The Irish jumped on top of the Rockets early in the bottom of the first when Danny Dressman led off the inning with a single to left field. Matt Macri then took an 0-1 pitch and sailed it over the right field wall to give the Irish the early 2-0 lead.
The Irish tacked on four more in the bottom of the second when Zach Sisko led off the inning with a single right. Sisko advanced on a throwing error and was later knocked in by a Greg Lopez RBI single to right field. Dressman then singled advancing Lopez to third. Third baseman Matt Macri picked up an RBI knocking in Lopez while reaching on an error. Both Dressman and Macri scored when Matt Edwards roped a double off the centerfield wall giving the Irish the 6-1 lead.
The Rockets battled back in the top of the fourth. Designated hitter Aaron Rouser homered off Stewart and shortstop Chris Arvay followed with a triple. Arvay later scored on an Irish error to narrow the lead to 6-3.
The Irish picked up another run in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore Cody Rizzo hit his first homerun of the season over the left field wall to give the Irish the 7-3 lead. The Irish would pick up a run in the sixth and the seventh to give them their nine total runs on fourteen hits.
Jess Stewart picked up the win after pitching four innings and allowing three runs. Freshman Dan Kapala would then pitch the next two before giving up the mound to five more Irish pitchers to close the final three innings.
The Irish were led at the plate by Zach Sisko (4-for-5, 2 R), Matt Macri (3-for-5, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R), Danny Dressman (2-for-4, 3 R), Matt Edwards (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Cody Rizzo (1-for-2, HR, RBI).
Sisko has been on a terror lately at the plate (9-for-15, 6 RBI, 5 R, grand-slam) since last weekend. Irish Coach Paul Mainieri said he couldn't be happier for Sisko who's replacing the injured Steve Sollmann at second base.
"Zach Sisko is such a feel-good story," Mainieri said. "This kid is probably the hardest working player on our team. He lives in those batting cages. He hasn't made all the trips. He hasn't played much in his career here. But, he's not gotten discouraged. He's been a tremendous teammate. And now all of the sudden you need him, and you see with a great attitude like that how he's done it. Just look at how much he's contributed to our team's success in this period of time. It just makes you feel great."
The homerun Rizzo hit came quite a bit later in the season than most expected. Rizzo hit eight homeruns in fall baseball and many expected him to hit a number this spring. Rizzo has been battling a wrist injury, which limited his power, but Mainieri was pleased to see Rizzo finally get into one.
"I kind of challenged him a little bit before the game," said Mainieri. "His RBI total is really not that great. We've got a lot of guys driving in a lot of runs, and the one guy I thought was really going to drive in a lot of runs had the least amount. All of the sudden he got into one, but he's played with a lot of discomfort with that wrist—I'm sure that's effected him to some degree."
The Irish have a big weekend lined up this weekend. They'll play two games on Friday against Seton Hall, followed by two games on Sunday at Pittsburgh.
The Irish are tied for first place in BIG EAST play with rival Rutgers with an 11-2 record. The Scarlet Knights also have an important weekend as they face Boston College (5-5 in BIG EAST play) and St. John's (9-4 in BIG EAST play).
Mainieri knows this weekend will be important for his team. "I think this weekend could be a turning point in the league if things happen the way you hope that they happen. Obviously Rutgers has as tough of a challenge as we have going to those two places. This is what separates teams."
The Irish will use a similar rotation to the one used last weekend. "We are going to go with Thornton and Niesel, in that order on Friday. On Sunday, we're going to go with Samardzija and Johnson."