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Baseball: Squad, Sharpley trump Mastodons

Fran Tolan | Thursday, April 24, 2008

Seems like the same old story. With another solid effort from both the offense and pitching staff, No. 24 Notre Dame cruised to a 5-0 win over IPFW Wednesday at Memorial Stadium in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Irish have now won 14 of their last 15 games while running their record to 27-10-1.

Freshman starter Ryan Sharpley threw six scoreless innings and struck out six, allowing just two hits and three walks.

And Sharpley got plenty of help. Sophomore right fielder Billy Boockford led the charge for the offense, pounding out a career-high four hits while knocking in three of Notre Dame’s runs. Sophomore centerfielder A.J. Pollock did a little bit of everything, notching two hits, two stolen bases, a run scored and an RBI.

The Irish relief pitching also picked up Sharpley as sophomore right-hander Steven Mazur, senior righty Tony Langford and junior righty Brent Graffy each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.

Notre Dame jumped out to the early lead, staking Sharpley to a three-run lead before he even toed the rubber. In the top of the first, Irish senior shortsop Brett Lilley led off by getting hit by a pitch, the 101st beaning of his Notre Dame career. Sophomore designated hitter David Mills moved Lilley to second on a sacrifice bunt before Pollock knocked him in with a hard single to leftfield. Junior second baseman Jeremy Barnes and Boockford added RBIs in the inning.

But Sharpley did not need much insurance. After walking three IPFW batters in the first three frames, the freshman cruised for the remainder of his outing to run his record to 3-1.

Irish leftfielder Ross Brezovsky singled in the first inning to extend his career-best 18-game hitting streak.