Billy Boockford

Notre Dame Baseball Staves Off Seton Hall, 6-5

April 16, 2010

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. ­ Notre Dame senior outfielder Billy Boockford collected a critical two-strike, two-out RBI single in the top of the 10th inning to give the Irish a one-run lead and fellow senior closer Steven Mazur made it stand as the Irish rallied past Seton Hall, 6-5, in BIG EAST baseball action from Owen T. Carroll Field Friday afternoon.

The Irish improved to 13-19 and 3-7 overall, while the Pirates drop to 13-18 and 3-7.

Mazur picked up the victory and improved to 1-0 on the season. He tossed 2.1 scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts. Mazur retired Seton Hall 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 10th, including the final two Pirates of the game via strikeout.

Notre Dame’s top three batters in the order, senior left fielder Ryan Connolly, freshman second baseman Frank Desico and senior designated hitter David Mills combined to go 7-for-14 (.500) with three runs scored and four RBI. Connolly went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBI and a triple. DeSico went 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Mills went 3-for-5 with a run scored.

Matt Genovese (2-1) was charged with the loss in relief. The sidewinder tossed 4.0 innings and allowed one earned run on three hits. Genovese fanned three and walked one.

With the game tied, 5-5, in the Notre Dame 10th, Mills led off the inning with an opposite-field single. Mills then scampered into scoring position on Genovese’s errant pickoff attempt. After senior first baseman Casey Martin struck out and junior shortstop Mick Doyle flied out, Boockford stepped to the plate. Boockford quickly fell behind in the count, 0-2, but the right fielder placed an 0-2 fast ball right back up the middle to plate Mills and give the Irish a 6-5 advantage.

Mazur made the one-run lead stand. The righty got a ground out to open the 10th before fanning Giuseppe Papaccio and Ryan Sullivan to end the game.

Notre Dame jumped out to a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. DeSico had an RBI single in the third. Freshman third baseman Adam Norton and Connolly added two-out RBI singles in the fourth to push the lead to three runs.

Seton Hall immediately answered in its half of the fourth. Chris Spagnuolo opened the frame with a double and junior Brian Dupra got a fly out and a routine ground ball, but Doyle mishandled the grounder for an error. The Pirates capitalized. Seton Hall got a sacrifice fly and back-to-back doubles from Papaccio and Sullivan to grab a 4-3 lead. All four of the runs were unearned.

Seton Hall added another unearned run in the bottom of the fifth to push its advantage to 5-3.

Notre Dame drew even with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning. Norton ripped a double and Connolly tripled to cut the deficit to 5-4. DeSico followed with an RBI ground out to square the game at 5-5.

Dupra did not factor in the decision, but pitched well. He did not allow an earned run in 6.0 innings of work. Dupra struck out four and walked just one. He allowed five hits.

DiRocco also worked 6.0 innings and surrendered five runs, three earned, on seven hits. He struck out four and walked two.

Notre Dame’s pitching staff did not allow an earned run in a game for the first time all season.

The Irish return to action on Saturday afternoon against Seton Hall. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m. Sophomore Steve Sabatino will take the mound for Notre Dame.

— ND —