Baseball: Irish blast Oakland, 15-1
Ken Fowler | Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Notre Dame designated hitter Matt Bransfield hit two home runs and Irish left-hander Wade Korpi threw five shutout innings as Notre Dame beat Oakland 15-1 Tuesday at Frank Eck Stadium.
“The wind was gusting out to left, so I was just trying to put a few into the wind and they ended up leaving the ball yard,” Bransfield said of his homers.
The other story of the game was Oakland’s defensive lapses. The Golden Grizzlies committed eight errors, including two in the first inning alone.
Notre Dame third baseman Jeremy Barnes began the scoring for the Irish by knocking in first baseman Craig Cooper, who led off the game with a double. Oakland shortstop Ryan Heath misplayed Barnes’ hard-hit ground ball, and Golden Grizzlies left fielder Tim Doig committed an error backing up Heath to allow Barnes to advance to third base on the play.
“They struggled defensively,” Bransfield said. “It was really windy and our field was a little dry, so it was playing rough.”
Notre Dame second baseman Ross Brezovsky followed Barnes with an RBI groundout to second base to give the Irish a 2-0 lead. Bransfield then hit the first of his homers on a 1-0 count against Oakland starter Kevin Hale. Notre Dame catcher Sean Gaston sent Hale’s next pitch over the fence in right center to give the Irish a quick 4-0 lead.
“You kind of take away some of the hope some of the teams come in to our ballpark having [with big innings],” Bransfield said. “It gives our pitcher some comfort in going out there and pitching with the lead.”
Bransfield’s second homer capped Notre Dame’s nine-run fourth inning. With two men aboard and five runs already scored in the frame, Bransfield connected on the first pitch from Golden Grizzlies reliever Brian Bernatowicz to give Notre Dame a 12-0 advantage.
After Sean Gaston grounded out, Irish center fielder Alex Nettey hit a homer off Bernatowicz down the left field line to extend the lead to 13-0.
Bransfield said Nettey and Gaston hit their homers harder than he hit his two.
“They were the only legitimate home runs,” he said. “They just crushed them.”
Irish backup third baseman Eddy Mendiola delivered a two-run single in the fifth to put Notre Dame ahead 15-0.
Korpi struck out eight and walked only one in his five innings of work.
“Korpi pitched with a lot of confidence,” Bransfield said. “He’s just starting to put it all together.”
Irish southpaw Sam Elam relieved Korpi after five innings and struck out five batters in three innings while allowing three hits one run. Korpi improved to 3-1 on the season with the victory. Notre Dame right-hander Joey Williamson pitched a perfect ninth to close out the game for the Irish.
The Golden Grizzlies avoided the shutout with a lone run in the eighth inning.
Notre Dame faces Division-III Manchester today at 5:05 at Frank Eck Stadium. Irish freshman right-hander David Phelps will likely start for the Irish.
Phelps is 1-0 with an 8.78 ERA in seven appearances (two starts).
He has struck out 12 and walked seven in 13 1-3 innings.