May 17, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame baseball team kept rolling in impressive fashion on Tuesday night at Eck Stadium, as the Irish used another big inning and a 17-hit attack to slug their way past 20th-ranked USC, 13-6, a little more than 24 hours after Notre Dame’s dominating 21-1 win at the University of Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame (30-21-1) – now 20-3-1 at home this season – has won its past three games versus the Trojans, including a 15-8 game in Round Rock, Texas, during the 2002 season and last year’s 3-1 win at the USC Classic.
USC (32-16) was held to single-digit hits and lost by one if its largest margins this season, as just four of the Trojans’ previous 47 games had seen them lose by more than seven runs. The visitors scored a run in the first but left the bases loaded, setting up Notre Dame for its pivotal five-run 2nd inning. USC then closed to 5-4 on a Blake Sharpe home run in the 3rd, but the Irish went on to score eight of the game’s final 10 runs.
Junior rightfielder Craig Cooper hit 3-for-5 (2 RBI, R) from the leadoff spot for the second straight game while freshman DH Tony Langford’s 3-for-5 game included a two-run home run that yielded a 10-5 lead in the bottom of the 4th. Four other Irish players chipped in with two-hit games, with Notre Dame’s big offensive night including five doubles, three walks and two hit batters.
Sophomore righthander Derik Olvey and four relievers avoided the big inning to help maintain the Notre Dame margin. Olvey came two outs shy of qualifying for the win (4.2 IP), allowing five earned runs (one unearned) on eight hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts. Senior lefthander Scott Bickford (2-1) came on in the 5th to record the final two outs en route to picking up the victory (1.0 IP, K, HB, 4 BF).
Three righthanders – junior Ryan Doherty (1.2 IP, BB, 2 Ks), Langford (1.0 IP) and sophomore Jeff Manship (1.0 IP) – combined with Bickford in allowing just three USC baserunners over the final four innings.
Senior lefthander Michael Friedman (2-3) suffered the loss after surrendering five runs (four earned) on six hits and one walk in 2.0 innings.
Billy Hart and All-America catcher Jeff Clement (RBI) – whose 3-for-3 night represented USC’s only player with multiple hits – stroked one-out doubles in the opening frame before Olvey lost Cyle Hankard on a full-count walk and hit Sharpe with an 0-1 pitch. But Olvey responded by serving up a shallow flyout to right field off the bat of Baron Frost before forcing Zach Kalter into a rally-killing groundout to the first baseman Matt Edwards.
Junior centerfielder Alex Nettey – whose solid night (2-for-4, RBI, 3 R) included making two diving catches beyond the second-base bag – started the big 2nd inning when he was hit by an 0-1 pitch with one out. Junior shortstop Greg Lopez then pulled a 2-0 pitch through the left side of the infield and Cooper later came through with two outs, ripping a 3-1 pitch through the left side to tie the game.
Freshman third baseman Brett Lilley registered his own clutch hit moments later, going with the first pitch he saw and driving an opposite-field double deep in the left-center gap to chase home two more runs. Junior leftfielder Steve Andres followed with an RBI single through the right side and Edwards lined a single into left field that was misplayed by Frost (allowing Andres to score, as an unearned run).
USC quickly cut the deficit to 4-3 on Sharpe’s fourth home run of the season but the hosts answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the 3rd, vs. senior righthander Jon Williams. Langford and Nettey led things off with single up the middle and Lopez smashed an RBI double to left-center. Ross Brezovsky added a sacrifice fly before Cooper delivered again, this time sending a 1-2 pitch into the left-center gap for an 8-4 Irish lead.
The Trojans plated single runs in the 4th and 5th but they were offset by Langford’s third home run of the season. Junior catcher and southern California native Cody Rizzo (Temecula) hit a one-out double to left field before Langford connected on a 1-2 pitch, driving the ball over the leftfield fence to end the night for Williams.
USC’s run in the 5th produced a 10-6 score and the tying run was on deck when Bickford took the mound. The wiry lefthander sent Lucas Duda down swinging at a 1-2 pitch and then induced another groundout to Edwards off the bat of Kalter.
Nettey’s one-out double and Brezovsky’s opposite-field single to left brought home another Irish run in the 7th, vs. freshman RHP Steve Martlaro. The game’s final runs came in the 8th with sophomore RHP Andy Guy on the mound. Edwards drilled a single off Guy’s leg and took second on the pitcher’s errant fielding throw. Rizzo’s five-pitch walk and Langford’s single through the right side loaded the bases for Nettey, who picked up an RBI on his groundball up the middle (second baseman Hector Estrella bobbled the potential double-play ball, leaving no outs). Rizzo scampered home moments later on Guy’s errant pickoff throw to third base to cap the night’s scoring.
The only teams to post larger victory margins vs. USC this season are Rice (12-1), Arizona State (17-1), California (9-1) and Arizona (18-4).
Notre Dame is slated to start freshman LHP Wade Korpi in Wednesday’s game while USC will counter with senior RHP Brett Banister.
Note: Wednesday’s ND-USC game (6:05 EST) will be broadcast by Detroit-based Comcast Local and can be seen live and/or on tape delay throughout Michigan, in South Bend, in Chicago and in parts of northern California (namely Sacramento and the Bay Area) … check your local Comcast listings for availability … additional notes from Tuesday’s game will be included with Wednesday’s pregame notes package.
Southern California (32-16) 1-0-3 1-1-0 0-0-0 – 6 9 4
Notre Dame (30-21-1) 0-5-3 2-0-0 1-2-X – 13 17 2
Michael Friedman (L, 2-3), Jon Williams (3), Steve Martlaro (4), Nate Smith (7), Andy Guy (8) and Jeff Clement.
Derik Olvey, Scott Bickford (5; W, 2-1), Ryan Doherty (6), Tony Langford (8), Jeff Manship (9) and Cody Rizzo, Sean Gaston (9).
Home Runs: Tony Langford, ND (1 on in 4th; 3rd of season); Blake Sharpe, USC (2 on in 3rd; 4th of season).
Doubles: Craig Cooper (ND), Brett Lilley (ND), Rizzo (ND), Alex Nettey (ND), Greg Lopez (ND), Matt Cusick (USC), Billy Hart (USC), Jeff Clement (USC), Baron Frost (USC).