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Irish rebound with win

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

This one was over in a hurry.

After Thursday night's disappointing loss to rival Doddridge County and falling behind 3-0 in the first inning against Braxton County, Notre Dame didn't want to waste any time to make a statement Friday.

The Irish answered with five runs in the bottom of the first and went on to a 17-7 win in six innings.

Senior first baseman Evan Kupec was 4-for-5 with three RBIs. His first-inning single to left scored Jake Minges to start the scoring which ended on a single by Jon Alfera.

Starter Steve Cross pitched the first three innings to get the win. Minges worked the last three, giving up four runs on five hits. However, both benefited from an offense which pounded out 16 hits.

Alfera added three hits and two RBIs, while Jeremy Wright doubled twice.

"It was definitely a good bounce-back win," Kupec said. "We came out pretty pumped up for this one. We didn't want to lose two in a row.

"Coach (Mark Starkey) never really came down on us after last night. He was very encouraging, and I think that helped us relax at the plate."

Trailing 11-3 in the top of the fifth, Braxton County rallied behind three RBI singles and an error to cut into the Notre Dame lead.

However, the Irish ended the game with a six-run sixth inning highlighted by two-run doubles by Wright and Kupec. Sophomore shortstop Mark Jones ended the game with a two-out double off the fence in left to score Jon Thomas.

Eight of the Irish's starters had at least one hit. Mike Nicholas had two hits and drove in three, while Minges was 2-for-5, including a double.

"Hitting the ball has never been a problem for us," Starkey said. "We always seem to put the ball in play. We just need to make the plays in the field.

Friday, "I thought our fielding was a little shaky at first, and a lot of that was probably a carryover from (Thursday) night. As the game went on, we seemed to play a little better. I told them before the game it's a long season. There was no need to stay down."

Michael Jamison and Derrick Hines each had three hits for Braxton County, while teammate Adam Kendig was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

Notre Dame returns to action on Monday when it plays host to Cameron at 4:30 p.m.

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached with 626-1444.

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