March 12, 2003
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Javi Sanchez’ two-run blast in the bottom of the ninth capped Notre Dame’s comeback from an early 5-0 deficit but Brett Nagy won the game with a three-run shot in the 10th, as homestanding Jacksonville defeated the 18th-ranked Irish, 9-6, in continuing Kennel Club Classic action at Brest Field.
Notre Dame (6-5) – which had won seven of its previous eight extra-inning games – staged its rally by putting two runs on the board in the fifth, eighth and ninth innings but the Irish ultimately stranded nine baserunners (including a bases-loaded chance in the 10th, after having the go-ahead run on third with one out in the ninth) while also hitting into a pair of double plays and seeing another runner erased on a missed hit-and-run.
Jacksonville (7-10) had claimed a 4-0 lead in the first inning and led 5-0 heading into the fifth before taking a 6-2 advantage into the eighth. The Irish then elected to walk hot-hitting Clint Hart (who had homered earlier) in the 10th, with two outs and a runner on third, but Nagy sent a 2-2 pitch from J.P. Gagne over the leftfield fence to end Notre Dame’s four-game winning streak.
The teams combined to use 24 position players and 10 pitchers.
Senior righthander Ryan Courson logged five solid innings to open the game for the Dolphins, allowing two runs on six hits and no walks (with three strikeouts). Notre Dame senior Peter Ogilvie was touched for five runs on nine hits and two walks in the first five innings of play.
The hosts overcame a sloppy defensive game, with six errors leading to one unearned run, while the Irish played error-free ball for the fifth time in the last six games.
Notre Dame junior second baseman Steve Sollmann hit 2-for-5 from the leadoff spot (leaving his season batting average at .400) while freshman third baseman Greg Lopez had a strong game from the 9-hole, batting 3-for-5 with an RBI and run scored (he also reached on an error).
Chad Hauseman sparked the game-ending sequence with a leadoff single into center field, followed by Donald Brickle’s sacrifice bunt and Chris Kelly’s runner-advancing groundout. Hart then drew the intentional walk and Nagy ended the game with his first home run of the season.
JU sent its closer to the mound in the bottom of the ninth but junior righthander Bobby Bowman hit leadoff batter Cody Rizzo with a 1-1 pitch before Sanchez deposited a 1-0 offering over the leftfield fence for his first home run of the season and a 6-6 game.
The Dolphins put up four runs in the first inning, with the four-hit sequence including Alex Jamieson’s RBI single down the rightfield line and Hart’s three-run shot to right-center. JU added what proved to be a valuable run in the third, with Rob Hudson hitting a leadoff double before scoring on a wild pitch.
Notre Dame broke through for a pair of runs in the fifth, after singles from Sanchez, Lopez and Sollmann. The hosts stretched to a 6-2 cushion when Jamieson’s double plated Hauseman in the seventh but the Irish answered with two in the eighth, capitalizing on a pair of errors and Sollmann’s RBI triple over the centerfielder’s head.
NOTES: ND’s probable pitching rotation for the final three Spring Break games includes freshman LHP Tom Thornton (vs. Eastern Illinois) and sophomore RHPs Chris Niesel (vs. Navy) and John Axford (vs. Creighton) … ND now has been outscored 10-1 in the first inning, with the only Irish first-inning run coming in the opener vs. Dayton … sophomore RHP Martin Vergara (3 IP, R, 2 H, 2 Ks) kept JU within range during the middle innings … senior RHP Brandon Viloria pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, facing three batters with one K and one hit allowed (he has retired 16 of 17 batters faced this season) … the Irish had been 16-2-1 in their previous 19 extra-inning games (dating back to 1997), including wins in the previous four games vs. Wake Forest and Vanderbilt … Jacksonville became the 280th all-time opponent in the ND baseball program’s 111-year history … Sollmann is batting 7-for-16 on the Spring trip and Sanchez 6-for-14 (2-for-4 vs. JU) … Sollmann has collected multiple hits in seven of 11 games this season, with just two Ks and one error in the field … ND’s team fielding pct. has swelled to .974, with just as many double plays turned (12) as errors … Sollmann ranks 8th on the ND career batting average list (.365) while Viloria now owns the 6th-best career ERA in the ND record book (2.71, 3rd-best since 1963).
Notre Dame 0-0-0 0-2-0 0-2-2 0 – 6 10 0
Jacksonville 4-0-1 0-0-0 1-0-0 3 – 9 14 6
Peter Ogilvie, Martin Vergara (6), Brandon Viloria (9), J.P. Gagne (10; L, 2-2) and Javi Sanchez.
Ryan Courson, Donald Brickle (6), Josh Deel (8), James Murdock (8), Bobby Bowman (9), D.J. Kaercher (9; W, 1-0) and Jon Galui.
Home Runs: Clint Hart, JU (2 on in 1st, 1st of season); Javi Sanchez, ND (1 on in 9th, 1st of season), Brett Nagy (2 on in 10th, 1st of season).
Triple: Steve Sollmann (ND).
Doubles: Kris Billmaier (ND), Rob Hudson (JU), Alex Jamieson (JU).