April 27, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame baseball team found itself in familiar territory on Thursday night, as the Irish claimed a big lead in the early innings before needing some late runs to secure a 9-6 victory over visiting Cleveland State, in non-conference baseball action at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (34-10)-which followed a similar script on the previous two nights, in a loss to Western Michigan and a win over Michigan-erupted for five runs in the third only to see Cleveland State tie the game with two runs in the fourth and four in the seventh. The Irish then pushed across three runs in the bottom of the seventh and junior righthander Danny Tamayo closed out the final two innings for his first career save at Notre Dame.
For the second straight night, members of the senior class provided big plays for the Irish. Second baseman Jeff Perconte-whose junior season was ended by a shoulder injury suffered on a hustling slide at home plate versus CSU-fittingly provided a two-run double in the third while first baseman Jeff Felker capped the inning with his fifth home run of the season.
Junior lefthander Mike Naumann (2-1) was the Irish pitcher of record, yielding an unearned run and two hits while recording the final out in the top of the seventh (the Irish then took the lead in the bottom of the inning).
Sophomore righthander Drew Duff was in line for the win before CSU’s big seventh inning. Duff allowed two runs during the first six innings while scattering six hits and one walk, with seven strikeouts (five of which came in the first two innings). Tamayo tossed the final two innings for the first save of his Irish career, with three strikeouts, one hit and one walk allowed.
Cleveland State (14-23) outhit the Irish, 12-8, but the Vikings left eight runners on base while also hitting into a double play. Senior rightfielder Jeff Haase batted 3-for-4 while establishing a CSU record for consecutive games with at least one hit (22).
Sophomore lefthander Mark Ritz (0-2) suffered the loss in relief of junior righthander Ryan McClarnon. Ritz was tagged for the decisive three runs in the seventh, with one hit, one walk, a wild pitch and two strikeouts.
A high throw by shortstop Mike Lehman allowed Irish sophomore centerfielder Steve Stanley to reach leading off the seventh and freshman rightfielder Brian Stavisky followed with a 2-2 single to center field. Felker loaded the bases with a one-out, full-count walk-ending the night for Ritz.
Sophomore righthander Eric Zizelman then took the mound but walked senior leftfielder Matt Nussbaum on a full count, forcing in the go-ahead run. Sophomore third baseman Andrew Bushey followed with a sacrifice fly to left (the other runners moved up on the throw) and catcher Ross Smirne then failed to hold onto a pitch from freshman lefty David Boyza, allowing another Irish run to score.
* Notre Dame’s five-run third opened with sophomore C Paul O’Toole’s first of three walks in the game. Sophomore DH Matt Bok sent the next pitch through the left side of the infield before Perconte delivered a two-run double to left-center field. Stanley bunted Perconte to third and Stavisky drilled the next pitch to left-center, for a 3-0 lead. … Felker then came through with two outs, belting a first-pitch shot into the wind and over the rightfield fence-for the 21st home run of his career (12th-most in Irish history).
* CSU chipped away with two runs in the fourth, thanks to consecutive singles by Keith Lillash, Jeff Haase and Smirne.
* The Irish pushed to a 6-2 lead in the sixth, when Nussbaum drew a one-out, full-count walk, followed by a walk from Bushey, O’Toole’s single to right (ending McClaron’s night) and a run-scoring wild pitch from Ritz.
* The Vikings jumped right back in the game moments later, vs. freshman RHP Brandon Viloria. Jamie Murphy sent the first pitch of the inning to right-center and Marty Healy added a one-out, 1-2 single to left. The runners moved up on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Matt Smith, followed by a double steal (plating one run) and Lehman’s RBI double to left. … Naumann then took the mound and served up Lillash’s RBI single through the right side. Haase kept the two-out rally alive with a single to left-center and the inning was extended when Smirne’s grounder was misplayed by the first baseman Felker, allowing Lillash to score the tying run.
Duff, Viloria (7), Naumann (7), Tamayo (8) and O’Toole.
McClarnon, Ritz (6), Zizelman (7), Boyza (7), Greggor (8) and Smirne.