May 16, 2006
COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – Nate Recknagel had an RBI double and solo home run as Michigan edged Notre Dame, 3-1, at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in the lowest-scoring game during the 11-year history of the “Baseball Bash” series between the two longtime rivals. The game again was held at the home of the minor-league West Michigan Whitecaps, with the Irish now owning a narrow 6-5 edge in the Baseball Bash games.
Wade Korpi (5-2) took the loss while making his first start in 16 days. The sophomore lefthander allowed three runs on five hits and two walks, striking out seven in a 109-pitch outing that spanned 6.0 full innings. Korpi’s team-best season ERA now stands at 2.20, with 81 strikeouts, 22 walks and 48 hits allowed in 65.1 innings.
Notre Dame (38-14-1) outhit Michigan by a 6-5 margin but the Irish made several costly mistakes, including a pair of runners picked off base. The Irish now have lost 14 times this season by a total of just 42 runs (avg. loss margin of 3.0), with 11 of the losses coming by a margin of 1-3 runs. Tuesday night’s game marked the ninth time this season that Notre Dame has been on the losing end of a game decided by one (5) or two runs (4). The team’s past five losses alone – all in the span of 11 days – have come by a combined margin of just eight runs (4-5, 6-9, 6-7, 1-2 and 1-3).
Michigan (34-18) scored twice in the bottom of the 1st but the teams combined for just two runs the rest of the way. Eric Rose’s leadoff walk started the Michigan scoring sequence, with Notre Dame shortstop Greg Lopez then injured on the ensuing stolen base when the throw bounced short, took an unusual hop and hit him in the head (Lopez left the game and his status is to-be-determined).
Recknagel plated the first run when he sent a 2-0 pitch down the leftfield line for a double. Doug Pickens then singled up the middle for the 2-0 lead.
The Wolverines stretched to a 3-0 lead in the 6th, as Recknagel turned on a 2-1 pitch and sent it over the leftfield fence for his fifth home run of the season and a rare long-ball in the history of the Baseball Bash.
Sophomore righthander Michael Powers (3-0) picked up the win, allowing the one run on five hits and no walks while striking out four in 7.0 innings.
Notre Dame had a chance to tie the game in the 6th, sparked by Craig Cooper’s opposite-field triple into the rightfield corner (0-1 pitch). Two batters later, Jeremy Barnes also went the other way on an 0-2 pitch, flaring an RBI single into right field. Powers then executed the pickoff play and the erased runner proved costly, as Ross Brezovky pulled a double down the rightfield line and scooted to third on the errant throw.
Danny Dressman’s ensuing lineout to left field likely could have provided a tying sacrifice fly but instead it was a harmless third out of the inning, as Notre Dame still trailed 3-1 with only two more trips left to the plate.
The Irish staged a final rally in the 9th, when Cooper coaxed a walk and Brett Lilley lined a single into shallow center field. But closer Ben Jenzen induced a pair of flyouts to end the game.
NOTES: The game was the 120th of the all-time series that dates back to 1892, with Michigan now holding a 77-43 lead (ND leads the series 7-6 in the 12-year Paul Mainieri era) … the home run was the first allowed by Korpi this season and just the 12th surrendered by ND pitching in all of 2006 … Cooper’s walk was his team-leading 33rd of the season and 106th of his career … he also singled and now has reached base in 45 of his 47 games played this season (hits in 41) … the previous low combined score in an ND-UM Baseball Bash game was a 4-3 win by the Wolverines in 1997 … ND now is 32-5 when outhitting the opponent.
#19 Notre Dame (38-14-1) 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 1 6 0
Michigan (34-18) 2-0-0 0-0-1 0-0-0 – 3 5 1
Home Run: Nate Recknagel, UM (solo in 6th; 5th of season).
Triple: Craig Cooper (ND)
Doubles: Recknagel (UM), Mike Schmidt (UM), Ross Brezovsky (ND).