Oct. 8, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Sophomore righthander Chris Niesel logged five strong innings while his teammates broke open the game with six runs in the bottom of the sixth, as the Gold team beat the Blue, 9-1, in the first game of the Notre Dame baseball team’s annual Blue-Gold intrasquad series.
Wednesday’s probable starting pitchers include senior righthander Ryan Kalita for the Gold team and freshman lefthander Tom Thornton for the Blue. The seven-inning game will start at 4:30 p.m., as will Thursday’s final game (pitchers TBA).
Niesel – who has won 23 of his last 24 decisions (13-0 as a senior at Aquinas HS, 4-0 with ND in 2002, 3-1 in the ’02 Cape Cod League and 2-0 in the ’01 and ’02 BG Series) – scattered three hits and one run while pitching the maximum five innings, with his 56-pitch outing including seven strikeouts, three groundouts and no walks. Niesel now owns two Game-1 victories for the Gold, with his two-year BGS stats including a 1.80 ERA, 12 Ks, no walks and six hits allowed in 10 innings of work (110 pitches).
His classmate John Axford (a 2001 winner for the Gold in the decisive third game) took Tuesday’s loss for the Blue, after allowing three runs on four hits and five walks over five innings (5 Ks, 91 pitches).
The Gold’s 8-3 hit advantage included hits from eight of nine starters while the Blue was guilty of three errors, the last leading to four unearned runs in the sixth.
The Blue actually opened the game with its only run, as junior Javier Sanchez (making his debut at catcher) parked a triple over the head of freshman centerfielder Brennan Grogan. Senior rightfielder Kris Billmaier then sent a fly ball to his defensive area, plating Sanchez.
The Gold pushed across three runs in the third, thanks to sophomore rightfielder George Howard’s leadoff single up the middle, a double down the leftfield line by freshman DH Matt Bransfield, a full-count walk by freshman third baseman Cody Rizzo and senior first baseman Mike Holba’s two-run double down the leftfield line.
Sophomore lefthander Scott Bickford took the mound for the Blue in the sixth, with the Gold pushing across six runs on four hits, two walks, a passed ball and a costly error. Grogan, sophomore leftfielder Brent Weiss and sophomore catcher Jay Molina each had RBI hits in an inning that saw the Gold score four times with two outs.
ND Blue 1-0-0 0-0-0 0 - 1 3 3ND Gold 0-0-3 0-0-6 0 - 9 8 0
John Axford (L), Scott Bickford (6) and Javier Sanchez.
Chris Niesel (W), J.P. Gagne (6), Matt Arminio (7) and Jay Molina.
Triples: Sanchez (B), Craig Cooper (B).
Doubles: Mike Holba (G), Brent Weiss (G), Matt Bransfield (G).