March 28, 2009
PITTSBURGH, Pa - Pittsburgh used three-run home runs from Joe Leonard and Nathan Hood to knock off Notre Dame, 15-7, in BIG EAST baseball action from Trees Field Saturday afternoon. The Panthers improved to 14-7 overall and 3-2, while the Irish dropped to 15-9 and 2-3.
Hood went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a career-high five RBI. His three-run home run came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Notre Dame plated three runs in the top of the fourth to climb within a run, 5-4, but Hood's two-out, three run blast gave the Panthers a 9-4 lead.
Leonard went 3-for-4 with four runs scored and three RBI. His three-run long ball came in the seventh inning, once again after the Irish had plated a run in the top half of the frame. Leonard's home run gave Pittsburgh a 15-5 advantage.
Notre Dame scored one run in the second, three in the fourth and one in the seventh, but as was the case all afternoon Pittsburgh answered with two in the second, four in the fourth and four in the seventh. In fact, the Panthers outscored the Irish 10-1 after the top of the fourth inning before Notre Dame plated a pair in the ninth.
Notre Dame rookie left-handed hurler Dustin Ispas (Rancho Cucamonda, Calif.) struggled in his first career BIG EAST start. The southpaw was roughed up for five runs, all earned, on six hits in 2.1 innings of work. Ispas struck out two and walked two. Fellow freshman Will Hudgins (Richmond, Va.) also struggled on the mound. The righty was tagged for four earned runs on three hits in 2.2 innings. Junior Steve Mazur (Round Rock, Texas) did not fare much better. He was knocked around for six runs, four earned, on four hits in 4.0 innings of work.
Junior Billy Boockford (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), a two-way player in high school, made his Irish debut on the mound and retired the Panthers 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Sophomore Greg Sherry (Mendham, N.J.) paced the Notre Dame attack. The third baseman went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI. Sophomore David Casey (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.), sophomore Mick Doyle (LaGrange Park, Ill.) and junior A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) each added two hits apiece. Sophomore Matt Scioscia (Westlake Village, Calif.) added a pinch-hit two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning.
Notre Dame returns to action for the rubber game of the series tomorrow afternoon at 12:00 p.m. Junior right-handed hurler Eric Maust will take the mound for the Irish.