April 1, 2010
BETHESDA, Maryland Notre Dame freshman Adam Norton capped a furious, five-run ninth inning rally with a towering three-run homer to tie the game, 9-9, but it went for naught as William Cupelo's walk-off RBI single gave the Hoyas a 10-9 victory in BIG EAST baseball action from Shirley Povich Field Thursday afternoon. Georgetown improved to 13-11, 1-3 in the conference, while the Irish dropped to 8-16 and 0-4.
Trailing 9-4 leading into its last at bat, Notre Dame mounted one of its biggest rallies in recent memory. Senior centerfielder Bill Warrender opened the frame with a solo home run, which brought the Irish within four runs, 9-5. After junior catcher Cameron McConnell popped out, senior second baseman Ryne Intlekofer walked. Senior right fielder David Mills followed with a line out before freshman third baseman Frank Desico ripped an RBI double to cut the deficit to 9-6.
Georgetown went to the bullpen for right-handed closer Cary Piligian, who promptly walked senior leftfielder Ryan Connolly on four consecutive pitches to bring the tying run to the plate in the bat of Norton. The designated hitter fouled off five of the first six pitches he saw before belting a 1-2 pitch deep over the left field wall for his first career home run to tie the score, 9-9.
The momentum was short-lived.
Tommy Lee lead off the bottom half of the ninth with a single and moved into scoring position on Rand Ravnaas' perfectly executed sacrifice bunt.
Notre Dame called upon senior right-handed hurler Steven Mazur, but Cupelo lined a 1-1 offering past Intlekofer at second base and into right field to plate Lee.
Piligian (2-0) picked up the victory despite surrendering the game tying three-run home run. He allowed two earned runs on one hit and one walk.
Sophomore Joe Spano (0-3) was charged with the loss. He allowed one earned run on two hits in 1.1 innings of work.
Junior shortstop Mick Doyle continued his hot hitting with three more hits. He went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. McConnell went 2-for-4 with three RBI and Norton went 2-for-4 with a run scored and four RBI.
Irish junior starting pitcher Brian Dupra did not factor in the decision. The righty went 7.0 innings and was charged with nine runs, six earned, on 10 hits. Dupra fanned four and did not issue a walk.
After Notre Dame drew even, 2-2, in the top of the fifth inning, Georgetown used a pair of critical Irish errors in a four-run fifth inning to grab a 6-2 lead.
Georgetown opened the frame with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Dupra then got a routine ground ball back to junior Greg Sherry at third base, which should have gotten an out, but the junior¹s throw sailed wide of home plate for an error, which allowed the go-ahead run to score and give the Hoyas a 3-2 lead. With runners on first and second and no outs, Dupra got another ground ball, but Sherry again bobbled the ball at third base and only was able to register the force out at second base.
With runners on the corners, Ranvaas singled through the right side and Mills charged with the idea of throwing to third base to get an out, but the ball got under the glove of the right fielder and rolled all the way to the wall. All three runners scored, including Ranvaas, to give the Hoyas a 6-2 lead. In all, three of the four runs were unearned.
Dupra entered the game with four consecutive quality starts. The righty had worked at least 6.0 innings and allowed three earned runs or less in each of those outings. Dupra was 2-1 with a 2.73 earned-run average over the span. He also fanned 21 and walked only five in 26.1 innings of work.
The Hoyas jumped out of the gates on Dupra. The Irish junior plunked Lee on his first offering and Ravnass followed with a two-run home run just over the left field wall to give Georgetown a 2-0 lead. Ravnass has now opened each of the last two BIG EAST series with home runs in his first at bat.
Dupra did allow a base hit to the third batter of the game, but induced a double play ground ball to erase the base runner and proceeded to retire 10 of the next 11 Georgetown batters, including two on strikeouts.
Notre Dame finally solved Hoyas¹ starter Tommy Isaacs in the top of the fifth inning. Doyle singled, but Isaacs retired the next two Irish batters before McConnell belted a two-out, two-run home run to tie the game, 2-2.
Dupra worked around a one-out, ground rule double in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Notre Dame mounted a rally in the top of the seventh inning. After Isaacs retired the first Notre Dame batter of the inning, Doyle singled and senior first baseman Casey Martin followed with a hit-by-pitch. Warrender got ahead of Isaacs 3-1, but the Georgetown right-hander struck out Warrender on a check swing. McConnell then delivered a two-out RBI single to bring the Irish within three runs, 6-3, and end the day for Isaacs.
Steinman replaced Isaacs and retired Notre Dame pinch hitter Matt Scioscia on a fly out to end the threat.
Dupra remained on the mound and was one pitch away from getting out of the seventh inning unscathed, trailing 6-3, and picking up his fifth straight quality start, but Cupelo registered an RBI single and Dan Capeless followed with a towering two-run home run to push the Hoyas lead to 9-3.
Norton did bring Notre Dame within five runs, 9-4, with an RBI double, but Martin flied out with runners on the corners to end the inning.
The Irish and Hoyas return to action Friday afternoon with the second game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
-- ND --