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BASEBALL: Big East Action Starts Today

Matt Lozar | Thursday, March 24, 2005

The defense of their regular season Big East championship starts today.Hosting Georgetown (12-8) this afternoon, Notre Dame (8-9) returns to Frank Eck Stadium for a conference doubleheader, with first pitch scheduled for 12:05.Notre Dame has won its last 23 games against Georgetown – a streak dating back to April 20, 1996.The Irish are coming off a 10-4 win on Tuesday against Cincinnati. Second basemen Brett Lilley became the first Notre Dame freshman to ever collect five hits in a home opener. A leadoff homerun from Craig Cooper in the bottom of the fourth against the Bearcats setup a five-run inning where the Irish broke the game open, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 6-2 lead. Matt Edwards, Mike Dury and Greg Lopez each had two hits for the Irish. Irish coach Paul Mainieri came into the game with a planned rotation and used eight pitchers to cover the nine innings. Derek Olvey got the start and threw two innings while allowing only one hit.Freshman Wade Korpi (1-0) pitched a one-hit fifth inning to pick up his first career collegiate win.The victory over Cincinnati ended a two-game slide for Notre Dame.An area of concern that continued on Tuesday was Notre Dame’s defense, as Cincinnati turned four Irish errors into three unearned runs. For the season, the Irish have committed 32 errors and yielded 33 unearned runs.Of Notre Dame’s regular starting position players, Lilley leads the team with a .400 batting average and an on-base percentage of .575. Edwards leads the team with 24 RBIs and five home runs. The Hoyas are coming off a 12-8 loss to Mount St. Mary’s Tuesday. The Hoyas gave up three runs in the top of the first and third innings, forcing the team to play catch-up all game.Senior Jim Supple leads Georgetown with a .446 batting average and is tied for the team lead in RBIs (17) with Bill Quinn.Mike Gaggoli has made three starts this season for Georgetown and compiled a 2.43 ERA to go along with a 2-0 record. Reliever Mike Halloran (3-1) leads the Hoyas in appearances with 10 and has a 1.98 ERA. Seton Hall (4-10) visits Saturday for another conference doubleheader before the Irish return to non-conference play Tuesday, hosting Western Michigan (5-7).During the past 12 games against the Pirates, the Irish are 11-1, with the lone loss coming last season in East Rutherford, N.J.The seven-game homestand ends Wednesday against Chicago State, who has started the season losing its first 20 games.