April 5, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Freshman righthander Matt Laird tossed five strong innings while junior shortstop Alec Porzel continued his hot hitting, as Notre Dame posted a 7-2 victory over visiting Valparaiso at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (19-6) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and built its lead to 5-2 behind the pitching of Laird (3-1), who logged the first five innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on one hit and no walks, with five strikeouts. Four Irish pitchers combined on a five-hitter while racking up 11 strikeouts, with junior lefthander Mike Naumann and freshman righthander Brandon Viloria each pitching an inning before sophomore righthander Matt Buchmeier tossed the final two innings for the first save of his Irish career.
Porzel extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a 3-for-5 effort, giving him multiple hits in five straight games and a .591 batting average during that stretch (13-for-22). Sophomore centefielder Steve Stanley added two hits and scored two runs for the Irish while senior catcher Matt Nussbaum collected two RBI and scored a run. Sophomore leftfielder Matt Strickroth chipped in with two hits, and RBI and a run scored.
Valparaiso (4-19-1) scored its first run in the second inning-on the first home run of the season from sophomore catcher Bill Gustin-before adding an unearned run in the fifth. Junior lefthander Mason Linderbaum (1-1) had an interesting eight-inning, 122-pitch outing that included seven runs allowed (six earned) on 11 hits and five walks allowed, five strikeouts, three hit batters, four wild pitches, a balk and two pitches that sailed behind the batter but were caught by Gustin.
Buchmeier struck out three Crusaders batters while allowing two hits over the final two innings. Notre Dame-which was ranked third in the nation for team ERA in the most recent NCAA statistics-lowered that mark from 2.91 to 2.83 with Wednesday’s solid outing.
- Notre Dame’s first inning began with Stanley’s full-count walk with one out, followed by Porzel’s first-pitch single through the left side and senior 1B Jeff Felker’s first-pitch RBI single through the right side … Nussbaum’s groundball then brought Porzel home and Nussbaum stole second before freshman RF Brian Stavisky drew a full-count walk … Linderbaum hit sophomore 3B Andrew Bushey with the next pitch and Strickroth brought home the third run with an infield single to the third baseman Ryan Ogaard.
- Gustin sent a one-out, 2-1 pitch that tucked over the leftfield fence for a 3-1 game in the second inning.
- ND got that run back with a two-out rally in the third, with Strickroth sending an 0-1 single up the middle and taking second on a wild pitch before scoring on shortstop Marc Boggio’s throwing error following a groundball off the bat of senior 2B Jeff Perconte.
- The Irish stretched to 5-2 in the fourth, with Stanley executing a first-pitch bunt to the left side before Porzel delivered an 0-2 single through the right side. Two batters later, Nussbaum hit the ball to Boggio, who failed to come up with the play while the speedy Stanley came around to score.
- Valpo’s final run came in the fifth, in an unusual inning that saw Laird hit three batters while Porzel and Perconte micommunicated on a routine force play, leading to the unearned run.
- Perconte sparked ND in the eighth with a leadoff double to center field, with Linderbaum then serving up a wild pitch before hitting sophomore DH Ken Meyer with a 2-2 pitch … two more wild pitches kept the baserunners moving before Porzel plated the final run with a hard chopper that bounced off Boggio with a severely drawn-in infield.
VALPARAISO 0-1-0 0-1-0 0-0-0 - 2 5 2NOTRE DAME 3-0-1 1-0-0 0-2-X - 7 11 3
Linderbaum, Nelson (8) and Gustin. Laird, Naumann (6), Viloria (7), Buchmeier (8) and Nussbaum, Bok (9).