Feb. 24, 2008
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Notre Dame senior shortstop Brett Lilley ended one of the wildest games in recent Irish memory with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Notre Dame a 14-13 victory over Iowa in college baseball action from the Winning Inning Clearwater Classic. The Irish even their record at 1-1, while the Hawkeyes drop to 1-1.
After Iowa scored two runs in the top of 10th to take a 13-11 lead, the Irish came from behind for the fourth time in the game. After sophomore second baseman Jeremy Barnes nearly belted a solo home run to open the inning, senior catcher Sean Gaston reached on an Iowa error. Freshman center fielder Golden Tate drew a walk before junior designated hitter Evan Sharpley laced pinch-hit double down the left field line to bring the Irish within a run, 13-12. Freshman pinch hitter Matt Scioscia was then walked intentinolly to load the bases with just one out.
After freshman third baseman Mick Doyle struck out, Lilley stepped to the plate and delivered the gamewinning hit.
In addtition to the gamewinning two-run single, Lilley added a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to give Notre Dame an 11-10 lead. He finished the night 3-for-4 with three runs scored and five RBI. Lilley also reached base twice via the hit-by-pitch which gives him 80 HBPs for his career – just four from tying the school record. He also became just the second player in Irish history to record five or more hits, five or more runs scored and five or more RBI in a single-game over his career. Matt Macri is the only other Notre Dame player to do so (five hits, five runs scored and six RBI).
Junior right-handed pitcher Kyle Weiland (1-0) picked up the victory in relief. Weiland tossed 3.0 innings and was charged with two earned runs on three hits, but also fanned four.
Iowa closer Matt Mossey (0-1) picked up the loss. The righty was charged with three runs, none of which were earned, on two hits. He also walked a pair.
Doyle, sophomore designated hitter Billy Boockford and sophomore right fielder A.J. Pollock all chipped in with two hits apiece. Senior left fielder Ross Brezovsky also drove in three. Doyle went 2-for-3 with an RBI and four runs scored. Boockford went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, while Pollock was 2-for-6 with a run scored and RBI.
The Irish appeared in good shape to win the game after Lilley’s go-ahead bomb, but the Hawkeyes rallied again.
Befitting of the night, Iowa tied the score 11-11 with a run in the top of the eighth inning – thanks in part to a couple of walks and an error.
Of Notre Dame’s eight walks on the night, five would eventually come around to score and a sixth run scored reached base by a hit-by-pitch.
The Hawkeyes took a two-run lead, 13-11, on Mossey’s two run single in the top of 10th, but it was not enough to keep the Irish and more importantly, Lilley, down.
Iowa grabbed a first inning lead with two runs off Notre Dame starter Wade Korpi. The Irish senior southpaw retired the first Hawkeye of the inning, but Justin Toole followed with a single back up the middle and Caleb Curry followed with a double to right field. Kyle Riffel then blooped a two-run single over the head of Lilley in shallow center field to give Iowa a 2-0 lead.
Korpi settled down and retired the next seven batters in order, including a pair of strikeouts.
Notre Dame broke through with a pair of runs in their half of the third inning off Iowa starter Steve Turnbull. Doyle led off the inning with an infield single, Lilley followed with a hit-by-pitch and Pollock beat out a bunt to load the bases with no outs. After Brezovsky cut the Irish deficit to 2-1 with a sacrifice fly, Barnes tied the score, 2-2, with a RBI single.
Iowa regained the lead in the top of the fourth inning, but Notre Dame took advantage after a critical Hawkeye error and responded with five huge runs in the bottom of the fourth.
After junior first baseman Casey Martin led off the frame with a single (the first of his Irish career), Boockford grounded into what appeared to be a taylor-made double play, but the ball slipped through the legs of the Iowa second baseman putting Notre Dame runners at first and third with no outs.
Doyle followed with a bullet back up the middle that ricocheted off Turnbull’s glove to plate Martin tying the score, 3-3. After Lilley reached base for the second time of the night on a hit-by-pitch (the 80th of his career), Pollock ripped an RBI single to give Notre Dame its first lead of the evening, 4-3. Brezovsky then greeted Hawkeyes’ reliever Kyle Heim (who replaced Turnbull) with a two-run single to push the Irish advantage to 6-3. Barnes then executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Pollack and Brezovsky into scoring position with just one out. Gaston then reached on a fielder’s choice and Tate beat out a potential double-play ball to give Notre Dame a 7-3 lead.
The Irish increased their lead to 8-3 when Doyle scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the fifth, but Iowa exploded for seven runs to regain the lead, 10-8, in their half of the sixth inning.
Ben Geelan provided the initial damage, smashing a two-run home run off Korpi to bring Iowa within 8-5. After Korpi walked his second and third of the inning, senior right-handed hurler Tony Langford replaced the Notre Dame starter and quickly fanned Justin Brauer for the second out of the inning, but Kurtis Muller followed with an RBI single bringing Iowa within, 8-6.
Langford nearly escaped the inning without further damage after getting Kevin Hoef to pop toward the Irish dugout, but Doyle was not able to catch the pop fly for an error. Hoef would eventually walk to load the bases and Toole followed with a two-run double to tie the game, 8-8. Curry then singled in two more to give Iowa a 10-8 lead. In all, the Hawkeyes plated seven runs on three hits and four walks.
Korpi worked 5.1 innings and was charged with seven runs, six were earned, on five hits. He fanned four and walked five. Langford pitched 0.2 innings and yielded three unearned runs on three hits. Junior Brett Graffy tossed an 1.0 inning, struck out two, walked two and allowed one earned run on one hit.
Notre Dame returns to action Sunday afternoon with a 1:30 p.m. contest against Albany.
— ND —