Craig Cooper - pictured hitting a home run earlier this season - is the seventh different Notre Dame player (done 11 times) in the Paul Mainieri era to hit a game-ending home run (photo by Pete LaFleur).

Irish Rally To 7-7 Tie Before Falling To South Dakota State, 13-7

March 19, 2005

Final Stats

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Notre Dame baseball team rallied from an early 6-0 deficit to forge a 7-7 midgame tie but South Dakota State responded by scoring the game’s final six runs, as the Jackrabbits defeated the Irish 13-7 in Saturday’s neutral-site action at Braun Stadium.

Notre Dame (7-9) left 12 runners on base while five Irish errors helped produce five unearned runs for SDSU.

The 10-hit Irish attack included three players with double-digit hits: senior third baseman Matt Edwards (2-for-4, 2 RBI, R, BB), sophomore Danny Dressman off the bench (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and freshman DH Tony Langford (2-for-5), who now is batting 8-for-16 in limited action this season. Sophomore first baseman Craig Cooper hit his second home run of the season in the second inning, a two-run shot that sparked the Irish comeback.

Notre Dame’s rally to tie the game got sophomore righthander Jeff Samardzija off the hook, as the two-sport standout allowed seven runs (only four earned) on 10 hits, a walk and two hit batters in 3.2 innings (with a pair of strikeouts). Senior lefthander Scott Bickford (1-1) took the loss after allowing a pair of runs in 1.2 innings of primary relief.

Senior righthander Josh Elliott (1-3) picked up the win despite allowing seven runs (six earned) on nine hits, four walks and three hit batters in 5.0 innings, with four strikeouts. Sophomore lefthander Dalton Delker then logged four shutouts innings to notch his first save of the season, yielding one hit and a hit batter with a pair of Ks.

Bickford was touched for the two runs on two hits and a walk (2 Ks) while sophomore righthander Dan Kapala (both unearned) and junior closer Ryan Doherty each gave up a pair of runs.

Sophomore centerfielder Tim Hanigan (5-for-6, 5 RBI) paced the SDSU offense while Cooper added a pair of walks to his home run, scoring three runs.

A pair of errors allowed the Jackrabbits to score two unearned runs in the 1st and SDSU added four more tuns in the 2nd, thanks to six singles and another Irish error. Kyle Sytsma led off with a single and the Jacks followed with a pair of bunt singles to start the four-run inning.

The Irish jumped back in the game moments later, with Sean Gaston laying down a leadoff bunt single before Cooper went the other way with a home run to right field.

SDSU added a run in the 4th for a 7-2 lead, completing a 2-out rally with a walk, single and infield single that ended Samardzija’s day.

Notre Dame answered with four runs in the bottom of the 4th. Cooper’s leadoff walk, Langford’s single through the left side and a 2-out walk by Brett Lilley loaded the bases for Edwards, who singled home a pair of runners. Steve Andres then was hit by a pitch and Dressman delivered a two-run, opposite-field single to left-center for a 7-6 game.

Another leadoff walk by Cooper led to the tying run in the 5th. A failed pickoff move sent Cooper all the way to third and Langford brought him home on a single to center field.

The Jackrabbits came right back with two runs in the 6th, with a walk, a pair of singles through the infield and a sac. bunt bringing Kapala out of the bullpen. A run-scoring groundout then gave SDSU a 9-7 lead.

Andres was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the 6th and Dressman followed with a single to left. Decker then entered the game and induced two grounballs and a popup to get out of the inning.

The Irish tried to rally with two outs in the 7th, as Lilley was hit by a pitch and Edwards singled up the middle. But Decker struck out Andres to maintain the 9-7 lead.

SDSU then tacked on two runs in the 8th and two more in the 9th for the final 13-7 margin.

The Irish put five leadoff batters on base but hit just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and 4-for-13 with two outs. SDSU had six leadoff batters reach while batting 9-for-23 with runners on and 6-for-15 with two outs.

South Dakota State (3-12) 2-4-0 1-0-2 0-2-2 – 13 16 2
Notre Dame (7-9) 0-2-0 4-1-0 0-0-0 – 7 10 5

Josh Elliott (W, 1-3), Dalton Decker (6; SV, 1) and Kyle Sytsma.
Jeff Samardzija, Scott Bickford (4; L, 1-1), Dan Kapala (6), Ryan Doherty (8), Tony Langford (9) and Sean Gaston.

Home Run: Craig Cooper, ND (1 on in 2nd; 2nd of season).