April 30, 2003

Box Score

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – The 13th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team had been victorious in the final five games of the recently-completed 12-game homestand but the Irish failed to continue their winning ways outside of Eck Stadium in Tuesday’s eighth annual Baseball Bash versus Michigan at Fifth Third Ballpark, with the Wolverines stretching to a 7-0 lead before claiming the 8-4 victory.

Notre Dame (34-10) – which had won the five previous Baseball Bash games vs. Michigan (22-18) – battled back with three runs in the third and one more in the eighth, but the Irish left five runners on base from the 6th-8th innings (nine total LOB) to stall the comeback attempt.

After heading home after the game from the Grand Rapids area, the Irish will make a quick return to Eck Stadium for Wednesday night’s 6:05 game versus Oakland (Mich.), with freshman lefthander Tom Thornton the likely starter on the annual “Turn Back the Clock” promotional night.

Sophomore lefthander Drew Taylor – who has emerged as one of Michigan’s top pitchers this season – picked up the win, after allowing three runs on eight hits and one walk over 5.2 innings (with two strikeouts). Senior righthander Tim Leveque then recorded the final 10 outs for his second save of the season, allowing one run on four hits (with four Ks).

Senior righthander Peter Ogilvie (1-3) suffered the loss in his third straight Baseball Bash start, allowing four runs on two hits and four walks (with three Ks). Both of Michigan’s runs in the third reached on walks, with two more walks leading to a 4-0 UM lead in the fourth.

Notre Dame’s No. 1-3 batters combined to hit just 1-for-14 but the batters in the 6-9 spots sparked the Irish offense, combining to hit 8-for-15. Junior second baseman Steve Sollmann managed a hit from his leadoff spot, extending his career-best hitting streak to 15 games (one shy of Steve Stanley’s 16-game tear in 2000, longest by an ND player in the last four seasons).

The Irish turned in their 17th error-free game of the season (third in the last four games) but a pair of unusual plays helped Michigan amass its 7-0 lead. With one out in the top of the third and two runners aboard, Nick Rudden hit a rightside groundball that caused first baseman Matt Edwards to bump into baserunner Gino Lollio as he moved forward to field the ball. Rudden reached on the infield single and UM went on to score on a hit batter and sacrifice fly.

Michigan’s three-run fifth then saw the Irish outfielders lose a fly ball in the lights, with Brock Koman reaching on the double as the Wolverines stretched to a 7-0 lead.

The Irish rallied for three runs in the sixth, after five straight two-out singles off the bats of Kris Billlmaier (2-for-5, R), Javi Sanchez, Matt Macri (3-for-4, 2 R, RBI), Cody Rizzo and Matt Bransfield (both 2-for-4, RBI). Macri and Rizzo singled again in the eighth, with Greg Lopez sending a two-out single through the left side of the infield to yield a 7-4 game and bring the tying run to the plate.

NOTES: Senior RHP Matt Laird had another strong relief outing (3.2 IP, 2 H, 3 Ks) and is averaging 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched (27 Ks in 21.2 IP) … his classmate Brandon Viloria allowed just his second earned run of the season in the 9th (with an intentional walk, just his second BB of ’03) … Sollmann has hits in 24 of the last 25 games and in 36 of his 42 GP … Macri posted his third 3-hit game of the season (all in the last 13 games) … Bransfield is batting .500 (11-for-22) in his last nine games played.

Michigan    0-0-2  2-3-0  0-0-1 - 8   9  1Notre Dame  0-0-0  0-0-3  0-1-0 - 4  12  0

Drew Taylor (W, 5-1), Tim Leveque (6; SV, 2) and Jake Fox.

Peter Ogilvie (1-3), Tyler Jones (4), Matt Laird (5), Brandon Viloria (9) and Javi Sanchez. Doubles: Kris Billmaier (ND), Gino Lollio (UM), Jake Fox (UM), Matt Butler (UM).