June 1, 2003
FULLERTON, Calif. - (courtesy of ncaasports.com) Notre Dame sophomore Matt Macri was 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI and the Fighting Irish held off a late San Diego rally as Notre Dame advanced to the regional championship game with a 6-3 victory over the Toreros on Saturday night at Goodwin Field.
The Irish improve to 45-17 overall and will meet top-seeded Cal State Fullerton in the regional championship game on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. PDT. There will be a second game, if necessary, 50 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.
San Diego fell to 31-30 overall and was eliminated from postseason play.
The Toreros made a last-ditch effort against starting pitcher Matt Laird trailing 6-3 in the ninth, putting a pair of runners on with two outs. Laird was then lifted in favor of closer J.P. Gagne, who promptly gave up an infield single to Tony Perez, loading the bases.
That brought up Joey Prast, who lined a 3-2 offering from Gagne right back to the mound. The ball deflected perfectly off Gagne's glove on the follow through and rolled right to third baseman Matt Edwards, who stepped on the bag for the force out to end the game.
Laird (5-4) went 8 2/3 innings, allowing just one earned run on seven hits, walking three and striking out seven on the night. Justin Blaine (2-2) suffered the loss for San Diego, surrendering five runs (two earned) on 11 hits and striking out five.
Steve Sollmann and Kris Billmaier also had three hits for the Irish, who banged out 15 hits on the night, but only two of those went for extra bases.
San Diego's Jose Ortega was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI while Freddy Sandoval also added a pair of hits.