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    A Great Day For Baseball

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    If you look at the schedule, opening day was more than a month ago for Notre Dame baseball. But for a team and its fans, there's perhaps nothing better than the home opener.

    An absolutely perfect day at Frank Eck Stadium, it was 83 degrees and sunny with a nice breeze at the time of first pitch. A great crowd was on hand, with freshman righthanded pitcher Pat Connaughton getting the start and making his first career appearance in an Irish baseball uniform.

    At this point in his young career at Notre Dame, Connaughton is better known from his time on the hardwood, but judging from his debut this afternoon, he could have a bright future on the diamond too.

    Connaughton struck out the side in his first inning of work and picked up where he left off in the top of the second. He K'ed two more batters, before leaving the game to a nice ovation from the crowd, which included his basketball teammates and coaches, athletic director Jack Swarbrick, former Notre Dame baseball coach Digger Phelps, and several Irish football players.

    Head coach Mik Aoki had planned to keep the freshman's pitch count to roughly 30 pitches. He faced seven batters and threw 31 pitches on the afternoon, striking out five, walking one and allowing a single.

    Frank DeSico sparked the Irish offense in the home half of the first, hitting an infield single and stealing second base. Clean-up hitter Trey Mancini plated the first run of the game, knocking in DeSico on a two-out single, before Joe Hudson followed with an RBI single of his own.

    Notre Dame added two more runs in the bottom of the third, thanks to three straight doubles from DeSico, Eric Jagielo and Mancini.

    One of life's simple joys, opening day is one of my favorite times of year. While I would have enjoyed all nine innings, I left in the bottom of the fourth inning to cover the women's basketball second round NCAA tournament game at Purcell Pavilion.

    The Irish were leading, 4-3.

    - Josh Flynt ('11)

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