March 1, 2002
MIAMI, Fla. – Junior righthander J.P. Gagne tossed seven strong innings and senior catcher Paul O’Toole launched a three-run home run in the fourth inning, as the eighth-ranked Notre Dame baseball team opened play at the Homestead Challenge with a 6-0 victory over Duquesne, in Friday-night action at the Homestead Sports Complex Stadium.
Notre Dame (2-2) continued to battle its injury woes, with preseason All-American Brian Stavisky and reigning BIG EAST player of the week Andrew Bushey not making the trip due to shoulder sprains. Sophomore second baseman Steve Sollmann (pulled quad) returned to action as the team’s No. 3 hitter while highly-touted freshman Matt Macri (elbow strain) made his debut with the Irish as the designated hitter (batting in the No. 3 hole).
Gagne (1-0) held the Dukes to a pair of hits and no walks in his 88-pitch outings, with six strikeouts and two hit batters.
O’Toole, batting in the cleanup spot, waited out a pair of 0-2 curveballs before sending the next pitch from righthanded starter Jim Popp over the rightfield fence for his 21st career home run and a 3-0 Irish lead.
Macri doubled and scored before adding an RBI single for a solid debut. Senior Ken Meyer started at first base for another injured player, Joe Thaman (shoulder), with Meyer matching O’Toole and Macri with two hits in the game (including his third double of the year).
Miami native Javier Sanchez also had a pair of hits while starting in Bushey’s spot at third base (his third different starting spot in four games this season).
Thaman entered the game as a late defensive sub and laced an opposite-field double into the left-center gap.
Notre Dame (2-2) 0-0-0 3-1-0 1-1-0 – 6 12 1
Duquesne (0-1) 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 0 3 1
J.P. Gagne (1-0), Brandon Viloria (8) and Paul O’Toole, Brent Weiss (9).
Jim Popp (0-1), John Smith (7) and Gary Lee.
Home Run: O’Toole, ND (2 on in 4th, 1st of season).
Doubles: Macri (ND), Meyer (ND), Thaman (ND)