March 11, 2005
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Notre Dame jumped out to a 3-0 lead but Oral Roberts responded with 12 runs in a three-inning midgame stretch, as the Eagles posted the 15-8 win to claim a spot in the Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic title game. Saturday's consolation game (noon CST) will feature Notre Dame vs. Southwest Missouri State while Oral Roberts and Texas-San Antonio will meet in the 4:00 title game (UTSA beat SMS, 7-2, on Friday night).
Notre Dame (5-7) put three runs on the board in the bottom of the 1st, with Sean Gaston's two-run single providing the 3-0 lead. Both teams had scored single runs before Oral Roberts (8-6) used a pair of two-out rallies for four runs in the 5th and three in the 6th, followed by five more in the 7th for a 13-4 cushion.
Junior lefthander Tom Thornton (1-2) - who was hit by a comebacker in the early going - took a 4-1 lead into the 5th before giving up four runs, two of which came on a double by Dennis Bigley. Thornton ultimately allowed five runs on eight hits and one walk, with two strikeouts.
The Irish knocked starter Justin Edwards out of the game with just one out in the 1st inning but Daniel Greenwalt then yielded just one run in 5.0 innings of work.
Freshman Ross Brezovsky (3-for-5) - a regular infielder who made his first start in left field - and junior centerfielder Alex Nettey (3-for-4) were the only Irish players with multiple hits (from the respective leadoff and 9-hole spots) while junior DH Steve Andres hit his second home run of the season, a two-run shot in the 8th.
Six relief pitchers followed Thornton to the mound but each was responsible for at least one run (three of them unearned).
ORU first baseman Dennis Bigley - who also pitched six shutout innings as the Eagles starter earlier in the tournament vs. SMS - stroked three doubles in Friday's game, including his third bases-clearing double of the tournament. He drove in six of ORU's runs in the win over the Irish, giving him 14 RBI so far in three Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic games.
Bigley sparked the attack from the cleanup spot while combining with CF Tim Torres, LF Ricky Rivera and DH Kevin Lamb for a 10-for-19 day from the 4-5-6-7 hitters. Those four also combined for 10 RBI and five of the team's seven doubles. The Eagles were fond of the sacrifice bunt in Friday's game, advancing six runners via the bunt while also stealing two bases.
Notre Dame's three-run first included singles from Brezovsky and fellow freshman Brett Lilley, a sacrifice fly off the bat of Matt Edwards (whose eight-game hitting streak came to an end), four-pitch walks issued to Andres and Craig Cooper and Gaston's two-run single through the right side. The Irish stretched to a 4-1 lead in the 4th, after singles from Greg Lopez, Nettey and Brezovsky and Lilley's groundball that plated the run.
Bigley's two-run double helped ORU surge ahead with four runs in the 5th (5-4) while his three-run double accounted for all of the runs in the 6th. Michael Hollimon then added his own two-run double in the five-run 7th as the Eagles soared to a 13-4 lead (ORU later added single runs in the 8th and 9th).
Edwards drew a two-out walk in the 7th and scored when Andres connected on the next pitch, pulling his second home run of the season over the secondary fence in right field.
Notre Dame's two runs in the 8th came via an error, Nettey's RBI double through the left side, Brezovsky's third single of the day and another run-scoring groundout off the bat of Lilley.
Oral Roberts 0-1-0 0-4-3 5-1-1 - 15 16 3
Tom Thornton (L, 1-2), Mike Dury (6), Joey Williamson (6), Scott Bickford (7), Tyler Jones (7), John Axford (8), Tony Langford (8) and Sean Gaston, Steve Andres.