April 11, 2009
CINCINNATI, Ohio - Junior Eric Maust (Alpharetta, Ga.) tossed 7.1 solid innings and Notre Dame used a four-run eighth inning to race past Cincinnati, 6-2, to earned a split of the doubleheader and salvage the final game of the BIG EAST series Saturday afternoon from Marge Schott Stadium. The Irish improved to 20-12 overall and 6-6 in the league, while the Bearcats drop to 16-15 and 5-7.
With the game tied, 2-2, the Irish loaded the bases in the top of the eighth inning on a walk and back-to-back bunt singles from junior Brayden Ashdown (Tucson, Ariz.) and senior Ryan Connolly (Binghamton, N.Y.). Junior A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) followed with an RBI fielder's choice that gave Notre Dame a 3-2 lead. Junior Casey Martin (Chesterton, Ind.) pushed the lead to 4-2 with an RBI single before senior Jeremy Barnes (Garland, Texas) broke the game open with a two-run double.
Maust, freshman Ryan Richter (South Bend, Ind.) and junior Steve Mazur (Round Rock, Texas) made the lead stand. After Maust got the first out of the eighth inning, he was removed for Richter. The southpaw tossed 1.0 scoreless inning of relief and Mazur followed with the final two outs of the game.
Maust (4-2) limited Cincinnati to just two earned runs on six hits in 7.1 innings. The right-handed hurler struck out four and walked four. Maust, who has gone at least 7.0 innings in back-to-back starts, allowed just three hits over his final 7.0 innings of work.
Martin, Barnes and sophomore Greg Sherry (Mendham, N.J.) paced the Irish attack with two hits apiece. Martin went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI. Barnes went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI, while Sherry was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Brian Garman picked up the loss for the Bearcats. The southpaw was charged with six runs, all earned, on nine hits in 7.1 innings. Garman fanned four and walked two.
After plating four runs in the first inning in the first game of the doubleheader, Cincinnati turned in a similar effort in the opening inning of the second game. Kendal Coleman opened the game with a four pitch walk and raced to third on Cameron Satterwhite's double. Mike Spina followed with an infield RBI single and Lance Durham gave the Bearcats a 2-0 lead with an RBI fielder's choice.
Maust settled down after the opening inning jitters. The righty retired the next five Bearcats before running into trouble in the Cincinnati third. Durham laced a two-out double and Maust followed with back-to-back walks, but got out of the jam when Cory Hough grounded into an inning ending fielder's choice.
Garman was even more impressive. The southpaw took a perfect game into the fifth inning. Garman retired the first 12 Irish batters before Martin singled to right field to open the fifth. After Barnes struck out, junior Billy Boockford (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) reached on a walk before Sherry singled home Martin to bring Notre Dame within a run, 2-1, but Garman evaded any further damage when McConnell grounded into a 4-6-3 inning-ending, double play.
Notre Dame missed out on a chance to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning. Doyle led off the frame with a double, but did not advance any further when Ashdown grounded out, Connolly popped out and Pollock grounded out.
The Irish did draw even, 2-2 in the top of the seventh inning. Barnes ripped a one-out double off the right field wall and raced home on Boockford's RBI single back up the middle. Boockford advanced into scoring position on the throw home. Sherry followed with another single, but Boockford had to wait to make sure the ball got through the infield and only advanced to third base.
With the game now tied, 2-2, and runners on the corners with one out, Garman got McConnell to ground into an inning-ending double play with a runner in scoring position for the second time in three innings. In fact, it was the fifth double play the Irish grounded into over the weekend and each one not only came with at least one runner in scoring position, but also ended innings.
Notre Dame returns to action this week with a pair of neutral site, non-conference games. The Irish will travel to Battle Creek, Mich. and C.O. Brown Stadium (home of the Battle Creek Bombers) to face Western Michigan on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET. Notre Dame then travels to Chicago and U.S. Cellular Field (home of the Chicago White Sox) to play Northwestern. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m. CT.