Sophomore Golden Tate.

Irish Takes Doubleheader Opener Against West Virginia, 8-6

April 18, 2009

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame sophomore Brian Dupra (Rochester, N.Y.) got a double play grounder with the tying run at the plate in the top of the ninth inning to secure his third consecutive complete game and give the Irish an 8-6 victory over league-leader West Virginia in the first game of a BIG EAST doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame improves to 21-14 overall and 7-7 in the conference, while the Mountaineers drop to 28-8 and 11-3.

Dupra, who tossed complete games against Villanova and Cincinnati in his last two outings, scattered six runs on 11 hits in 9.0 innings. The right-handed hurler struck out three and walked just one. He evened his record at 4-4 on the season.

Dupra did surrender a two-run home run off the bat of Justin Parks with one out in the top of the ninth inning that cut the Irish lead to 8-6. Dupra then plunked Dan DiBartolomeo to bring the tying run to the plate in Jedd Gyorko, but Dupra got a 6-3 double play to end the game.

Andy Altemus (1-1) was charged with the loss for the Mountaineers. The righty was roughed up for eight runs, six earned, on 15 hits in 7.0 innings. Altemus fanned three and walked a pair.

Sophomore Golden Tate (Hendersonville, Tenn.) and junior Casey Martin (Chesterton, Ind.) paced the 16-hit attack for the Irish with three hits apiece. Tate, who had a reception and reverse in Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold spring football game earlier in the afternoon, went 3-for-5 with a run scored and RBI. Martin went 3-for-4 with a run scored and a pair of great defensive scoops at first base.

Junior A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.), sophomore David Casey (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.), sophomore Mick Doyle (LaGrange Park, Ill.) and sophomore Cameron McConnell (Bannockburn, Ill.) each added two hits. Pollock and Doyle each drove in a pair. Doyle added his first career home run – a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Irish grabbed their first lead of the series in the bottom of the second inning, 1-0. McConnell delivered with a clutch two-out RBI single to plate junior David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.), who ripped a one-out double earlier in the inning. The RBI for McConnell was his 22nd of the season and 12th that has either tied the game or given Notre Dame the lead.

Notre Dame pushed its lead to 2-0 with another solo tally in the bottom of the third inning. Tate pulled a single through the right side and raced home all the way from first on senior Jeremy Barnes’ (Garland, Texas) RBI double down the left field line. The RBI was Barnes’ 169th of his career, which moved him past Brian Stavisky (2000-02) into 10th place all-time at Notre Dame.

Dupra took advantage of the early run support. The right-handed hurler did allow a two-out bloop single in the first and leadoff infield single in the second, but worked around both. In fact, Dupra retired nine consecutive Mountaineers over the second, third and fourth inning.

Doyle made it 3-0 with a towering solo home run over the left field wall. The blast was Doyle’s first of his young career. Following the Doyle home run, Martin singled and moved to second on McConnell’s sacrifice bunt. After junior Ryne Intlekofer (Moorpark, Calif.) grounded out, Pollock walked and Tate legged out an infield single to load the bases for Barnes, but Altemus escaped further damage after Barnes grounded out to shortstop.

Dupra sent down the 10th straight West Virginia batter to open the fifth inning before walking Joe Agreste. Mark Dvoroznak then bunted Agreste to second base with two outs, but Dupra got Colin Durborow to fly out weakly to right field to end the inning.

Notre Dame extended the lead to 6-0 with a three-run spot in the bottom of the fifth inning. Casey led off the inning with a double, moved to third base on Mills’ ground out to the right side and coasted home on Doyle’s sacrifice fly that Grant Bucker dropped in right field. After Martin grounded out, McConnell reached on an infield single and Altemus plunked Intlekofer to load the bases. Pollock added two more runs with a two-run single.

West Virginia finally plated a run off Dupra in the sixth when Parks and DiBartolomeo registered back-to-back double to bring the Mountaineers within five runs, 6-1. Tobias Streich made it 6-2 with West Virginia’s third double of the inning and his fourth of the series. Buckner plated the third run of the inning, 6-3, with an RBI ground out.

After the Mountaineers inched closer, 6-4, in the top of the seventh, Notre Dame added a pair of runs in the home half of the inning. Intlekofer and Tate each posted two-out RBI singles to give the Irish an 8-4 lead.

Dupra returned to the mound in the eighth and did allow a two-out single from Buckner, but retired Agreste on a nice running catch by Pollock into the right centerfield gap to end the inning.

— ND —