Irish Bats Back on Track

<P>The Irish baseball team got back on track Wednesday night with a 13-1 victory over Cleveland State. Senior Irish pitcher <B>Pete Ogilvie </B> returned to the mound as a starter after being out over a month with a sore shoulder. Ogilvie was outstanding on the mound pitching into the fifth inning allowing only four hits, one run and striking out eight to pick up the win. Some new faces started the game and they delivered at the plate as the Irish scored 13 runs on 12 hits. </P>

Ogilvie was happy to be back on the mound. "I felt real good," said Ogilvie. "It was great to get back out there and actually get a win. I had pretty good command on most of my pitches. I think everyone came out a little more fired up today coming off a pretty bad loss yesterday. I was definitely trying to raise my game up a little bit."

Ogilvie was on a tight pitch count so two Irish relievers had to finish the game. Freshman Ryan Doherty finished the fifth and also threw the sixth and dominated the Viking hitters retiring all five batters he faced and striking out four. Sophomore Martin Vergara pitched the final three innings and was equally impressive allowing only two hits, zero runs and striking out four to pick up the save.

The Irish bats got going in the second inning as Kris Billmaier (2-for-4, 2B, 2 runs, 3 RBI) reached on an error and Matt Bransfied (2-for-4, 3 runs) was hit by a pitch. Catcher Javi Sanchez (2-for-3, 2B, 2 runs, 2 RBI)) then lined a double into the left-center gap scoring both Billmaier and Bransfield. Sanchez later stole third and scored on a wild throw by the catcher on the play giving the Irish the 3-0 lead.

The Irish scored two more in the bottom of the fourth led by a Tim Murray double to left center.

The big inning for the Irish was the bottom of the sixth as Javi Sanchez led off with a single down the third base line. The Irish bats started smoking with five more hits including doubles by Matt Edwards (2-for-4, 2B, run, RBI) and Kris Billmaier to plate seven runs on six hits to give the Irish the 13-1 lead and final score.

Coach Paul Mainieri was pleased with his team's effort. "The positive thing about today was seeing Pete Ogilvie go out there. It's going to be a real shot in the arm for us to get him back for the stretch drive. When he went down it really strained our depth of our staff. It gave Ryan Kalita a chance and he's taken advantage of it. I thought it was important to give him a good extended outing. I thought Ryan Doherty threw well and I thought Martin Vergara threw well too."

Mainieri was clearly disappointed with his team after Tuesday's loss and he felt better about the effort his team gave Wednesday. Mainieri wanted to shake things up in his lineup and so he gave some players a chance to play. "I was really disappointed with our team last night. I just didn't feel our kids met the challenge. We've got to get better than that."

The Irish started two new faces in their lineup. The new faces were junior Tim Murray (2-for-4, run RBI) inserted for an injured Steve Sollmann at second base and freshman Matt Bransfield (2-for-4, 3 runs) starting at first base. "Tonight I decided to give a few guys a chance. A kid like Tim Murray who is a walk-on, works hard every day and he does the things as a hitter that I preach to them about. Trying to get on top of balls, hit hard ground balls and line drives and you see what happened right in the first time he came up to bat, he smashed a ground ball to the second baseman's right that the kid couldn't handle and then he hustles it in to second base. The next time he gets two strikes on him and he drills a ball to leftfield and hustles that into a double. I was really proud of Tim and he's going to get a chance to play again."

Murray started because Steve Sollmann is out with an injury. "He's got a hand sprain," said Mainieri. "He took an awkward swing last night and sprained his hand. We're going to have to re-evaluate on Friday and see how he is for the weekend."

Matt Edwards rebounded after a tough ending to Tuesday's game. Before the game, Irish Eyes noticed that Mainieri pulled Edwards aside to speak to his best power hitter. What did he say to Edwards? "I was telling him a story about 1979 when I was a senior second baseman at the University of New Orleans and we were playing Tulane in front of 8,000 people. In the ninth inning of a tie game when Tulane sacrificed bunted, I drop the throw at first base and it led to the winning run being scored in the ninth inning. I said ‘your not the only player in the history of baseball that's ever dropped the throw in the ninth inning that cost your team the game. You have a coach that did the same thing. I survived it and you will too so the best thing you can do for yourself and for the team is to go back out there today, have fun, play the game hard, have a good day and we will put it behind us as quickly as we can.' I really felt bad for the kid and for our team. It was such a fluke thing. He's a guy we are counting on, he's leading the league in RBI and we can't afford for him to get down on himself."

Edwards did rebound and so did the Irish. Notre Dame will be hoping they can keep up the hit parade in BIG EAST play against Connecticut this weekend. The Irish play a double-header against UCONN on Saturday followed by a third game on Sunday. Top Stories