Ryan Richter (File Photo)

Notre Dame Drops Nightcap To USF, 10-2

March 28, 2010

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TAMPA, Fla.–A seven-spot in the second inning was all the Bulls needed to complete the series sweep of the Irish, as USF went on to defeat Notre Dame 10-2 in the second game of a doubleheader at Red McEwen Field. The Irish have lost four straight for the first time since they ended the 2008 season on an eight-game slide (which included a three-game sweep at the hands of the Bulls).

Senior Eric Maust (Alpharetta, Ga.) shouldered the loss for the Irish and has now dropped consecutive starts for just the third time in his career. He lasted 1.2 innings, giving up seven runs (five earned) on six hits.

Sophomore Ryan Richter (South Bend, Ind.) was masterful in long relief, shutting out the Bulls on two hits in 3.1 innings (one walk, four strikeouts); for his career, Richter is 1-0 with a 0.93 ERA in BIG EAST play, holding opponents to a .103 batting average. Seniors Billy Boockford (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) and Steven Mazur (Round Rock, Texas) also worked in relief; Mazur tossed a scoreless eighth, while Boockford gave up three runs in 2.0 innings in relief of Maust.

Teddy Kaufman (4-1) was the victor for USF (11-13, 3-0) and yielded just a run on six hits in 5.0 innings (no walks, five strikeouts). The four wins are already a career-best for the senior.

Jonathan Koscso paced the Bulls with two hits, two runs scored, and three RBI, while Sam Mende, Andrew Longley, and Luis Llerena each collected a pair of hits as well.

Notre Dame (8-15, 0-3) did pound out 10 hits for the second straight game, getting a pair from senior David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.) and three from senior Ryan Connolly (Binghamton, N.Y.), who extended his on-base streak to 35 games, doing so in his first plate appearance for the fourth game in a row. Mills, whose average rose to .384 after a 6-for-10 day at the dish, is batting .471 (16-for-34) over his last 10 contests, while Connolly is batting .455 (10-for-22) over his past seven.

Maust’s start did not begin badly at all, as he retired the side in order in the opening frame on 10 pitches and sent down two of the first three batters in the second, but then the flood gates opened. He did not retire another hitter, as the next seven batters reached on five singles, a base on balls, and an error, and head coach Dave Schrage pulled Maust (0-2) in favor of Boockford.

The Bulls added three more runs to go up 10-0 in the fourth inning before the Irish put up single runs in the fifth and eighth innings. In the fifth, junior Greg Sherry (Mendham, N.J.) doubled home freshman Frank Desico (Cleveland, Ohio), who had also doubled, while in the eighth, Connolly singled home Mills (who had also singled) on a two-out, two-strike pitch from reliever Doug Wagner.

Senior Bill Warrender (Collegeville, Pa.) started for the second consecutive game and went 1-for-4 with a second-inning single.

The Irish return to the diamond on Thursday as they travel to Bethesda, Md. to take on the Georgetown Hoyas. Game times are set for 1 p.m. on Thursday, 3:30 p.m. on Friday, and noon on Saturday. Notre Dame has taken seven of the last eight from Georgetown, outscoring the Hoyas 78-15 during that stretch.

— ND —