March 30, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Ryan Kalita sparkled in his turn on the mound with six shutout innings and the Notre Dame offense totaled seven of 14 hits for extra bases as the 22nd-ranked Irish completed a three-game sweep of visiting Georgetown, 12-5, in BIG EAST Conference action Sunday afternoon at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (16-6, 5-1 BIG EAST) claimed an early 9-0 lead, scoring in each of the first four innings en route to its seventh consecutive victory and 14th in the last 16 games. Georgetown (6-15, 1-8) plated a pair of unearned runs in the seventh before adding three runs in the eighth.
Kalita (3-0) – who lowered his season ERA to 2.57 – remained unbeaten in his Irish career at 10-0, after logging six shutout innings with two hits and three walks allowed. All but one of the senior righthander’s 18 outs came via strikeouts (6), groundouts (8), infield popups (2)or runners caught stealing (1) – with just two balls leaving the infield during his six-inning stint (on Drew Darden’s fifth-inning single to center field and a flyout to center in the sixth).
Freshman outfielders Brennan Grogan (2-for-4, BB, RBI, run) and Cody Rizzo (1-for-2, BB, 3 RBI, 2 runs) continued to produce for the Irish lineup, with Grogan stroking his BIG EAST-leading fourth triple of the season (third in the last seven games) in the first inning while Rizzo drilled a bases-loaded triple to the right-center gap in the fourth (he ranks second on the team with a .350 season batting average). Their classmates Greg Lopez and Matt Bransfield contributed to the extra-base assault with two of the team’s five doubles, with Steve Sollmann, Matt Edwards and Zach Sisko also delivering two-base hits.
Edwards hit 3-for-4 and drove in two runs, giving him nine total RBI versus the Hoyas (he hit 6-for-11 in the series). Sollmann (2-for-4, run) collected his 13th multi-hit game of the season while capping a 7-for-12 series (with seven runs scored from his leadoff spot), with his batting season average again nearing the .400 mark (.396).
Kalita followed up Saturday’s strong starts by sophomores Chris Niesel and John Axford to give the Irish starters a 1.42 combined ERA for the series (three earned runs in 19 innings). Notre Dame’s starting pitchers now have combined for a 2.83 ERA in 22 games, with the team’s overall ERA now down to 3.69.
Senior righthander J.P. Gagne closed the game with a scoreless ninth, in his 74th career appearance with the Irish – moving past Mike Coffey (’90) into third place in the ND record book, behind Chris Michalak (92; ’90-’93) and Aaron Heilman (83; ’98-’01).
Georgetown 0-0-0 0-0-0 2-3-0 – 5 7 0
#22 Notre Dame 1-3-2 3-0-0 2-1-X – 12 14 3
Ryan Kalita (W, 3-0), Martin Vergara (7), Matt Laird (8), J.P. Gagne (9) and Javi Sanchez, Cody Rizzo (7) and Steve Andres (9).
Warren Sizemore (L, 2-3), Kevin Field (5), Kevin Galvin (7), Michael Halloran (8) and Michael Lombardi, Terry Oberwager (8).
Triples: Brennan Grogan (ND), Cody Rizzo (ND).
Doubles: Steve Sollmann (ND), Matt Edwards (ND), Matt Bransfield (ND), Greg Lopez (ND), Zach Sisko (ND).