June 5, 2005
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Notre Dame baseball team holds a 3-0 lead vs. North Carolina entering the bottom of the 8th inning in an NCAA elimination game at Florida’s McKathen Stadium (the Irish the home team and set to bat when play resumes). The game was halted at 4:28 EDT due to lightning in the area, with rain also falling and bringing the tarp onto the infield.
Sophomore righthander Dan Kapala has delivered one of the top NCAA tournament pitching performances in Notre Dame baseball NCAA history, keeping UNC off the scoreboard thanks to three strikeouts, 12 groundball outs (including three double-play balls), a pair of infield popups and two other batters thrown out on the bases. Kapala has allowed eight hits and just one walk while keeping the Tar Heels from crossing the plate in the eight innings.
Freshman second baseman Ross Brezovsky had a key plate appearance to start Notre Dame’s 4th-inning scoring rally, coaxing a full-count walk before junior shortstop Greg Lopez pulled a single through the left side of the infield. Leadoff batter Craig Cooper then strode to the plate and fell behind in the count before sending a 1-2 pitch into the left-center gap, chasing home both runners. Cooper entered the NCAAs riding a 13-game hitting streak but had gone 0-for-9 in the regional before the big two-run double.
Craig Cooper watches his two-run double sail into the left-center gap to open the scoring in the 4th inning vs. North Carolina (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Check back later for the AP game recap (the winner of this game advances to the championship round Sunday night vs. Florida, time TBA pending the lightning delay).