Senior outfielder Ryan Connolly went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run in Saturday's second game of the doubleheader with Michigan State.

Michigan State Sweeps Irish Baseball In Home Opening Doubleheader

March 20, 2010

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and led 4-2 after six, but Michigan State plated four in the top of the seventh and one more in the ninth inning to register a 7-4 victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish loaded the bases three separate times in the game, but failed to get a run scoring hit in all three situations. In fact, Notre Dame stranded 15 in the loss, including 12 in scoring position. In the opener, the Spartans benefitted from five Irish errors and seven unearned runs en route to a 13-0 victory.

The Irish drop to 7-10 on the season, while the Spartans improve to 11-4.

Michigan State starter Kurt Wunderlich (3-1) managed to come away with the victory in game two. He lasted 6.0 innings, surrendered four runs, three earned, on six hits. Wunderlich walked five, struck out four and uncorked three wild pitches. Kurtis Frymier tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief to register the save.

Sophomore reliever Joe Spano took the loss for the Irish. He allowed a base hit to the only batter he faced, which eventually came around to score the go-ahead run. Spano is now 0-2 on the season.

Senior outfielder Ryan Connolly pulled Notre Dame off the mat in the bottom of the first inning of the second game with a line drive, two-run home run over the left field wall to give the Irish an early 2-0 advantage. Notre Dame would plate a third run in the inning after Wunderlich walked the bases loaded and uncorked a wild pitch. With runners at second and third, freshman catcher Joe Hudson struck out looking to end the inning.

The Spartans drew within two runs, 3-1, in the top of the second inning following an unearned run. Dupra limited Michigan State to just one hit over the first four innings, but ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth. After retiring the first two Spartans in the inning, Dupra walked Torsten Boss and John Martinez followed with a single before Eli Bokie followed with an RBI single to make the score, 3-2. Dupra did get Brandon Eckerle to pop out to end the inning.

Notre Dame pushed its lead back to two runs, 4-2, following another bases-loaded wild pitch, but Wunderlich punched out freshman third baseman Adam Norton with runners at second and third to end the inning.

Dupra cruised through the sixth inning, but ran out of gas in the seventh. Ryan Jones opened the inning with a single. Dupra followed with a strikeout of Boss, but a stolen base and walk ended the day for the Irish right-handed hurler. Dupra was replaced for Spano to set up a lefty on lefty situation, but Boike slapped a single just past the glove of Norton at third base. Jones stopped at third base, but scampered home when Connolly bobbled the ball in left field, which cut the Irish lead to 4-3.

Senior Steven Mazur came on and his first offering was lined back up the middle for an RBI single by Eckerle, who moved into scoring position when Notre Dame centerfielder Ryne Intlekofer tried to throw out Bokie at third base. With the score now tied, 4-4, Mazur issued back-to-back walks to Jonathan Roof and Jeff Holm to give the Spartans a 5-4 advantage. Felt then legged out a possible inning ending, double play ground ball to push the lead to 6-4.

The Irish wasted little time in mounting a scoring threat. Junior shortstop Mick Doyle singled and Intlekofer doubled to open the bottom of the seventh inning, but Michigan State reliever Trey Popp got a ground out. Frymier did walk Hudson to load the bases, but the righty got junior pinch hitter Matt Scioscia to ground into an inning ending, 3-2-3 double play to escape the jam.

Notre Dame again loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs, but Roof snagged Intlekofer’s grounder behind the second base bag and flipped to Jones covering the base just in time to get the force out to end the inning.

Michigan State plated a key insurance run in the top of the ninth inning to grab a three-run lead, more than enough for Frymier, who picked up his third save of the season.

Dupra did not factor in the decision. He allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits in 6.1 innings of work. Dupra fanned four and walked four. Mazur was charged with two earned runs on three hits in 2.2 innings. He walked three and fanned one.

Connolly went 3-for-5 with the two-run blast, his third of the season.

In Saturday’s first game, Michigan State’s A.J. Achter (2-0) tossed a complete game shutout. The right-handed hurler scattered seven hits over 9.0 innings of work. Achter struck out nine and walked three.

Notre Dame sophomore Steve Sabatino (1-2) picked up the loss. The southpaw went 5.0 innings and surrendered five hits and nine runs, but only two were earned. He struck out four and walked four.

Freshman Frank Desico went 2-for-4 in the opener.

The Irish and Spartans return to action Sunday afternoon with the third and final game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

— ND —