March 8, 2008
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The University of Notre Dame used an eight-run fourth inning to race past South Alabama, 10-4, in college baseball action from the Whataburger Classic Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Irish improve to 5-5 on the season, while the Jaguars drop to 7-5.
With South Alabama holding a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, Notre Dame's offense exploded for eight runs to grab a 9-3 lead. The Irish, who had been held to just a pair of runs in each of their last two games (both losses), sent 12 batters to the dish and registered eight hits. Notre Dame had more hits in the fourth inning this afternoon than they did in the 4-2 defeat earlier in the week against Lehigh (and nearly topped last night's total of nine).
The eight-run inning was the largest outburst in an inning since the Irish plated eight in the fourth inning against Central Michigan on March 21 of last season.
The Irish opened the frame with three consecutive hits, including a double from senior Ross Brezovsky (Naples, FL) and a pair singles from junior Jeremy Barnes (Garland, TX) and sophomore right fielder Billy Boockford (Glen Ellyn, IL). After junior Evan Sharpley (Marshall, MI) struckout, junior Casey Martin (Chesterton, IN) followed with an RBI double before a wild pitch plated another run and freshman catcher Cameron McConnell (Bannockburn, IL) then singled up the middle to give the Irish a 5-3 lead.
South Alabama then hurt its own cause, booting a potential inning-ending double play ball. Senior shortstop Brett Lilley (North Canton, OH) chipped in with an RBI single and sophomore center fielder A.J. Pollock (Hebron, CT) then reached with a bunt single. The sixth run of the inning scored on a throwing error in an attempt to get Pollock at first base. Brezovsky made it 8-3 with a sacrifice fly before Barnes added his second RBI single of the inning to push the Irish advantage to 9-3.
The six-run cushion was more than enough for Irish senior starter Wade Korpi (1-1) and the Notre Dame bullpen. Korpi (Lake Worth, FL) tossed 5.1 innings and allowed three earned runs on nine hits. The southpaw struckout four and walked four. Korpi recorded his first victory since Feb. 17 of last season (a 15-7 win over Prairie View A&M).
The trio of sophomore Steven Mazur (Round Rock, TX), senior Tony Langford (Fort Worth, TX) and junior Kyle Weiland (Albuquerque, NM) combined to throw 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. Mazur worked walked one and struckout one over 1.2 innings, while Langford allowed one hit over his inning (fanned one, walked one). Weiland then struckout the side in the ninth. He has struckout the side in each of his last two outings.
Barnes and Pollock finished the afternoon with two hits apiece. Barnes went 2-for-3 with a run scored and three RBI. Pollock was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Lilley, Brezovsky, Martin and McConnell all chipped in with RBI. Freshman third baseman Greg Sherry (Mendam, NJ) provided the final damage with his first career home run - a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Lance Baxter (0-3) was charged with the loss for South Alabama. He was roughed up for eight runs, five earned, on seven hits.
Notre Dame returns to action on Sunday afternoon against top-ranked Arizona (12:00 p.m. CT) at the Whataburger Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas. The game can heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 AM and UND.com.