Irish defeat Boilermakers

<P>The Irish baseball team sent another freshman to the mound Wednesday night and received another strong outing from Middleboro, MA's Tom Thornton. Thornton did not receive the win but had five impressive innings allowing five hits and just one earned run, striking out two Purdue batters while not issuing a walk as the Irish defeated the Boilermakers 8-5. </P>

In the home opener on Tuesday, freshman Ryan Doherty pitched four strong innings in his first start allowing two hits, striking out seven and two unearned runs against Toledo.

Thornton looked strong on the mound and likely would have been the victor had the Irish defense not committed two errors in the fourth giving up two unearned runs. The 6-6, 205-pound lefthander showed good command of his pitches and a live arm.

Sophomore Tyler Jones (1-0) picked up the win throwing two relief innings with two earned runs, three walks and two strikeouts.

Seniors Brandon Viloria and J.P. Gagne closed the door on the Boilermakers pitching to just seven Purdue batters in the final two innings with Gagne picking up his fourth save.

Notre Dame (13-6) got on the scoreboard first with a single in the second inning by Javi Sanchez followed by a Matt Macri single. Sanchez scored on a Cody Rizzo sacrifice fly giving Notre Dame the 1-0 lead.

The Boilermakers (10-7) tied the game in the third with two back-to-back doubles by Tyler Johnstone and Nick McIntyre. McIntyre ripped a double down the third base line plating Johnstone from second tying the game 1-1.

Both teams scored two runs each in the fourth with Purdue capitalizing on two Irish errors and a single by shortstop Mitch Koester scoring John Hunter and Andy Rempel giving Purdue the 5-3 lead.

Kris Billmaier singled in the bottom of the fourth and Javi Sanchez (2-for-3, 4 runs, 1 RBI, walk) crushed a double into the left-center gap scoring Billmaier. Rizzo reached on an error advancing Sanchez and Sanchez scored on Trae Duaby wild pitch.

Notre Dame's three-run sixth inning was sparked by base hits by Marci (2-for-3, run) and Rizzo (1-for-2, 2 RBI, 2 runs, walk). Rizzo's single scored Sanchez who led off the inning reaching on an error.

The Boilermakers fought back with a leadoff walk by Rempel in the seventh. Rempel stole second and advanced to third on the off-target Sanchez throw on the play. Catcher Ben Fritz then singled scoring Rempel. Irish pitcher Matt Laird was inserted for Tyler Jones and issued two walks loading the bases as Purdue DH Daniel Underwood sacrificed scoring Fritz.

Once again, Sanchez started the final rally with a walk in the eighth. Matt Macri placed a sacrifice bunt advancing Sanchez. Rizzo walked and Sanchez advanced to third on wild throw by catcher Ben Fritz. Left fielder Craig Cooper then sacrificed Sanchez home. Junior second baseman Steve Sollman (2-for-five, RBI) ripped a single into right field scoring Rizzo for the final score of 8-5.

The Irish continue to play opportunistic baseball capitalizing on errors and walks adding key hits to manufacture runs. The Irish pitching staff continues to shine allowing just three earned runs Wednesday and had a 1.87 ERA over the last 12 games leading into last night's game.

Notre Dame will continue its home stand with three games against Georgetown on Saturday and Sunday with a double-header beginning at 12:05 PM at Eck Stadium on Saturday.

Click HERE for a link of the box score. Top Stories