April 10, 2005
BROCKTON, Mass. – Sophomore righthanders Jeff Manship and Jeff Samardzija combined for nine shutout innings and the Notre Dame offense awoke to score three runs in the top of the 6th, as the Irish won 3-0 to take the weekend series with Boston College in Sunday-afternoon BIG EAST Conference action at minor-league Campanelli Stadium.
Notre Dame (16-14, 5-4 BIG EAST) registered its first shutout of the season while edging into fourth place in the conference standings. The Irish completed a season-opening stretch that saw the team play 21 of the first 30 games on the road – with the next 13 games slated to be played at home (including a possible makeup game and the game vs. Purdue at downtown Coveleski Stadium).
Boston College (20-9, 7-3) remains among the leaders in the BIG EAST standings, with St. John’s (6-1) and Rutgers (6-2) also entering Sunday’s action near the top of the standings.
Manship – who is gradually going deeper into his starts as he returns from 2004 elbow surgery – allowed three hits and did not walk a batter in an efficient 32-pitch stint over the first three innings. Manship rolled up six groundouts and an infield popup, with a strikeout and caught-stealing rounding out his nine outs.
Samardzija (4-0) rejoined the team late Saturday night after attending football practice back on campus and the two-sport star was sharp out of the bullpen, logging the final six innings with three hits allowed, two walks and four strikeouts in his 76-pitch outing.
Junior lefthahnder Nate Jeanes (2-2) was working on a no-hitter thru 4.1 innings before seeing the Irish offense surge to the win. Jeanes allowed the three runs on six hits and no walks in 6.2 innings, with five strikeouts.
The Irish – who now have won five of their past six games vs. BC (while leading the overall series 22-8) – totaled eight hits in the game but five of them went for extra bases.
Notre Dame scored the game’s only runs in the 6th, with junior centerfielder Alex Nettey providing the big hit with an RBI triple that snapped his 0-for-12 slump. Junior shortstop Greg Lopez was hit by the first pitch of the inning and moved up on Sean Gaston’s bunt before Nettey laced a first-pitch triple into the left-center gap. The Irish then opted for the squeeze bunt but Brett Lilley’s try was not deep enough and catcher Shawn McGill tagged out Nettey for the second out.
That missed opportunity was erased moments later when senior first baseman Matt Edwards pulled a 2-1 pitch into the leftfield corner. Lilley was motoring on the play and came around to score, with Edwards picking up his 44th RBI of the season on his 10th double of ’05 and 40th of his career. (Note that the Irish essentially went on to playe the run that they would have scored on the squeeze, while still giving up just one out, as Lilley likely would have been forced out on the bunt after Nettey had scored.)
Junior DH Craig Cooper followed with another two-out hit, going the other way on a 1-1 pitch for an RBI single into right field that produced the 3-0 cushion.
Manship and Samardzija did not allow a runner into scoring position until the final two innings. A single by pinch-hitter Ryne Reynosa and Dave Preziosi’s full-count walk had BC threatening in the 8th but Samardzija induced a pair of flyouts – including one by potent 3-hole hitter Jared McGuire (who went 6-for-11 in the series) – to preserve the 3-0 lead.
Jason Delaney then hit a leadoff double in the 9th but Samardzija came through with a strikeout and two groundouts to end the game, as BC failed to advance a runner to third base during the full nine innings (the Eagles had just four total runners in scoring position during Saturday’s second game, won 3-2 by ND).
Notre Dame nearly had scored in the 5th, after freshman leftfielder Tony Langford doubled and took third on an errant throw to the base by the shortstop. Langford then raced home but the third baseman McGuire chased down the ball and threw him out at the plate to maintain the scoreless game.
The Irish hit just .204 in the series but the ND pitchers combined for a 2.25 ERA (11 Ks, 3 BB, 23 H in 24 IP) while the Irish totaled just three errors in the three games (BC hit .245 with a 2.16 staff ERA and seven errors). Cooper (4-for-6) was the only Irish player with more than two hits in the series.
Edwards now has 171 career RBI, moving ahead of Brant Ust (170; ’97-’99) into 8th place on that ND top-10 list. Next up on that list are J.J. Brock (174) and Joe Binkiewicz (176).
Lilley again played error-free in his second start at third base, after Irish players had combined for 18 errors at the hot corner in the first 28 games of the season.
Notre Dame (16-14, 5-4 BIG EAST) 0-0-0 0-0-3 0-0-0 – 3 8 0
Boston College (20-9, 7-3 BIG EAST) 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 0 6 2
J eff Manship, Jeff Samardzija (4; W, 4-0) and Sean Gaston.
Nate Jeanes (L, 2-2), Kevin Boggan (7) and Shawn McGill.
Triple: Alex Nettey (ND).