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BASEBALL: Team aims to impress at home

Tom Dorwart | Wednesday, March 30, 2005

To the average fan, the baseball team’s start to the season might seem sluggish and disappointing.

But to the knowledgeable fan, Irish are right on pace for a strong season.

Through 22 games of Notre Dame’s historic 2002 season, the Irish owned a 12-10 record. From there, the Irish won 37 of 43 games en route to the school’s second-ever trip to the College World Series.

Through 22 games this season, the Irish again are at 12-10.

Winners of three of four in Big East opening series against Georgetown and Seton Hall, the Irish headed into last night’s contest against the Western Michigan Broncos (5-11) with confidence.

The Irish pitching staff threw perhaps its best four-game stretch of the season in conference openers. Against Seton Hall, the staff combined for 1.12 ERA and surrendered just three runs.

The Easter weekend wins left the Irish sitting tied atop the Big East Conference at 3-1.

Game 1 vs. Georgetown (6-2, 7 innings)

In the first Thursday game against Georgetown, junior Tom Thornton (2-3) fireballed a gem, extending the Irish’s winning streak against Georgetown to 24 games. He was one out away from a shutout in the 6-2 Irish win.

Game 2 vs. Georgetown (8-9, 12 innings)

The Hoyas rallied for a 9-8 win in the nightcap – a 12-inning, 3-hour-54- minute marathon – to end nine seasons of frustration against the Irish. The teams combined for 33 hits in the slugfest. Closer Ryan Doherty suffered his first loss of the season for the Irish.

Game 3 vs. Seton Hall (8-2, 7 innings)

Sophomore Jeff Samardzija fanned eight Seton Hall batters for a complete-game victory. The Irish used a three-run fifth to jump out to an 8-0 lead on the Pirates.

Game 4 vs. Seton Hall (4-1)

Fellow sophomore Derik Olvey continued the stellar pitching for the Irish. He only faced 18 Pirate batters through five innings. Senior Matt Edwards continued his hot-hitting with an RBI double in the sixth inning. He extended his hitting streak to nine games. Alex Nettey is riding an 11-game hitting streak.