April 12, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A throwing error on Bowling Green second baseman Kenny Burdine allowed the winning run to score in the second inning, as Notre Dame defeated the visiting Falcons, 2-1, in rapidly-moving action Wednesday at Eck Stadium.
Both teams managed just four hits in a game that lasted just 2:07, with the Irish stranding 10 baserunners while BG left five.
Sophomore righthander Matt Buchmeier (3-1) picked up the win with five strong innings of middle relief, facing just 17 batters while scattering two hits and one walk (with three strikeouts). Freshman lefthander Aaron Nease (1-1) suffered the tough-luck loss, allowing the two runs on two hits, two walks and two hit batters during the first four innings (with one K).
All of the game’s runs came in the second inning, with Notre Dame (23-8) scoring despite managing no hits in the inning. Nease hit sophomore third baseman Andrew Bushey with a one-out, 1-0 pitch before sophomore leftfielder Matt Strickroth drew a full-count walk. Nease then hit senior second baseman Jeff Perconte with the next pitch before Bushey scored on a flyout to left field by sophomore first baseman Ken Meyer-a last-minute replacement for injured senior Jeff Felker, who was hit in the nose by a bad-hopper late in the pregame infield warmup.
The decisive play came with two outs, as sophomore centerfielder Steve Stanley hit a 2-1 pitch towards the right side. Burdine fumbled with the ball and then threw wide of first base, with Strickroth coming around to score an unearned run for the 2-1 Irish lead.
Irish senior righthander John Corbin took the mound in the ninth for his sixth save of the season and the 15h of his career (extending his Notre Dame record). The final three outs did not come easy, through, as the third strike to leadoff batter Alan Gilhousen skipped in the dirt for a wild pitch. Meyer then made a tough play on a hard-hit ball by his counterpart Sean Ryan and scooted to first base for the forceout before lobbing a throw to second base that arrived too late. Lee Morrison’s groundout moved pinchrunner Shaun Rice to third but Matt Marcum ended the game on a full-count groundout to the third baseman Bushey.
Bowling Green (14-13-1) had claimed a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning, as Ryan opened the frame by sending an 0-1 pitch from freshman J.P. Gagne over the fence in deep right-center field, for his fifth home run of the season.
Notre Dame entered the day with the sixth-best team ERA in the nation (3.09) and lowered that number to 3.02 with the strong pitching effort versus BG. The only teams ranked ahead of the Irish for team ERA entering the week were Louisiana-Lafayette (2.22), Clemson (2.71), South Carolina (2.86), Florida State (2.93) and Texas (3.04).
The Irish had a chance in the bottom of the first-with runners on first and second and no outs-but Nease served up a groundout, popup and flyout.
After the second inning, neither team put a runner on second base until the sixth-when Strickroth stroked a one-out, full-count pitch from sophomore righthander Brad Henry to right-center and stole second (Perconte then walked but Meyer popped out to end the inning).
The Falcons opened the seventh versus freshman Brandon Viloria with a leadoff single by Gilhousen and Ryan’s one-out single off Meyer’s glove-but Viloria served up two flyouts to get out of the jam.
The only other runner to reach second base came in the eighth, as Irish sophomore DH Paul O’Toole hit a leadoff single to right field versus junior lefty Chad Curlis and stole second base with one out. Curlis then sandwiched an intentional walk to Strickroth around strikeouts by Bushey and Perconte to end the threat.
Nease, Henry (5), Curlis (9) and Marcum. Gagne, Buchmeier (3), Viloria (8), Corbin (9) and Nussbaum.