Matt Bransfield is one of four seniors from the 2006 Notre Dame baseball team who have moved on to professional baseball (photo by Pete LaFleur).

Irish Win Fifth Straight, 7-5 Over Iowa

March 16, 2006

Final Stats

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Danny Dressman extended his hitting streak to nine games while Matt Bransfield delivered a couple of big hits from the middle of the lineup, as the Notre Dame baseball team registered its fifth straight victory by defeating Iowa, 7-5, in Thursday’s continuing action at the Irish Baseball Classic.

Notre Dame (7-5) claimed the lead three times, cashing in 11 hits, three walks and three hit batters for the winning margin.

Bransfield (3-for-4, 2 RBI) hit a solo home run and nearly added a second, instead doubling high off the leftfield wall. Dressman continued his torrid start to the 2006 season, batting 2-for-3 with pair of RBI, a run scored, a walk and a triple.

Jeff Samardzija did not factor into the decision, due to a pair of unearned runs in his 6.2 innings. The junior righthander allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out one in his 97-pitch outing.

Junior lefthander Mike Dury picked up the win in relief while freshman righthander Kyle Weiland set down the side in the ninth for his fourth save of the season.

Notre Dame’s winning sequence in the 8th saw senior first baseman Craig Cooper reach on a one-out infield single and take third on the shortstop’s throwing error. Freshman righthander Chris Zinn then took the mound as Iowa’s sixth pitcher of the game and Dressman connected on a 1-1 pitch, pulling the ball into the rightfield corner and motoring around for a stand-up triple. Sophomore third baseman Brett Lilley brought home the insurance run by laying down a perfect squeeze bunt on the first pitch.

Notre Dame earlier had broken a 3-3 tie with two runs in the 6th. Bransfield led things off by launching a 2-0 pitch from junior righthander Chase Stephens, with the ball landing on the leftfield berm for his second home run of the season and 12th of his career. Alex Nettey then came through on an 0-2 pitch by sending an opposite-field single into right, bringing senior righthander Aaron Reasland out of the bullpen.

Nettey stole second and moved up on Greg Lope’z sacrifice bunt before scoring when senior catcher Cody Rizzo pulled a 2-2 pitch down the leftfield line for a double and the 5-3 cushion.

The Irish claimed their first lead with a pair of runs in the 4th. Freshman second baseman Jeremy Barnes dropped a one-out double over the leftfielder’s head and Bransfield delivered the 2-out RBI moments later, sending a 1-0 pitch from lefthanded starter Jeff Maitland into left field. Nettey followed with his own single to left and Lopez gave the Irish a 2-1 lead by going the other way on a 3-1 pitch, for a single into the right-center gap.

Notre Dame added a run in the 5th, after Rizzo walked on four pitches, stole second with 1-out and then surprised the Hawkeyes by swiping third. Dressman then brought the winner home with yet another opposite-field single for the junior outfielder, flaring a 1-1 pitch into left for the 3-1 lead.

Iowa opened the game by manufacturing a score, after Nate Price’s leadoff walk, a sacrifice bunt and groundout and a wild pitch. It marked just the second time the Irish have yielded a first-inning run this season. A throwing error later allowed Iowa’s leadoff batter to reach in the 6th and the Hawkeyes scored twice to forge a 3-3 tie, with three hits in the inning. Iowa had the go-ahead run on third but Samardzija induced a bunt foulout and a flyout to keep the game tied.

The Hawkeyes rallied with 2-outs in the 7th to tie the game again, at 5-5. A pair of defensive miscues combined with two hits to produce the pair of runs, as a passed ball moved the runners up while the tying run came on a double-steal as the Irish threw down to second (allowing the tying run to score).

Iowa (6-6) 1-0-0 0-0-2 2-0-0 – 5 8 2

Notre Dame (7-5) 0-0-0 2-1-2 0-2-X – 7 11 1

Jeff Maitland, Chase Stephens (5), Aaron Reasland (7), Scott Brune (7), Kevin Sunderman (8), Chris Zinn (9) and Dusty Napoleon.

Jeff Samardzija, Joey Williamson (7), Mike Dury (7), Kyle Weiland (9) and Cody Rizzo, Sean Gaston (9).

Home Run: Matt Bransfield, ND (solo in 5th; 1st of season, 12th of career).

Triple: Danny Dressman (ND).

Doubles: Bransfield (ND), Jeremy Barnes (ND), Cody Rizzo (ND), Nate Price (Iowa), Travis Sweet (Iowa).