May 16, 1999
JAMAICA, N.Y. – St. John’s junior second baseman Matt Galante set a BIG EAST record with five bases on balls while Mike Dzurilla and Chris Fallon smacked home runs, as the Red Storm posted a 14-5 win over visiting Notre Dame, in a disinterested final regular-season game for both teams Sunday at McCallen Field.
Notre Dame (41-14, 20-5 BIG EAST) had a rough day on the mound and in the field, with 13 walks, one hit batter, a catcher’s interference call and two costly errors. The Irish failed to become just the second Notre Dame team ever to post 42-plus wins during the regular season (the 1990 squad won 44 regular-season games).
St. John’s (29-19-2, 13-11-1) broke open a 7-3 game by staging a two-out rally to score five unearned runs in a seven-run bottom of the eighth.
Both teams entered Sunday’s game with significantly less at stake than in Saturday’s doubleheader, when the Irish clinched the BIG EAST Conference regular-season title while St. John’s clinched a spot in the six-team BIG EAST tournament. SJU would have maintained its fifth-place standing even with a loss on Sunday, thanks to West Virginia’s 5-0 loss at Boston College.
The Irish elected to rest freshman catcher Paul O’Toole and also played without sophomore second baseman Alec Porzel, who missed his first start of the season (due to illness). Notre Dame also continued to play without two injured starters: senior DH Jeff Wagner and junior utility player Jeff Perconte. Wagner missed his 31st game due to a foot injury while Perconte missed his 21st game due to a season-ending shoulder injury.
The first-round pairings of the double-elimination BIG EAST Championship are as follows (games on Wed., May 19, at Waterfront Park in Trenton, N.J.):
Game 1 (noon): No. 1 seed Notre Dame vs. No. 6 West Virginia (29-26, 12-13)
Game 2 (3:30): No. 2 Rutgers (35-17, 19-7) vs. No. 5 St. John’s
Game 3 (7:00): No. 3 Providence (43-13, 18-8) vs. No. 4 Seton Hall (31-17-1, 14-11)
The winner of Game 1 will face the loser of Game 3 on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. The loser of Game 1 will face the loser of Game 2 in an elimination game on Thursday at noon. The 7:00 p.m. second-day game will feature the winners of Game 2 and Game 3.
Sophomore righthander Mike Carlin (0-1) took the loss, allowing three runs on two hits and four walks over two and one-third innings. Freshman Matt Buchmeier and junior lefty Tim Kalita then gave up two runs each before freshman Drew Duff tossed a rough eighth inning, as the Red Storm scored seven runs (just two of them earned) on four hits, two walks, three errors and a wild pitch.
Senior righthander John Niebling (2-2) picked up the win while facing just 17 batters over the first five innings. Niebling allowed one run on two hits and no walks, with two strikeouts.
GAME NOTES: Notre Dame forged a 1-1 tie in the third, after J.P. Drevline’s double to center field and Matt Strickroth’s single down the leftfield line … SJU put two runs on the board in the third and scored single runs in the fifth and sixth … both teams scored twice in the seventh, with the Irish scoring after Andrew Bushey’s 2-2 double to left-center, Brant Ust’s RBI single down the leftfield line, Jeff Felker’s two-out smash off the first baseman and Drevline’s RBI fielder’s choice … SJU’s big eighth inning was sparked by Fallon’s two-out double, followed by a walk, a double steal, another walk, an infield single, a catcher’s interference and a run-scoring wild pitch … the third baseman Bushey then failed to come up with John-Paul Cirigliano’s grounder, with reserve shortstop Ben Cooke throwing the ball away for a double-error (Billy Casolo capped the scoring with a two-run double to right-center) … the Irish ended the scoring with two runs in the ninth, thanks to Matt Nussbaum’s single to the shortstop, Drevline’s full-count walk, Strickroth’s RBI single through the right side and Cooke’s RBI chopper to the third baseman.
NOTRE DAME 0-0-1 0-0-0 2-0-2 5 8 3 ST. JOHN'S 1-0-2 0-1-1 2-7-X 14 10 1
Carlin, Buchmeier (3), Kalita (6), Duff (8) and Drevline.Niebling, Lettieri (6), Zaug (7), Neil (8), Stamler (9) and Fierro, Niska (9).