March 25, 2001

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech turned in a pair of three-run rallies in the late innings to sweep a doubleheader from Notre Dame, 3-2 and 9-8, in BIG EAST Conference baseball action Sunday at English Field.

Notre Dame (16-4-1, 2-2 BIG EAST) was three outs away from posting a team-record fourth straight shutout in the opener before Virginia Tech (14-9, 6-1 BIG EAST) rallied in the seventh and final inning. The Irish then surged to an 8-6 lead with four runs in the eighth inning of the nightcap only to see the Hokies answer with three scores in the bottom of that inning.

The games marked just the third time that Notre Dame has been swept in a BIG EAST doubleheader (since joining the conference in 1996) and ended the Irish streak of 34 consecutive BIG EAST doubleheaders without being swept.

The first game spoiled a stellar six-inning effort for sophomore righthander J.P. Gagne (0-2), who headed into the seventh inning with just two hits and one walk allowed. The Hokies then used four hits and an Irish error to rally for the win.

The first game featured just 13 combined hits (none for extra bases) but the teams combined for 35 hits (19 by the Hokies) in the nightcap, with four home runs, a pair of triples and 11 doubles (seven by the hosts).

Notre Dame’s four-run effort in the eighth was sparked by Steve Stanley’s leadoff triple and Alec Porzel’s double, followed by Kris Billmaier’s one-out home run (his second solo shot of the game), Joe Thaman’s double down the leftfield line and Andrew Bushey’s RBI single through the right side.

Jed English supplied what proved to be the winning hit moments later, sending a two-out single up the middle after the Irish had issued an intentional walk to Chris Hutchinson. Christian Simmers’ second double of the game sparked the two-out rally for the Hokies, who are in the midst of their debut season as a member of the BIG EAST baseball conference.

Notre Dame’s only runs in the opener came with some help from Hokies second baseman Marc Tugwell, after Steve Sollmann had drawn a full-count, one-out walk and Stanley had placed a bunt single past the pitcher. Tugwell’s errant throw on the bunt allowed Sollmann to score, with Stanley scooting to third and scoring on Paul O’Toole’s rightside groundout.

The Hokies rallied with one out in the bottom of the seventh, fueled by Addison Bowman’s single up the middle and Kevin Bice’s blooper into right field. Hutchinson then laid down a weak bunt and the catcher O’Toole threw errantly to third, loading the bases. Brad Bauder tied the game with a 1-2, two-run single that landed a few feet inside the rightfield line and Tugwell ended the game with a first-pitch single through a drawn-in right side of the infield.

#8 Notre Dame 0-0-2 0-0-0 0 – 2 7 1

Virginia Tech 0-0-0 0-0-0 3 – 3 6 2

J.P. Gagne (0-2) and Paul O’Toole.

Chip Runyon (1-0) and Kevin Bice.

#8 Notre Dame (16-4-1, 2-2 BIG EAST) 1-0-1 0-0-0 2-4-0 – 8 16 0

Virginia Tech (14-9, 6-1 BIG EAST) 0-1-0 3-1-1 0-3-X – 9 19 1

Matt Buchmeier, Mike Naumann (5), Matt Laird (7), Brandon Viloria (8, L, 3-1) and Andrew Bushey, Paul O?Toole (7).

Ian Oslunder, Anthony Miller (8), Joe Saunders (8, W, 4-2), Seth Bandy (9, SV-1) and Jed English.

Doubles: Alec Porzel 2 (ND), Joe Thaman (ND), Andrew Bushey (ND), Christian Simmers 2 (VT), John West (VT), Kevin Bice (VT), Chris Hutchinson (VT) and Marc Tugwell 2 (VT).

Triples: Steve Stanley (ND), Hutchinson (VT).

Home Runs: Spencer Harris, VT (one on in 4th, 2nd of season), Ken Meyer, ND (solo in 3rd, 1st of season), Kris Billmaier, ND 2 (solos in 7th and 8th, 1st and 2nd of season).