hitting Scioscia, but rebounded with another strikeout of Martin and got Doyle to pop out to end the inning.

Martini drilled a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning to give the Wildcat a three-run lead, 5-2, heading to the bottom of the ninth inning.

Allen sent Notre Dame down in order in the ninth for his third save of the season.

Marshall scattered nine hits and allowed two earned runs in 7.0 innings. Marshall, who has yet to walk a batter in 21.0 innings this season, struck out four and improved to 4-0 on the year.

Sabatino was charged with the loss and dropped to 1-1 on the year. He scattered seven hits and three runs, all unearned, in 5.2 innings of work. He fanned one and did not issue a walk.

Connolly went 2-for-4 with an RBI and was the lone Notre Dame player with more than one hit.

The Irish return to action tomorrow afternoon against the host Stetson Hatters. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m.

— ND —