Oct. 16, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Senior lefthander Wade Korpi logged 4.2 shutout innings while sophomore A.J. Pollock had an impressive day as his team's cleanup hitter and centerfielder, as the Blue team opened with a convincing 8-1 victory in Notre Dame's annual Blue-Gold Series. The teams will return to Eck Stadium on Wednesday at 4:30, with the Gold looking to even the series before Thursday's final game.
Korpi - who was making his fourth career start in the Blue-Gold Series (and second game-1 start) - faced only 19 batters in nearly five full innings of work, allowing a single runner to reach third base while one other made it to the second-base bag. He struck out six different Gold batters while allowing four hits, one walk and uncorking a wild pitch in the 76-pitch outing (with 48 strikes). Korpi was particularly effective with his patented curveball while showing good command of all three of his pitches.
The strong showing gives Korpi a 4.60 career ERA in the BGS to go along with a 2-0 record, 13 Ks, 5 walks and 19 hits allowed in 15.2 innings.
The Blue scored in five of the seven innings, with seven players combining for the team's nine hits. Nearly half of the Blue's hits went for extra bases, highlighted by a sixth-inning leadoff home run from freshman catcher Cameron McConnell while three others hit doubles: Pollock (1-for-2, RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, SB), sophomore leftfielder and 2-hole hitter Ryne Intlekofer (2-for-5, RBI, R), and junior second baseman/5-hole hitter Jeremy Barnes (2-for-3, RBI, R).
Pollock - who had a standout summer while playing as the centerfielder for the NECBL's Vermont Mountaineers - appears poised for a smooth transition from third base to the outfield. Pollock showed tremendous gap-to-gap range while tracking down five fly balls and he also threw a runner out at the plate for a double play in the first inning, putting him on pace to possibly repeat as MVP of the Blue-Gold Series.
Gold junior righthander David Phelps failed to pick up the victory in his third career game-1 start at the BGS, despite allowing only two earned runs in his 4.2-inning stint. Phelps was charged with three unearned runs, as a result of three errors (two of them on errant pickoff throws). He struck out two while allowing five hits, two walks, a hit batter and a costly wild pitch over the course of 86 pitches (51 strikes). Phelps now owns a 4.85 career ERA and 0-1 record in the BGS, plus 4 Ks, 6 walks and 10 hits allowed in 13.0 innings.
The Blue put four of its seven leadoff runners on base while collecting several two-strike hits and three clutch hits with two-outs. The Gold managed to put only two leadoff men on base and hit just 1-for-11 with runners aboard.
The Blue opened the game with a run, after senior shortstop Brett Lilley pulled a 2-0 pitch into right field and motored all the way around when Intlekofer stroked a double into the left-center gap (on a 1-2 pitch).
Intlekofer fell into an 0-2 hole with one out in the third inning, but he sent the next pitch up the middle before advancing on an errant pickoff throw by the catcher and Sean Gaston's rightside groundout. Pollock then walked on five pitches, the last of which was wild and allowed Intlekofer to score for the 2-0 lead. A stolen base put Pollock in scoring position for Barnes, who came through in the clutch by sending a 2-2 pitch into right field for the 2-out RBI single.
A fielding error and another failed pickoff play placed Intlekofer on third with one away in the fifth. The Gold was able to get an ensuing tag play at the plate but a pair of two-out hits followed - as Pollock pulled a 2-2 pitch down the leftfield line for an RBI double and freshman first baseman greeted sophomore lefthander David Mills with a run-scoring single through the left side, pushing the lead to 5-0.
McConnell took the first pitch in the sixth for a ball before driving a blast down the line and over the leftfield fence, as the cushion grew to six runs. The Blue then tacked on two more in the seventh, sparked by Pollock's five-pitch walk as the first batter faced by junior lefthander Sam Elam. Barnes follwed by pulling a 2-2 double down the leftfield line and freshman third baseman Greg Sherry loaded the bases with a one-out walk. McConnell added a sacrifice fly to rigth field, sophomore rightfielder Brayden Ashdown coaxed a full-count walk and Lilley was hit by a 1-0 pitch to force home the team's eighth run.
Sophomore righthander Steven Mazur - who had a pair of solid outings in the 2006 BGS - logged the final 2.1 innings for the Blue, allowing a single run and two hits. The Gold averted the shutout thanks to a one-out double by freshman shortstop Mick Doyle and sophomore centerfielder Bill Warrender's first-pitch, opposite-field single to right.
WSBT radio's Darin Pritchett served as the guest media coach for the Gold squad (managed by ND assistant coach Sherard Clinkscales) while ND volunteer assistant and Blue-team manager Graham Sikes had Blue and Gold Illustrated's Ryan O'Leary in the dugout as his team's guest media coach.
Notre Dame Blue 1-0-2 0-2-1 2 - 8 9 1
Home Run: McConnell (B)