May 8, 2010
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Notre Dame rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth inning to draw within a run, but West Virginia closer Chris Enourato got Irish junior designated hitter David Casey to ground out with the tying run on base as the Mountaineers held on for a 6-5 victory and secure a doubleheader sweep in BIG EAST baseball action from Hawley Field Saturday. West Virginia improved to 20-26 overall and 5-15 in the conference, while the Irish dropped to 20-26 and 8-12. The Mountaineers took the opener of the twin bill, 22-6.
Trailing 6-3 heading to the ninth inning, Notre Dame fought back against Enourato. Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly opened the inning with a hit-by-pitch and freshman second baseman Frank Desico followed with his fourth hit of the game to bring the tying run to the plate. With the runners on the corners and one down, senior right fielder David Mills made it 6-4 on an RBI fielder’s choice. Not only did Mills reach, but West Virginia second baseman Colin Durborow booted the grounder which allowed DeSico to reach second safely. After senior first baseman Casey Martin crushed a ball to the base of the right field wall and into a stiff 25-30 mph breeze, senior centerfielder Brayden Ashdown followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-5. With the tying run still at first base, Casey grounded out to end the game.
Enourato picked up his fourth save of the season. West Virginia starter Andy Berry picked up the victory. The right-handed hurler allowed three earned runs on 10 hits in 7.1 innings of work. Berry fanned five and did not walk a batter. He evened his record at 3-3 on the year.
Irish sophomore southpaw Steve Sabatino was charged with the loss. He yielded six earned runs on nine hits in 6.0 innings of work. Sabatino struck out a pair and walked one. He dropped to 3-7 on the season.
DeSico went 4-for-5 with a run scored and RBI. The second baseman has registered four or more hits in three different games this year. Ashdown went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Casey and Connolly each had multi-hit games. Casey went 2-for-5, while Connolly went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. He smacked his team-leading 10th home run.
Gyorko paced the Mountaineer attack with three hits. He went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Gyorko drilled his15th round tripper of the season. West Virginia hit two more home runs in the night cap after stroking a season-high six in the opener. Kevin Griffin added a two-run home run as well. Grant Buckner went 2-for-4 with a single, double and two RBI. Buckner finished the doubleheader with 12 RBI.
Notre Dame had a golden chance to draw even in the top of the eighth inning. Ashdown laced a one-out single and Casey followed with a single. Junior Matt Scioscia then followed with a pinch hit single to load the bases with just one out, but Enourato somehow managed to escape. Freshman catcher Joe Hudson got ahead in the count, 3-0, and after a get-me-over fast ball for a strike, the catcher appeared to have dropped in an RBI single just past the out-stretched glove of the first baseman Justin McDavid in short right field, but McDavid made a spectacular diving grab for the second out of the inning. Enourato then got senior pinch hitter Billy Boockford to strikeout to end the inning.
The Irish grabbed the game’s first lead on Connolly’s team-leading 10th home run of the year in the top of the third inning. The solo shot gave Notre Dame its first lead of the series, 1-0. With the round tripper, Connolly, who leads the BIG EAST with 17 hit-by-pitches, became the second Irish player in school history to ever register 10 or more home runs and 10 or more HBP in the same season. Eric Danapilis accomplished the feat in 1993 with 13 home runs and 15 HBP.
Sabatino worked around a leadoff double by Gyorko in the first inning and proceeded to retire the next seven Mountaineers before running into trouble in the home half of the third inning.
Mark Dvoroznak reached on an infield single, Gyorko and Dom Hayes each followed with seeing-eye singles to load the bases. Bucker, who drove in a school record 10 in the opener, came through again with a two-run single to give West Virginia a 2-1 advantage. Buckner and Hayes then executed a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out, but Sabatino buckled down and evaded any further damage. He got a foul out and fly out to end the threat.
Sabatino then retired West Virginia in order in the bottom of the fourth inning, but a four-pitch walk to open the fifth came by to haunt him as Gyorko followed with a mammoth home run to push the Mountaineers lead to 4-1.
West Virginia again used the long ball for two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Griffin, who failed to execute the sacrifice bunt and fell behind in the count 1-2, but redeemed himself with a two-run, line drive home run to make the score 6-1.
Notre Dame cut into the Mountaineer lead with a couple runs in the top of the seventh. Connolly had an RBI single and scored all the way from first base on DeSico’s hit-and-run RBI single to make it 6-3. DeSico was thrown out trying to stretch the base hit into a double.
Notre Dame and West Virginia return to action at 12:05 p.m. on Sunday at Hawley Field. GameTracker and a recap of Sunday’s game will be available on UND.com.
West Virginia third baseman Grant Buckner drilled three-run home runs in each of his first two plate appearances and the Mountaineers never looked back en route to a 22-6 victory over Notre Dame in the opener of a scheduled BIG EAST doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Hawley Field. Buckner then added a grand slam to cap off his three homer and school record 10 RBI game.
Buckner, who entered the contest with three home runs all year, bested his previous career-high RBI total of five and it took just two swings. He went 3-for-4 with four runs scored. The 10 RBI are the most by a player in the BIG EAST this season.
West Virginia right-handed hurler Jarryd Summers picked up the victory and improved to 2-8 on the year. Summer was charged with five runs, all earned, on six hits in 6.0 innings, but benefitted from seven strikeouts and just one walk.
Notre Dame junior Brian Dupra dropped to 4-3 on the season with the shortest outing of his career. Dupra, who threw a complete game victory over West Virginia in the opener of a doubleheader in 2009, failed to escape the second inning. In fact, he lasted just 1.0+ innings. He was tagged for seven runs, all earned, on eight hits.
Senior first baseman Casey Martin went 2-for-3 with a run scored and RBI. Junior catcher Cameron McConnell and senior right fielder Billy Boockford each smacked home runs. Boockford’s was a three-run round tripper.
Jeremy Gum went 5-for-6 with two runs scored and five RBI. Gum, Jeremy Griffin and Marz Dvoroznak all homered. The Mountaineers hit six long balls on the afternoon and every one of the nine starters had base hits.
West Virginia jumped on Dupra in the bottom of the first inning. The Irish righty got ahead of Gyorko 1-2, but the Mountaineers shortstop fouled off a handful of Dupra offerings before eventually coaxing a walk. Hayes again fell behind in the count 1-2, but he singled to right field. Buckner then followed with a three-run home run to give West Virginia a 3-0 lead.
Dupra did not allow any further first inning damage, but needed to throw 43 pitches to get the first three outs.
The Mountaineers, and more specifically, Buckner continued the hit barrage in the bottom of the second inning. The senior third baseman ended the afternoon for Dupra with his second three-run home run of the contest to push the Mountaineers advantage to 7-0.
Notre Dame cut the Mountaineer lead to 7-1 in the top of the third inning on McConnell’s third home run of the season, a solo shot that caromed off the light tower in left field. The Irish then got two on with two out following senior Ryan Connolly’s infield single and senior David Mills walk. Martin followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 7-2. With runners on the corners and two out, senior Brayden Ashdown ripped a line drive, but directly at Hayes in right field.
West Virginia wasted no time and got the two runs back in the bottom of the third off Irish sophomore Ryan Richter. After Chris Rasky drew a leadoff walk on four pitches and Colin Durborow followed with a sacrifice bunt, Dvoroznak smacked his second career home run; a two-run shot that came one pitch after trying to bunt for a base hit, to make the score, 9-2.
Richter kept West Virginia off the scoreboard in the fourth inning, but allowed a leadoff walk and single in the fifth before leaving the contest. Sophomore Joe Spano issued an intentional walk to Bucker to face Justin McDavid. He quickly got ahead 0-2, but his breaking ball got through the legs of McConnell for a wild pitch, which allowed one run to score, and Gum followed with a bloop double just in front of a charging Boockford in right field to make it 12-2. Griffin then drilled a two-run home run to make it 14-2. Spano would eventually punch out Rasky, but not before West Virginia plated five runs.
Boockford brought the Irish within a 14-5 margin with a towering three-run shot deep over the left field wall. The blast was his first of the year and second of career.
Buckner struck again in the bottom of the sixth. After Spano hit a batter and walked a pair to load the bases, Buckner greeted freshman Adam Norton with grand slam.
Spano yielded six earned runs on just two hits, but was victimized by three walks, one hit batter and a wild pitch.
Richter allowed four earned runs on five hits. He also walked three and struck out one.
— ND —