May 2, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Sophomore righthander Zach Schara tossed nine solid innings while Northwestern received big contributions from the top of its lineup, as the Wildcats defeated host Notre Dame, 9-4, in the annual “Turn-Back-The-Clock Night” at Frank Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (36-12) failed to register the big inning that has characterized its recent games, with the Irish scoring two runs in the third and twice more in the fifth.
Sophomore righthander Drew Duff (4-2) took the loss after a rocky first three innings, allowing five runs on eight hits while striking out just one Wildcat batter. Junior lefthander Mike Naumann then logged the next four innings, yielding two runs on five hits and two walks, while freshman Brandon Viloria gave up five hits and two runs over the last two innings.
Northwestern (25-22)-the most-common opponent in Notre Dame baseball history-posted its third straight victory over the Irish, in the 130th game of the series. The top four batters in the Wildcat order combined for 12 hits, seven RBI and six runs scored. Northwestern’s 18-hit total represents the third-most hits ever turned in by a Notre Dame opponent at Eck Stadium (which opened in 1994).
Schara (7-4) allowed just two earned runs while registering his sixth complete game of the season. The Northwestern ace scattered nine hits over the nine innings, with four strikeouts and no walks.
Northwestern’s heaviest hitter proved to be senior leftfielder Robert Dainton, who batted 4-for-5 from the No. 3 spot while collecting three RBI and scoring two others runs.
The visitors opened the game with four hits that led to three runs before posting two-run innings in the third and fourth for a 7-2 lead.
Notre Dame junior shortstop Alec Porzel shook off his recent slump by batting 3-for-4, with a two-out RBI single in the third. Senior first baseman Jeff Felker also had an RBI single in the third while his grounder led to both Irish runs in the fifth, on a near-double-play ball.
The Wildcats opened the game with four hits while plating three runs … Jeremy Kurella hit the first pitch up the middle and stole second before scoring on J.P. Williamson’s check-swing single that bounced in front of the RF Brian Stavisky … Dainton and Joe Hieptas then went after pitches early in the count and slapped singles through the right side of the infield, with the final run scoring on Pat Thompson’s sacrifice fly to right-center.
The visitors pushed their lead to 5-0 with three straight hits to open the 3rd, via Williamson’s single through the left side, Dainton’s RBI double to left-center and Hieptas’ single up the middle.
ND answered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning … senior 2B Jeff Perconte set things in motion with a one-out, full-count single to the opposite left field … Porzel came through with a two-out single through the left side before Felker went with an 0-2 pitch, sending it to the opposite field for an RBI single to left.
The Wildcats restored their two-run cushion in the 4th, with Brandon Ackley hitting a leadoff double to right-center and Kurella drawing a two-out walk on five pitches … Williamson then loaded the bases with a single up the middle that glanced off the glove of the SS Porzel, as he ranged to his left … Dainton plated two runs with a lightly-hit ball to the right side, with the 1B Felker unable to make the play after going far to his right.
ND cut the lead to 7-4 with two unearned runs in the 5th … Perconte reached when his grounder to the left side was mishandled by the 3B Frank Favia and sophomore CF Steve Stanley beat out a one-out sacrifice bunt attempt before Porzel delivered on a 1-0 count, lining a shot through the left side to load the bases … Felker then hit the ball to the SS Kurella but the Wildcats failed to complete the double play, with two runners scoring while the 1B J.J. Standring argued the call with the 1B umpire.
Northwestern capped the scoring in the 8th, thanks to Favia’s leadoff single to center, Ackely’s hit through the left side, a sacrifice fly from Standring … Eric Roeder then singled through the left side, stole second and scored in Kurella’s single to right-center.
NORTHWESTERN 3-0-2 2-0-0 0-2-0- 9 18 1NOTRE DAME 0-0-2 0-2-0 0-0-0- 4 9
1 Schara and Hieptas. Duff, Naumann (4), Viloria (8) and Nussbaum.