May 29, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Sophomore righthander Vince Pistilli delivered a solid starting effort while the Michigan offense grew stronger as the game progressed, as the No. 4-seeded Wolverines pulled away from the hosts and No. 2-seeded Notre Dame, 11-5, in a Saturday night elimination game.
Michigan (34-29)-which stayed alive earlier in the day by posting a 13-5 victory over No. 3 seed Creighton-advances to the championship round, with a 1:00 p.m. rematch on Sunday versus top-seeded Cal State Fullerton. The Titans rallied for three runs in the ninth inning of Friday’s opening game to defeat Michigan, 6-5. If Michigan beats Fullerton in Sunday’s first game, the teams will meet one more time to decide the regional championship.
Notre Dame (43-18)-which experienced the strange feeling of playing from the visitor’s first-base dugout-again made some costly miscues, as six Irish errors helped lead to three unearned runs for the Wolverines.
Pistilli (4-3) allowed three runs while scattering eight hits and five walks over seven and two-thirds innings. His 127-pitch outing included two strikeouts, nine groundouts and 10 flyouts. Senior righthander Alex Shilliday (4-5) suffered the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits and one walk, with two Ks.
Michigan scored in its final six innings, including multiple runs in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.
The Wolverines surged to a 4-3 lead on Brian Bush’s home run in the bottom of the fifth. Bobby Scales reached to open the inning when Shilliday bobbled his bunt to the right side and then lobbed a throw that landed down the rightfield line for a double error. Two batters later, Bush worked to an 0-2 count and fouled off two more pitches before smacking the next pitch over the leftfield fence for his seventh home run of the season.
The Wolverines added to their lead in the seventh, versus sophomore lefty Mike Naumann. Scott Tousa collected a one-out single before scoring on Scales’ double to the wall in right-center, with Scales scurrying to third when Ust bounced the relay throw. Jason Alcaraz then earned a double when his soft grounder kicked off the first-base bag and trickled down the rightfield line, ending Naumann’s brief stint.
The inning continued when Porzel dropped a routine linedrive from Bush, with the runners moving up on a wild pitch from junior righthander John Corbin. David Parrish’s sacrifice fly then plated UM’s third unearned run of the night.
Michigan stretched to a 9-3 lead in the seventh, after Bryan Besco’s leadoff single and Mike Seestedt’s full-count home run to left field (just his third homer of the season). The Wolverines kept it going in the eighth, when Bush was hit by a pitch, stole second, took third on O’Toole’s throwing error and scored on a balk. Parrish then walked and scored all the way from first on Mike Cervenak’s double to the gap in left-center.
The Irish broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth, when Stanley drew a walk, swiped his 24th base of the season and scored on O’Toole’s 2-2 single through the right side.
Notre Dame opened the game by scoring a pair of runs. Stanley walked and then showed his speed by motoring to third base on O’Toole’s single to shallow left. Porzel then executed an RBI hit-and-run single through the right side and Nussbaum plated O’Toole despite hitting a double-play ball to the second baseman.
Michigan scored its first run in the third, thanks to a two-out, two-base error by Ust-who was making just his second start at second base in more than two years. Ust had trouble gauging the throw on a routine groundball off the bat of Alcaraz, who scooted to second when Ust’s wide throw bounced to the fence. Shilliday then uncorked a wild pitch and Bush sent an RBI single through the right side. The Wolverines went on to forge a 2-2 tie in the fourth, thanks to consecutive stand-up doubles by Cervenak and Besco.
The Irish capped the scoring with two runs in the ninth, versus sophomore lefty Nick Alexander. Freshman DH Ken Meyer led off with a first-pitch single to center before scoring on O’Toole’s first-pitch blast to right field for his eighth home run of the season and fourth straight game with a homer.
NOTRE DAME 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 -- 5 11 6 MICHIGAN 0 0 1 1 2 3 2 2 X -- 11 13 0
Alex Shilliday, Mike Naumann (6), John Corbin (6) and Paul O'Toole.Vince Pistilli, Nick Alexander (8) and David Parrish. W-Pistilli (4-3).
L-Shilliday (4-5). HRs-ND: O'Toole (8); UM: Bush (7), Seestedt (3).