April 30, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior Brayden Ashdown drilled a pair of home runs as the Irish had six different players with at least two hits en route to a 14-5 rout of St. John’s in the BIG EAST series opener Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame improved to 20-22 overall and 8-8 in the league, while the Red Storm dropped to 27-13, 10-6 and saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end.
Junior Brian Dupra picked up the victory and improved to 4-2 on the year with 8.0 solid innings. The right-handed hurler has now worked into the eighth inning in each of his last two starts. Dupra did allow five earned runs on nine hits, two of which came on a two-out, two-run double in the eighth. He struck out a pair and walked one.
Ashdown went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBI, in addition to the two round trippers. He is the first Irish player with a multi-home run game in 2010. The previous two Notre Dame players to smack two home runs in a single game were Ryan Connolly and A.J. Pollock on May 14 and 16 of 2009. Ironically, each of the last three multi-home run games for the Irish have all come against the Red Storm.
Freshman second baseman Frank Desico equalled his career high with four hits. He went 4-for-6 with a run scored and two RBI. Senior first baseman Casey Martin, senior right fielder Billy Boockford, senior designated hitter David Mills and junior third baseman Greg Sherry all chipped in with two hits apiece.
Mills drove in three and scored two runs. Sherry scored two runs and drove in one, while Martin added a two-run double and Boockford scored two runs.
Bruce Kern (5-4) was charged with the loss and did not make it to the fourth inning. The righty was tagged for six runs, five earned, on six hits in 3.0 innings of work. Kern did punch out three, but also walked two and hit a batter. He fanned a career-high 12 in a start two weeks ago against West Virginia.
Notre Dame jumped on Kern in the bottom of the first inning. Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly reached base on a hit-by-pitch to open the inning. He has now reached base to open each of the last four games. Connolly took off on the 1-0 offering from Kern and DeSico followed with a perfectly executed hit-and-run single to the recently departed hole on the right side of the infield. Connolly scampered all the way to third base and then coasted home when the ball got under the glove of Red Storm right fielder Jimmy Parque. DeSico eventually ended up on third base and scored on Mills’ ensuing sacrifice fly.
Notre Dame bettered its two-run output in the first with three in the bottom of the second. With the bases loaded and two out, DeSico singled home a pair to push the Irish lead to 4-0 and Mills followed with another RBI single to make it 5-0.
Ashdown belted a solo home run in the bottom of the third to make it 6-0 in favor of Notre Dame.
It marked just the second time this season that the Irish scored in each of the first three innings.
Dupra worked around a one-out double in the first and proceeded to retire the next 10 Red Storm batters. Dupra needed just 54 pitches to get through four innings.
Paul Karmas smacked his seventh home run of the season in the top of the fifth to cut the Notre Dame lead to 6-1.
The Irish put the game away with a seven-run fifth inning. Ashdown absolutely crushed his second home run of the game, a towering drive that not only cleared the scoreboard in left field, but carried into Arlotta Stadium (home of Notre Dame lacrosse). Martin capped off the explosion with a two-run double. The Irish took advantage of a pair of Red Storm miscues in the inning as six of the seven runs were unearned.
Friday’s outing for Dupra was quite a contrast when compared to his last start against St. John’s at the 2009 BIG EAST Tournament. Dupra lasted just 3.2 innings and surrendered nine earned runs on 11 his. He also plunked a batter and registered a balk.
Notre Dame and St. John’s return to action at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday at Frank Eck Stadium. GameTracker, live web stream, live blog and recap of Saturday’s game will be available on UND.com. Tickets for all Fighting Irish home contests this season are available through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), on-line at the official Fighting Irish athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets), and at the Frank Eck Stadium ticket windows on game night.
— ND —