April 4, 2009
By Sam Hovland
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Sophomore Brian Dupra (Rochester, N.Y.) tossed a three-hit shutout with no walks and six strikeouts to lead Notre Dame past Villanova, 4-0, in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. Dupra also becomes the first Notre Dame pitcher to throw a complete game shutout in over two years; David Phelps was the last to accomplish the feat, blanking South Florida 1-0 at Eck Stadium on March 23, 2007. Dupra (3-3) needed just 108 pitches to finish off the Wildcats, one more pitch than Johnson threw on Friday night.
Sophomore Cole Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) and Dupra become the first Irish pitchers to throw complete games in back-to-back games since Tom Thornton went the distance on April 22, 2005, and Dan Kapala repeated the effort on April 25. Both of those games also came against Villanova at Frank Eck Stadium, with the Irish winning 5-2 and 9-4, respectively.
The Irish starter benefited from solo home runs off the bats of sophomore Cameron McConnell (Bannockburn, Ill.), junior David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.), and senior Jeremy Barnes (Garland, Tex.) in the game. After hitting just four home runs in the first 18 games of the season, the Irish have now hit 14 home runs in the past ten games.
Sophomore Golden Tate (Hendersonville, Tenn.) and Mills led the Irish with two hits apiece. Tate went 2-4 with two stolen bases and was robbed twice by Villanova left fielder Matt McFolling on sinking line drives. He is now a perfect 6-6 in stolen bases on the year. Mills added a triple to his home run for a career-high tying seven total bases.
Second baseman Dain Hall had two doubles for the Wildcats and was the only Villanova player to advance as far as second base in the game. Dupra did now allow a runner past second base in the contest en route to his second career complete game and first career shutout.
Starter Kevin Crimmel (2-2) took the loss for Villanova (14-14, 1-7) and also threw a complete game. He tossed 8.0 innings, giving up eight hits and four runs with no walks and three strikeouts. Crimmel needed 106 pitches after Brian Streilein hurled a 100-pitch complete game on Friday night.
Notre Dame (18-10, 4-4) lowered its team ERA from 5.15 to 4.81 after holding Villanova to just ten hits and one run in the first two games of the series.
The Irish got on the board in the first inning for the second consecutive game. Tate beat out an infield single to lead off the game and stole second on Crimmel's first pitch to Mills. Tate came around to score on designated hitter Matt Scioscia's (Westlake Village, Calif.) two-out single up the middle. Scioscia's hit gave him a nine game hitting streak, tying for the second longest by an Irish player this season behind A.J. Pollock's ten-game hitting streak that was snapped Friday night.
In the second inning, McConnell hit a long two-out home run to left off of a Crimmel breaking ball, giving the Irish an early 2-0 lead. The home run was McConnell's second of the season and second in the past four games.
After Mills tripled over a leaping Matt Szczur in right field with one out, Crimmel escaped damage by inducing Pollock to ground back to the mound and Scioscia to fly out to Szczur in right.
Dupra picked up right where Johnson left off Friday night, retiring the first 14 batters on only 48 pitches. Dupra entered the game with a 9.64 ERA in the second through the fourth innings, but had no trouble on Saturday afternoon. Villanova's first base runner of the game came in the fifth when catcher Wesley Borden lined a 3-1 pitch into center field for a single. Dupra struck out a career high six in the game, a feat he accomplished earlier this season against Dayton.
Mills followed his triple in the third with a solo home run to right off of Crimmel in the fifth, his first of the season and the third of his career. Mills, who went 2-4 in the game, is now hitting .579 (11-19) against the Wildcats in his career. Senior Jeremy Barnes (Garland, Texas) followed with a home run to right in the sixth, his sixth on the year and the 17th of his career. Crimmel has now yielded nine home runs on the year in 38.1 innings of work.