March 12, 2010

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Notre Dame freshman second baseman Frank Desico went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI, but Pacific starting pitcher David Rowse kept the Irish off balance as the Tigers held on for an 8-4 victory Friday afternoon in college baseball action from the 2010 Irish Baseball Classic at Wolff Stadium.

Rowse (3-0) scattered eight hits and allowed two earned runs over his 6.0 innings of work en route to the victory. The southpaw struck out three and walked two.

Notre Dame did register 11 hits on the afternoon. In addition to DeSico’s three, senior first baseman Casey Martin went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored, while freshman shortstop Adam Norton went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored.

Pacific raced out to a 4-0 lead off of Irish starter Cole Johnson. Brett Christopher tripled with one out in the first and eventually stole home with two outs in the frame to give Pacific a 1-0 advantage. Joe Oliveira executed a safety squeeze for an RBI in the second before J.B. Brown made it 4-0 with a two-out, two-run single.

Notre Dame promptly loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half of the third, but only managed one run against Rowse. Senior David Mills brought the Irish within three runs, 4-1, with a sacrifice fly.

Notre Dame drew even closer, 4-2, in the home half of the fourth inning on DeSico’s two-out RBI double, but the freshman was stranded at second base.

Johnson was not able to hold the fort in the fifth inning. Mike Walker belted a mammoth three-run home run off the scoreboard in right field to push the Tigers lead to 7-2.

The Irish mounted another threat against Rowse in the bottom of the fifth. Junior third baseman Greg Sherry and senior leftfielder Ryan Connolly each singled, but Mills popped out and both junior designated hitter Matt Scioscia and Martin grounded out to end the threat.

Notre Dame stranded two more base runners, one in scoring position, in the sixth.

After Pacific reliever Robbie Richardson retired the Irish in order in the seventh inning and the Tigers used another safety squeeze for a run in the top of the eighth, Notre Dame cut the deficit to 8-4 with two runs in the bottom half of the frame. Martin singled and Norton followed with a double. Senior centerfielder Brayden Ashdown recorded a sacrifice fly and DeSico added an RBI ground out. Junior catcher Cameron McConnell followed with a two-out single, but Richardson evaded further damage in the inning after Sherry popped out.

Jake Hummell worked around a leadoff walk in the Irish ninth inning to end the game.

Johnson (1-3) surrendered seven runs, six earned, on eight hits in 6.0 innings of work. He struck out two and walked one. Junior Joe Spizzirri tossed a scoreless inning of relief. The southpaw has throw eight pitches in his Irish career and registered four outs, including one strikeout. Junior Ryan Sharpley allowed one earned run on three hits in 1.2 innings. He fanned two and did not issue a walk. Sophomore Joe Spano retired the only batter he faced.

Sherry was the fourth Notre Dame player with a multi-hit affair. He went 2-for-4.

Walker went 3-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI, while Matt Fuson went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

Notre Dame returns to action Saturday afternoon for its third game in the 2010 Irish Baseball Classic at Wolff Stadium in San Antonio. First pitch against Gonzaga is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. CT.

— ND —