April 15, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The freshman pitching tandem of Cole Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) and Brian Dupra (Rochester, N.Y.) did not allow an earned run as No. 29 Notre Dame extended its winning streak to a season-high nine games with a 6-1 victory over Toledo Tuesday night at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish improve to 22-9-1, while the Rockets drop to 9-20.
The nine-game winning streak is the longest for Notre Dame since its school-record 23-game win streak during the 2006 season. It is also the 10th longest winning streak for the Irish since 1995.
Johnson baffled the Rockets over 5.0 innings of work and improved to 2-1 on the season. The righty allowed just an unearned run on three hits, two of which were infield singles. Johnson struckout three and did not issue a walk. He lowered his season earned-run average to 4.43. In fact, Johnson has allowed just one earned run over his last 16.1 innings of work.
Dupra was just as impressive in his first appearance out of the Irish bullpen. He limited the Rockets to just two hits and three base runners in 4.0 scoreless innings of work. Dupra fanned five, including the first three Toledo batters he faced.
Sophomore A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) and freshman Greg Sherry (Mendham, N.J.) each had multi-hit games. Pollock went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, while Sherry went 2-for-3 with an RBI and double. Junior Jeremy Barnes (Garland, Texas) drove in two, including an RBI double, while sophomore Billy Boockford (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) added a pair of sacrifice flies.
Toledo took advantage of an Irish error to grab a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Drew Hoisington reached base to open the game on Sherry’s throwing error from third base. The Rockets then benefitted when Sherry slipped fielding Tim Krofcheck’s sacrifice bunt attempt, leaving runners on first and second with no outs.
After Aaron Dudley flied out to center, which moved both runners into scoring position, Josh Colliver plated Hoisington with an RBI ground out. Johnson and Barnes helped limit the damage to the one unearned run when Dan Sherwood grounded out to second base (Barnes lept into the air to snag an awful hop off the lip of the infield grass).
The Irish did scratch a run off Toledo starter Ryan France in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior Ross Brezovsky (Naples, Fla.) drew a one-out walk before sophomore Casey Martin (Chesterton, Ind.) dropped a double just inside the right field line to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Boockford followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game, 1-1.
After France was relieved after four innings, Notre Dame wasted little time in solving Rocket right-handed hurler Matt Kuna. Sherry led off the inning with a double and scored on senior Brett Lilley’s (North Canton, Ohio) RBI single. Lilley moved into scoring position when the Toledo right fielder Sherwood booted the ball and advanced to third base on sophomore David Mills’ (Battlecreek, Mich.) sacrifice bunt. Pollock then walked before Barnes recorded an RBI ground out to push the Notre Dame lead to 3-1. Brezovsky made it 4-1 with an RBI single to score Pollock.
Notre Dame returns to action tomorrow against Northern Illinois. First-pitch between the Irish and Huskies at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 AM and UND.com.