May 13, 2008
COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – Notre Dame was not able to overcome four errors that resulted in three unearned runs and 13 two-out Michigan hits, including eight for RBI, as the Irish lost 15-12 in the annual Baseball Bash at Fifth Third Ballpark Tuesday night. Notre Dame drops to 33-16-1, while the Wolverines improve to 39-11.
Wolverine reliever Jeff DeCarlo (2-0) picked up the victory in relief. The southpaw limited the Irish to just three runs, two earned, on two hits in 4.1 innings. DeCarlo struck out six and walked three. Michael Powers sealed the victory, retiring the final two Notre Dame batters (both came to the plate as the tying run) for his fourth save of the season.
Sophomore Eric Maust dropped to 6-2 on the year with his worst outing of the season. He did not survive the inning. The sophomore right-handed hurler worked just 1.2 innings and was roughed up for seven earned runs on nine hits. Maust struck out one and walked one. He did manage to get ahead of most of the Wolverine hitters, but four of Michigan’s nine hits came with two strikes, including Oaks’ three-run long ball. Maust had tossed at least 7.0 innings in five straight starts and six of his last seven outings.
Notre Dame did rack up 15 hits, including three from freshman Matt Scioscia in his first career start. He went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Senior Ross Brezovsky, senior Brett Lilley, junior Jeremy Barnes and junior Evan Sharpley each chipped in with two hits apiece. Barnes and Sharpley each tagged two-run home runs. Barnes also added a two-run double to drive in four.
After Nate Recknagel drilled his 20th home run of the season, a solo shot in the first inning, the Wolverines exploded in the top of the second. Michigan plated six runs on seven hits, including a three-run home run off the bat of Alan Oaks.
Trailing 7-0, Notre Dame responded with four runs of its own in the bottom half of the second inning. Gaston and Lilley each added two-run singles to narrow the Irish deficit to just three runs, 7-4. Sciosica and Sharpley each added infield singles and eventually came around to score.
Freshman Evan Danieli came on and retired the final Wolverine batter in the second inning and then set down the first two Michigan hitters in the third inning before a two-out error from Barnes kept the inning alive. After a stolen base and another error from Sharpley that not only extended the inning, but also allowed Michigan to plate a run and take an 8-4 lead. Recknagel made Notre Dame pay for the two errors with his second home run of the game and 21st of the season to push the Wolverine lead to 10-4.
Danieli continued to pitch well as he kept the Wolverines scoreless over the next two innings, including a trio of strikeouts.
Notre Dame answered once again in the top of the third inning. The Irish pounded out five more hits and plated four runs to climb back within two runs, 10-8. The key hits coming from Barnes and Sharpley – whose two errors allowed three unearned runs in the top half of the inning. Barnes added a two-run double, while Sharpley belted a two-run home run. The blast was his team-leading 11th of the season and ninth to the opposite field.
The Sharpley bomb would spell the day for Michigan starter Kolby Wood. The righty was knocked around for eight runs, all earned, on nine hits.
The Irish drew even closer in the bottom of the fourth inning. Sophomore A.J. Pollock led off the inning with a single and promptly stole second base. After Scioscia struck out looking, Brezovsky laced a single to right field to score Pollock and bring the Irish within a run, 10-9.
Danieli continued to battle and worked into the sixth inning, his fourth of the evening. Danieli retired two of the first three Wolverines in the frame, but as was the case all game long. Michigan would add three hits with two outs to score two runs and push its lead to 12-9.
Despite the two runs in the sixth, Danieli pitched quite well. The freshman went 4.1 innings and struck out a career-best six in his longest outing in a Notre Dame uniform. Danieli did surrender nine hits, but yielded just two earned runs.
The Irish and sophomore David Mills manufactured a run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Mills fanned to open the inning, but reached when the third strike was wild. He moved into scoring position on a passed ball, stole third base and scampered home on an error from Recknagel to get back within 12-10.
Michigan added a key insurance run in the top of the eighth inning. Once again, the Wolverines did the damage with not only two strikes, but also two outs. Leif Mahler slapped a seeing-eye RBI single past Barnes at second base and into left field to give Michigan a 13-10 advantage. The hit was the Wolverines’ 13th on the night with two outs and eighth two-out RBI.
The Wolverines added two more runs in the top of the ninth inning on a two-run, inside-the-park home run off the bat of Kevin Cislo. He drove the ball all the way to the base of the wall in center field and Mills appeared to have a track on it, but the ball came out of his glove when he crashed into the outfield wall.
The Irish return to action Thursday night with the opening game of their regular season BIG EAST series finale at USF. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m. Notre Dame and the Bulls will play again on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. before closing the regular season on Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. game. All three games can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 AM and UND.com.