March 20, 1999
MORGANTOWN, W.V. – Sophomore righthander Aaron Heilman and junior lefthander Tim Kalita turned in strong outings and six Irish players drove in runs as visiting Notre Dame swept a doubleheader from West Virginia, 4-1 and 6-4, in the BIG EAST Conference openers for both teams Saturday at Hawley Field.
Notre Dame (11-6) pushed its winning streak to seven games while playing error-free ball in the two games. West Virginia (6-9) also made no errors in the doubleheader but could not manufacture enough runs versus the Irish pitching staff.
The Irish now lead the all-time series with WVU 17-9, including 8-6 since both teams joined the BIG EAST in 1995-96. Notre Dame has won seven of its last eight games against the Mountaineers.
Saturday’s games added to the tight ND-WVU rivalry that has seen just one blowout victory in the last 14 games while producing three one-run games, six two-run games and four three-run games between the teams.
Nine different Irish players collected hits in the doubleheader, highlighted by the eighth home run of the season from junior All-America shortstop Brant Ust.
Heilman (3-1) tossed a complete game in the seven-inning opener, facing just four batters over the minimum while recording nine strikeouts, 12 groundouts, no walks and three hits allowed.
Kalita (2-1) weathered a rocky first and seventh inning to help complete the sweep. He allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks over eight innings while equaling his career high for the second straight outing with 10 strikeouts.
WVU senior lefthander Lewis Ross (1-1) took the first-game loss, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and three walks over the full seven innings, with four Ks. Senior righthander Jeremy Cummings (7.1 IP, 5 R, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 K) dropped to 0-4 in the nightcap before giving way to a parade of five relievers.
Junior righthander John Corbin came on for his third save of the season, allowing one hit in the ninth while notching a pair of strikeouts.
Notre Dame opened the day by manufacturing a run after a bunt single to the right side by freshman centerfielder Steve Stanley, a groundout by freshman third baseman Andrew Bushey, a clean steal of third base by Stanley and a run-scoring groundout by sophomore second baseman Alec Porzel.
WVU then tied the game behind singles by Nate Reeser and Travis Pittman and Lance Williams’ fielders choice. But Heilman allowed just two baserunners the rest of the way, one coming in the third when freshman catcher Paul O’Toole let a third strike get away and the second coming on Pittman’s sixth-inning double.
The Irish tacked on single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. O’Toole hit a leadoff single in the fifth and stole second before scoring when Stanley sent a 3-0 pitch up the middle. Notre Dame’s sixth inning include Bushey’s leadoff, opposite-field single to left, Porzel’s double down the leftfield line, an intentional walk to Ust and junior DH Matt Nussbaum’s sacrifice fly.
The final Irish run came after another leadoff single by O’Toole, a sacrifice bunt by sophomore leftfielder Ben Cooke, a stolen base, walks by junior rightfielder Jeff Perconte and Stanley (intentional) and another single to left by Bushey.
Porzel drew a full-count walk in the first inning of the nightcap before Ust sent a 1-2 pitch over the fence in left-center field. WVU rallied with two outs for a run in the bottom of the inning before the Irish stretched to a 5-1 lead with three runs in the third. Stanley led off with a full-count walk and Bushey stroked a two-strike single to right before Porzel delivered an RBI groundout, with Todd Brock making a great diving play at third base to save a sure double.
Cummings then issued Ust an intentional walk and junior first baseman Jeff Felker sent a two-strike single to left-center, with centerfielder Matt McGee nailing Bushey at the plate. Nussbaum capped the crucial inning with a two-run shot up the middle.
WVU made things interesting in the seventh inning, when Reeser blasted a 1-0 fastball from Kalita over the fence in left-center field.
The Irish added an insurance run in the ninth inning, with Perconte turning in an impressive RBI single through the right side after fouling off three two-strike pitches.
NOTES: Porzel’s 11-game hitting streak ended in the second games … the Irish have made just two errors in the last six games … Ust now has 37 career home runs, tying Mike Amrhein and Frank Jacobs for second all-time at Notre Dame (current senior Jeff Wagner holds the record, with 43).
NOTRE DAME 1-0-0 0-1-1 1 4 9 0WEST VIRGINIA 1-0-0 0-0-0 0 1 3 0
Heilman and O’Toole. Ross and Neff.
NOTRE DAME 2-0-3 0-0-0 0-0-1 6 8 0WEST VIRGINIA 1-0-0 0-0-0 3-0-0 4 8 0
Kalita, Corbin (9) and O’Toole. Cummings, Moore (8), Cisneros (8), Kirkland (9), Hendren (9), Smith (9) and Neff, Smith (8).