April 29, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame freshman Brian Dupra (Rochester, N.Y.) tossed 7.0 shutout innings and junior Evan Sharpley (Marshall, Mich.) added his team-best 10th home run of the season to lead the Irish past Mississippi Valley State, 4-0, in college baseball action from Frank Eck Stadium Tuesday night. With the victory, Notre Dame improves to 29-12-1, while the Delta Devils drop to 15-21.
Dupra improved to 3-2 on the year and the outing was tied for the longest of his career (equaled the 7.0 innings he pitched in his last start on April 22 against Chicago State). The right-handed hurler scattered six hits and issued just one walk, along with a career-high six strikeouts.
After struggling over his first three starts (0-2 with a 10.22 ERA), Dupra has rebounded quite well. He is 3-0 with a 2.93 ERA over his last six appearances (five starts). Over that stretch, he has struckout 19 and walked just five in 30.2 innings of work. Dupra has been even more impressive in his last three appearances. He is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA with 16 strikeouts and only three walks.
Dupra retired Mississippi Valley State in order in both the first and third innings, but worked around a pair of hits in the second and fifth. The Delta Devils opened the second inning with a pair of hits, but Dupra got Paul Olson to pop out and Greg Dees on a strikeout with a pair of runners in scoring position. He worked out of a similar jam in the fifth to keep the Irish advantage at 1-0.
Dupra then cruised through the sixth inning, including a pair of strikeouts, but again battled out of trouble in the seventh inning. The rookie worked around a hit, hit batter and error. With the bases loaded and just one out, Dupra got Jeff Squier on an infield fly and Cody Pride on a ground out to evade any damage.
The Irish finally put some breathing room between themselves and the Delta Devils in the bottom of the seventh inning. Freshman Mick Doyle (LaGrange Park, Ill.) led off the frame with a single, but Mills retired the next two batters. After A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) walked, Sharpley belted the first offering from Chris Mills down the right field line for a three-run home run to give Notre Dame a 4-0 lead.
Sharpley went 1-for-4 with the three-run home run. Doyle was the lone Irish player with a multi-hit game. He went 2-for-3. Senior Ross Brezovsky (Naples, Fla.) went 1-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to 22 games, besting the previous recorded school high of 21 by Craig Cooper (2006) and Mike Amrhein (1997).
Freshman Cole Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief. The righty fanned three and allowed one hit.
Mills, the Delta Devils' top starter, was charged with the loss and dropped to 6-4 on the year. He allowed six hits and four earned runs. Mills walked five, but also struckout six.
Notre Dame grabbed a first inning 1-0 lead. Senior Brett Lilley (North Canton, Ohio) led off the game with a four pitch walk and moved into scoring position following David Mills' (Battle Creek, Mich.) sacrifice bunt. Pollock then doubled on a ball that Mississippi Valley State right fielder Quinn Axton lost in the sun. Sharpley then grounded into a fielder's choice as Delta Devils third baseman Jeff Squier gunned down Lilley at home. Junior Jeremy Barnes (Garland, Texas) came through with a two-out RBI double.
Notre Dame returns to action on Wednesday with the second game of a two-game non-conference series against Mississippi Valley State. First-pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. The game can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 AM and UND.com.