April 21, 2002
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Freshman Grant Johnson and junior Peter Ogilvie led the way on the mound while the Irish offense enjoyed another efficient day, as the Notre Dame baseball team used Sunday’s 4-2, 6-1 doubleheader sweep at Seton Hall to claim a share of first place in the BIG EAST Conference standings.
Notre Dame (27-12, 11-6 BIG EAST) – which has won nine straight and 18 of its last 20, after opening league play 0-4 – now shares the BIG EAST lead with Virginia Tech and Boston College, with the Irish already holding the head-to-head tiebreaker versus the Hokies while the Eagles are slated to end the 26-game BIG EAST schedule with a three-game series at Notre Dame on May 17-18 (BC and VT also will play a three-game series, on May 11-12). Fourth-place Rutgers (10-7) will face the Irish at Eck Stadium on May 4-5, with ND facing Villanova the next week in Philadelphia.
Senior centerfielder Steve Stanley – who on Saturday had passed David DeJesus (93) as the all-time leader for runs scored in regular-season BIG EAST games (now 98) – supplanted another former Rutgers player from the top spot in the BIG EAST all-time hits list, as Stanley’s 4-for-9 day pushed his career BIG EAST hits total to 141 (besting the 138 by RU’s Darren Fenster, from 1997-2000).
Sunday’s wins marked the third time in Notre Dame’s last five BIG EAST three-game series away from Eck Stadium that the Irish have pulled off the tough three-game road sweep (also at Rutgers and St. John’s in 2001). The Irish – who also posted a 9-4 win over the Pirates on Saturday – have won the last eight games of the ND-SHU series, with a 46-11 scoring edge during the past two seasons (62-17 in the eight-game series streak).
Top hitters for the Irish in the doubleheader included sophomore second baseman Steve Sollmann (5-for-7, boosting his season average to .316) and junior leftfielder Brian Stavisky, who went 4-for-9 while extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Stavisky hit an RBI triple and solo home run in the first game (his fifth home run of the season and 29th of his career) before adding an RBI single and two runs scored in the series finale.
Notre Dame again produced with runners on base, with a solid ratio in the doubleheader of 10 runs scored and 14 runners left on base. The Irish have totaled more runs (34) than runners stranded (29) during the last four games.
Johnson (3-4) – who joined the rest of the Irish staff in making up for the absence of fellow freshman and weekend starter Chris Niesel (out since April 7 with mononucleosis) – yielded two runs while allowing five hits and a pair of walks over his five-inning, 87-pitch outing. His six strikeouts included four in the first frame of the seven-inning opener, as Santiago Chi reached with one out when he swung at a pitch out of the zone (the play was ruled a strikeout/wild pitch).
Junior righthaner J.P. Gagne inherited a baserunner in the sixth and recorded the final six outs for the first save of his Irish career (to go along with 17 victories), with Gagne facing just five batters thanks to an inning-ending pickoff move in the eighth.
Ogilvie – who pushed his career record with the Irish to 10-2 – allowed just an unearned run in the final frame of his eight-inning, 108-pitch outing, with the tainted run coming after a controversial umpire call on a one-out flyball off the bat of Chi. Stanley – who had made just seven career errors and none in his last 50 games – appeared to catch the flyout but he dropped the ball after transfering it to his throwing hand and attempting to send it back to the infield (causing the umpire to rule no catch). Matt Cuttruff’s double then plated SHU’s only run of the game and just the seventh Pirates’ run of the series.
Ogilvie, dueling with SHU sophomore lefthander Chris Noonan in a game that was scoreless heading into the sixth, posted a career-best eight strikeouts while scattering five hits and three walks en route to dropping his season ERA to 2.45 (tops among ND pitchers with more than 15 innings pitched).
Sophomore righthander Elvys Quezada (0-4) suffered the game-one loss, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings, with five Ks. Noonan (3-4) was the hard-luck loser in the nightcap, with four of the six Irish runs coming unearned thanks to a sixth-inning passed ball, an eighth-inning collission between the leftside infielders as they tracked a routine foul ball, and a dropped flyball by the reserve rightfielder Cuttruff in the ninth.
Noonan was touched for three runs (just one earned) on six hits and three walks over the first seven-plus innings. Senior lefthander Isaac Pavlik then made his third appearance of the series, closing out the final two innings while allowing three more runs (one earned).
NOTES: Stanley also scored three runs to move into a tie for second on the ND career runs list (219), matching 1994 graduate Greg Layson’s total (’89 grad Pat Pesavento holds the record, with 246) … Stavisky moved into a tie with senior catcher Paul O’Toole and 1993 graduate Eric Danapilis for 8th on the ND career home runs list (with 29) … Stavisky’s triple was his third of the season and 12th of his career (including four vs. SHU), tying former teammate Alec Porzel (’01) for 8th in ND history … ND enjoyed a .308-.212 batting edge in the SHU series, led by Sollmann (7-for-11, 2 RBI, 4 R, 2B, 2 BB, SB), Stavisky (6-for-13, 5 RBI, 5 R, HR, 3B, BB) and junior RF Kris Billmaier (4-for-11, 2 RBI, 2 BB) … the ND pitchers posted a 2.16 ERA in the series (26 K, 11 BB, 18 H in 25 IP) while the Irish made just two errors in the three games (.981 fielding pct., with one of the errors made by a pitcher) … the Irish are batting .340 in the nine-game winning streak, led by Stanley (.500), Stavisky (.417), Sollmann (.400) and senior DH Matt Bok (.364), with a 2.44 team ERA in the winning streak … ND’s .324 BIG EAST batting avg. is led by Stanley (.458), Sollmann (.409), Stavisky (.405) and O’Toole (.403) … ND players now own several major BIG EAST career records, includes Stanley’s 141 hits and 98 runs, Porzel’s 102 RBI and Aaron Heilman’s totals for BIG EAST wins (23-4), strikeouts (199) and complete games (18) – with Irish players also ranking 2nd in all-time BIG EAST doubles (33, Porzel) and home runs (24, Jeff Wagner) … Sollmann (.546, 12-for-22, 3 RBI, 7 R, HR, 2B, 2 BB) and Stavisky (.469, 15-for-32, 5 RBI, 9 R, .938 slugging pct., HR, 4 3B, 4 2B, BB, SB) added to their impressive career stats vs. SHU … Notre Dame has posted a 35-4 combined record in April during the past two seasons (15-2 in 2002) … junior SS Javier Sanchez has posted 13 error-free efforts in the last 17 games (none in last six) … Gagne has not allowed a run in his last five-plus outings, spanning five-plus games and dropping his season ERA to 2.47 … O’Toole (176) has moved past Brant Ust (174, ’97-’99) into 9th on the ND career runs scored list … ND entered the week ranked 13th nationally with a 3.38 staff ERA (now 3.37), including seven of nine regulars (13-plus innings) who now own ERAs under 4.00 – led by five at 2.60 or lower: the junior RHP quartet of Brandon Viloria (2.40), Ogilvie (2.45), Gagne (2.47) and Ryan Kalita (2.60), plus senior RHP Drew Duff (2.57).
Notre Dame 2-0-0 1-1-0 0 - 4 7 0
Seton Hall 1-0-1 0-0-0 0 - 2 5 3
Grant Johnson (W, 3-4), J.P. Gagne (6, SV, 1) and Paul O'Toole.
Elvys Quesada (L, 0-4), Isaac Pavlik (6) and Lou Santangelo.
Home Run: Brian Stavisky, ND (solo in 5th, 5th of season, 29th of career).
Triple: Stavisky (ND).
Double: Steve Sollmann (ND).
Notre Dame 0-0-0 0-0-1 0-3-2 - 6 11 1
Seton Hall 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-1-0 - 1 5 2
Peter Ogilvie (W, 5-1), Brandon Viloria (9) and Paul O'Toole.
Chris Noonan (L, 3-4), Isaac Pavlik (8) and Lou Santangelo.
Doubles: Steve Stanley (ND), Matt Cuttruff (SHU).