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ND Baseball: Irish lose two of three in Phoenix

Matt Gamber | Monday, March 2, 2009

Notre Dame lost two of three at the Phoenix Classic over the weekend, topping host Dayton and falling to Gonzaga and Creighton.

The Irish (3-3) started their weekend with a 7-3 loss to Gonzaga (5-1), as the Bulldogs scored two runs each in the eighth and ninth innings to break a 3-3 tie. Sophomore starter Cole Johnson allowed two earned runs in four innings in his first start of the year, and fellow sophomore Todd Miller took the loss by giving up three runs over four innings.

Juniors David Mills and Matt Grosso each had two hits and an RBI for the Irish, who scored twice in the bottom of the first on a throwing error and an RBI groundout.

The Bulldogs tied it with a pair of runs in the top of the second and then took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth. Notre Dame knotted the score 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh but Gonzaga again answered and then kept the Irish bats quiet in the final two frames.

Senior Jeremy Barnes drove in three runs and four others each knocked in a pair in Notre Dame’s 14-5 win over Dayton (2-4) Saturday. The bullpen also pitched in with 3 2-3 innings of scoreless relief after sophomore starter Brian Dupra gave up five earned runs over 5 1-3, striking out a career-high six Flyers to earn the win.

Leading 5-1, the Irish offense exploded for seven runs in the top of the fourth with help from three run-scoring doubles – one from Barnes, who was a home run short of the cycle.

Like Friday’s loss, Sunday’s 6-3 defeat included a late-inning rally by Notre Dame’s opponent. Creighton (1-6) took a 4-3 lead with two outs in the top of the eighth when Irish junior right fielder Brayden Ashdown appeared to lose a routine fly ball in the sun and had it drop in front of him to allow the go-ahead run.

The Bluejays would add two more insurance runs in the ninth.

Junior right hander Steven Mazur took the loss after giving up four earned runs in 2 2-3 earnings.

The Observer could not reach Irish coach Dave Schrage as the team traveled back to Notre Dame Sunday.

Notre Dame will hit the road again this weekend, as the Irish are scheduled to play nine games in Houston and San Antonio, Tex., between March 6-15.