March 24, 2003
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – John Axford and Ryan Kalita combined for two more strong performances from Notre Dame starting pitchers while freshmen centerfielder Brennan Grogan factors into most of the team’s offense as the 19th-ranked Irish close out their BIG EAST series versus Villanova with a 3-2, 5-1 doubleheader sweep.
Notre Dame (11-6, 2-1 BIG EAST) saw most of its scoring sparked by leadoff hits, with Grogan and his fellow fresehmen playing a lead role in that area, while the Irish also executed several timely sacrifice bunts (despite stranding eight baserunners in each game). Villanova (5-10, 1-2) failed to generate many solid scoring chances versus the surging Notre Dame pitching staff.
Freshman leftfielder Craig Cooper (3-for-3, RBI) led the offense in the seven- inning opener while Axford (4-0) scattered one run, two hits and four walks over five innings, with seven strikeouts. Senior Brandon Viloria then logged the final two innings to pick up the sixth save of his career.
Grogan then stepped up in the nightcap, batting 3-for-5 with his second triple of the day, two RBI and a run scored. Kalita (2-0) improved to 8-0 in his Irish career after a strong eight innings that included one run on five hits and three walks, with seven Ks.