March 11, 2010
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Notre Dame sophomore Will Hudgins came out of the bullpen and tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief as the Irish rallied for a 10-6 victory over Bradley Thursday afternoon in first day action from the 2010 Irish Baseball Classic at Wolff Stadium.
Hudgins (1-0) entered in the bottom of the seventh inning with Notre Dame trailing the Braves, 5-4, after Bradley had already plated three in the frame. The sidewinder got consecutive fly balls to end the inning, one of which did give Bradley a 6-4 lead.
Hudgins sent down the Braves in order in the eighth, including a pair of strikeouts, and would have done the same in the ninth with the exception of a wild pitch that allowed a base runner to reach after another strikeout.
Hudgins struck out four and did not issue a walk.
Senior leftfielder Ryan Connolly went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and three RBI. Junior designated hitter David Casey went 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored, while junior catcher Cameron McConnell went 1-for-3 with three RBI. Freshman Adam Norton went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Notre Dame answered Bradley¹s four-run seventh inning with a six-run explosion of its own in the bottom half of the inning.
Casey added an RBI single and another run scored on an error that tied the score at 6-6. Freshman second baseman Frank Desico picked up his first career RBI on a walk and McConnell followed with a sacrifice fly to push the Irish advantage to 8-6. Connolly capped off the inning with a two-out, two-run single to cap the scoring, 10-6.
Sophomore Steve Sabatino pitched well before running out of gas in the seventh inning. Working on short rest, the southpaw went 6.1 innings and allowed six runs, all earned, on 10 hits. Sabatino fanned six and walked one.
Justin Ziegler (0-1) was charged with the loss. The righty was roughed up for six earned runs on four hits in 1.1 innings. He struck out one, walked two and plunked a pair.
Bradley jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Ryan Martin walked to open the game and Rob Elliott followed with a single. Martin raced to third base and Elliott moved into scoring position on senior David Mills¹ throw from right field to third base in an attempt to gun down Martin. Sabatino followed with back-to-back punch outs, but Kevin Sullivan laced a 0-2 pitch back up the middle to give the Braves a 2-0 lead.
The Irish cut the deficit in half on Connolly¹s solo home run to open the bottom half of the first. The blast was Connolly¹s second of the season and sixth of his career. He is the first Notre Dame player to lead off the game with a home run since Craig Cooper against Georgetown on March 26, 2006.
The Irish drew even, 2-2, on senior Casey Martin¹s sacrifice in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Notre Dame grabbed a two-run lead, 4-2, in the bottom of the sixth inning on McConnell¹s two-run single.
Notre Dame returns to action tomorrow afternoon for its second game in the 2010 Irish Baseball Classic at Wolff Stadium in San Antonio. First pitch against Pacific is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. ET.