Oct. 17, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Brian Dupra turned in one of the top freshman pitching performances in recent Blue-Gold Series history and Ross Brezovsky's early two-run single held up as the winning hit, as the Gold evened the Notre Dame baseball program's annual intrasquad series with Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Blue. The series will be decided in Thursday's game (4:30 start), with a pair of highly-regarded freshman righthanders - Evan Danieli (blue) and Ryan Sharpley (gold) - set to start the decisive third game. Live internet audio and GameTracker livestats will be available for the game, linked via the main page (and baseball page) at und.com.
Dupra is the first freshman starter since 2001 to be the winning pitcher of record in a Blue-Gold game, after yielding just an unearned run in 5.2 innings. He allowed only three runners to reach second base (none reached third with him on the mound) before departing in the sixth. Dupra scattered three hits, a pair of walks and a hit batter while striking out three in a 75-pitch outing that saw him locate 48 for strikes.
The impressive appearance by Dupra included seven groundball outs (two of them on a 1-6-3 double play), his pickoff throw to second base, an infield popup and an outfield foulout (plus only four flyouts to the outfield). He allowed only one leadoff baserunner and one 2-out hit while holding the Blue without a hit when runners were on base (0-for-7).
Junior righthander Kyle Weiland picked up his second career save in Blue-Gold Series action, despite uncorking a wild pitch that allowed an inherited runner to score in the sixth. Weiland then worked into and out of his own jam in the seventh and final inning by inducing a double-play ball with the bases loaded.
Wednesday's game featured no extra-base hits and only one player with multiple hits, as Gold sophomore DH Matt Grosso went 2-for-4 and scored a run.
The game's first half-inning provided most of the key moments in the game. Gold sophomore centerfielder David Mills drew a five-pitch walk versus freshman RHP Cole Johnson before Grosso sent the next pitch into left field for an opposite-field single. An errant pickoff throw from freshman catcher Cameron McConnell put two runners in scoring position for the senior leftfielder Brezovsky, who drove a 1-1 pitch up the middle for the 2-0 lead. Sophomore rightfielder Billy Boockford then executed a sacrifice bunt and Brezovsky stole third before scurrying home with an unearned run when the throw went into left field.
The Blue tried to answer in the bottom of the inning, but Dupra picked Brett Lilley off second base for the second out. The second inning then saw Dupra erase another threat, after starting the 1-6-3 double play.
The Gold had a chance to pad its lead in the fourth, after an opposite-field single to left by freshman first baseman David Casey and a four-pitch walk by sophomore second baseman Herman Petzold. But Johnson induced a rightside groundout from Will Harford for the third out.
The Blue then put two runners on base with one out in the bottom of the fourth, after sophomore centerfielder A.J. Pollock executed a bunt single and junior second baseman Jeremy Barnes walked on five pitches. Johnson - who overcame the bad-luck start to log a solid outing (5 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 2 Ks) - responded with the two runners on base by striking out Ty Adams and Brayden Ashdown to maintain the three-run deficit.
The game tightened up in the sixth, as the Blue plated a run but left another man on base. Pollock reached on a one-out fielding error by freshman shortstop Mick Doyle before moving up on a stolen base and a flyout off the bat of Barnes. Weiland then took the mound but his wild pitch allowed Pollock to score an unearned run. The freshman first baseman Adams kept things going when he earned a full-count walk and pinch-runner Andrew Wiand swiped a pair of bases - but Weiland caught Ashdown looking at a full-count pitch to leave the runner at third.
The Gold nearly responded by scoring moments later, after loading the bases on a Petzold single, another walk by Mills and Brezovsky's two-out walk. But freshman RHP Todd Miller forced Boockford into a leftside groundout to keep the score at 3-1.
Freshman third baseman Greg Sherry's single to left-center sparked the Blue's attempt to tie (or win) the game in the bottom of the seventh. Weiland then hit the senior shortstop Lilley with a 2-1 pitch and sophomore leftfielder Ryne Intlekofer loaded the bases with his infield single to the shortstop Doyle. Extra-innings suddenly were looming, but Weiland rolled up a 5-3 double-play ball from fifth-year DH Sean Gaston to end the game.
The guest media coaches featured a pair of local television sportscasters - WSBT 22's Pete Byrne with the Gold and Fox/WSJV 28's Dean Huppert with the Blue.
The past seven years have seen 11 different freshman pitchers draw starts in the Blue-Gold Series, with Dupra becoming the first since 2001 to earn a winning decision. Chris Niesel won as a freshman starter for the Gold team in game-1 of the 2001 BGS (7-4; 5 IP, R, 3 H, 5 Ks) while fellow freshman RHP John Axford was the winner for the Gold in game-3 of the '01 series (3-2; 5 IP, 5 H, BB, 5 Ks, 2 WP). Prior to Dupra picking up the victory, six straight freshman starters had failed to pick a winning BGS decision.
Several other freshman pitchers have earned no-decisions as starters in the Blue-Gold Series - most notably lefthander Tom Thornton, who was in line to win game-2 of the 2002 series before watching from the dugout as the lead slipped away (5 IP, 3 R, 3 H, BB, 3 Ks).
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