March 2, 2002
MIAMI, Fla. – Righthander Chris Niesel (Plantation, Fla.) continued the impressive start to his freshman season as the Notre Dame baseball team defeated Fairfield University, 6-4, at the Homestead Challenge before six Irish errors led to nine unearned runs in a 13-4 Saturday-night loss to Florida International.
Notre Dame (3-3) – which continued to play minus several of its top starting position players wraps up the trip with Sunday’s noon matchup versus Sacred Heart.
Niesel (1-0) allowed three runs (two earned) on six Stags hits and just one walk while racking up nine strikeouts in his seven-inning, 98-pitch outing. Senior righthander Matt Buchmeier then closed out the final two innings for his second save of the season and the sixth of his career.
Niesel – a first team high school All-American at Aquinas High School – now has totaled 19 strikeouts and just one walk in 12 innings of work this season.
Another freshman righthander, Grant Johnson, had no decision after logging five and one-third innings versus FIU (9 hits, 4 runs, 2 earned runs, 7 Ks, 1 BB) while his classmate John Axford (0-1) took the loss in 2.1 innings of relief.
Johnson and Axford both worked out of some tough jams to keep the Irish close heading into the decisive eighth inning.
Senior centerfielder Steve Stanley led the Irish in the Fairfield game, batting 4-for-5 from his leadoff spot while scoring two runs. Freshman DH Matt Macri accounted for half of the ND runs (two RBI, run scored) while senior Matt Bok went 3-for-3 and scored a run as the first of three Irish catchers.
Notre Dame then matched FIU (10-3) in early scoring, with each team scoring twice in the second and fifth innings. The Panthers then surged ahead with a run in the seventh before scoring seven unearned runs in an eight-run top of the eighth.
NOTRE DAME (3-2) 1-1-2 2-0-0 0-0-0 – 6 10 4
FAIRFIELD (0-1) 1-0-0 0-0-2 0-1-0 – 4 8 5
Chris Niesel (W, 1-0), Matt Buchmeier (8, SV, 2) and Matt Bok, Brent Weiss, Paul O’Toole (9). Dan Krines (L, 0-1), Matt Thiffault (7) and Sean Easton.
Doubles: Matt Macri, ND, Matt Bok, ND, Jon Novalis, Fairfield.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (10-3) 0-2-0 0-2-0 1-8-0 – 13 16 4
NOTRE DAME (3-3) 0-2-0 0-2-0 0-0-0 – 4 10 6
Arthur Santos (W), Derek Taylor (7) and Tommy Duenas.
Grant Johnson, John Axford (6, L, 0-1) and Paul O’Toole, Brent Weiss (8).
Triple: Tommy Duenas (FIU)
Doubles (all FIU): Dean Adams, Hector Nunez, Duenas, Solomon Frieder