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Baseball: Irish take down Chippewas at home

Kyle Cassily | Thursday, March 23, 2006

Notre Dame second baseman Ross Brezovsky and designated hitter Jeremy Barnes led the Irish Wednesday night in an 11-9 victory over Central Michigan at Frank Eck Stadium.

Notre Dame (10-7) got behind the powerful bats of Brezovsky and Barnes. Brezovsky was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and one run and Barnes was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and one run.

The Chippewas (9-9) and Irish both used five pitchers and garnered 15 hits each in the marathon 3 hour, 11 minute contest.

Freshman right-hander David Phelps made his first home start in a Notre Dame uniform and worked three and two-thirds innings, striking out one and allowing seven earned runs on seven hits.

With the Irish leading 10-9 in the top of the eighth, Mainieri sent in freshman right-hander Kyle Weiland to hold the narrow lead. Weiland blew through eight Chippewa batters in two innings to secure the win and get his fifth save of the year.

After Weiland surrendered a leadoff hit in the eighth, he struck out two and retired second baseman Noah Lankford on a fly ball to deep right field.

Notre Dame got an insurance run off a Brezovsky single to right in the bottom of the eighth to put the game at 11-9. Weiland allowed a leadoff single in the ninth, but retired the next three Chippewa batters to end the game.

“I think Kyle Weiland before he is done at Notre Dame is going to be one of the best pitchers we’ve seen around here in a long time,” Irish head coach Paul Mainieri said. “I just think the kid has a world of talent, and he’s got poise beyond his years. He’s going to get nothing but better.”

Chippewa starter Ben Rodewald – the MAC West’s pitcher of the week last week – lasted only one third of an inning after giving up a four hit, six run Irish onslaught.

Barnes singled up the middle with runners on first and second to score the first run and catcher Sean Gaston continued the rally with an RBI line drive single to right field. Brezovsky knocked in the third and fourth Notre Dame runs – and sent Rodewald out of the game – with a bases loaded bloop single to shallow center.

RBI singles from Greg Lopez and Cody Rizzo and a sacrifice fly by Craig Cooper rounded out a seven run first inning.

Senior right fielder Cody Rizzo put the Irish up 8-2 in the third inning scoring on a bases loaded walk by Barnes. The next batter, Gaston, hit a ground ball single through the right side before being bobbled by Chippewa right fielder J.T. Jones. The error allowed two more runs to score, as the Irish extended their lead to 10-2.

Chippewa second baseman Troy Moratti got Central Michigan on the scoreboard in the top of the first with an RBI ground out – the only lead the Chippewas would hold in the nine frames.

After allowing seven runs in the home half of the first, the Chippewas cut the lead in the top of the third to 7-2 on a Jones hit and run with shortstop James Teas scoring from third.

Mainieri pulled Phelps in the fourth inning for junior right-hander Jess Stewart after a Teas double and a Jones single drove in four Central Michigan runs and cut the Irish lead to 10-6. Phelps was charged with the seventh Chippewa run on a ground out RBI from Ben Humphrey.

“Some guys just hurt him when he hung a couple pitches,” Mainieri said of Phelps. “He’ll get better. For some rookies there’s a longer learning curve than there is for others. We’re going to keep running him out there; he’s going to keep getting better.”

Central Michigan cut the Notre Dame lead to 10-9 on a fifth-inning Teas RBI double to the left field line and a sixth-inning Lankford RBI single to shallow right.

For the game, the Chippewas scored six runs with two outs, including four runs in the explosive top of the third.

“I don’t know if it is bad pitches or good hitting,” Mainieri said of the Chippewa’s explosiveness with two outs. “Maybe you got to tip your hat to the other team when they get two-out RBI’s. I can’t put my finger on it quite honestly. I just think it’s one of those things that happens sometimes.”

Notre Dame first baseman Craig Cooper was the only Irish batter kept hitless in the offensive spectacle, putting an end to the first baseman’s nine-game hit streak.

Irish junior left hander Mike Dury surrendered his first run of the year on the Lankford seventh inning single.

Dury had pitched six scoreless innings with a 1-0 record prior to Wednesday night, while allowing only three hits and two walks in his five appearances.