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BASEBALL:Seventh-inning smash

Matt Lozar | Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tuesday afternoon’s game was rolling right along at Eck Stadium.

Notre Dame was ahead 5-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning with the game on pace to be finished in just over two hours.

Then nine straight Irish batters reached base before Bowling Green recorded an out.

Naturally, the game slowed down a bit.

Seven Notre Dame batters had multiple hits in the game, Derik Olvey pitched six strong innings and the Irish committed one harmless error while eventually cruising to a 14-2 win over the Falcons on an overcast and blustery day.

“Derik Olvey pitched great and kept us in it early,” Irish coach Paul Mainieri said. “Our defense also did a great job.”

A major factor in the game was the steady wind blowing in from right field. Olvey was able to take advantage of the wind and record 13 of his 18 outs via the fly ball.

Meanwhile, the Irish stayed focused on hitting line drives or finding holes in the Bowling Green infield.

The game plan paid off.

“I think we did a great job beating the wind. We didn’t hit lazy fly balls,” Mainieri said. “Our hitters hit the ball on the ground. They made plays early but eventually kicked a couple.”

Up 5-2, Alex Nettey started the seventh with his third hit on the day – a double to right center. Brett Lilley walked, and Matt Edwards was hit by a pitch. Then Steve Andres, pinch-hitting for Matt Bransfield, scorched one down the first-base line, scoring all three runners and getting a triple in the process.

The Falcons brought in their second pitcher of the inning – Matt Hundley – but he didn’t fare any better than Greg Becker, who started the inning.

Craig Cooper walked and Tony Langford singled to right, scoring Andres. Ross Brezovsky walked before Greg Lopez singled home Cooper.

Catcher Sean Gaston got his third hit in the game with a two-RBI single, scoring Brezovsky and Langford.

The Falcons then brought in their third pitcher of the inning after the Irish batted around before recording an out. New pitcher Bryan Flory induced a first-pitch double play ground ball from Cody Rizzo, who was batting for Nettey, to quickly get two outs.

Lilley followed with a single to score Lopez and close out the scoring in the frame for the Irish.

Olvey picked up his second win on the season. Joey Williamson, Mike Dury and David Gruener each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Olvey.

The 20 hits for the Irish were the most since they also got 20 in a 12-11 come-from-behind win over Southern Illinois on March 6, 2004 – a span of 87 games.

The Irish pitching staff has allowed three earned runs during the past 27 innings.

Those two reasons were enough fuel for Mainieri to hope the rain plaguing the surrounding area would stay away from South Bend.

“I’m really glad it didn’t rain today,” Mainieri said.

“I feel like we’re hitting our stride now. The two wins at a tough team gave us confidence.

“Who knows, this homestand could be good to us.”

Mainieri said after Tuesday’s game that Wade Korpi (3-0, 6.00 ERA) is slated to get the start in today’s game against Central Michigan.

First pitch from Eck Stadium is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.

Notes:

Pitcher Tom Thornton picked up his third career Big East Pitcher of the Week award Monday. In a 3-2 complete game victory at Boston College Saturday, Thornton allowed eight singles and struck out five in what proved to be a big-time win for the Irish concerning their Big East record.

Nick Mainieri, son of the Irish baseball coach, knocked in his first career hit in the eighth inning against the Falcons. Mainieri sent a single through the left side and drove in a run.