Oct. 8, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Freshman centerfielder Cody Rizzo drilled a three-run shot down the leftfield line and senior shortstop Javi Sanchez later cleared the bases with a triple to the left-center gap, fueling a 15-hit attack at the Blue team won again in Game 2 of the Notre Dame baseball team’s annual intrasquad scrimmage, holding off another Gold rally for the 13-10 win in Wednesday’s action at Eck Stadium.
The tournament format still allows the Gold a chance to win the Series title but they must defeat the Blue by six or more runs to claim the title. Thursday’s third and final game will feature a pitching matchup of the team’s lofty sophomore tandem, with 7-foor-2 righthander Ryan Doherty slated to start for the Gold while 6-foot-6 lefthander Tom Thornton is the Blue’s Game 3 starter.
Sophomore Nick Mainieri – son of 10th-year Irish head coach Paul Mainieri and formerly the starting quarterback at St. Joseph’s High School – joined the Irish this fall as the team’s bullpen catcher but he has played a key offensive role in both wins for the Blue. Mainieri is batting 3-for-5 in the series with his 3 RBI tied with Rizzo for second on the team (Sanchez, with 5, is the only other Blue player with multiple RBI in the series). Mainieri poked an RBI single into right field to spark Wednesday’s five-run bottom of the second that gave the Blue a 6-5 lead and he plated another run with a squeeze bunt in the fifth as the Blue stretched to a 9-5 cushion.
Tuesday’s game saw the Gold commit five errors and yield eight unearned runs but it was the Blue that struggled defensively in Game 2, making six errors that helped bring home three unearned runs.
Rizzo and Sanchez each had a hand in either scoring or driving in five of the Blue’s runs while the Gold’s 11 hits included four players with two each.
The Blue’s four runs in the sixth proved to be valuable insurance, with the Gold then scoring three times in the seventh with the tying run left on deck. The insurance runs came after walks by freshman leftfielder Brennan Grogan and junior third baseman Matt Macri – sandwiched around Rizzo getting hit by a pitch – before Sanchez delivered his three-run triple and freshman catcher Sean Gaston added an RBI single up the middle.
Senior lefthander Cody Wilkins – who struck out the only two batters he faced in Game 1 – was credited with the Game 2 win after entering in the fourth and retiring five of the seven batters he faced, with one hit and one walk allowed while keeping the Gold from adding to its five early runs.
Several players continued their hot hitting, with Blue senior infielder Zach Sisko batting 5-for-7 in the series (RBI, 3 R, 3B, 2 2B) while three Gold players are batting .500-plus in the series, led by sophomore catcher Matt Bransfield’s eight times on base (4-for-6, 5 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, HBP, reached on error), plus senior second baseman Steve Sollmann (5-for-9, 4 R, HBP, 2 SB) and freshman centerfielder Danny Dressman (4-for-8, RBI, 4 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, 2 SB).
The teams have posted nearly-identical statistics in the series, with the Blue owning the slight edge in team batting average (.368-.359) but an added edge in extra-base hits with one home run, two triples and three doubles (all four of the Gold’s extra-base hits have been doubles). Both pitching staffs own a 9.00 staff ERA, with the Gold pitchers owning the strikeout edge (11-6) while the Blue have issued fewer walks (7-9; with each staff hitting three batters). Both teams also have totaled six stolen bases while the Blue have seven errors and the Gold six.
ND Gold 1-4-0 0-0-2 3 – 10 11 1
ND Blue 1-5-0 1-2-4 X – 13 15 6
Derik Olvey (L), Rico Bertucci (5), Martin Vergara (6), Mike Dury (6) and Matt Bransfield.
John Axford, Scott Bickford (2), Cody Wilkins (4), Tyler Jones (6), Chris Vasami (7) and Sean Gaston.
Home Run: Cody Rizzo (B; 2 on in 2nd).
Triple: Javi Sanchez (B).
Doubles: Zach Sisko 2 (B), Danny Dressman (G), Matt Bransfield 2 (G).