May 14, 2010
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. — Matt Fleishman hit two home runs, including a grand slam in a five-run sixth inning, and drove in six to lead Villanova past Notre Dame, 12-5, in the BIG EAST series opener from Villanova Ballpark Friday afternoon. The Irish (20-28) and Wildcats (28-19) are now tied for eighth place in the league standings at 8-14.
Fleishman, who entered the game with one home run, drilled a two-run home run off Irish starter Brian Dupra in the bottom of the fifth to give Villanova a 6-4 lead. Notre Dame tied the score, 4-4, in the top half of the inning.
After the Irish fought back again and drew within a run, 6-5, Fleishman capped off a five-run explosion in the sixth with a towering grand slam off Notre Dame relief pitcher David Mills to make the score, 11-5.
The inning started harmlessly. Dupra fanned Justin Bencsko to open the frame. After Irish third baseman Adam Norton was unable to handle a routine ground ball, officially scored a hit, Chris Johnson and David Koczirka followed with back-to-back singles to give the Wildcats a 7-5 advantage.
Mills replaced Dupra and got Kevin Wager to fly out for the second out of the inning, an out that should have ended the inning, but Mills then plunked Tyler Sciacca to load the bases for Fleishman. The Villanova left fielder made the Irish pay.
Notre Dame grabbed an early 2-0 lead on junior Mick Doyle’s two-run home run in the top of the second inning. Doyle has now homered in consecutive games and has five round trippers on the season.
However, as was the case in every inning the Irish scored, the Wildcats answered in their half of the same inning. Villanova got single runs in the bottom of the second and third before plating a pair in the fourth to grab a 4-2 lead.
Notre Dame freshman catcher Joe Hudson singled and Norton followed with a double to lead off the fifth. Freshman second baseman Frank Desico came through with an infield single to make it 4-3 and senior first baseman Casey Martin got an RBI ground out to tie the score, 4-4.
After Fleishman’s two-run long ball made it 6-4, Notre Dame threatened in the top of the sixth inning. Doyle singled and Hudson walked. After Norton popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, senior left fielder Ryan Connolly ripped an RBI double to make it 6-5. With runners on second and third, DeSico struck out to close the book for Villanova starting pitcher Brian Streilein. Kevin Crimmel entered and got Mills to pop out to end the threat with the tying run at third and go-ahead run at second.
Streilein picked up the victory and improved to 5-3 on the season. He scattered five earned runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings of work. Crimmel picked up his second save of the year with 3.1 scoreless innings of relief. He yielded one hit and fanned four.
Dupra dropped to 4-4 on the year. He was knocked around for nine earned runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings. He struck out three and walked three.
Doyle and DeSico each had two hits for the Irish. DeSico went 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Doyle went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Mills went 0-for-1 with four walks.
Junior Todd Miller tossed 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. Since returning from a shoulder injury, Miller has tossed 5.1 scoreless innings of relief. He has allowed just two hits and fanned two.
Notre Dame and the Wildcats return to action at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday at the Villanova Ballpark. GameTracker and a recap of Saturday’s game will be available on UND.com.