April 22 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – One of the most successful seasons in Notre Dame baseball rolled on Thursday night, as the No. 25-ranked Irish downed visiting Central Michigan, 3-1, in a quick-moving game at Eck Stadium that was pushed back an hour due to the day’s torrential rainfall.
The win held extra significance for Notre Dame (30-9), which equaled the team record for the quickest season to 30 wins (the 1990 and ’94 teams also opened 30-9). The Irish also posted their 15th come-from-behind victory of the season while winning their sixth two-run game of 1999( Notre Dame also owns seven one-run wins, plus nine by three runs and five by four runs).
Central Michigan (14-22) continued its season-long struggles in the field, as five CMU errors led to all three of the Irish runs. In fact, Notre Dame’s boxscore included a rare three-run, no-RBI summary, as each of the team’s runs came home immediately following a CMU error.
The game–which started at 7:00 p.m. but last just two hours and 18 minutes- marked the return of Irish freshman Andrew Bushey, who batted in the No. 8 spot as the designated hitter. Bushey, who opened the season as Notre Dame’s starting third baseman, had missed the previous 21 games, after suffering a knee injury at West Virginia on March 20. Sophomore lefthander Mike Naumann (3-0) picked up the win in a planned rotation of five Irish pitchers. Naumann allowed an unearned run, three hits and one walk while pitching the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Junior righthander John Corbin closed things for his eighth save of the season-third in Notre Dame history behind Mike Coffey’s 10 saves in 1989 and Aaron Heilman’s nine in 1998. Corbin set down the side in the ninth, notching his 33rd strikeout (in 30.2 innings) while lowering his season ERA to 2.94.
The Chippewas opened the scoring in the third, with Chris Suggit dropping a bunt down the soggy third-base line before moving up on Jake Sandborn’s 0-2 single through the left side. Suggit then came home on a passed ball and Scott Pierrat’s groundout to first base.
The Irish tied the game in the bottom of the inning, with Bushey stroking a leadoff single to center field before moving up on a pair of wild pitches. Steve Stanley then sent a blooper to shallow left-center field, where the centerfielder Suggit appeared to make the running basket catch before dropping the ball (with Stanley hustling to second base on the error). Third baseman Adam LaLonde then made his second of three errors, pulling the first baseman off the bag on Alec Porzel’s grounder, with Stanley again showing hustle to score the second Irish run.
Notre Dame added another unearned run in the sixth, with Porzel drawing a one-out walk before Matt Nussbaum sent a blooper to the right side that fell between the first and second basemen. First baseman Brian Issitt then tried to nail Porzel but his throw across the diamond sailed well over the head of the new third baseman Dave Twomley, allowing Porzel to score.
NOTES: Stanley’s single extended his hitting streak to nine games S junior rightfielder Jeff Felker stroked an 0-2 single to left-center in the fifth, extending his career-best hitting streak to 14 games S junior shortstop Brant Ust went the other way with a 2-2 pitch in the eighth, parking the ball into the rightfield corner for the 48th double of his career (tying 1992 graduate Joe Binkiewicz for fifth all-time at Notre Dame, two behind current senior Jeff Wagner and 1992 graduate Craig Counsell) S junior lefty Tim Kalita tossed the first two innings, allowing no hits and one walk while striking out the side in the first S Kalita has 189 strikeouts in 188 career innings, ranking 10th on the Irish career Ks list (just three behind three-year player Pat Leahy, 1990-92, and 1997 graduate Darin Schmalz) S sophomore righthander Mike Carlin made his first appearance since March 30, allowing one hit and one walk in the sixth.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 0-0-1 0-0-0 0-0-0 1 6 5 NOTRE DAME 0-0-2 0-0-1 0-0-X 3 6 0
Bolthouse, Jackson (3), Kipling (5), Roberts (7), Nemeth (8) and Whitmore, Gragg (5) and Pickens (8). Kalita, Naumann (3), Carlin (6), Duff (7), Corbin (9) and O’Toole.