March 10, 2010

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EDINBURG, Texas ­ Texas-Pan American relievers¹ Scott Wingo, Hayden Daugherty and Guadalupe Barrera combined to throw 5.0 innings of relief without allowing an earned run as the Broncos pulled away late for a 10-4 victory over the Irish Wednesday night at Edinburg Baseball Stadium.

Wingo (2-0) was credited with the victory. A weekend starter for UTPA, he allowed three hits in 2.0 scoreless innings of relief. Wingo fanned one and walked none.

Freshman Patrick Veerkamp (0-1), making his Irish debut, was charged with the loss. He surrendered four runs, all earned, on three hits in 2.2 innings of work. He struck out one and walked three.

Fellow freshman shortstop Adam Norton paced the Irish offensively with a career-high three hits. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI single. Junior first baseman David Casey and senior right fielder David Mills each went 2-for-4 with RBI singles.

The Irish loaded the bases on three straight pinch-hit singles in the top of the ninth inning by senior Brayden Ashdown, junior Matt Scioscia and freshman Charlie Markson, but UTPA closer Guadalupe Barrera entered the game and struck out senior leftfielder Ryan Connolly before getting sophomore centerfielder Alex Robinson to ground into a game-ending double play.

Veerkamp walked Bryant Elliott on four consecutive pitches to open the game, but promptly picked off the Broncos leadoff hitter. He settled down and retired the next two UTPA batters of the frame, including a punch out of Abraham Carnall looking to end the inning.

Veerkamp worked around an Irish error in the bottom of the second inning without any damage, but ran into all kinds of trouble in the bottom of the third inning.

Mike McCarthy opened the third with a single and moved into scoring position on Jose Mendoza¹s sacrifice bunt. Elliott doubled off the right field wall, but McCarthy failed to pick up the fly ball and was unable to score. With runners on second and third and one out, Veerkamp issued back-to-back walks that gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead. Bivone then belted a bases-clearing, three-run double to extend the UTPA advantage to 4-0 and end the night for the rookie righty.

Sophomore southpaw Ryan Richter replaced Veerkamp and got out of the inning.

Notre Dame answered with three runs of its own in the top of the fourth inning. Connolly opened the frame with a leadoff base hit and Robinson followed with a walk. After senior designated hitter Matt Grosso grounded into a fielder¹s choice, Casey, Norton and Mills responded with three straight RBI singles to cut the Irish deficit to 4-3. The Irish had a golden opportunity to add more, but with Mills moving on the pitch, freshman second baseman Frank Desico laced a rocket right at Broncos¹ third baseman Vincent Mejia, who snagged the liner and doubled up Mills at first base.

Richter did his part and sent down the next six Broncos, including four on strikeouts, before walking Mejia to open the bottom of the sixth inning. Bivone followed with his second straight double to give the Broncos a 5-3 lead and Stuart Macinnis made it 6-3 with an RBI ground out.

Notre Dame cut into the UTPA deficit with one run in the top of the seventh inning. DeSico and freshman catcher Joe Hudson reached on an error and walk. Junior third baseman Greg Sherry then executed a sacrifice bunt to advance both into scoring position. Connolly followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-4, but Robinson struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch that nearly plunked him to end the inning.

UTPA regained a three-run cushion, 7-4, on DeSico¹s error in the seventh.

The Broncos put the game out of reach with three runs in their half of the eighth inning ­ all with two outs. Senior Billy Boockford retired the first two UTPA batters on groundouts and was one strike away from ending the inning before issuing a walk. Elliott followed with a two-run home run, lacing another 3-2 pitch just inside the foul pole down the left field line to make it the score, 9-4. Boockford then walked back-to-back hitters before Mejia added an RBI single to extend the lead to 10-4.

Notre Dame returns to action tomorrow afternoon for its opening game in the 2010 Irish Baseball Classic at Wolff Stadium in San Antonio. First pitch against Bradley is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. CT.