Oct. 7, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior lefthander Joe Thaman – Notre Dame’s starting first baseman during the past three seasons and an accomplished high school pitcher – had a solid outing to pick up the victory in Tuesday’s opening game of the annual Blue-Gold intrasquad scrimmage at Eck Stadium. Thaman yielded five hits and no walks while striking out three batters in his maximum four innings, staking the Blue team to a 2-1 lead. The Blue then tacked on seven unearned runs in the sixth and held off a rally by the Gold for the 9-7 victory (see boxscore and play-by-play for complete game details).
Wednesday’s starting pitchers will include junior righthander John Axford for the Blue and freshman righthander Derik Olvey for the Gold.
Junior righthander Chris Niesel won the opener for the Gold in 2001 and ’02 but was the hard-luck loser in Tuesday’s game, allowing two runs (one unearned) on five hits and one walk with five strikeouts in his four innings of work. Niesel’s three starts in the Blue-Gold Series now include a 1.93 ERA, 17 strikeouts, one walk and 11 hits allowed in 14 innings.
The Gold team owned a significant hitting edge (12-6) but was done in by five errors that led to eight unearned runs. The Gold’s first four hitters combined to bat 9-for-13 with 4 RBI and 7 runs scored, led by senior second baseman Steve Sollmann (3-for-4, 2 R), freshman centerfielder Danny Dressman (3-for-3, 3 R, 2B, BB) and sophomore catcher Matt Bransfield (2-for-3, 3 RBI, R, HBP).
Two seniors provided key offense for the winning Blue squad, with Javi Sanchez (1-for-3, 2 RBI, R, 2B) playing at his old position of shortstop while rightfielder Zach Sisko was 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored. No other player for the Blue had multiple hits, RBI or runs – as just three of the nine runs came via RBI.
Eight of the Blue players crossed the plate, including sophomore catcher Nick Mainieri, son of 10th-year Irish head coach Paul Mainieri. The younger Mainieri was hit by a pitch in the third inning to keep alive an inning that produced the tying run (1-1) and he later went the other way for an RBI single down the rightfield line before scoring in the seven-run top of the sixth.
ND BLUE 0-0-1 1-0-7 0 – 9 6 1
ND GOLD 1-0-0 0-0-4 2 – 7 12 5
Joe Thaman (win), Dan Kapala (5), Cody Wilkins (6), Tyler Jones (7) and Sean Gaston.
Chris Niesel (loss), Jess Stewart (5), Rico Bertucci (6) and Matt Bransfield.
Triple: Zach Sisko (B).
Doubles: Javi Sanchez (B), Danny Dresshman (G).