April 7, 2015
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — In front of a spirited crowd Tuesday night at Four Winds Field, the South Bend Cubs — the Single A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs — plated three runs in the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie before holding on for a 5-3, 7-inning exhibition victory over the University of Notre Dame baseball team.
Playing against some of the Chicago Cubs’ top prospects, the Irish put up a heck of a fight behind the play of several veterans.
“This experience was great in getting to see what the next level is like and also getting to play against essentially what our dream is,” said senior second baseman Kevin DeFilippis. I thought it was great for us, great for the Cubs and great for the city of South Bend.
“Our guys were flying around out there looking to make plays and have great at-bats. It’s a big opportunity for us to come out here and turn some heads and I think we did that a little bit, but at the same we are just trying to have fun so the fact that we were in it was an added bonus.”
Senior RHP Kyle Rubbinaccio earned the start and didn’t allow a hit in two innings of work. He walked three in the first inning to load the bases, but induced a pop up to first base and a groundout back to the mound to keep the Cubs from crossing the dish. In the second frame, the Manalapan, New Jersey native struck out a pair of batters to highlight a 1-2-3 inning.
The Irish, meanwhile, were dealing with RHP Trevor Clifton during the early innings, as the 2013 12th round draft pick struck out the side in the second frame on his way to five strikeouts in the first two innings and nine in 4.2 innings of work.
Both teams remained hitless until Irish senior Phil Mosey notched an infield single in the fourth to give Notre Dame runners on first and second after fellow senior Conor Biggio was hit by a pitch earlier in the frame. Clifton induced a pop up to get out of the jam and take the game to the bottom of the fourth.
Senior RHP Matt Ternowchek followed Rubbinaccio and needed just six pitches to get out of the third inning. He ran into a bit of trouble in the fourth, as back-to-back singles by Jesse Hodges and Jeffrey Baez set the table for an eventual Justin Marra (15th Round — 2011) sac fly to give the Cubs the early 1-0 lead.
They brought in Tyler Ihrig, a 2013 23rd round draft, who promptly issued an RBI walk to Co. Biggio to bring home Shepski from third base.
Notre Dame brought in senior Cristian Torres to work the fifth inning with the score tied at one. The Cubs plated three runs in the frame on the strength of a Charcer Burks (9th Round — 2013) RBI single and a Baez two-RBI single that gave the home squad a 4-1 lead.
Burks added to the lead in the sixth frame on another RBI single to up the Cubs’ lead to 5-1.
Down but not out, the Irish put up quite a fight in the seventh and final inning. After Richardson reached on a fielder’s choice, the Park Ridge, Illinois native stole second with one out. Hunter Jr. reached on an error and Co. Biggio was issued his second walk of the game to load the bases before Mosey hit a grounder to first baseman Cael Brockmeyer that looked to end the game. However, Brockmeyer misplayed the ball, allowing both Richardson and Hunter Jr. to score and cut the lead to 5-3. A grounder ended the game, but not before the Irish had put a scare into the Class A ball club.
Ihrig earned the win after going 2.1 innings and allowing two runs on two hits and two walks.
Burks (2 H, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB), Baez (2 H, 2 RBI) and centerfielder Trey Martin (1 H, 2 R) led the Cubs. 18-year old shortstop Gleyber Torres, the No. 7 Cubs prospect according to MLB.com, went 0-for-3 on two groundouts and a fly out.
Co. Biggio tallied two walks and a run scored and Shepski recorded a hit, walk and run scored to lead the Irish. Richardson had a hit and run scored while Ricky Sanchez and Mosey each had a hit. Hunter Jr. scored one run.
“We had an opportunity to run three seniors out on the mound, we had two seniors in the middle of the infield, we had a senior behind the plate, which I thought was really good,” said head coach Mik Aoki on what was most exciting to him about the game. “While maybe those guys haven’t had an enormous role on the field this year, they’ve been really instrumental in reinforcing and establishing the culture that we want in our program and I think they’ve done a remarkable job leading some of our younger players and showing them the right way to do things. To give them the opportunity to run out here and play was the most gratifying for me.”
Notre Dame (20-10) gets back to regular season action at 6:05 p.m. (ET) Wednesday night, when in-state foe Valparaiso invades Frank Eck Stadium.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director