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Baseball cruises to victory over Toledo

Chris Federico | Thursday, April 22, 2004

It was a big night for the Irish infielders as No. 4 Notre Dame (31-5) cruised to a 9-3 victory over Toledo (10-24).

Third baseman Matt Macri was 3-for-5 at the plate and had his hand in seven of Notre Dame’s nine runs with 5 RBIs and two runs scored. Second baseman Zach Sisko, playing in place of the injured Steve Sollmann, had his first career four-hit day, and the four Notre Dame infielders combined to go 10-for-18 at the plate with eight RBIs and five runs scored.

First baseman Matt Edwards was 2-for-4 with a two-run double, while shortstop Greg Lopez was 1-for-4 with an RBI single.

After Tuesday’s game with Purdue was rained out, Irish coach Paul Mainieri had a full battery of arms in the bullpen, and the Irish skipper tried to work them all, as seven hurlers saw the mound for Notre Dame against the Rockets.

“As it turns out, because we didn’t play [Tuesday], we had a little bit of pitching depth for tonight,” Mainieri said. “My biggest challenge was trying to get all the guys into the game that I wanted to. We got a lot of guys some work, and that was good.”

Freshman Jess Stewart was the pitcher of record. Stewart started the contest and allowed three earned runs in four innings pitched to improve to 5-0 on the season.

Notre Dame opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Centerfielder Danny Dressman led off with a single and Macri followed with a two-run homer down the right field line.

Toledo got one run back in the top of the second, but the Irish pulled away further in the bottom half of the inning with a four-spot on the board for a five-run lead.

The Irish started off the second inning with three straight singles from Sisko, Lopez – bringing Sisko home – and Dressman. Macri then hit a hot shot that was mishandled by the third baseman for an error, scoring Lopez. Edwards then cleared the bases with his double off the wall in left center that came just short of clearing the fence.

Toledo got within three runs with a two-run fourth inning, but that would be as close as the Rockets would get.

Right fielder Cody Rizzo, who has struggled some at the plate recently and dropped a fly ball in Toledo’s two-run fourth, got some atonement with a solo home run to left in the fifth inning. The dinger was Rizzo’s first of the season.

“Cody Rizzo must have hit eight home runs in the fall games, and he hadn’t hit any until today,” Mainieri said. “I kind of challenged him a little bit before the game, because his RBI total was really not that great. … I don’t know if he got mad at me or not, but I challenged him a little bit today, and he got into one.”

The Irish added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings as well for the 9-3 win.

Notre Dame will return to the field with a Big East doubleheader Friday against Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J.

Notes:

Two former Irish players returned to Frank Eck Stadium Wednesday, but they wore the opposing team’s uniforms. Cory Mee – a 1992 graduate and former Academic All-American and later Irish baseball assistant coach – is now the head coach for Toledo. One of his assistants, Mike Amrhein, also played for the Irish and graduated in 1997.