Irish Baseball Team Picks Up 35th Win

Sophomore Matt Bransfield went 3-for-4, driving in a run and scoring twice as the Notre Dame baseball team defeated Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne 7-5 Friday night.

The win was the third for the Irish in four games this week raising their record to 35-9. IPFW dropped to 18-26 on the season.

Grant Johnson, who continues to work his way back into the starting rotation, was the starting pitcher for the Irish and was outstanding as he threw 42 pitches in three innings, allowing no hits or runs, striking out four and walking two.

Irish Coach Paul Mainieri was happy with Johnson's progress and performance. "He's ready to go," said Manieiri of Johnson. "He will be our game one starter now, starting against Connecticut next weekend and throughout the rest of the year. We cut him off at 40 pitches tonight because he was coming back after only four days rest, not his typical six days rest. I thought it was important to get him back out on the mound just to stay sharp. Against Connecticut, hopefully, he's going to be able to go out and give us six or seven innings if he pitches well. If we can get that out of him, that will be awesome."

The Irish jumped out to the early lead by scoring one in the bottom of the first and adding two in the third for a three-run advantage heading into the fourth.

Lefty, Joe Thaman, took over for Johnson and set the Mastodons down in order at the top of the fourth.

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PFW got on the board with a run in the fifth but the Irish answered with a run in their half to make the score 4-1. In the sixth, the visitors pushed four runs across the plate to take a one-run lead, 5-4, but the Irish responded with unearned three runs to retake the lead 7-5.

Rico Bertucci came on to pitch the seventh and set the side down one-two-three.

Ryan Doherty, making his 21st appearance of the season, closed out the last two innings, earning his eighth save of the season and preserving the victory for Thaman. 4-1.

Irish Eyes talked with Mainieri tonight and asked about this week and what lies ahead for the team with finals coming up next week. "My feeling is, I like to win them all but know that isn't realistic. We won three out of four this week and got a lot done and got all the guys out there that we wanted to play. We were able to rest Lopez these last three games and hopefully he will be feeling better after break. We are a little banged up right now, and I think the break is coming at just the right time for us.

"Hopefully we will get the bodies recuperated - get through the final exams and get our minds and bodies recharged and make our big push at the end."

There is no question the focus for the Irish players right now is preparing for final exams. According to Mainieri, "Everybody definitely has a couple days of mandatory taking off - Saturday and Sunday. We won't meet together as a team until next Friday afternoon, believe it or not. What we will do, starting about next Wednesday, is look at every kid's final exam schedule and work with them on an individual basis around their exam schedule so we can get them back out there about Wednesday or so. Friday, we will practice as a team for the first time and then again Saturday morning before we fly out to Connecticut."

Irish Notes:

The team has reached base 81 times as the result of being hit by pitches.

Cody Rizzo has reached base by walks only twice in 116 times at bat.

Matt Macri leads the team in triples with six.

The Irish have outscored their opponents in the second inning 37-7.


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