Gold Draws First Blood

To my surprise, the new Notre Dame head baseball coach, Dave Schrage, organized the Annual Blue-Gold fall series a little different this year. He decided that in each of the three games, there should be a local media representative guest coaching. On Thursday, it was my day as I was the honorary assistant coach for the Blue team.

My "expertise" did not come in handy as the Gold team plated a run in the bottom of the sixth to win 2-1 in the seven inning contest. The Gold squad goes up 1-0 in the series with two more games yet to be played. Wade Korpi will go for the Blue team on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at Frank Eck Stadium as he'll be opposed by Sam Elam of the Gold team. Schrage and assistant coach Scott Lawler sat up in the press box to view the game.

The manager for the Blue team was Sherard Clinkscales, who is the pitching coach. He had to pleased with not only his pitcher's performance but the other team's as well. Blue team's David Phelps and Gold team's Joey Williamson each went five innings, allowing just a single run. The Blue team got their run when Mike Dury singled and tried for the second but was caught in a rundown. He scurried back to first safely, allowing Jeremy Barnes to score from second base to give them an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.

The Gold team, led by assistant coach John Fitzgerald, showed resiliency by plating a run in the third to even the score to set the stage for the sixth inning dramatics. Danny Dressman singled off of freshman Beck Roan to start it off and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. The Blue side almost got out of the inning when Barnes made a diving stop at shortstop to prevent Dressman from scoring. But today's MVP, Tony Langford, singled up the middle with two out for the winning RBI.

The one run advantage is all closer Kyle Weiland needed to shut the door. The sophomore from Albuquerque, NM saved 16 games last season with a 2.37 ERA. Weiland worked a quick 1-2-3 top of the seventh to close it out for the Gold team. He earned the save while freshman Steven Mazur picked up the win. Roan got stuck with the loss. These were Schrage's comments after the contest:

*On the outcome: "It epitomized the whole fall. We've been stressing pitching and defense. I thought both pitchers threw it well, Williamson and Phelps. Those two guys have emerged in the fall and pitched very well. We did make a few mistakes and I don't think we executed well in a few bunts. Overall, it was a good ballgame and Langford had a good day and pitching was solid."

*On the Gold team's run in the bottom of the sixth: "That was a positive how we did execute when the game was on the line. These guys are used to winning and executing in the clutch and that's what we need. (A.J.) Pollack got the bunt down and Langford followed up with a nice single to drive him in. It was a good ballgame."

*On Weiland coming in to close it: "It's great to have a guy like that come in and finish the game. He's closed the door so many times last year in that role. He did that again today. It's nice to look down there with a lead and bring in a guy like Kyle Weiland. His slider is outstanding. He threw a lot of those and they were effective."


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