April 27, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior lefthander Chris McKeown tossed five solid inning while little-used freshman designated hitter Ken Meyer delivered the decisive hit, as Notre Dame downed visiting Illinois-Chicago, 3-1, in rain-shortened baseball action Tuesday night at Eck Stadium.
The game was halted in the bottom of the fifth inning (at 8:27) due to a steady downpour and was ruled at 9:10 to be an official game, after the rain failed to subside.
Notre Dame (33-10) improved to 18-2 at home while continuing to win the close games. The Irish are 15-3 in games decided by 1-2 runs this season, including wins in each of their last 14 close decisions (dating back to March 11). The Irish have won eight one-run games this season, in addition to seven by two runs, nine by three runs, five by four runs and just four by five-plus runs.
McKeown (3-1) lowered his season ERA to 3.93, allowing one run on three hits and one walk over the five innings, with three strikeouts and six groundouts. The veteran lefty has allowed just two earned runs in his last four outings, spanning 14 and two-thirds innings.
Illinois Chicago (10-24) surrendered an unearned run in the first inning and then tried to rally in the fifth, plating one run before the game was suspended prior to the bottom of the inning. Junior righthander Brad Goebbert (0-3) took the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and one walk over four innings (with one K).
The Irish opened the scoring with a run in the first. Freshman centerfielder Steve Stanley reached after his leadoff groundball scooted under the glove of first baseman Jason Hughes. Freshman catcher Paul O’Toole then sent a single to center field, with Stanley scooting to third base, before junior second baseman Alec Porzel delivered a first-pitch single up the middle.
Notre Dame added two runs in the fourth, sparked by consecutive infield singles to the second baseman by junior leftfielder Matt Nussbaum and junior first baseman Jeff Felker. The runners then moved up on Goebbert’s one-out wild pitch before Meyer delivered a full-count, two-run single up the middle. Meyer-who also doubled earlier in the game-was making just his second start of the season (and first since Feb. 21), with one hit in nine previous at-bats.
The Flames averted the shutout in the fifth. Sean McNichols drew a leadoff walk and beat an attempted pickoff play by sliding safely into second base. Pete Lotus followed with a single to left field and Eric Duke plated the run with a groundout to third base.
NOTES: Stanley extended his season-best hitting streak to 13 games while Felker pushed his career-best hitting streak to 18 games (longest by a Notre Dame player since Mike Amrhein’s 21-game streak ended on April 3, 1997) S Notre Dame is scheduled to face Chicago State on Wednesday at 3:45, in a seven-inning game S the Irish then will play host to Oakland University on Friday (4:05 start) and Saturday (12:05 doubleheader) S the Irish are 36-6 in non-conference home games during the past three seasons (29-5 in BIG EAST play) S Notre Dame’s current .767 season winning percentage ranks third-best by an Irish baseball team in the last 63 seasons (the 1990 team won 79.3 percent of its games, at 46-12, while the 1980 team went 29-8/.784) S the Irish are 115-22 (.839) at Eck Stadium in the five-year tenure of head coach Paul Mainieri, with wins in 71 of the last 82 home games (.866) S Tuesday’s game represented Mainieri’s 199th win at Notre Dame (with just 85 losses) and his 895th overall game as a college head coach.
ILLINOIS-CHICAGO 0-0-0 0-1 1 3 1 NOTRE DAME 1-0-0 2-X 3 7 2 Goebbert and Rosinski. McKeown and O'Toole.