March 11, 1999

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Sophomore righthander Aaron Heilman recorded 11 strikeouts while posting the first complete game of his career and the Irish offense rallied for four runs in the eighth inning and one in the ninth, as the Notre Dame baseball team picked up a crucial 5-4 victory over Creighton in second-day action of the fifth annual Irish Baseball Classic, at Wolff Municipal Stadium.

Heilman (2-1)-making just his fifth career start after leading the nation with a 1.61 ERA as the Irish closer in 1998-allowed three earned runs while scattering six hits, one walk and one hit batter over the full nine innings.

The win assures that Notre Dame will play in Saturday’s championship game of the tournament, versus the winner of Friday’s Penn State-Creighton game. Penn State defeated St. Mary’s (Texas) by a scored of 8-6 in Thursday’s early game, with the Irish set to face St. Mary’s tomorrow.

Creighton (12-5) posted single runs in the first and third innings and two more in the top of the sixth before seeing Notre Dame (7-6) rally for its fourth win in the last five games.

The Irish won the game on a two-out single by sophomore second baseman Alec Porzel (his 10th RBI in six games of the current spring-break trip). Freshman catcher Paul O’Toole ignited the rally with just his third hit of the week, driving an 0-2 pitch up the middle. A wild pitch by freshman righthanded reliever Scott Yahraus moved O’Toole to third before freshman centerfielder Steve Stanley drew a one-out intentional walk. O’Toole then advanced to third on a flyout to left field by freshman third baseman Andrew Bushey and Porzel won the game by sending a single over the third-base bag and down the leftfield line.

Notre Dame’s four-run eighth inning again was sparked by the new-look batting order. Speedy leadoff hitter Stanley executed a bunt single to the third-base side and Bushey followed with an opposite-field single through the left side before Porzel laid an attempted sacrifice bunt down the third-base line. Creighton elected to let the ball roll down the line and it bounced off the bag, producing a bases-loaded situation with no outs.

Junior All-America shortstop Brant Ust then came through on a 2-0 count, stroking a two-run double to left-center. The Irish tied the game on successive sacrifice flies, by junior DH Matt Nussbaum (first-pitch) and junior leftfielder Jeff Felker (on a 1-1 count).

Creighton senior righthander Peyton Lewis had no decision, after leaving the game in the eighth inning with the bases loaded. Lewis was tagged with the first three Irish runs, plus eight hits and two walks allowed (with four Ks). Yahraus was touched for two runs on three hits and one walk, with one strikeout.

Lewis also had a two-run single as the Bluejays designated hitter while junior second baseman Vince Pietro went 2-for-3 with an RBI single, a triple and a run scored.

Pietro opened the scoring in the top of the first, after sending a one-out triple to left-center before scoring on Ryan Gripp’s groundout to Ust. Creighton added a run in the third, behind Kenny Sarna’s leadoff single, Brian Smith’s sacrifice bunt and Pietro’s RBI single to right field.

The Irish had a chance in the third inning, with runners on the corners, but Porzel hit a weak linedrive to the second baseman Pietro.

The Bluejays tacked on two more runs in the sixth, with the first run coming unearned after Porzel booted a groundball from leadoff hitter Troy Carley. A stolen base and Pietro’s sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third and Gripp walked before Heilman hit Dan Lawler with a pitch. Lewis then helped himself with a two-run single through the right side of the infield.

NOTES: Thursday’s game was eerily similar to Notre Dame’s 5-4 win over West Virginia on the opening day of the 1998 BIG EAST Conference Tournament in Norwich, Conn … in that win over WVU, a two-run shot by Ust capped a four-run eighth inning (tying the game 4-4) before Allen Greene’s ninth-inning double drove in the winning run Porzel is coming off a freshman season in which he provided many dramatic game-winning hits, including a 15th-inning home run to beat WVU during the 1998 regular season Notre Dame’s top hitters during the spring-break trip include; Ust (.500, 11-for-22, 12 RBI, 4 HR, 7 R, 2 2B, 4 BB, 3 K, 2-3 SB, 2 E), Stanley (.391, 9-for-23, 7 R, 3-5 SB, 4 BB, 1 K, 1 SH), Nussbaum (.389, 7-for-18, 2 RBI, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 SF), Bushey (.360, 9-for-25, 1 RBI, 6 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, 4 K, 1-1 SB, 2 E) and Porzel (.346, 9-for-26, 10 RBI, HR, 2 3B, 2B, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 K, 1-1 SB, 4E) the Irish pitching staff has a respectable 4.67 team ERA during the trip, with 57 strikeouts, just 24 walks and 48 hits allowed in 54 innings during those six games Ust’s double was the 38th of his career, just one behind Ryan Topham (1993-95) for eighth on the Notre Dame all-time list and only two behind former teammate J.J. Brock (42, 1994-98).

CREIGHTON     1-0-1    0-0-2    0-0-0    4     6    1NOTRE DAME    0-0-0    0-0-0    0-4-1    5    11    1Lewis, Yahraus (8) and Smith, Rowley (9);  Heilman and O'Toole.

Penn State Upends St. Mary’s

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The Penn State baseball team evened its record at 5-5 on the year and moved to 1-1 in the Irish Spring Classic with a 8-6 comeback win over St. Mary’s (11-7) today. The contest took place at Wolff Memorial Stadium in San Antonio in front of 120 fans.

“We got wonderful relief pitching from Pete Yodis,” Penn State head coach Joe Hindelang said. “The key to the game was coming back with three big runs in the seventh inning. The insurance run in the eighth was also nice because it gave Yodis a little more breathing room.”

Of Penn States 11 hits, eight were doubles — by eight different players. The Nittany Lions made the most of their two-baggers, as senior right fielder Dan Beers (Endicott, N.Y.) got things started in the first with a two-out RBI double that plated junior third baseman Shawn Fagan (Levittown, N.Y.). After St. Mary’s answered with two runs in the top of the second, the Lions used consecutive doubles by Scott Hamilton (Malibu, Calif.), John Richmond (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Michael Campo (Absecon, N.J.) to score a pair of runs.

The Rattlers struck again in the fifth on an RBI double by first baseman Ross Beardsley that chased Penn State starter Dan McCall (State College, Pa.). Beardsley then scored on a Penn State error to knot the score at 4-4.

St. Mary’s then took a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh scoring two more unearned runs.

However, Penn State rallied with three runs in its half of the seventh to take a 7-6 lead. Junior second baseman Eric Spadt (Northampton, Pa.) led off with a double to left and scored on a double to right by Fagan. After Fagan scored on a RBI groundout by sophomore catcher Chris Netwall (Allentown, Pa.). Junior first baseman Joe Puliafico (Manhasset, N.Y.) closed out the inning with another RBI double. The Lions added an insurance run in the eighth when Campo tripled with one out and scored on a squeeze bunt by Spadt.

Sophomore Pete Yodis (Buckingham, Pa.) earned the win in relief of McCall. He gave up only one hit and two unearned runs in 4.1 innings to improve to 2-0 on the year.

Jeff Appelt fell to 6-2 as he went the distance for to Rattlers, tossing 151 pitches and striking out eight.

Beardsley went 3-for-4 and Joseph Contreras was 2-for-4 and both knocked in a pair of runs to lead St. Mary’s.

Penn State continues play in the Irish Spring Classic tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. CST against Creighton.

            1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 9  R  H  E  St. Mary's  0  2  0  0  2  0  2  0 0  6  6  0  Penn State  1  2  1  0  0  0  3  1 X  8 11  2