Feb. 19, 2010
ITTA BENA, Miss. - Notre Dame senior 1B Casey Martin (Chesterton, Ind.) went 4-for-5 with a solo home run, while senior 2B Ryne Intlekofer (Moorpark, Calif.) and senior LF Ryan Connolly smacked three and two-run home runs, respectively, to lead the Irish past Mississippi Valley State, 12-4, in the season openers for both teams Friday afternoon. Notre Dame picked up its first victory in a season opener since 2007.
Junior RHP Cole Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) picked up the victory. He limited the Delta Devils to just a pair of earned runs, both came around to score after leaving the game, on five hits in 5.2 innings of work. Johnson struck out two and did not issue a walk. In fact, he only worked to a three-ball count on two occasions.
The Irish blew the game open with seven runs in the fourth inning. Leading 2-0, Notre Dame sandwiched RBI singles from junior C Cameron McConnell (Bannockburn, Ill.) and Martin around the towering home runs from Intlekofer and Connolly to race out to a 9-0 advantage.
The nine-run cushion was more than enough for Johnson and the rest of the Irish pitching staff.
The Delta Devils did scratch two runs off of senior LHP/RF David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.) in their four-run sixth inning, but sophomore RHP Will Hudgins (Richmond, Va.) and senior RHP Steven Mazur (Round Rock, Texas) combined to throw 3.0 scoreless innings of relief.
Hudgins allowed the first two batters he faced to reach on a hit-by-pitch and base hit, but proceeded to retire the next three batters, including two on strikeouts, to escape any damage. Hudgins followed with a perfect eighth inning.
Mazur closed the game with a perfect ninth inning. He needed just six pitches to get three outs, including a strikeout.
McConnell and Martin were the only Notre Dame players with more than one hit, but eight of the nine starters had hits.
Notre Dame and Mississippi Valley State continue its three-game series on Saturday and Sunday afternoon in nearby Greenville at Legion Field. First-pitch for each game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CT.