April 8, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (4/8/00) – Freshman righthander J.P. Gagne (Bloomington, Minn.) turned in another strong performance while three Irish batters each contributed three hits to a 16-hit attack, as Notre Dame defeated Boston College, 12-1, in BIG EAST Conference action Saturday at Eck Stadium.
The teams were scheduled to play a doubleheader beginning at noon but played just one game, with a 3:00 p.m. start, due to inclement weather conditions. The three-game series is set to conclude with a Sunday doubleheader (12:05), with Monday available as a makeup date.
Notre Dame (21-6, 5-2 BIG EAST)-which has won 26 of its last 31 BIG EAST home games-received multiple hits from six different players, with sophomore DH Ken Meyer sparking the team from the leadoff spot with a 3-for-3 day that included two doubles, one RBI and three runs scored. Sophomore centerfielder Steve Stanley boosted his career batting average versus Boston College to .706 (12-for-17), with a 3-for-4 game on Saturday that included three RBI and three runs scored.
Gagne (5-0) stayed unbeaten while posting a strong BIG EAST outing for the second straight week, allowing one unearned run while scattering six hits and four walks over six innings, with three strikeouts and six groundouts. Gagne is the first Notre Dame pitcher to open a season with a 5-0 record since Christian Parker in 1996 and is the first Irish freshman to do so since Alan Walania and Pat Leahy both did it in 1990.
Boston College (17-10, 4-6) managed just one run despite totaling 10 hits and 18 total baserunners, with 14 stranded on base while the Eagles also hit into two double plays and saw another runner erased at the plate on a potential wild pitch. Senior lefthander Brendan Nolan (1-4) allowed eight runs (six earned) on 11 hits over the first four innings, with four strikeouts.
Irish junior lefthander Mike Naumann picked up his first career save after closing the game with three effective innings that included four hits, no walks and no strikeouts (11 batters faced).
Notre Dame again benefitted from the experiment of using the righthanded-hitting Meyer in the leadoff spot versus lefthanders while dropping the lefty Stanley into the No. 2 hole, as the Irish are 3-0 this season with Meyer as the leadoff batter.
Sophomore righthander Mark Sullivan took the mound for BC in the fifth inning and the Irish responded by inserting lefthanded-hitting sophomore Paul O’Toole into the leadoff spot. O’Toole led off the sixth by sending a 1-1 pitch over the rightfield fence for his third home run of the season before adding an RBI single and scoring in the eighth. Meyer and O’Toole’s combined production at the leadoff spot yielded a 5-for-5 day, with three RBI and six runs scored (they combined with Stanley for an 8-for-9, 6-RBI, 8-run day).
Notre Dame’s “second leadoff hitter”, No. 9 batter Jeff Perconte, added a season-high three hits while crossing the plate three times-meaning that the 9-1-2 spots combined for 11 hits in 13 ABs, plus 6 RBI and 11 runs. Senior first baseman Jeff Felker and senior catcher Matt Nussbaum (eight-game hitting streak) each chipped in with two hits and two RBI while junior shortstop Alec Porzel pushed his career-best hitting streak to 13 games.
Gagne lowered his season ERA to 2.45 while the Irish team ERA now stands at 2.73, including 17 games with 0-2 earned runs allowed (Saturday marked the fourth time this season that the Irish have not allowed an earned run).
* Meyer sparked the big offensive day (equaling ND’s second-most hits of the season), with an 0-1 single up the middle in the first … Stanley then bunted him over and Nussbaum delivered a two-out, 1-0 single through the left side of the infield, with Meyer chugging home and beating the tag for an early 1-0 lead.
* ND padded its lead with three runs in the third … Perconte sent the first pitch up the middle and Meyer then sent the next pitch into the strong wind, with the ball blowing away from centerfielder Jarett Mendoza for a double to right-center … Stanley’s wind-aided blooper to shallow center was too tough to handle for the 2B Mike Gambino, with Perconte scoring on the play … Porzel then plated two runs with a double to right-center, with the ball taking a wind-aided path similar to Meyer’s hit earlier in the inning.
* The Irish pushed the lead to 8-0 with a big fourth inning … sophomore LF Matt Strickroth reached when his counterpart Neal McCarthy dropped a short fly ball … Perconte followed with a two-out, 1-2 single to left before Meyer plated a run with an 0-2 double to right-center … Stanley kept things going with a two-run single through the left side of the infield before coming around to score on Porzel’s flyout and Nussbaum’s first-pitch single to right-center.
* BC averted the shutout with an unearned run in the fifth … Mike Quirk drew a leadoff walk and moved up on a wild pitch before Steve Langone walked on a full count … McCarthy’s groundout advanced the runners and Quirk scored when sophomore 3B Andrew Bushey misplayed a grounder off the bat of Joe Kealty.
* O’Toole made his presence felt in the sixth, launching a 1-1 pitch over the rightfield fence for his third home run of the season and the 11th of his career (he has five home runs in his last nine games at Eck Stadium, spanning 29 at-bats).
* ND put the game out of reach in the eighth, sparked by Perconte’s one-out, first-pitch triple to right-center … O’Toole then singled to right-center and Stanley singled to center before sophomore pinch-hitter Matt Bok walked on four pitches (including a wild pitch that advanced both runners) … Felker capped the day’s scoring with a two-run single to left field.
BOSTON COLLEGE 0-0-0 0-1-0 0-0-0 - 1 10 2NOTRE DAME 1-0-3 4-0-1 0-3-X - 12 16 2
Nolan, M. Sullivan (5) and Mackor. Gagne, Naumann (7) and Nussbaum, Bok (9).