Hoyas Drop Heartbreaker
The Hoyas were up 5-4 with one out in the top of the seventh inning, before the
Notre Dame leadoff man Danny Dressman singled to center to open the game, and Matt Macri singled through the right side of the infield on a hit-and-run in the next at-bat to move Dressman over to third. Matt Edwards singled in a run, before Matt Bransfield and Cody Rizzo hit consecutive groundouts to shortstop to move up the runners and score another run. Javi Sanchez singled with a runner on third and two outs to increase the Irish lead to 3-0, and Michael Lombardi (Brookhaven Hamlet, N.Y./ St. Anthony's) later threw Sanchez out stealing to end the inning.
Grant Johnson was the first of three pitchers on the Notre Dame staff with an ERA below 1.00 to face the Hoyas in game three. 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA this season, Johnson retired the side in the first. Parker Brooks (Las Vegas, Nev./ Bishop Gorman) led off with a groundout to second, Ron Cano (El Segundo, Calif./ El Segundo) flied out to center, and Billy Quinn (Alta Loma, Calif./ Alta Loma) grounded sharply to second to end the inning.
Jim Supple (Summit, N.J./ St. Peter's Prep) reached base on a walk to begin the bottom of the third. He moved to second on a groundout, and later scored
With a man on second and two outs, Cano brought in another Hoya run with a deep double to left center field. With the tying run on second, Quinn singled to shallow right, and Cano steamed home and slid under the tag to bring the score to 3-3. Lombardi walked and Andrew Cleary (
Burns struck out Javi Sanchez to open the fourth inning. Craig Cooper singled, and advanced to second on a groundout by Zach Sisko. With two outs, Greg Lopez hit a grounder to the hole in short and beat the throw for an infield single. Dan Dressman singled through the right side of the infield to bring Cooper home and give Notre Dame the 4-3 lead. With runners on first and second, Burns struck out Matt Macri on an off-speed pitch to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija, who doubles as a wide receiver on the Notre Dame football team, entered the game for the Irish in the bottom of the fourth, and retired his first two opponents before Matthew Johnson (Bothell, Wash./ Newport) singled to center field and Gronski brought him home with a line-drive down the left field line that just cleared the fence for a two-RBI homer.
Brooks reached on a infield single, and stole second, but ended the inning stranded on second after a strikeout by Cano.
Burns held Notre Dame scoreless in the top of the fifth, and Quinn drove a fastball to center for a base hit to open the bottom of the inning. Lombardi advanced the runner to second on a groundout to first, and Cleary popped out in foul territory near first base for the second out of the inning. With a full count and two outs, Jones flew out to left to end the inning.
Greg Lopez ripped a single up the middle with one out in the top of the sixth. The Irish tried a hit-and-run, but Dan Dressman couldn’t make contact on an outside pitch and Lombardi threw Lopez out at second, the second Irish runner of the game Lombardi caught stealing. Burns then struck Dressman out to end the inning and preserve the 5-4 Hoyas' lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Samardzija retired the Hoyas in order in the bottom of the sixth, and Burns struck out Macri to start the seventh. Matt Edwards worked the count full before walking in the next at-bat, bringing up clean-up hitter Matt Bransfield. Bransfield walked, ending the day for Burns, and bringing closer Thomas Braun (Kingwood,
Braun pegged Cody Rizzo to fill the bases. Javi Sanchez popped to shallow right for the second out of the inning. Braun then issued a bases-loaded walk to Craig Cooper on six pitches to force in a run. With the Notre Dame bench jawing loudly, Zach Sisko then crushed a grand slam to right center to give the Irish a four-run lead. Greg Lopez hit a hard line drive to center to end the inning.
Brooks started off the bottom of the seventh with a rope to right field for a single, and stole second with two outs. A throwing error by Sisko over the first baseman's head allowed Brooks to score. Cleary then struck out looking to end the inning.
Braun took the Irish down in order in the eighth, inducing a fly out and a ground out before striking out number-three hitter Matt Edwards swinging to end the inning.
Jones grounded to second and Supple grounded out to first for the first two outs in the eighth. Johnson reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, and with two outs, Gronski roped an infield single down the third baseline.
Notre Dame closer Ryan Doherty entered with two on and two out in the bottom of the eighth. Brooks reached on a hit-by-pitch to load the bases, bringing
Bransfield flied out to left to start the ninth, and Johnson made a terrific stop and throw from deep in the hole at short to get Cody Rizzo at first for the second out of the inning. Javi Sanchez grounded out to third to end the ninth.
Doherty struck out Quinn for the first out in the bottom of the ninth. Lombardi launched an opposite-field drive to the left field warning track to fly out for the second out, and Cleary sent a drive to the warning track in right for the last out of the game.
The Hoyas dip to 20-23 (5-11 in BIG EAST) with the loss, while the Irish improve to 30-5 (11-2 in BIG EAST) with the win.
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