April 17, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame baseball team pulled out a two-out rally to force extra innings in the opener before losing to Boston College 10-7 in eight innings, but the Irish completed the rally in the nightcap for their 13th comeback win of the season (9-6), in BIG EAST Conference doubleheader action Saturday at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (27-9, 13-2 BIG EAST) lost for the first time at home, after opening with 12 straight wins, and saw its lead shrink atop the BIG EAST standings, as second-place Rutgers (11-4) posted a sweep of visiting Villanova (13-0, 11-9).
Boston College (14-14, 4-8)-which kept alive its chances at a spot in the six-team BIG EAST Tournament-nearly pulled thee sweep after holding a 6-2 lead in the seventh inning of the nightcap. Senior first baseman Sean McGowan delivered the game-winning, two-run single in the opener (he entered the day ranked second in the BIG EAST with a .447 batting average).
BC handed sophomore Aaron Heilman (7-2) his first loss since opening week, touching the Irish ace for 10 runs (only four earned) on 13 hits and six walks (with eight Ks). Irish junior lefthander Tim Kalita posted his sixth no-decision in 10 starts, allowing six runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out nine over seven and two-thirds innings. Freshman Drew Duff (4-1) threw five pitches to pick up the win, after forcing hot-hitting Eric Olson into an eighth-inning flyout to left field (Olson had smacked solo home runs in his previous two at-bats). Junior righthander John Corbin had one strikeout and two hits allowed for his seventh save of the season-three shy of the Irish record set by Mike Coffey in 1989.
Notre Dame struggled in the early innings against BC’s pair of lefthanded starters. Junior David Conley (3-4) allowed just two runs in the first five innings before ultimately allowing seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits and five walks over seven innings, with three Ks. His classmate Andrew Sullivan also allowed just a pair of runs in the first five innings before finishing with nine runs allowed (eight earned) on 10 hits and two walks over seven and two-thirds innings (with five Ks).
The Eagles did most of the day’s damage in the second inning of both games, when they posted nine of their combined 16 runs during the two games. Notre Dame freshman catcher Paul O’Toole provided the big hit in the eighth inning of the second game, coming to the plate in a 6-6 game with one out and two runners on. O’Toole then lifted Sullivan’s first-pitch offering into the gusting wind and over the leftfield fence for his fourth home run of the season (all over the course of the last eight games).
GAME 1: The Irish opened the scoring in the first, when Brant Ust singled home Steve Stanley BC’s six-run second included: Jarrett Mendoza’s one-out single, Olson’s double that bounced by third baseman Ben Cooke, Mike Gambino’s RBI groundout, Mike Hubbard’s walk, a wild pitch, an interference call on first baseman Jeff Felker after he dropped the ball on a failed pickoff attempt (leading to four unearned runs), Mike Quirk’s RBI single up the middle, Steve Langone’s RBI double to right-center, McGowan’s RBI chopper that skipped under the glove of the shortstop Ust, walks by Jeff Waldron and Joe Kealty, and Mendoza’s RBI single to center Alec Porzel scored for the Irish in the third, after the third baseman Olson dropped a popup near the mound three Irish runs in the sixth produced a tense 6-5 game, thanks to Stanley’s one-out bunt single, Cooke’s opposite-field single to right and Porzel’s sixth home run of the season (a first-pitch shot to left) BC added an insurance run in the seventh, when Waldron doubled home McGowan the Irish two-out rally included Ed Golom’s pinch-hit walk, Matt Nussbaum’s first-pitch single through the right side, Stanley’s RBI single to the second baseman and Cooke’s 1-2 single to left field (Porzel then struck out swinging) BC’s winning rally was set up when backup catcher J.P Drevline couldn’t handle the third strike thrown to leadoff hitter Gambino Quirk then hit a one-out single off the glove of the diving Cooke, Langone walked on a full count and McGowan sent a 1-0 pitch through the left side Corbin then took the mound but Langone was able to score after a groundout and Kealty’s nubber that Corbin had trouble fielding on the slick grass.
GAME 2: BC’s three-run second inning included an RBI single from Mendoza and Hubbard’s two-run single to left the Irish answered in the bottom of the inning with Ust’s 15th home run of the season (on the first pitch) and O’Toole’s two-out, two-strike single to score Jeff Wagner BC added solo home runs in the fourth (Olson), sixth (Olson) and seventh (Hubbard) the Irish cut the lead to 6-4 with two runs in the seventh, with Strickroth hit by a pitch for the third time in the doubleheader, O’Toole’s double to right, Stanley’s RBI bunt single to second base and Cooke’s fielder’s choice groundball Ust went the other way to lead off the eighth, stroking a two-strike double down the rightfield line (the 45th of his career) before scoring on Wagner’s fifth career triple (to right-center) Felker then hit a slow roller to the third baseman Olsen, whose throw home was wide left, allowing Wagner to score the tying run the second baseman Gambino then ranged far to his left but misplayed Strickroth’s slow roller and O’Toole sent the next pitch into the gusting wind.
NOTES: Notre Dame has 13 comeback victories, six games when the Irish winning run came in the final inning and five others where the Irish game-winner was scored in the second-to-last inning S the 27 Irish wins have included seven by one run, five by two runs, eight by three runs, five by four runs S in the last 14 games, the Irish have seven comeback wins (one in the last inning, two in the second-to-last) and three other victories where the winning run came in the final inning-plus Saturday’s extra-inning loss (after tying the game in the last at-bat) S Notre Dame has been swept just twice in 47 BIG EAST doubleheaders (vs. West Virginia in ’96, at Seton Hall in ’97) S Ust’s 4-for-7 day pushed his hitting streak to 14 games (one shy of his career best, set in 1997) and raised his career average in the BIG EAST regular season to .434 (89-for-205), ahead of the BIG EAST record set by Seton Hall’s Marteese Robinson (.432, ’85-’87) S in other BIG EAST action Saturday: St. John’s (8-6) jumped from seventh to third place with an 8-1, 3-1 home sweep that dropped Pittsburgh (8-7) from third to fifth, Connecticut (6-9) moved into eighth with a pair of home wins (7-6, 6-3) over last-place Georgetown (2-13), fifth-place Providence (8-7) earned a 2-0, 3-11 split at third-place Seton Hall (8-6), and Villanova (7-9) dropped from fifth to seventh with its pair of losses at Rutgers (ninth-place and 5-10 West Virginia was idle).
BOSTON COLLEGE 0-6-0 0-0-0 1-3 10 14 2NOTRE DAME 1-0-1 0-0-3 2-0 7 12 1Heilman, Corbin (8) and O'Toole. Conley, Sullivan (8) and Waldron.
BOSTON COLLEGE 0-3-0 1-0-1 1-0-0 6 11 1NOTRE DAME 0-2-0 0-0-0 2-5-X 9 11 2Kalita, Duff (8), Corbin (9) and O'Toole. Sullivan, Olsen (8) and Waldron.