March 15, 2008
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Notre Dame senior southpaw Wade Korpi tossed 6.0+ scoreless innings and junior second baseman Jeremy Barnes went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI, including his first home run of the season to lead the Irish past Southern Illinois, 4-0, in college baseball action from the Irish Classic at Wolff Stadium. Notre Dame improves its record to 7-6, while the Salukis drop to 7-7.
Korpi (Lake Worth, Fla.) battled some control issues for most of the afternoon, but limited Southern Illinois to just one hit over his first six innings of work. He walked five and struckout two before giving up a pair of seeing-eye singles to open the seventh inning.
With Notre Dame clinging to a 3-0 lead and the tying runner coming to the plate in the top of the seventh inning, senior right-hander Tony Langford (Fort Worth, Texas) relieved Korpi. After Owen Mackedon laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position, Langford plunked Tyler Lairson to load the bases, but the Irish setup man proceeded to retire the next two Southern Illinois batters, including Scott Elmendorf on a strikeout to end the threat.
Barnes (Garland, Texas) would add a huge insurance in Notre Dame's half of the seventh. Barnes belted a 3-2 offering from Southern Illinois starter Shawn Joy deep over the left field wall to push the Irish advantage to 4-0. The blast was Barnes' first of the season and first home run since April 21, 2007 against West Virginia.
The four-run lead was more than enough for the Irish bullpen.
Langford worked a perfect eighth and junior closer Kyle Weiland (Albuquerque, N.M.) allowed just an infield single in a dominant ninth inning of work.
Sophomore center fielder A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored. Pollock has registered back-to-back multi-hit games. He is 5-for-9 for the weekend with two runs scored, two doubles and an inside-the-park, two-run home run. Pollock now leads Notre Dame with a .339 batting average.
Korpi (2-1) picked up the victory and pitched into the seventh inning for the second time this year. With the scoreless outing, Korpi lowered his season earned-run average from 6.75 to 5.01.
The shutout for the Notre Dame staff is the second of the season. The Irish have now allowed just one earned run over their first two games of the Irish Classic. Notre Dame has lowered its season ERA from 6.27 to 5.38.
Joy (1-2) was charged with the loss. He scattered nine hits and allowed just four runs (three earned) over 7.0 innings. He fanned three and did not issue a walk.
Notre Dame returns to action Sunday afternoon with a game against Texas Pan-American. First-pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. CT (1:00 p.m. ET). Sophomore right-handed hurler Eric Maust (Alpharetta, Ga.) will take the mound for the Irish. The game can heard live on ESPN Radio 1620 AM and UND.com.