Irish Bomb Oakland, 17-5

The Notre Dame baseball team improved their record to 27-5 with a 17-5 win over the Oakland on Wednesday night at Eck Stadium. The Irish pounded out 17 runs on 14 hits in one of their better offensive showings as of late.

Freshman Jess Stewart (4-0) picked up the win for the Irish allowing just one earned run and scattered five hits in five innings on the mound. Freshman Dan Kapala and Rico Bertucci combined to pitch three scoreless relief for the Irish. Chris Niesel also threw an inning of relief to close the game for Notre Dame.

The Irish jumped out early in the bottom of the first. Steve Andres led off the inning with a single and was later knocked in by a Matt Edwards RBI single up the middle. Javi Sanchez also had a RBI single and Craig Cooper and Matt Bransfield also picked an RBI in the inning to give the Irish the early 4-0 lead.

The Grizzlies fought back in the top of the third scoring four runs. Stewart recorded the first two outs of the inning before hitting shortstop Ryan Heath with a pitch. Right fielder Tim Doig then doubled to left center scoring the first Grizzly run. The Irish then committed an error allowing the inning to continue, and the Grizzlies capitalized scoring three unearned runs tying the game 4-4.

The Irish came back in the bottom of third scoring three more runs fueled by Craig Cooper RBI single, a wild pitch that scored Cody Rizzo and a Greg Lopez RBI to give the Irish the 7-4 lead.

The Irish would pick up two more runs in the fifth, four in the sixth, three in the seventh and one in the eighth to give the Irish their 17 runs of the evening.

The Irish were led by Matt Edwards (3-for-4, RBI, 3 R), Sean Gaston (2-for-2, 2 RBI) and Craig Cooper (1-for-2, 2 RBI) at the plate.

Irish Coach Paul Mainieri was pleased with the effort from his team on Wednesday. "I was really happy with the way we played," Mainieri said. "Last year that kid three-hit us over six innings. We beat them 4-1 last year and that kid went six innings and held up to three hits.

"I thought we did a lot of good things swinging the bat. Manufacturing some runs, executing on the bases, bunting, those types of things. I really thought we played well and I thought the kids were very focused."

The solid game couldn't come at a better time for the Irish. Mainieri was obviously upset with his team after the weekend and he didn't mind sharing that with the media on Wednesday. "I was really not very happy with the way they played this past weekend. It wasn't so much that we split four games, really. I just felt it was important for us to get back to playing good baseball. Maybe because we had so much success early in the year, maybe we lost a little bit of our intensity. But, I know the players had a player-only meeting today and maybe they addressed some of those things among themselves. I think they came out tonight determined to play a lot better and I think they did."

Freshman pitcher Derek Olvey will be out for a while with some soreness according to Mainieri. "What I've been told is that he's got a muscle strain in his forearm. That's all it's been, but it takes a while for the muscle strain to clear up. He's still a ways away from being able to pitch in a game. We don't think it's anything serious. It's just been sore and he hasn't been able to throw."

The Irish will hit the road this Friday to play a three-game series versus Georgetown this weekend. We asked Mainieri what the pitching order would be for this weekend. "We're going to go Thornton game 1, Niesel game two, Johnson game 3, Samardzija's going to fly in on Saturday night and be ready out of the pen on Sunday. The football coaches promised me they'd let him make that flight," Mainieri said laughingly.

The Hoyas are 19-20 (5-8 in BIG EAST play) on the season. The Irish will need a good showing this weekend to remain ranked in the top 10 in most polls.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories