April 14, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame baseball team failed to capitalize on three-hit games from the top two batters in the lineup and ultimately brought home just one of 12 total baserunners, as visiting Georgetown rode a solid outing from lefthander Michael Gaggiolli to even the BIG EAST series with Saturday’s 6-1 win at Eck Stadium. The Irish were forced to play without the services of senior righthander Dan Kapala, who missed his scheduled start due to tendonitis. Kapala owns one of the top overall ERAs among BIG EAST starting pitchers (1.46), including a lowly 0.82 league ERA that is 2nd-best among the 2007 BIG EAST leaders.
Leadoff batter Brett Lilley (3-for-5) and 2-hole hitter A.J. Pollock (3-for-3, sac. bunt) combined to go 6-for-8 but the rest of the Notre Dame lineup suffered through an 0-for-22 day at the plate. The Irish stranded nine baserunners – after batting 1-for-13 with runners on base, 0-for-6 with men in scoring position and 1-for-9 with 2-outs – while seeing another lost on a pickoff play and yet another erased on a double-play ball,
Gaggioli (2-3) did not strike out any of the 33 batters he faced but the junior lefty walked just three, hit one batter and scattered six hits over 8.0 full innings and 120 pitches. Junior lefthander Wade Korpi (1-5) suffered the loss, allowing just one earned run (two unearned) in 4.2 innings (7 H, 3 BB, 4 Ks). His former high school classmate Joey Williamson then allowed three runs over the next 3.1 innings (5 H, HB, 3 Ks), with sophomore RHP Brett Graffy closing out the 9th.
The contrast in Notre Dame’s offensive production from the series opener (a 10-0 win) to Saturday’s loss falls in line with a season-long pattern that has seen the Irish show the capability for high-scoring efforts, only to be offset by games with lesser efficiency and missed opportunities. Notre Dame has hit a combined .369 in its victories this season, averaging 9.6 runs in those 16 wins while totaling 54 extra-base hits (11 HR, 8 3B, 35 2B) and allowing only 14 earned runs. On the other end of the spectrum, the Irish are batting just .199 in their losses, with 2.2 runs per game, only 18 extra-base hits (2 HR, 2 3B, 14 2B) and 36 unearned runs allowed (more than 2 UERs per game in those defeats). During its victories, Notre Dame is batting at nearly a .400 clip with runners in scoring position (.395) but the Irish are hitting just .173 in the losses when runners are on second or third.
The 5th inning typically provides a key moment in many games, with momentum up for grabs as the starting pitchers near the end of their outings. Unfortunately for the Irish, the 5th inning has yielded more negatives than positives this season – with GU’s three runs on Saturday yielding a 24-11 scoring edge in the 5th by ND’s opponents in ’07.
Joe Silvestri’s leadoff double started the Hoyas scoring sequence, followed by a pair of sacrifice bunts by Mark McLaughlin (reached on fielding error) and Derek deGrijs (RBI). A Matthew Bouchard single and the ensuing groundout left two runners in scoring position before an intentional walk to Sean Baumann loaded the bases. Matt Harrigan went after the next pitch and sent a double down the rightfield line, plating two unearned runs for the 3-0 lead.
A dropped fly ball to right field allowed Matt Weglarz to reach leading off the bottom of the 6th and Danny Dressman followed with a full-count walk, as the Irish quickly brought the tying run to the plate. Jeremy Barnes then bunted the runners over and Mike Dury brought home Weglarz with a sacrifice fly to left, but Gaggioli induced a popup to maintain the 3-1 cushion.
Georgetown’s three runs in the 8th included Kelly Muir’s leadoff single, a tapper back to the mound (Williamson tried to force the runner at second but the throw went off Muir’s helmet as he slid in), Silvestri’s RBI single through the right side, McLaughlin’s sac. fly and a run-scoring single through the left side from deGrijs.
NOTES – ND’s 3-5 batters combined to go 7-for-10 with 5 walks in the series opener but were 0-for-10 with a pair of bases on balls in game-2 (on the flip side, Lilley and Pollock combined for just one hit in game-1) … ND placed just two leadoff batters on base (the Irish average 3.6 leadoff baserunners per game) … 50 of the opponents’ 158 runs this season have come unearned (32%) … ND’s games this season have seen few late-inning comebacks by either side, as the team with the lead going into the 7th inning now is 27-3 (ND is 13-1 with the lead going into the 7th but 2-14 when trailing with three innings to play) …
Georgetown (13-22, 3-8 BIG EAST) 0-0-0 0-3-0 0-3-0 – 6 12 2
Notre Dame (16-17, 3-7 BIG EAST) 0-0-0 0-0-1 0-0-X – 1 6 1
Doubles: Joe Silvestri (GU), Mark McLaughlin (GU), Matt Harrigan (GU), Matthew Bouchard 2 (GU)