March 18, 2005
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Notre Dame used a pair of early home runs to claim a 3-0 lead but the team’s middle-inning struggles continued as host Evansville scored four in the sixth and five in the seventh to defeat the Irish, 10-3, in Friday-night action at Braun Stadium.
Senior first baseman Matt Edwards launched his fifth home run of the season, giving Notre Dame (7-8) a 2-0 lead in the first inning, and junior shortstop Greg Lopez added a solo shot in the third for his first home run of the season and just the third of his Irish career.
Evansville (18-5) touched Tom Thornton for a run in the fifth and the junior lefthander then tired in the sixth, turning things over to the bullpen as the Aces went on to claim a 5-3 lead. Thornton (1-3) ultimately suffered the loss and was responsible for four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks in 5.1 innings, with four strikeouts.
Four Notre Dame relievers then gave up six more runs (four of them unearned) as the hosts stretched to their seven-run cushion.
Notre Dame has allowed 33 runs during the middle innings (5th-7th) of the past four games, with the opponents now having totaled 61 runs in those middle innings during the ’05 season (compared to just 52 runs combined in the early and late innings).
Freshman DH Tony Langford (2-for-4) was the only Irish player with multiple hits, as Michael Greenhouse and Matt Brinkman (1-0) limited the visitors to eight hits.
Junior centerfielder Alex Nettey legged out a leftside infield single to open the game and moved up on a Brett Lilley before scoring on the Edwards blast over the leftfield fence. It marked the 25th home run for Edwards in 146 career games with the Irish and Friday’s home run was his third of the ’05 season on a first-pitch offering.
Lopez led off the 3rd inning with his own home run to left but the Aces started their comeback in the 5th, after Jeff Fontaine’s double, Ryan Barrett’s one-out bunt single and a run-scoring groundout.
Thornton hit Eric Lis with a one-out pitch in the 6th and Dustin Knight tied the game moments later, sending his fourth home run of the season over the leftfield fence. Freshman lefthander Wade Korpi then walked two batters, bringing junior righthander Dan Kapala out of the bullpen. Barrett then reached when his grounder went through the legs of third baseman Ross Bresovsky, allowing two unearned runs to score for a 5-3 Aces lead.
Evansville’s five runs in the 7th included five hits and a costly two-out error that helped bring home three unearned runs, with Barrett’s two-run single plating a pair of runs.
Edwards and Lilley both were hit-by-pitch twice in the game, pushing the team’s total to 40 in 15 games. Lilley’s 13 HBPs already rank 9th on the ND single-season list and he is three shy of joining current teammate Cody Rizzo as the only Irish players ever to total more than 15 HBPs in a season (Edwards is second on the ’05 team with 5 HBPs).
Notre Dame (7-8) 2-0-1 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 3 8 2
Evansville (18-5) 0-0-0 0-1-4 5-0-X – 10 12 0
Home Runs: Matt Edwards, ND (one on in 1st; 5th of season, 25th of career); Greg Lopez, ND (solo in 3rd; 1st of season, 3rd of season); Knight, UE (1 on in 6th; 4th of season).
Doubles: Tony Langford (ND), Jeff Fontaine (UE).