Baseball: Running with the Devils
Joe Meixell | Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Notre Dame freshman pitcher Brian Dupra scattered six hits in seven shutout innings as the Irish topped Mississippi Valley State 4-0 at Frank Eck Stadium Tuesday night.
“We were very fortunate to win tonight,” Irish coach Dave Schrage said. “[Dupra] has just been getting better and better.”
Dupra (3-2) struck out four and walked just one, but he had to pitch out of several jams.
“I’ve been working with the coaches on keeping the ball low,” Dupra said. “Hitters usually get themselves out. The pressure is on them to get a hit.”
Mississippi Valley State (15-21) threatened in the second after knocking back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, but it couldn’t plate either runner.
The Delta Devils put another two runners on base in the fifth, getting infield singles from left fielder Brandon Dotson and third baseman Jeff Squier. The runners advanced to second and third with two outs, but catcher Cody Pride hit a dribbler in front of the plate and was thrown out to end the threat.
The Delta Devils threatened once again in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with one out. But Squier popped out to Sharpley and Pride grounded out to third baseman Mick Doyle.
Freshman Cole Johnson threw two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three, to finish the game for the Irish.
At the plate, Notre Dame (29-12-1) drew first blood in the bottom of the opening inning. Center fielder A.J. Pollock scored on a double by second baseman Jeremy Barnes with two outs. The Irish threatened to score more, but left fielder Ross Brezovsky struck out to end the inning with runners on second and third.
Notre Dame put two runners on with one out in the bottom half of that inning, and slugger Evan Sharpley blasted one to deep right field. Initially, the ball looked to have the strength to clear the fence, but Mississippi Valley State right fielder Quinn Axton made the catch on the warning track. The next batter, Barnes, hit into a fielder’s choice and the lead stayed 1-0.
Two innings later, Sharpley belted another ball to right field and this one did get over the fence with two on base to give the Irish a 4-0.
“I was a little out of the one on my third at bat and I got under it a little bit,” Sharpley said. “But I made an adjustment and I ended up getting a pitch that was a little bit in and I turned on it.”
Delta Devils starter Chris Mills worked seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits with five walks and five strikeouts.
Notre Dame and Mississippi Valley State will face off again tonight at Frank Eck Stadium at 6:05 p.m.
uIrish shortstop Brett Lilley added to his NCAA-record total for career hit-by-pitches. He was plunked for the 102nd time during the second inning.