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Baseball: Irish fall to Michigan 13-1

Jared Jedick | Thursday, April 22, 2010

After playing Michigan to a close 3-2 loss in Ann Arbor Tuesday, Notre Dame was not able to follow up on the momentum they had been building and dropped a clunker to Michigan at home.

“It is a shame that we played as poorly as we did tonight, because we had played so well up until today,” Irish coach Dave Schrage said. “I really thought that we were gaining some momentum going into this weekend.”

Things started to go wrong for the Irish (15-21, 5-7 Big East) in the first inning, despite sophomore starter Steve Sabatino striking out the first two batters he faced from the Wolverines (24-12, 6-3 Big Ten). When Michigan junior outfielder Ryan LaMarre reached base after an errant throw to first base resulted in junior first-baseman David Casey stepping off the bag, things came unglued for Notre Dame. That error was followed up by two Wolverine singles to score a run and put two runners on for senior first-baseman Mike Dufek’s bases-clearing triple. Dufek then scored on a single from sophomore first baseman Garrett Stephens to make the score 4-0 right off the bat.

“That first inning is a microcosm of our whole year,” Schrage said.

Sabatino was removed after 2/3 of an inning and replaced with freshman right-hander Adam Norton. Norton went 3 and one-third innings and gave up four hits, one earned run, and two walks.

The Irish gave up all 13 of the Wolverine’s runs with two outs.

“If I had the answer for you, then I’d try to stop it, but it has continued all season,” Schrage said. “I mean we have played 37 games now and it has continued all year with two out runs, and it usually starts with an error. Just like it did in the first inning with a routine ball we should make.”

The tough outing continued with two more runs given up in the sixth inning, as well as six runs given up in the seventh for a score of 13-0.

The Irish sent out six pitchers over the course of the game, including senior left-hander David Mills, senior right-hander Eric Maust, sophomore left-hander Joe Spano, junior left-hander Joe Spizzirri and freshman right-hander Patrick Veerkamp. Veerkamp and Mills had the best outings of the night, with Mills pitching one scoreless inning and Veerkamp tossing two scoreless innings to close out the game.

The Irish finally got on the scoreboard with one out in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly from third baseman Greg Sherry that scored centerfielder Ryne Intlekofer from third base. That would be the extent of the scoring.

The Irish are now shifting their focus to conference play, as they take on Cincinnati (19-16, 4-8 Big East) this weekend.

“We have been focusing on the conference to be honest with you,” Schrage said. “Last weekend we were totally focusing on getting back in the race.”

Schrage said his team was beginning to focus on the conference tournament as well.
“It definitely can happen,” Schrage said. “That is all we have to play for right now.”
The Irish host Cincinnati for a three-game series starting Friday at 6:05 p.m.