Notre Dame senior Matt Edwards continued his outstanding senior season on Tuesday leading the Irish to their 6-2 victory over the Toledo Rockets.
Edwards had a perfect night at the plate, finishing 4-for-4, with a three-run homer and a run scored in yet another dominating performance for the senior at Frank Eck Stadium.
Freshman Wade Korpi took the mound for the Irish and pitched an impressive game, allowing one earned run on six hits in six innings for Notre Dame.
Both the Rockets and the Irish failed to score in the first two innings, but the Irish and Edwards opened the scoring on his three-run blast to give Notre Dame the early 3-0 lead
The Rockets battled back to score two in the top of the fifth, but junior left fielder Steve Andres hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to regain the three-run lead and the 5-2 advantage.
Notre Dame also added another run in the bottom of the seventh to end the scoring for the Irish.
Notre Dame collected six runs on 10 hits, but it was Edwards that shined for the Irish on Tuesday.
"Matt Edwards is having an All-American caliber year," said Mainieri of his senior star player. "He should be player of the year in the league if he does it in the league games down the stretch."
But it can't be Edwards all the time for the Irish according to Mainieri.
"For us to win, we're going to have to get contributions from everybody. We've got to get Bransfield going. It was nice to see Steve Andres get a big hit for us because he's struggled through the early portion of the season.
"I think Nettey and Lilley are doing a good job at the top of the order as table-setters, and Edwards is doing the job, we just need to get more guys doing it."
Also important is getting solid outings on the mound from Notre Dame starters, much like Korpi did for the Irish on Tuesday. The Lakeworth, Fla. native has given the Irish two strong outings the past two weeks.
"He did a great job against Western Michigan last week, too," said Mainieri of how strong Korpi has looked recently on the mound. "I think Terry has done a phenomenal job with Korpi. He's really bringing him along great. The kid is pitching now like we thought he'd pitch when we recruited him."
The Irish return to Frank Eck Stadium tomorrow for a game against Ball State. Senior John Axford will be on the mound for Notre Dame. Axford is trying to battle back from elbow surgery, and a solid start on Wednesday would be a big shot in the arm for the Irish.
"It's going to be tough for me to sleep tonight because I'm really anxious about Axford's start tomorrow night," Mainieri admitted. "That inning he threw against Chicago State may not have seemed that relevant, but he's a power arm.
"Right now we're lacking guys that are throwing the ball with great velocity, and if we can get somebody that can really pound the strike zone with good stuff like that, it would be just a huge boost for our team.
"Last week, when he threw that one inning, I told him that was the best inning he's thrown in two years."
The Irish are hoping to get Axford healthy for BIG EAST play as they need a power pitcher down the stretch. Axford's potential return to form would be just the boost this Irish team needs.