March 14, 2007
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Senior captains Danny Dressman and Mike Dury helped pace another strong day from the Notre Dame offense, as the Irish baseball team opened the St. Patrick’s Weekend Classic with an 11-4 win over Dayton. Notre Dame (6-8) pounded out 16 hits and posted three runs in three different innings, with five Irish players registering multiple hits in the Wednesday-night action at Swanson Stadium, on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University. The Notre Dame offense has overcome a slow start to the season by batting .314 in the five games on the current Spring Break trip – and the Irish now are hitting at a .399 clip during their six wins this season.
Dressman’s first three at-bats included an RBI single and another single and run scored, followed by an RBI double and 7th-inning walk that gave the veteran centerfielder eight straight times on base (6-for-6, with a pair of walks), over the past two games. With a lefthander starting on the mound for Dayton (4-9), the switch-hitting Dury came off the bench but impacted the game with a pair of solo home runs versus righthanded relievers – highlighted by a booming opposite-field shot to left-center in the 6th.
Four Notre Dame pitchers combined to hold Dayton to five hits while striking out the Flyers 13 times, led by a career-high seven Ks in 4.0 relief innings from junior righthander Joey Williamson (1-1).
Junior second baseman Ross Brezovsky added a 3-for-5 game, with a pair of doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. Brett Lilley and A.J. Pollock chipped in two-hit games from the top of the lineup, as part of nine Irish players who contributed to the team’s second-highest hit total of the season.
Sophomore lefthander Sam Elam struck out four while facing the minimum six batters over the first two innings before running into trouble in the third, when he allowed five straight baseunners on three walks, a single and a hit batter. Williamson then entered a 6-2 game but allowed both inherited runners to score, on a double-play ball and a single.
The Irish opened the game with three runs, extending their 1st-inning season scoring margin to 17-6. The lefthanded-hitting Lilley greeted lefthander Ryan Hill with a leadoff single up the middle (on a full count) and A.J. Pollock followed moments later with a similar hit. Tony Langford then bunted the runners over and Brezovsky delivered with 2-outs, slicing a full-count pitch down the leftfield line for an opposite-field double that plated two runs. Jeremy Barnes added a five-pitch walk and Dressman became the third lefthander to register a hit in the inning, going the other way on a 1-1 pitch for an opposite-field single and the 3-0 lead.
Notre Dame pushed the lead to 6-0 with a 2-our rally in 3rd. Barnes pulled a full-count pitch through the left side and Dressman added his own single to a similar spot, despite falling behind in the count (1-2). Freshman rightfielder Billy Boockford capped the sequence with his first home run of the season, losing an 0-1 pitch over the leftfield fence as the Irish doubled their lead.
Three more runs awaited the Irish in the top of the 4th, versus righthanded Lucas Farden. The speedy Pollock beat out a leadoff ball hit to the shortstop (full-count) and stole second, as Dury was settling in as the pinch-hitter. Dury then coaxed the full-count walk and the Irish executed the double steal before Ryan Smith’s slow groundout up the middle plated the lead runner. Brezovsky then full behind in the count (1-2) but came through with the hit – as part of his team’s 8-for-16 batting night with 2-outs – as his single up the middle brought home Dury for an 8-4 lead. Dressman jumped all over the next pitch, driving the right-center gap to plate Brezovsky (who had stolen second) for the five-run cushion.
Dury faced Farden again in the sixth and left no doubt on a 1-1 pitch, launching the ball over the fence in left-center for the opposite-field shot and his third home run of the season. Two innings later, Dury turned on a 1-2 pitch from righthanded Sean Finn and sent the ball well over the rightfield fence for the first multi-home run game of his Irish career. Dury’s four home runs this season equal his total from the previous three seasons combined, when he served primarily as a lefthanded relief pitcher while totaling 84 at-bats (his four home runs this season have come in just 44 ABs).
Notre Dame (6-8) 3-0-3 3-0-1 0-1-0 – 11 16 2
Dayton (4-9) 0-0-4 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 4 5 1
Home Runs: Billy Boockford, ND (2 on in 3rd; 1st of season), Mike Dury, ND (solo in 6th and 8th; 3rd and 4th of season/ 7th and 8th of career)
Doubles: Ross Brezovsky 2 (ND), Danny Dressman (ND), Ryan Connolly (ND), Dunwoody (DAY)