March 10, 2007
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Sacred Heart pitcher Jay Monti attracted plenty of scouts to Saturday’s early-morning game versus Notre Dame at Jack Russell Stadium and the senior righthanded ace delivered the complete-game effort, as the Pioneers posted a 3-0 win over the Irish in a matchup of teams at opposite ends of their spring-break trips. The loss spoiled another strong start from sophomore righthander David Phelps, who owns a 1.17 season ERA but has been the winning pitcher just twice in his four solid starts this season.
Monti (2-1) – who has yet to allow an unearned run in 19 innings pitched this season – posted the shutout while limiting Notre Dame (3-7) to a pair of hits and no walks, with four strikeouts in his economical 88-pitch appearance.
Phelps (2-1) allowed just one unearned run in his 7.0 innings but an early passed ball and an error later in the game allowed Sacred Heart (5-5) to score a pair of unearned runs, with Phelps ultimately striking out six while scattering six hits and walking just one in an outing that saw him locate 74 of his 103 pitches for strikes.
Sacred Heart – which already had played six games in the Clearwater area – got the jump on an Irish team that had arrived in town just nine hours prior to the 10:00 a.m. first pitch. Bobby McKee’s first-pitch single to right field started the two-out sequence in the top of the first, followed by a passed ball and Jeff Hanson’s RBI double down the leftfield line. The Irish actually have held a decisive edge in first-inning scoring this season, now owning a 12-4 margin in that early-game offense.
Phelps held the Pioneers off the scoreboard until the sixth, when Nemcek’ leadoff single to left, an infield error and McKee’s hit to the left-center gap loaded the bases. Hanson followed with a sacrifice fly and Jason Maiella added a groundball up the middle, scoring Jovan Rodriguez as an unearned insurance run.
The Notre Dame pitching staff impressively owns a 3.07 season ERA that ranks better than the 2006 team’s final ERA of 3.27 – despite the loss of the entire three-man rotation from the 2006 and the absence of standout closer Kyle Weiland (who has yet to throw pitch in 2007, as he returns from preseason collarbone surgery). A series of untimely errors have led to Notre Dame allowing almost as many unearned runs (24) as earned runs (28) during the 2007 season.
Freshman righthander Eric Maust closed the game for the Irish with two shutout innings, allowing a pair of hits while striking out two of his seven batters faced.
Sacred Heart (5-5) 1-0-0 0-0-2 0-0-0 – 3 8 0
Notre Dame (3-7) 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 0 2 1
Doubles: Jeremy Barnes (ND), Jeff Hanson (SH)