April 28, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 8th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team – playing minus several of its top defensive players – totaled six errors and two passed balls that led to eight unearned runs as visiting Cleveland State emerged with a 12-5 victory over the Irish in Wednesday-night action at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (33-9) played the entire game minus its middle infielders – senior second baseman Steve Sollmann (who missed his 19th straight game due to a fractured jaw) and sophomore shortstop Greg Lopez (held out due to a sore back) – while senior catcher Javi Sanchez was relegated to DH duty, after catching all 45 innings during the previous five days of action. Sanchez’s backup, freshman Sean Gaston, missed his sixth straight game due to mononucleosis while rightfielder Cody Rizzo left the game after taking a tumble trying to track down a 5th-inning double that hit off the fence.
Five of the errors came from the middle infield, including three in a six-run top of the 1st that featured five unearned runs.
The game marked just the second time this season that unearned runs have led to Notre Dame’s margin of defeat, with the other coming in the 2-1 loss to St. John’s on April 12 (both SJU runs were unearned in that game).
Cleveland State (10-20) rapped out 16 hits, highlighted by home runs into the leftfield jetstream from Steve Chinn, Ben Smith and Jim Waller.
Junior righthander Matt Kaltenbach (3-3) – one of the Vikings’ top weekend starters -picked up the win despite allowing five runs in the first five innings, on seven hits and two walks (with three strikeouts). Sophomore lefthander Brandon Hewitt then logged three shutout innings, facing just 12 batters (2 H, BB, 4 Ks).
The Irish cut the early deficit in half with three runs in the 3rd, as sophomore catcher Steve Andres launched a 2-2 pitch over the fence in dead-center for his sixth home run of the season. Junior Matt Edwards (who played first and third base) earlier had doubled to the left-center gap before sophomore centerfielder Alex Nettey walked on four pitches.
CSU’s six-run 1st inning included Chinn’s solo home run and a two-run single later in the frame. Cory Rojeck and Gian Testa (2 RBI) also singled in the inning while Waller and Matt Ochwat (bases-loaded) add walks in the inning.
Notre Dame matched the visitors with two runs in the 5th, after rare back-to-back triples from Matt Macri and Matt Bransfield and a Javi Sanchez sacrifice fly.
Freshman righthander Mike Dury came on in relief during the 1st inning and issued the bases-loaded walk before tossing 3.1 shutout innings (5 H, BB, 2 Ks). Freshman righthander Rico Bertucci later closed the game with three solid innings that included just one earned run (2 R, 4 H, 3 Ks).
NOTES – The Irish now are just 13-6 since Sollmann’s early-April injury (20-3 prior to the injury) … the home run was the first for Andres in the last 10 games … the game marked just the fourth time all season the Irish have totaled more than three errors in a game … Macri’s triple was his BIG EAST-leading fifth of the season and the 10th of his Irish career, tying former teammate Paul O’Toole for 13th in the ND record book … Sanchez was hit by a pitch for the 10th time this season (second to Rizzo’s 16), giving ND a team-record 76 HBPs for the season … freshman RHP Dan Kapala (2 IP, 4 R/2 ER, 4 H, 3 Ks) saw his nine-outing shutout streak come to an end (he logged 12.2 innings without being charged with a run).
CLEVELAND STATE (10-20) 6-0-0 0-2-2 1-1-0 – 12 16 1
#8 NOTRE DAME (33-9) 0-3-0 0-2-0 0-0-0 – 5 10 6
Matt Kaltenbach (W, 3-3), Brandon Hewitt (6), Gian Testa (9) and Doug Besozzi.
Home Runs: Steve Chinn, CSU (solo in 1st; 1st of season); Steve Andres, ND (2 on in 2nd; 6th of season), Ben Smith, CSU (solo in 6th; 3rd of season), Jim Waller, CSU (solo in 8th; 1st of season).
Triples: Matt Macri (ND), Matt Bransfield (ND).
Doubles: Matt Edwards (ND), Bransfield (ND), Chin (CSU), Mike Ockwat (CSU), Jim Waller (CSU).