April 25, 2000
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The 20th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team jumped out to a 6-1 lead but a season-high seven Irish errors and three Western Michigan home runs pushed the Broncos to an 11-7 win, in Tuesday-night action at the off-campus Sutherland Field in downtown Kalamazoo.
The travel-weary Irish were playing their eighth road game in a span of 11 days, with those games coming in four different cities (plus a pair of home games during that span).
Notre Dame (32-10)–which entered the day with a nation-leading 2.72 team ERA (it rose to 2.81)–saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end, despite claiming a 6-1 lead in the third inning. Sophomore righthander Matt Buchmeier (3-2) suffered the loss in relief of freshman Matt Laird, with Buchmeier allowing six runs (just three of them earned) on six hits and one walk over four innings, with four strikeouts.
Freshman rightfielder Brian Stavisky continued his torrid hitting for the Irish, batting 3-for-4 while hitting his 11th home run of the season–equaling Brant Ust’s record for most home runs by a Notre Dame freshman (’97). Stavisky’s current 10-game hitting streak includes nine hits and 22 total bases in his last 16 at-bats (three home runs, one triple, two doubles), pushing his season average to .311-third-best among Irish regulars.
Each of WMU’s final five runs was unearned, providing the final margin of victory.
Western Michigan (18-19)–which posted its first win over the Irish since 1988–surged to a 9-7 lead with a five-run sixth inning, sparked by a first-pitch, two-out home run to right-center from junior centerfielder John Toner (his team-leading sixth of the season) that plated two runs. Sophomore first baseman Phil Henricksen then picked up three RBI with his first long ball of the season, a shot well into the trees behind the leftfield fence–moments after usually surehanded senior second baseman Jeff Perconte had dropped a fading popup in shallow right field.
Sophomore righthander Keith Perez (4-2) picked up the win, with 6.1 solid innings in relief of sophomore lefty Shawn Morrison. Perez closed the game by allowing just one run on three hits and one walk while posting four Ks.
The Broncos padded their lead with two runs in the eighth, aided by four Irish errors and a wild pitch in the inning. The only hits in the inning came on Toner’s leadoff single through the right side (he then was picked off by junior lefthander Mike Naumann, on a steal attempt) and Jason Richards’ single to the left side of the infield.
The Irish cashed in two fielding errors by WMU shortstop Chris Richter in the first inning, with senior first baseman Jeff Felker sending a two-run single up the middle (plating Ken Meyer and Alec Porzel).
Notre Dame then stretched to a 6-1 cushion with four hits and four runs in the third, thanks to Matt Nussbaum’s two-out, two-run double (scoring Meyer and Steve Stanley) followed by Stavisky’s quick-moving stroke that stayed inside the rightfield foul pole.
WMU answered with two runs in bottom of the third and each team added single runs (including the fourth home run of the season from WMU’s Richards, to dead-center field) before the Broncos surged ahead with their big sixth inning. Notre Dame’s run in the fourth came courtesy of Stanley’s hustling double on a two-out, 2-2 hit up the middle and Porzel’s 1-2 single through the left side.
Laird was touched for three runs in the first three innings, allowing five hits and two walks while posting five Ks. His starting counterpart Morrison gave up six runs (four earned) on six hits and one walk in 2.2 innings, with one K.
NOTES: Prior to Tuesday’s loss, Notre Dame had been 18-1 this season when scoring six-plus runs (including 16 straight wins in such games, since the 9-7 loss to Minnesota on March 4) … the 11 runs equal the second-most scored by an Irish opponent in the 2000 season … the Irish are just 8-8 this season when making two-plus errors in a game (32-2 when making no errors or one E) … unearned runs have provided the margin of defeat in four of ND’s 10 losses in 2000 … Wednesday’s game vs. Michigan in Grand Rapids will mark ND’s 29th game away from home this season, compared to just 14 at Eck Stadium (the Irish then close the regular season with a 13-game homestand) … nearly half of Stavisky’s 51 hits this season have gone for extra bases (11 HRs, 5 triples, 7 doubles) … despite his typical rookie struggles, Stavisky has recorded hits in 34 of ND’s 42 games this season (including hitting streaks of 15 and 10 games) and has gone hitless in consecutive games just once (vs. Bowling Green and Toledo on April 12-13, prior to his current streak).
Notre Dame 2-0-4 1-0-0 0-0-0 – 7 9 7
Western Michigan 1-0-2 0-1-5 0-2-X – 11 13 3
Laird, Buchmeier (4), Naumann (9) and O’Toole.
Morrison, Perez (3) and Seestadt.