April 28, 2007
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Senior righthander Steve Healing scattered seven hits over the full 9.0 innings and did not walk a batter, as Rutgers shut out Notre Dame to earn a split of Saturday’s doubleheader at Bainton Field. Rutgers (25-15, 13-4 BIG EAST) moved back into a tie with St. John’s atop the league standings while Notre Dame (23-19, 7-9) missed out on a chance to move into a tie for fifth, nonetheless remaining in seventh ahead of West Virginia (6-10).
Ryan Hill led the Rutgers attack in game-2, with a triple and double among his three hits, plus a pair of RBI and two runs scored. The series concludes on Sunday at 1:00, one hour later than the originally scheduled time.
South Florida (10-10) and Cincinnati (8-8) remain tied for fifth in the BIG EAST standings, with idle Pittsburgh occupying fourth place (11-6). The top-8 teams will advance to the BIG EAST Tournament, with the bottom-4 spots currently occupied by Villanova (6-11), Seton Hall (5-10), Connecticut (5-11) and Georgetown (4-12).
Notre Dame now has played three doubleheaders this season, with similar results in the first and second games. The Irish have totaled a 44-14 scoring edge in three game-1 wins of doubleheaders (15-8 vs. Prairie View A&M, 14-3 vs. Duquesne, 15-3 vs. Rutgers) but now have been outscored 13-1 in the second games of doubleheaders this season (1-2 vs. Texas State, 0-4 vs. Harvard, 0-7 vs. RU).
Sophomore righthander Kyle Weiland (4-1) suffered the loss, after allowing four runs on five hits and three walks over 4.2 innings, with four strikeouts. Junior righthander Joey Williamson then followed with 1.1 shutout innings before freshman LHP David Mills (2) and senior RHP Jess Stewart (1) were charged with some late runs. The four Irish pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts but allowed 5-of-8 leadoff baserunners to reach and gave up five hits with runners in scoring position.
Junior shortstop Brett Lilley (1-for-3) reached twice, including his 21st time hit-by-pitch this season (tied for 4th in ND history) and 72nd career HBP (still 5th in NCAA history, now 20 shy of the record and two back of 4th). Lilley ended the day with a lofty .521 season on-base pct. while pushing his team-best batting average to .383.
Lilley also turned in more stellar defensive plays in the doubleheader and now has logged 21 consecutive errorless games at his challenging position of shortstop (spanning 96 fielding chances). That strong defensive streak matches his error-free streak as a freshman in 2005, when Lilley went 21 games (and the same span of 96 chances) without an error, at both second and third base.
Frank Meade’s double scored Jon Gossard to give Rutgers a 2nd-inning lead and the hosts scored three more in the 5th, with Gossard’s 2-out RBI double serving as the big hit. The 5th inning continues to be a trouble spot for the Irish, who now have been outscored 32-13 in that key mid-game innings.
Sophomore second baseman Jeremy Barnes (2-for-5) was Notre Dame’s only player with multiple hits in game-2. The only Irish error in the doubleheader was made by a pitcher (Weiland), with the four Irish infielders combining for just eight errors over the past 12 games (none by Lilley, plus only one by Barnes and one by the 1B Mike Dury).
Notre Dame 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 0 7 1
Rutgers 0-1-0 0-3-0 2-1-X – 7 11 0
Triple: Ryan Hill (RU)
Doubles: Meade (RU), Hill (RU), Jon Gossard (RU).