April 4, 2004
SOUTH BEND, IND. - On Sunday, April 4th, at Frank Eck Stadium in South Bend, Ind., the Villanova baseball team was defeated by No. 5 ranked Notre Dame, 13-1, in the third and final game of a three-game Big East Conference series. With the win, the Fighting Irish (22-3, 6-0) completed the three-game weekend sweep. The loss dropped the Wildcats' record to 17-8-1 overall and 3-3 in Big East Conference action.
In the top of the first inning, the Irish staged off a Villanova scoring threat as ND starter Grant Johnson struck out Wildcat designated hitter Danny Poydenis swinging with runners at second and third to end the inning.
The Notre Dame offense jumped on the Wildcats and starter Kevin Mulvey early in game three, scoring six times in the bottom of the first inning to take a 6-0 advantage. With the bases loaded and one out in the inning, designated hitter Matt Bransfield lofted a high fly ball to shallow right-center that got caught up in the wind and fell in for a base hit as the Irish took a 1-0 lead. Another pop up dropped in for a base hit off the bat of catcher Javi Sanchez allowing the second run of the game to score as the Fighting Irish increased their lead to 2-0. Notre Dame added four more runs in the inning on two hits and a Villanova fielding error, to take a 6-0 advantage after one inning of play.
Johnson cruised through the next few innings, keeping the Wildcats hitless for four innings. On a strict pitch count as he continues to come back from shoulder surgery that kept him out last season, Johnson left after four shutout innings - his longest outing of the season. Mulvey shook off his first inning struggles to keep the Irish scoreless for the next three innings, holding the deficit at six runs through four innings.
The Villanova offense finally awoke in the top of the fifth inning. First baseman Adrian Schau recorded the `Cats first hit, lining a single down the leftfield line to lead off the inning. The Wildcats loaded the bases off Notre Dame reliever Jess Stewart with two outs in the innings, when right-hander Jess Samardzija came on in relief for the Irish. Villanova third baseman Angelo Petracca knocked in the Wildcats' first run of the contest with an RBI single to leftfield, plating Schau to trim the ND lead to 6-1. Samardzija got out of further damage by striking out Alan Day swinging with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Notre Dame broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning off of Villanova reliever Joe McCoy, adding five more runs to extend the lead to 11-1. Three hits and two Wildcat errors led the five Irish runs. The big blow in the inning for the Fighting Irish was delivered by Bransfield, who lined a two-run single to right field.
The Irish scored twice in the seventh to cap off the day's scoring, as they went on for the 13-1 win.
Johnson got the win on the mound for ND to improve to 1-0. Mulvey took the loss for the `Cats to fall to 2-3.
Villanova will get back into action on Tuesday, April 6th, as the Wildcats play host to Saint Joseph's at 3:00 p.m.