May 30, 2003
FULLERTON, Calif.- A seven-run second inning propelled Notre Dame to a 13-5 victory over Arizona in the opening game of the NCAA regional at Cal State Fullerton on Friday.
The loss was the fourth straight of the season for Arizona and the first ever to the Fighting Irish. The Wildcats, still in search of their first postseason win since 1993, dropped to 35-22 for the season and will face the loser of the Cal State Fullerton-San Diego game on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Notre Dame improved to 44-16 overall with the win and will take on the winner of the CSUF-USD game on Saturday after the loser's bracket game.
After falling behind 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning on Trevor Crowe's two-run single, Notre Dame exploded for seven runs on six hits off of Arizona starter Richie Gardner in the top of the second. Keyed by Matt Edwards' bases loaded triple, Notre Dame sent 10 batters to the plate before Gardner and the Wildcats finally got out of the inning.
Arizona threatened in the bottom of the second, placing runners on first and second, but ND starter Ryan Kalita got Moises Duran to line into one of four doubles plays turned by the Irish in the game to end the inning and quash the threat.
The Irish added two runs in the top of the third and four in the fourth and never looked back to advance into the winners bracket of the regional.
Led by 3 for 4, three-run game by catcher Javi Sanchez, ND out hit the Wildcats 17 to 11 in the contest. All nine Notre Dame starters finished with at least one hit in the game. Arizona was paced by a 3 for 4, two-run effort by freshman Brad Boyer.
ND's Kalita (7-1) picked up his seventh win of the season with eight solid innings on the mound. The senior right-hander struck out five and walked four. Gardner suffered his second straight loss and fell to 9-3 on the season after giving up nine runs on 10 hits in three innings of work.