Irish Sweep Seton Hall

The Notre Dame baseball team got back on the winning track on Saturday, sweeping both games of a doubleheader against Seton Hall. The Irish used impressive pitching performances by Jeff Samardzija, Derik Olvey and Dan Kapala to shut down the Pirate hitters, and added some timely hits to come out on top in both games.

Sophomore pitcher Jeff Samardzija took the mound for the Irish in the first game and dominated the Seton Hall hitters most of the afternoon.

Samardzija (3-0) pitched a complete game, throwing seven solid innings, scattering five hits, allowing just two walks and recording a career-high eight strikeouts to pick up the win.

The Irish were very efficient at the plate, scoring eight runs on eight hits, and coming up with some clutch hits when it counted.

Senior Matt Edwards (2-for-2, RBI, 2R) led the Irish at the plate including an RBI double in the first that got the Irish on the board. Six other Irish hitters picked up hits in the game.

The Irish also did the job in the field in the first game with an errorless game behind Samardzija's strong pitching.

"Jeff Samardzija got us off to a great start," said Mainieri after the Irish sweep of the doubleheader. "I thought that was an outstanding job by him."

Samardzija dominated with first-pitch strikes in what seemed like almost every batter he faced. Mainieri says the first-pitch strike sets up everything for his defense.

"When your pitcher throws a first-pitch strike, it limits what the other team can do," Mainieri said. "If they've got a runner on base, and you're pitcher falls behind in the count, you can't call a pitchout.

"The count is in their favor to hit-and-run, steal bases, do all those kinds of things. When you throw first-pitch strikes, it gets the other team back on their heels."

The second game featured another sophomore, Derik Olvey, on the mound. Olvey (1-1) also gave the Irish five strong innings of scoreless baseball. Olvey scattered five hits, and allowed just one walk to pick up the win.

The Irish hitters once again used some timely hits to scrape together four runs on six hits.

Edwards (1-for-4, RBI), and freshman Brett Lilley (1-for-1, RBI) and Tony Langford (1-for-4, RBI) picked up the runs at the plate for the Irish.

But it was outstanding pitching again in the second game that won it for Notre Dame. Both Olvey and sophomore Dan Kapala combined to do most of the damage.

Kapala entered the game in relief in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and zero outs. Kapala closed the door on the Pirates, allowing just their lone run of the second game, and pitched three impressive innings in relief to pick up the save. Kapala faced 11 batters, allowing zero hits and just one walk in relief.

"Derik Olvey really did a great job," said Mainieri of the second game. "He gave us five shutout innings. His arm got a little bit sore there after five innings. We didn't want to take any chances with some of the history (Olvey sat out most of 2004 with an arm injury).

"I thought Dan Kapala really threw the ball well when we brought him in. That might've been Dan Kapala's best outing of the year."

Mainieri said his team did what they had to do on Saturday—pitch well.

"When you pitch well, you've got a chance to win. It's a pretty simple formula," he said.

The Irish return to action at Frank Eck Stadium again on Tuesday, March 29, with a game against Western Michigan set to being at 5:05 PM EST. Top Stories