Irish Go Down Again

Notre Dame head coach Dave Schrage wanted his team to work on situational hitting this week in practice. The effort paid off early for the Irish on Friday. Notre Dame scored four runs in the first inning against Stetson in the opening game of the Stetson Invitational to take a quick lead. However, for the other eight innings, only one Irish hit allowed the Hatters to come back and earn the win.

Stetson scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to finally take the lead and eventually win the game over Notre Dame 5-4. The Irish fall to 2-5 on the season in Schrage's first season in South Bend. This is the third weekend of Notre Dame baseball. Two out of three have seen the Irish lose the opening contest to put them in a hole. Tomorrow, the Notre Dame will play a doubleheader. The Irish face Iowa at noon and then Nebraska at 4 PM.

The Irish came out blazing on Friday. Brett Lilley opened the game with a double down the right field line. He went to third on Danny Dressman's groundout. Lilley would score on Jeremy Barnes's RBI single. Barnes would score on a base knock by Tony Langford. Notre Dame made it 3-0 when Ross Brezovsky doubled to plate Mike Dury. The damage was complete when Michael Wright drew a bases loaded walk, giving the Irish a 4-0 first inning lead.

The Notre Dame pitching staff could not hold the lead. Starter Joey Williamson lasted only 1.1 innings, surrendering two runs while walking three. Stetson would score a run each in the first three innings to cut the Irish advantage to 4-3. Senior Dan Kapala relieved Williamson and performed at a high level. He went 3.2 innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out three.

The deciding frame was the bottom of the seventh. Brett Graffy came in to relieve Kapala in the sixth inning and allowed a leadoff single to Kevin Johnson in the seventh. He would score two batters later on another Stetson (10-3) single to tie the contest up at 4-all. The Hatters made it 5-4 when Braedyn Pruitt singled home Shane Jordan for the eventual game-winning RBI. Graffy (0-2) took the loss, pitching three innings while allowing two runs on four hits.

Notre Dame had one more final chance. Brezovsky led off the ninth with a single to get the ball rolling. But Matt Weglarz grounded into a double play to end the scoring chance. A.J. Pollock grounded out to the shortstop to end the ballgame and give Stetson the victory. The Irish did not get a hit between the second and eighth innings. Nick Pugliese got the win for the Hatters, pitching three innings of relief and allowing just one hit. Top Stories