April 7, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior designated hitter Jeff Wagner posted the eighth two-home-run game of his career while relievers Chris McKeown and John Corbin combined for seven strong innings, as the Notre Dame baseball team roared back from a 9-1 deficit Tuesday to post its 10th comeback victory of the season, 14-10 over visiting Bowling Green at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (22-8) posted its 18th win in the last 20 games while riding the timely hitting of Wagner and juniors Jeff Perconte and Matt Nussbaum (who both hit solo home runs). Junior shortstop Brant Ust showed his All-America form by figuring in six of the Irish runs, batting 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored.
In addition to its 10 come-from-behind victories, the Irish own four victories this season where the winning run was scored in the last inning and three in which the winning run came across in the second-to-last inning. In its last eight games alone, Notre Dame has posted four comeback victories and two others where the winning run was scored in the final inning.
Bowling Green (12-12) used a seven-run third inning to claim a 9-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth. But the Irish chipped away with to runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth before surging ahead with seven runs in the eighth.
Corbin (3-1) continued to pitch effectively for the Irish, picking up the win while allowing one run on three hits over the final two innings, with three strikeouts. The junior righthander has totaled six saves and a 2-0 record during the past 20 games, with a 1.50 ERA, 12 strikeouts, just two walks and 10 hits allowed in 12 innings during that span.
McKeown allowed one run on four hits and one walk over four and two-thirds innings, with five strikeouts. The senior lefthander came on in relief of sophomore lefty Mike Naumann, who allowed eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits and one walk over the first two and one-third innings (with three Ks).
Junior righthander Mike Muzi (2-3)the sixth of seven Falcons pitcherstook the loss, allowing five runs on three hits and two walks while recording two outs.
Nussbaumwho started at first baseopened the big eighth inning with a single to left field before freshman backup catcher J.P. Drevline walked on a full count, ending the night for sophomore righthander Tony Fontana. Ben Cooke then greeted Muzi with an RBI double to the gap in right-center field before Drevline scored on a balk. Muzi then hit Perconte with a 2-1 pitch and walked Steve Stanley on four straight pitches. Freshman leftfielder Ed Golom then worked to a full count before walking with the bases loaded to produce a 10-9 game.
Ust drove home the tying and go-ahead runs on a 1-0 single to center field, with Golom caught overrunning second base for the second out of the inning. Wagner capped the big inning by launching a 3-1 pitch well over the leftfield fence for a 14-10 lead and the 48th of his career (extending his lead to six over Ust atop the Irish record book).
Both teams scored a run in the second inning, with Ust scoring on Paul O’Toole’s groundout. The Falcons then collected seven hits in their seven-run third, highlighted by two-run singles from Alan Gilhousen and Lee Morrison. BG added a run in the fourth but the Irish answered with Wagner’s two-run blast to left field on a 1-1 pitch from senior righthander Jason Kelley.
Alec Porzel’s double and Ust’s single plated two more runs in the fifth while Nussbaum launched his fourth home run of the season in the sixth, on a leadoff 1-0 pitch. Three batters later, the switch-hitting Perconte hit his second home run of the season (and second in five games), to right-center field on a first-pitch offering from junior righthander Joe Cheney.
Wagner’s four RBI give him 179 in his career, moving him past Joe Binkiewicz (176, 1989-92) into fourth on the Irish all-time RBI list, behind Eric Danapilis (221, 1990-93), Dan Peltier (202, 1987-89) and former teammate Mike Amrhein (202, 1994-97). He also moved into a tie for 10th in career runs scored (149) while his 222 career hits are just two shy of cracking that Irish top-10 list. Wagner’s walk on Tuesday was the 105th of his career, moving him into eighth place in the Irish record book.
The first NCAA national Division I rankings also were released on Wednesday, based on games through April 4. Ust checked in at 10th in the nation for home runs per game at 0.48 (he now is at 0.47 after homering at Northwestern, with 14 HRs in 30 games). Wagner-who has just four strikeouts in 39 at-bats this season-did not meet the home run minimum coming into the week (six HRs) but is now averaging 0.58 home runs per game (7 HRs in 12 games), which would rank second behind the University of San Francisco’s Taggert Bozied (22 in 31, 0.71) and just ahead of Boston College’s Sean Mcgowan (12 in 21, 0.57).
BOWLING GREEN 0-1-7 1-0-0 0-1-0 10 14 0NOTRE DAME 0-1-0 2-2-2 0-7-X 14 11 2
Naumann, McKeown (3), Corbin (8) and O’Toole, Drevline (4). Vaught, Kelley (3), Menke (5), Cheney (5), Fontana (7), Muzi (8), Flere (8) and Simon.