March 30, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Sophomore DH Mike Dury led a 16-hit attack as the Notre Dame baseball team closed its seven-game homestand with another win, 15-3 over Chicago State, in Wednesday-night action at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (13-10) - which went 6-1 in the homestand and next heads to Rutgers for a showdown series between the BIG EAST co-leaders - scored its most runs since the season-opening game versus Florida A&M, with Dury and five others contributing multiple hits to the big offensive night.
The switch-hitting Dury gave the Irish an early 3-2 lead when he turned on a pitch and sent it down the leftfield line for a three-run home run. He turned around to hit from the left side later in the game and pulled a double down the rightfield line before scoring as part of a four-run bottom of the 7th that gave the Irish a 14-3 lead.
Freshman righthander Joey Williamson (1-1) picked up the win in a planned rotation, after allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk in the first four innings. Dury also pitched in the middle innings and the 6-foot-4, 225-pound lefthander faced the minimum six batters in the 5th and 6th innings with two strikeouts and a hit allowed (that runner was erased on a double play).
Dury (3-for-5, HBP) was joined by three Irish batters - junior centerfielder Alex Nettey (RBI, R, B), junior leftfielder/first baseman Craig Cooper (3 RBI, 2 R, BB) and junior third baseman Greg Lopez (2 RBI, R) - who hit 2-for-5 while sophomore outfielder Danny Dressman came off the bench to hit a two-run single and an RBI double while also drawing a walk in his other plate appearance.
Freshman lefthander Chris Freshour (0-6) was hurt by poor defense behind him, as just four of the seven runs charged to him were earned. Freshour allowed seven hits and three walks in 3.0 innings while striking out two Irish batters.
Notre Dame mixed up its lineup, with Lopez shifting from shortstop to third, freshman Ross Brezovsky making his first start at shortstop (he earlier has started at third and left field) and junior Matt Bransfield moving from first base to for the first start at catcher in his Irish career. Senior Matt Edwards has split time at first and third base this season and moved back to the right side of the infield for Wednesday's game.
Williamson retired the first two batters of the game but Chicago State rapped out three straight hits, including Raven Jackson's two-run double to left field for the early Cougars lead.
The Irish answered right back with five runs, sparked by Nettey's leadoff single through the left side (extending his team-best hitting streak to 12 games). Freshman second baseman Brett Lilley then drew a four-pitch walk, Nettey advanced on a deep flyout off the bat of Edwards and Bransfield plated the runner on a groundball to the left side (he reached on a fielding error by the third baseman). Dury then connected on an 0-1 pitch for his first home run of the season and second in two seasons of limited action with the Irish.
A throwing error on the shortstop then allowed Cody Rizzo to reach and he took second on the play before stealing third and scoring on Cooper's leftside groundout.
Chicago State pushed across a run in the 3rd but the Irish again answered with two runs of their own. Cooper reached on another throwing error by the shortstop and Brezovsky singled to left-center before Nettey loaded the bases with a one-out single into center field. Lilley then drove a 1-0 pitch up the middle, bringing home two runs for a 7-3 Irish lead.
Notre Dame manufactured a run in the 4th - after walks by Rizzo and Cooper, Brezovsky's sac. bunt and Lopez's sac. fly - and stretched to a 10-3 lead with two more in the 5th, thanks to Lilley's leadoff walk and singles by Bransfield and Dury before Dressman sliced a 1-0 pitch into the left-center gap for a two-run, opposite-field single.
Dury sent a first-pitch double down the rightfield line to spark ND's four runs in the 7th. Dressman then drove the left-center gap again on the next pitch, motoring all the way to third before scoring on Cooper's single to center field. Lopez added a one-out RBI double to left-center and later scored on Nettey's groundout up the middle.
The Irish tacked on a run in the 8th, just moments after an encouraging stint from senior righthander John Axford as he eases back from the elbow surgery that caused him to miss all of the 2004 season. Axford - who had pitched just 1.1 innings in two previous outings this season - walked one but struck out the other three batters he faced in the top of the 8th for an impressive 17-pitch effort.
Lilley ended the night 1-for-2 but he also reached twice on walks, with two runs scored to go along with his two RBI. He edged in front of Edwards (who went 0-for-3 to see his 10-game hit streak end) atop the team batting charts, with Lilley not batting .384 while Edwards is hitting .382.
The lefthanded-hitting Lilley led the Irish during the six-game homestand with a .478 batting avg. (11-for-23, 6 RBI, 7 R) and .571 on-base pct. (4 BB. HBP, 3-4 SB, 3 SAC).
The Irish pitchers compiled a 2.90 staff ERA during the homestand and held the opponents to a .260 batting avg., with a 2.3 K-to-walk ratio (45/20). The Notre Dame batters hit .313 in the seven home games while averaging more than 10 runs per game (73).
Junior lefthahander Tom Thornton is the likely game-1 starter for the Rutgers series while Derik Olvey or fellow sophomore righthander Jeff Manship likely will start game-2. Sophomore righthander Jeff Samardzija is slated to join the team on Saturday night (after practicing with the Irish football team earlier in the day) and is the probable starter for Sunday's series finale at Rutgers.
Chicago State 2-0-1 0-0-0 0-0-0 - 3 9 5
Chris Freshour (L, 0-6), Robert Vargas (5), Jacob Fielder (6), Adam Sali (7), Hector Navedo (8) and Brian Grippo, Aaron Moises (7).