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Baseball: Weather postpones game

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back when Notre Dame head coach Dave Schrage spoke at the seventh-annual Opening Night Dinner in February, he spoke of Monday’s Opening Day game against Central Michigan as a day that would hopefully be filled with warmth, sun, green grass and most importantly for Irish fans – baseball.

Unfortunately for all those in attendance, there was only one of these things present at Frank Eck Stadium for the St. Patrick’s Day opener – and even that was in short supply. Due to inclement and wintry weather, action was suspended in the middle of the sixth inning with the Chippewas up 3-2 and the bases loaded and two outs.

A make-up date of May 12 has been announced, but both squads are still awaiting word for the procedure of the restart of the game.

Several make-up scenarios are on the table. Either the action will be called as a 2-2 tie or the game could be postponed to be completed at the point of the last full inning (also a 2-2 tie) May 12.

The Irish bats seemed poised to break open the contest and give freshman starting pitcher Brian Dupra the early run support necessary to pull off a victory when senior Brett Lilley ripped a double past the Chippewa first baseman. Sophomore David Mills then followed with a sacrifice bunt that pushed Lilley to third base. A.J. Pollock then singled up the middle to score Lilley and put Notre Dame up 1-0.

Junior first baseman Evan Sharpley’s fielder’s choice moved Pollock into scoring position, allowing classmate Jeremy Barnes to bring home Pollock, giving the Irish a two-run advantage.

Central Michigan would not go away quietly, and followed with a pair of runs of its own in the next inning, nullifying the lead. In a frustrating series of events for Notre Dame, it Central Michigan used infield singles to chip away at Notre Dame’s lead. With two runners aboard, Chippewa senior Noah Lankford’a one-out, two-run double knotted the game at two. Dupra promptly retired the next two batters, leaving Lankford stranded.

Dupra ran into some trouble, but managed to escape without any earned runs until the sixth frame, when he hit senior Jeff Helps with a pitch with the bags juiced bring one in. The ominous clouds began to break open, causing the umpires to suspend the game.

The Irish will return to the diamond tomorrow when they face Xavier at the Frank Eck Stadium at 5 p.m. Freshman Ryan Sharpley will take the mound against the Musketeers in search of his first win of the season.

Today the Irish were trying to build off of a successful weekend where they won 2 of 3 games.

Notre Dame was poised to sweep its three games in the Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio this weekend before squandering a seven-run lead against Texas-Pan American Sunday. The Irish beat Buffalo 13-1 Friday and shut out Southern Illinois 4-0 Saturday before falling to Texas-Pan American 10-8. With a 2-1 record for the weekend, Notre Dame improved to 7-7 on the season.

Junior right-hander David Phelps surrendered just one run on four hits in seven innings of work to pick up his second win of the season against Buffalo.

The Irish offense gave Phelps plenty of breathing room, recording 12 hits in the rout. Freshman third baseman Greg Sherry led the balanced Irish attack, going 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Sophomore designated hitter David Mills went 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Sophomore hurler Steven Mazur and freshman Cole Hudson each tossed a scoreless inning to close out the victory. Senior Wade Korpi, senior Tony Langford and junior Kyle Weiland kept the Salukis at bay as junior second baseman Jeremy Barnes led the Irish to a 4-0 over Southern Illinois. Barnes pounded out three hits, including a seventh inning solo home run to put the game out of reach. Korpi and Langford combined to load the bases in the seventh but Langford struck out the final two Salukis batters of the frame to preserve the lead for Notre Dame. Langford worked a perfect eight inning and Weil and closed out the contest. Sophomore centerfielder A.J Pollock went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the win.

The Broncos ended Irish hopes for a perfect weekend, scoring runs in the seventh inning to come from behind and notch the win. The Irish took a big lead after scoring six runs in the fifth inning. Ross Brezovsky led off the frame with a home run and the Irish continued to roll, knocking out seven hits before being retired. But Texas-Pan American clawed back, plating six runs of its own in the seventh to cut Notre Dame’s edge to 7-6. The Broncos completed their comeback with three runs off of Mazur and Johnson in the eight inning. Johnson took the loss for the Irish in his first decision of the season. Barnes went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the losing effort.