May 10, 2004
The 8th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team erupted for 10 first-inning runs, including three home runs in four at-bats, and then held off a midgame rally from host Connecticut (22-24, 6-14) to complete a three-game sweep of the Huskies in a 16-8 Monday-afternoon game at Christian Field.
Notre Dame (38-9, 15-5) has won seven of its last eight and moved back into a tie with Pittsburgh atop the BIG EAST Conference standings. Matt Bransfield, Craig Cooper and Matt Edwards all hit first-inning home runs, with the early 10- hit explosion also including two-run singles from Steve Sollmann and Cooper. The Irish then tacked on three runs in the 2nd for a 13-2 lead, with Bransfield’s double plating two runs.
Bransfield launched his team-leading 11th home run of the season while Cooper hit his sixth and Edwards his eighth. Bransfield’s 5-RBI day pushed his team total to 47, one ahead of Edwards and Matt Macri (who hit a three-run shot in the 9th for his 9th homer of 2004).
Senior second baseman Steve Sollmann completed a stellar return from his April 3 fractured jaw injury, batting 3-for-5 to complete a 5-for-10 series (he also had 3 RBI and 3 runs scored in Monday’s game, plus a walk and his fourth stolen base of the season).
Sophomore lefthander Tom Thornton (6-2) was not sharp but picked up the win, allowing eight runs on 10 hits and three walks while striking out four.
Huskies sophomore lefthander Brendan McGinn retired just two batters before being removed in the 1st but UConn’s second reliever, sophomore righthander Tim Norton, threw six strong innings to help the Huskies creep back into the game at 13-8 in the 6th.
(Note: the Irish were headed back to campus immediately following the game, check back to und.com later tonight for a complete recap.)
#8 Notre Dame 10-3-0 0-0-0 0-0-3 - 16 16 0Connecticut 2-0-2 0-0-4 0-0-0 - 8 14 1
Tom Thornton (W, 6-2), Joe Thaman (6), Dan Kapala (6), Ryan Doherty (8) and
Brendan McGinn (L, 2-4), Josh MacDonald (1), Tim Norton (3), Rich Sirois (9)
and Larry Day.
Home Runs: Matt Bransfield, ND (1 on in 1st; 11th of season); Craig
Cooper, ND (1 on in 1st, 6th of season); Matt Edwards, ND (solo in 1st; 8th of season);
Dave Tokarz, UC (1 on in 1st, 3rd of season); Matt Macri, ND (2 on in 9th, 9th
Doubles: Bransfield (ND), Greg Lopez (ND), Kyle Messineo (UC).