Feb. 28, 2014
CARY, N.C. - No. 19 UCLA capitalized on University of Notre Dame miscues in the first two innings to plate a pair of runs and then rode starting ace James Kaprielian for eight innings to secure a 2-1 victory over the Irish on day one of the USA Baseball-Irish Classic at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The game marked the second consecutive season the Bruins edged the Irish by a 2-1 score.
UCLA (5-4) jumped on the board early with the help of several Notre Dame mistakes in the first and second innings. In the first, a hit by pitch, stolen base and a single through the left side gave the Bruins runners on first and third with one out. Ty Moore then stepped up for UCLA and grounded to third base, allowing Brian Carroll to scoot home.
More errors hurt the Irish in the second as a fielding error by Cavan Biggio put Christoph Bono on base. After Fitzgerald's second hit by pitch of the game put runners on first and second, a sac bunt by Trent Chatterton advanced the runners. The advancing of the runners proved critical as a passed ball brought home Bono and upped the Bruins lead to 2-0.
That would be all Kaprielian (2-1) needed as the sophomore looked comfortable from the get go. He went eight innings and gave up only a pair of hits after holding the Irish hitless for the first 4.2 innings. He fanned 11 and walked two before being relieved by closer David Berg.
Notre Dame (3-5) didn't have many opportunities to score runs as it reached second base just twice in the first eight innings. However, the Irish got something going in the ninth against Berg, who gave up only eight earned runs all of last season and sported a cool 0.92 ERA, but struggled to get three outs Friday night.
After junior pinch hitter Phil Mosey drew a walk, junior Conor Biggio entered to run as his younger brother Ca. Biggio stepped to the plate. Biggio notched his first hit of the night to give Notre Dame runners on first and second with no outs, but junior Robert Youngdahl grounded into a double play to put out Ca. Biggio and move Co. Biggio to third. Junior Blaise Lezynski got Notre Dame on the board with a single through the left side and brought the winning run to the plate. Unfortunately, the game ended on a pick off as Berg finally tossed out pinch runner Miles Bland the third time they threw his way in pinch hitter Mac Hudgins' at-bat.
Notre Dame starter Sean Fitzgerald (2-1) suffered the tough loss despite turning in a quality start by going 6.0 innings and allowing only two runs (one earned) on two hits while walking two and striking out seven. Fitzgerald also had a pair of hit batters and a fielding error covering first base.
Notre Dame continues action at the USA Baseball-Irish Classic Saturday with a doubleheader. The Irish open the day against rival Michigan at 12 p.m. before playing Youngstown State at 4 p.m. Sophomore Nick McCarty (2-0) will go against the Wolverines and freshman Ryan Smoyer (0-0) will get the nod against the Penguins.
For more information on the Irish, follow the team on Facebook (/NDBaseball) and Twitter (@NDBaseball).
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director