Blue-Gold Series Wrapup: Graffy's Arm, Freshman Blasts Send Gold To Decisive 8-3 Win

Series MVP A.J. Pollock and fellow newcomer Ryan Smith both send home runs over the centerfield fence to help Gold pull away in game-3 of annual intrasquad series.


Oct. 9, 2006

Sophomore righthander Brett Graffy allowed one earned run and one hit in five strong innings while freshmen A.J. Pollock and Ryan Smith both hit home runs, as the Gold team defeated the Blue, 8-3, to win Sunday's game-3 of the Notre Dame baseball program's annual Blue-Gold Series. The Gold team, coached by Irish volunteer assistant coach John Fitzgerald, won the series, with the first two games both producing one-run results (a 2-1 Gold win and a 4-3 Blue win).

(Note: stats for game-3 and the series are in the process of being linked to this recap - check back later for the stats and also look for a Blue-Gold Series photo gallery later this week on und.com.)

Pollock was named MVP of the series, after playing error-free at third base while batting 5-for-9 and factoring into more than half of the Gold team's runs (7 of 13). The Hebron, Conn., native finished the series with five RBI, three runs scored, a 1.000 slugging pct. that included a home run and double, a sac. bunt, a pair of stolen bases and only one strikeout.

Despite only outscoring the Blue by five runs, the Gold compiled a clear statistical advantage in the series. The Gold hitters combined to bat .321 with the 13 runs scored, five extra-base hits (2 HR, 3B, 2 2B), a pair of walks, a hit batter, two sac. bunts and 6-of-6 on stolen bases (also .444 team slugging, .345 team on-base and one time grounded into a double play). The Gold pitchers combined for a 2.25 ERA, allowing just 12 hits in 20 innings (.174 opp. batting) with better than a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (25/8, plus a pair of hit batters and one wild pitch). The Gold positions players compiled a .954 fielding pct. in the series, with four errors.

The Blue team batted .174 and scored eight runs, with only three coming via RBI (the Gold had RBI on 12 of its 13 runs). The Blue offense also had a pair of doubles and eight walks (2 HBP, 2 SAC, 2 SB, 2 GDP, .203 slug, .278 OB). The Blue pitchers combined for a 5.21 ERA and an impressive 8.5 K-to-walk ratio (17/2) in 19 innings of work (26 H/.321, WP, HB). Six errors produced a .931 series fielding pct. for the Blue.

In addition to Pollock, other top hitters for the Gold included: junior DH Tony Langford (6-for-10, 2 RBI, SB, 2 Ks), freshman centerfielder Michael Wright (4-for-8, RBI, SB), senior rightfielder Danny Dressman (4-for-10, 2 RBI, 4 R, 3B, 2B, SB) and freshman second baseman Ryne Intlekoker (3-for-10, 3 R, 2 Ks). Dressman finishes as a .387 career hitter (12-for-31) in the Blue-Gold Series (4 RBI, 11 R, 3B, 2 2B, 6 BB, 4 SB).

Freshman leftfielder David Mills was the top hitter for the Blue, batting 3-for-8 with a pair of walks and three runs scored (RBI, 2 SB).

Three pitchers for each team had pitched previously in the series. Senior lefthander Mike Dury finishes his Blue-Gold Series career having allowed no earned runs or walks in four appearances and 7.0 innings (2 UER, 13 H, 2 Ks). Junior lefthander Wade Korpi's, who also pitched for the Blue in the '06 series, now owns a 6.55 career ERA in three Blue-Gold Series starts (1-0, 11.0 IP, 12 R/8 ER, 15 H, 4 BB, 7 Ks). Sophomore RHP David Phelps has started game-1 for the Blue in each of the past two series (6.48, 0-0, 8.1 IP, 7 R/6 ER, 8 H, 5 BB, 7 Ks).

Junior RHP Joey Williamson, the Gold's game-1 starter, has compiled a 1.74 ERA with nearly one strikeout per inning during his three Blue-Gold Series appearances (1-0, 2 GS, 10.1 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 9 Ks). Two sophomores also pitched for the Gold this week, with RHP Kyle Weiland now totaling 10 strikeouts and just one walk in his Blue-Gold Series career (4.50, 3 GP/1 GS, 8.0 IP, 4 R, 8 H). Lefthander Sam Elam also has logged three career Blue-Gold appearances, with a pair of tough-luck losses (8.10, 6.2 IP, 7 R/6 ER, 9 H, 7 BB, 2 Ks).

Graffy - who had some solid mid-week outings during the second half of the 2006 spring season - picked up the game-3 win, after allowing three runs (just one earned) on the one hit and three walks in 5.0 innings. Graffy's 15 outs including six via strikeouts and four groundouts while locating 47 of his 78 pitches for strikes (58%). Weiland closed out the win with four strikeouts and two more groundball outs for the Gold (3 H, 25-of-35 pitches for strikes/71%).

Freshman righthander Eric Maust drew the game-3 start for the Blue, after impressing the Irish coaches during fall workouts while balancing his time with football-team duties (as a backup punter). Maust, who was able to pitch just once a week during the fall, allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits while striking out two in 2.0 innings (38 pitches, 23 strikes/61%). Fellow freshman RHP Andrew Scheid then logged the next two innings (3 R, 5 H, BB, 2 Ks, 26 of 38 for strikes/68%) before Dury closed things out for the Blue (2 IP, H, 2 Ks, 19 of 26 for strikes/73%).

Five different Gold batters collected multiple hits in game-3, leading a 13-4 hitting edge for the winning team. Intlekofer batted 3-for-4 from the 2-hole (3 R), matching the batting day from his classmate and cleanup hitter Pollock (4 RBI, 2 R, HR, SB). Wright added a 2-for-3 effort from the 9-hole (SB) while Dressman (2 RBI, 2 R, 3B, 2B) and Langford (RBI) both went 2-for-4. Langford posted two hits in all three games of the series.

The game was not up to par from a defensive standpoint, with the Blue making four errors (which produced just one unearned run).

The Gold opened the game with a run, with Intlekofer hitting a one-out single to right field and advancing on an error before scoring when Pollock pulled a 1-0 pitch into left field. The victors tacked on another run in the second, when their catcher Smith connected on a 3-1 pitch and sent it into the batters-eye in dead-center field.

The Blue tied the game with a pair of unearned runs in the third. Mills had a full-count walk and stolen base in the inning, which also included two errors, a flyout, a strikeout and a runner thrown out stealing.

The Gold took the lead for good with three runs in the third. The four hits in the inning included Intlekofer's leadoff single to the left side, Dressman's RBI double into right-center and the big hit from Pollock, who sent Maust's final pitch of the game over the centerfield fence.

The Blue's final run came in the fourth, after a walk by senior catcher Sean Gaston, a hit-and-run single from sophomore third baseman Eddy Mendiola and a wild pitch that allowed Gaston to score.

The Gold's three-run top of the fourth included hits from Intlekofer, Dressman (3B, RBI), Pollock (RBI) and Langford (RBI).

WNDU sports director Jeff Jeffers served as a media guest coach for the Blue squad that was managed by Notre Dame assistant coach/pitching coach Sherard Clinkscales. EPSN Radio's Sean Stires, the play-by-play voice for the Irish baseball team, was the Gold's guest coach.

ND Blue Team 0-0-2 1-0-0 0 - 3 4 4 ND Gold Team 1-1-3 3-0-0 X - 8 13 2

Eric Maust (L), Andrew Scheid (3), Mike Dury (5) and Sean Gaston.
Brett Graffy (W), Kyle Weiland (6) and Ryan Smith

Home Runs: A.J. Pollock (Gold), Ryan Smith (Gold)
Triple: Danny Dressman (Gold)
Doubles: Will Harford (Blue), Dressman (Gold)

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