April 29, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame sent twelve batters to the plate in a seven-run fourth inning and went on to defeat Bowling Green, 11-6, Wednesday night at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish have now scored 47 runs in their past five games. Bowling Green, who entered the game having hit 17 home runs in the past three games, did not clear the fence and recorded just one extra-base hit.
Freshman Steve Sabatino (Lockport, Ill.) picked up the win for Notre Dame (26-17) in his first start since March 25 against Oakland. He tossed 5.0 innings and gave up three runs on four hits. Sabatino (2-0) walked three and struck out four. He allowed just two hits and no runs after the first inning and retired eight of nine batters at one point.
Sophomore Todd Miller (Franklin, Tenn.) picked up his second save of the season, working 3.1 scoreless innings with a career-high tying four strikeouts.
Junior Brayden Ashdown (Tucson, Ariz.), who entered the game on a 2-for-20 slide, led the Irish attack with a career-high three hits, all line drive singles to center. The multi-hit game was the sixth of Ashdown’s career and his first since February 22 against Purdue. Sophomore Matt Scioscia (Westlake Village, Calif.), making his first start at catcher since Sabatino’s last start on the mound, went 2-for-5 with a career-high four RBI, and senior Ryan Connolly (Binghamton, N.Y.) reached base four times (two walks, hit-by-pitch, single), scored three runs and stole two bases. Scioscia’s multi-hit game was the third of his career and first this season.
Senior Jeremy Barnes (Garland, Texas) went 3-for-5 with two RBI, moving him into sole possession of seventh place on the career RBI list at Notre Dame with 178. Barnes had been tied for seventh with Joe Binkiewicz (1989-92). Junior A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) collected his fourth consecutive multi-hit game, and sophomore Mick Doyle (LaGrange Park, Ill.) extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a third-inning single.
Starter Kyle Atkinson (2-1) suffered the loss for Bowling Green (20-18), yielding six runs on six hits in 3.0+ innings. Atkinson walked four and struck out two.
Tyler Elkins went 3-for-5 with two runs for the Falcons, and T.J. Blanton amassed two hits, an RBI and his 10th stolen base of the year. The Irish held cleanup hitter Derek Spencer, who entered the game batting .681 (15-for-22) with six home runs, 11 RBI and12 runs scored over his last five games, to a 1-for-5 day at the plate, although Spencer did drive in two. Spencer saw his four-game home run streak come to an end.
Sabatino got off to a rocky start, hitting Ryan Shay and Clay Duncan on his fourth and fifth pitches of the game. Elkins followed with an infield single to load the bases with no outs. Spencer, the reigning MAC player of the week, ripped a single to left to score Shay and Duncan and put the Falcons up 2-0. One out later, Jon Berti added an RBI groundout to give Bowling Green a three-run lead after a half inning.
Connolly, making his first appearance since April 11 at Cincinnati, walked with one out in the bottom of the first and promptly stole second without a throw. One out later, Scioscia laced a double over the head of left fielder Berti to make the score 3-1.
It was the same story in the third for Notre Dame. Connolly walked again with one out, and this time he took off on lefty starter Atkinson’s first movement. Atkinson threw to first, but Connolly beat first baseman Elkins’ throw to second for his second stolen base of the game and fourth of the season. Barnes followed with a single through the right side to plate Connolly and get the Irish within one at 3-2.
Sabatino settled down nicely after the first, needing just 19 pitches in the second and third innings. In the fourth, Bowling Green had an opportunity to add to its lead. Berti singled to lead off the inning, stole second and moved to third on a groundout. Ryan Schlater followed with walk, giving the Falcons runners on the corners with one out, but Sabatino coaxed a 5-4-3 double play ball off the bat of Blanton to keep it a one-run game.
The flood gates opened for the Irish in the fourth. The first eight batters of the inning reached base and seven runners crossed the plate to give Notre Dame a 9-3 lead. Junior Casey Martin (Chesterton, Ind.) and Ashdown singled to lead off the inning, sophomore Greg Sherry followed with a walk, and Pollock lined a game-tying single to right to knock Atkinson out of the game. New pitcher Ross Gerdeman hit Connolly with a pitch to force in a run, and Barnes followed with a single to left center to make the score 5-3. Scioscia followed with a two-run single through the left side to put the Irish up by four. After Doyle walked to load the bases, junior David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.) hit a sacrifice fly to center, and Martin capped off the scoring with a run-scoring single to left. Martin and Ashdown each had two hits in the inning.
The six-run lead was short-lived, however, as freshman Dustin Ispas (Rancho Cucamonga, Texas) relieved Sabatino in the sixth and walked three of the six batters he faced. Blanton drove home Berti with two outs, and after Ispas walked a pair to load the bases, Elkins greeted new pitcher Todd Miller with a two-run single to left, cutting the Irish lead to three at 9-6.
The Irish added a pair in the seventh to extend the lead to five. Sherry, Pollock and Connolly singled to begin the inning to load the bases. Freshman Kacy Dwornick entered the game and retired the next three batters, but not before two runs crossed the plate on a wild pitch and an RBI groundout off the bat of Scioscia, his fourth RBI of the game.
Notre Dame returns to action Friday night for a weekend series against the Connecticut Huskies at Frank Eck Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Cole Johnson (4-1, 4.11 ERA) will grace the hill for the Irish.
— ND —