April 3, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Ross Brezovsky went 3-for-4 and factored into four of the Irish runs while Kyle Weiland’s 18th career save featured the rarity of him hitting an 8th-inning leadoff single and coming around to score a run, as the Notre Dame baseball team defeated visiting Oakland, 7-3, in Tuesday-night action at Eck Stadium. Sophomore righthander Brett Graffy faced just 10 batters over the first three innings to pick up the win, in a planned rotation.
Notre Dame (13-14) scored single runs in each of the first three innings before tacking on three key insurance runs in the 7th, plus the run scored by Weiland in the 8th. Brezovsky (2 RBI, 2 R, BB, 2B) had a productive night from the 7-hole while hitting one spot behind sophomore infielder Jeremy Barnes (2-for-4, 2 R), who smacked his first triple of the season and the seventh of his young Irish career. Senior centerfielder Danny Dressman added a single (1-for-2), a pair of sacrifice bunts and a sac. fly while freshman third baseman A.J. Pollock (1-for-2, 2 RBI, 2 BB) reached base three times and bumped his team-leading batting average up to .393.
Graffy struck out three and allowed only one hit in his 3.0 innings of work, followed by five members of the Irish bullpen. Oakland (8-15) scored a pair of unearned runs in the 8th before Weiland was called out of the bullpen and induced a two-out chopper back to the mound, off the bat of Andrew Stafford. The sophomore righthander ultimately allowed a hit and walk while striking out one of his six batters faced, giving the ace closer his second save of the season and 18th of his career (in 19 chances) – just two shy of the Irish record, shared by John Corbin and Ryan Doherty.
Junior shortstop Brett Lilley opened the night for the Irish offense by sending a 3-2 pitch down the leftfield line for the opposite-field single. Senior righthander Scott Boleski then uncorked a wild pitch and lost A.J. Pollock on a full-count walk before another wild pitch advanced both runners. Two batters later, Dressman supplied the one-out RBI by lifting a sac. fly into left field.
Notre Dame’s next turn at bat featured Brezovsky’s leadoff single up the middle, a balk on senior righthander Scott Boleski (0-1; 5.2 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 5 Bb, 3 Ks), Brayden Ashdown’s one-out, five-pitch walk and Pollock going the other way for a two-out, RBI single through the right side. Barnes then parked his triple off the glove of the retreating centerfielder with one out in the 3rd, with Brezovsky depositing the next pitch into the left-center gap for the run-scoring double and a 3-0 lead.
Junior DH Tony Langford sparked ND’s three runs in the 7th with his first-pitch single up the middle. Lefthander Andrew Estes then came on in relief of RHP Billy Schmeider but Dressman came through in the lefty-lefty matchup with a sac. bunt back to the pitcher. Barnes added a clutch single to left-center (on an 0-2 pitch) and Brezovsky jumped all over the first pitch from RHP Ben Darga, slapping the ball through the left side for an opposite-field single that plated pinch-runner Michael Wright got a 5-1 cushion. Freshman catcher Ryan Smith added an RBI single to center field, Ashdown bunted both runners over and Lilley was walked intentionally before Darga plunked Pollock with the next pitch, forcing home another run.
Oakland battled back with its pair of unearned runs in the 8th (slicing the deficit to 6-3), but Weiland came on to strand runners at the corners with the tying run at the plate. Weiland – an accomplished prep hitter who batted .455 as a senior third baseman at Eldorado High School and launched a pair of home runs in the New Mexico state all-star game – then led off the bottom of the inning by smashing a single off the drawn-in third baseman Andy Shepherd. Dressman then beat out a ball that sent the second baseman deep in the hole and Barnes bunted the runners over, followed by RHP Mike Takashima’s intentional walk issued to Brezovsky and Smith’s RBI groundout to the right side.
Weiland’s rare at-bat was due to Dury starting the game as the Irish first baseman. When Dury shifted to the mound (and Barnes from second to first base), freshman Ryne Intlekofer entered the game at second base and took over the cleanup spot in the batting order (ND effectively lost the DH because of Dury’s switch, with Dury still the 3-hole hitter even when he was on the mound). When Weiland entered the game a couple minutes laer, Dury returned to firt and Barnes to second, with Weiland then becoming the 4-hole hitter that coincidentally was due to lead off in the bottom of the inning.
NOTES – Lilley now is batting .458 in the 1st inning this season (11-for-24)) and has scored a 1st-inning run 11 times (ND is 9-2 in those games) … his 1st-inning productivity includes a .519 on-base pct. (BB, 2 HBP) and .792 slugging pct. (HR, 2 3B, 2B) … the Irish own a 25-18 scoring edge in the 1st-inning this season (ND now is 8-5 when scoring in the 1st inning and 11-4 when being the first team on the board) … ND’s 10 triples are the most among any BIG EAST team (Lilley’s three 3Bs are most by a BIG EAST player, with Brezovsky owning a pair) … Barnes totaled six 3Bs as a freshman, good for 2nd-most among all BIG EAST players in that 2006 season … the team with the hit edge in ND’s games this season is 23-4 (ND is 12-3 with the hit edge but just 1-11 when being outhit) … the Irish now own a 29-14 scoring edge in the 7th (ND’s highest-scoring inning of ’07) and are 10-0 this season when leading at the end of the 7th (11-0 when entering the 9th with the lead) … Corbin, Doherty and J.P. Gagne (19) are the only pitchers in ND history with more saves than Weiland (18) … Tuesday’s game was just the third save opportunity for the Irish this season (3-of-3) … Dressman’s team-best eight sacrifice bunts this season give him 29 for his career, still 6th-most in the ND record book but just one behind three players with 30 (Mike Moshier, Mike Coss and Steve Stanley), with Cory Mee owning the record (49) and Greg Lopez ranking 2nd (32) … Dressman also has four sac. flies this season and eight in his career, yielding 37 total sacrifices (5th behind Mee’s 57, Lopez’s 48, Stanley’s 45 and Craig Counsell’s 38) … the Irish next return to the road for a BIG EAST series at Cincinnati, as they look to improve on their 1-5 record this season when playing on the opponent’s field.
Oakland (8-16) 0-0-0 0-0-1 0-2-0 – 3 10 0
Notre Dame (13-14) 1-1-1 0-0-0 3-0-0 – 7 11 2
Scott Boleski (L, 0-1), Billy Schmieder (6), Andrew Estes (7), Ben Darga (7), Mike Takashima (8) and Kevin Carkeek.
Brett Graffy (W, 1-2), Eric Maust (4), Sam Elam (6), Jess Stewart (7), Mike Dury (8), Kyle Weiland (8; SV, 2) and Ryan Smith. Triple: Jeremy Barnes (ND)
Doubles: Ross Brezovsky (ND), Carkeek (OAK), Drew Jenison (OAK), Ryan Joffrion (OAK)