Bulldogs cherish clumsy 14-9 win

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Notre Dame's Blake Essner safely slid back to third base as Scott City's Matt Miller missed the throw during the fourth inning.

Notre Dame and Scott City combined for eight walks, six hit batsmen and eight errors in a SEMO Conference baseball game at Scott City on Tuesday.

It may not have been pretty, but the Bulldogs will take their 14-9 win as they improved to 5-5. Scott City dropped to 1-6.

"Right now everyone's in the same boat," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said. "We're trying to get in some rhythm. We need some consistency."

With numerous rainouts and rescheduled games, the Bulldogs have yet to establish their offensive identity. Notre Dame had scored just three runs in its previous two games.

The Bulldogs' offense was ready from the start on Tuesday. Notre Dame plated a pair in the first inning on a two-run triple from Dane Balsmann. In the second inning Notre Dame manufactured two more runs, using a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch to bump its lead to 4-0.

Notre Dame added to its lead in the fourth with another two-run inning. This time, the Bulldogs took advantage of a pair of Rams errors with a RBI fielder's choice and a squeeze bunt.

"We need to determine ourselves as a team," Graviett said. "We're going to have to play small ball."

Scott City used the long ball to stay in the game. Blake Dirnberger hit a three-run homer to left field in the bottom of the third after Notre Dame starter Blake Essner walked a man and hit another.

Down 9-3 in the fifth, the Rams got another three-run home run, this time from Jon Barr. Scott City scored four runs in all in the fifth, cutting the lead to 9-7.

"We got a lot better today," Scott City coach Mike Umfleet said. "I had some kids step up and get some big hits in big situations, and that's what we've been lacking."

Some poor fielding and a couple of clutch Bulldog hits put the game out of reach in a five-run seventh.

The Rams got two runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but the game ended when Barr was thrown out trying for third on a two-run double.

Essner pitched five innings to pick up his second win. The seven runs surrendered by Essner matched his season total.

Graviett said a couple of close calls may have got to Essner.

"He's letting the umpire frustrate him a bit," Graviett said. "He just has to pitch around that stuff."

Scott City starter Andy Stephens lasted just two innings. Mark Johnston pitched the final five innings of relief.

"Andy's a great pitcher and he's going to throw great games for us. He just didn't feel it today," Umfleet said.

Jacob Essner, Balsmann and Jeremy Brinkmeyer each had two hits for Notre Dame. Balsmann and Shane Menz had four RBIs apiece.

"We hadn't had good at-bats with runners in scoring position. We challenged the guys today," Graviett said. "For the most part we executed, we cut back on our strikeouts and we put the ball in play."

Kyle Curry and Barr had two hits apiece for the Rams. Barr had five RBIs. Weather permitting, the Rams are scheduled to play the next four days straight.

"We just have to learn from our mistakes, forget the mistakes and build from what we did well," Umfleet said.

Notre Dame 14, Scott City 9

Notre Dame2202305--14114
Scott City0030402--954

WP -- Blake Essner, 2-1. LP -- Andy Stephens. HR -- Jon Barr (S), Blake Dirnberger (S). 2B -- Kyle Curry (S), Shane Menz (N). 3B -- Dane Balsmann (N). Multiple hits -- Notre Dame, Balsmann 2-4; Jacob Essner 2-4; Jeremy Brinkmeyer 2-4; Scott City, Barr 2-4; Curry 2-4. Records -- Notre Dame 5-5, Scott City 1-6.

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