May 17, 2008
TAMPA - A one-out bloop single from Junior Carlin in the bottom of the 16th inning gave USF a 3-2 victory over Notre Dame in BIG EAST baseball action from Red McEwen Field Saturday night. The defeat is the fifth straight for the Irish as they drop to 33-18-1 overall and 16-9 in the conference. The Bulls improve to 28-25 and 13-13.
Notre Dame appeared to have taken a 3-2 lead of their own in the top of the 16th inning on senior Ross Brezovsky's RBI single. Junior Jeremy Barnes drew a two-out walk and promptly took off on a hit-and-run. Brezovsky laced a single into the right centerfield gap. Barnes round third and clearly slid under the tag, but was nonetheless called out at home.
USF used that momentum and another borderline call in the bottom half of the inning. Addison Marusak reached on a bang-bang play at first base. After Brian Hobbs executed a sacrifice bunt, Notre Dame intentionally walked Chris Rey to set up the potential inning-ending double play. Carlin got ahead in the count 2-1 and dropped a perfectly placed bloop single just in front of a diving Brezovsky to plate Marusak and give the Bulls their second consecutive last at-bat victory over the Irish.
Freshman Todd Miller (0-1) took the defeat, despite a tremendous outing out of the Notre Dame bullpen. The right-handed hurler tossed 4.1 innings of relief and limited the Bulls to just three hits (one infield and another bloop). He fanned four and walked one (intentional).
Drew Malley, the Bulls sixth pitcher of the evening, picked up the victory for USF. The freshman tossed 1.0 scoreless inning of relief.
Notre Dame had a number of opportunities to take the lead in the late innings, but was unable to execute a trio of sacrifice bunt opportunities. The Irish had the leadoff runner on in the ninth, 10th and 13th inning, but each time the Bulls fielded a bunt attempt and retired the lead runner.
The loss also overshadows an incredible performance by the Irish pitching staff, especially the bullpen.
Senior Wade Korpi started and tossed 6.2 innings. He allowed just two earned runs on seven hits. Korpi struck out a season-high 10. He has now eclipsed 10 strikeouts in a game four different times over his career. Korpi is tied with junior David Phelps (Hazelwood, Mo.) and Tim Kalita for third on the all-time double digit strikeout game list.
Korpi, sophomore Stephen Mazur (Round Rock, Texas), senior Tony Langford (Fort Worth, Texas) and Miller kept the Bulls off the scoreboard for 12.2 innings (before 16th inning run). Mazur worked 2.1 hitless innings and fanned three. Langford allowed just one hit in 2.0 scoreless innings before Miller tossed 4.1 one-hit innings of relief.
The quartet of Notre Dame pitchers struck out 18 Bulls on the night. The 18 punch outs are the most for an Irish staff since April 27, 2004 when they fanned 20 in a 15-inning victory over Ball State.
The Bulls grabbed a 1-0 first inning lead on Joey Angelberger's second home run of the series and ninth of the season. Angelberger belted a solo home run in yesterday's 5-4 USF victory.
Angelberger pushed the Bulls lead to 2-0 with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the third inning.
Notre Dame went quietly over the first three innings, but seemed to solve Fontanez in the top of the fourth inning. Pollock ripped a single to lead off the frame. Fontanez proceeded to throw over two times to keep Pollock close and then apparently picked Pollock off on his third attempt.
Sharpley followed with a solo home run to right field to cut the Irish deficit to 2-1. The blast was his third in as many games and 13th of the season. Sharpley is now tied for 13th place on the Notre Dame single-season home run list. Brezovsky then laced a sharp single to right field before Scioscia doubled to right field. The ball evaded USF right fielder Mike Consolamagno and rolled a few feet away, but Consolamagno collected the ball in time to then gun down Brezovsky at the plate.
Korpi continued to keep USF off balance with an array of breaking balls. The southpaw held USF scoreless over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The Irish drew even in the top of the seventh. After Barnes reached on an error, Brezovsky followed with a sacrifice bunt. Scioscia then pulled an RBI single through the left side to even the game, 2-2. Sophomore Ryne Intlekofer (Moorpark, Calif.) pinch ran for Scioscia and moved into scoring position on Fontanez's balk, but the Bulls escaped further damage as Intlekofer was immediately picked off for the second out of the inning. Senior Sean Gaston (Brownsburg, Ind.) grounded out to end the inning.
Korpi retired the first two USF batters of the seventh inning before walking Angelberger. Mazur would relieve Korpi and get a ground out to end the inning.
The Irish return to action Saturday afternoon with the third and final game of series with USF. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m. The game can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1490 AM and UND.com.