Baseball: Notre Dame’s Sean Pavel delivers in clutch
Updated: March 29, 2012 8:06PM
Sean Pavel stepped up to the plate in the top of the sixth inning Thursday with one hit all season.
Notre Dame’s struggling senior shook off all of his bad-swing thoughts to drive home the game-tying run.
Pavel’s pinch-runner Nick Fiorito later scored the game-winner with some smart baserunning to deliver the Dons to a 6-5 victory over host Evanston. The game was called after six due to darkness.
“That’s what you need,” the first baseman Pavel said. “You need that one big hit to get out of the gate and get going.”
Notre Dame (7-2) won for the fourth time in a row and snapped Evanston’s three-game winning streak in the process.
It looked good for the Wildkits (5-3) after a five-run third inning gave them a commanding lead.
But Dons immediately started their comeback. They got run-scoring singles from Erick Zepeda and Dion Ursino in the top of the fourth.
Notre Dame then chased Evanston starter Jordan Crawford from the game in the fifth. The Dons didn’t quit when Jack Anderson entered, scoring two off the sidearming right-hander.
Tommy Simon then started the sixth with a walk and stole second base. A wild pitch put him on third before Pavel’s opposite-field single brought him home.
After a walk to open the sixth, reliever Danny Nagode pitched a scoreless sixth to secure the win.
Tony Marcellino started the game and left after three innings. Zach Koziol pitched two shutout innings before giving way to Nagode.
“The kids kept battling and battling,” Notre Dame coach Nelson Gord said. “After that rough inning, players had to step up and be leaders. We then kept chipping away and chipping away.”
Danny Hyde had two hits to lead the Dons, and Alex Vergara finished with two hits, including a two-run double, for the Wildkits.