March 4, 2000
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Scott Howard and Rick Brosseau combined for seven hits and four RBI as the host Minnesota Golden Gophers saw their early 5-0 lead disappear before rallying for a 9-7 win over Notre Dame, on the second day of the Hormel Foods Baseball Classic-in front of 8,000-plus Saturday afternoon spectators at the HHH Metrodome.
Senior lefthander Bob DeWitt (1-1) earned the win with two and one-third innings of shutout relief. He allowed just two hits, with one strikeout.
Sophomore centerfielder Steve Stanley batted 2-3 with two walks and three stolen bases to lead Notre Dame (3-2), which surged to a 7-5 lead after scoring twice in the fourth and four times in the fifth. Both teams then scored single runs in their next at-bats before Minnesota (5-6) retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Irish junior lefthander Mike Naumann (0-1) was credited with the loss, allowing both runs in the seventh (one of them unearned), on two hits while recording just one out.
Minnesota struck for five early runs versus Irish freshman righthander J.P. Gagne, a native of nearby Bloomington, Minn., and a former teammate of several Gopher players.
The decisive bottom of the seventh included Howard’s one-out single up the middle and Brosseau’s single to center, ending Naumann’s three-batter stint. With senior righthanded closer John Corbin on the mound, Bushey misplayed a grounder off the bat of Josh Holthaus before a passed ball by sophomore Paul O’Toole allowed Howard to score. Corbin then issued Jack Hannahan an intentional walk but hit Jason Kennedy with the next pitch, forcing in the go-ahead run.
The Gophers added an insurance run in the eighth, as Mike Arly stroked a full-count triple to center and scored on Howard flyout to center.
Despite the early deficit, Notre Dame fashioned a middle-inning comeback. Stanley got the ball rolling in the fourth innings with a leadoff walk and stolen base, versus senior lefthander Kelly Werner. Junior shortstop Alec Porzel then sent a 1-1 pitch to the gap in left-center and motored all the way to third before scoring on a groundout to the second baseman by freshman rightfielder Brian Stavisky.
The Irish suddenly found themselves in the lead one inning later, with sophomore third baseman Andrew Bushey lighting the spark with a leadoff, full-count single to center field. Freshman DH Kris Billmaier followed with his own single to center before senior second baseman Jeff Perconte bunted the runners over. Werner’s errant pickoff throw to second base allowed Bushey to score and Stanley followed with a one-out, RBI single up the middle.
Porzel then tied the game with a single to center, scoring Stanley from second, and the Irish claimed the lead when Stavisky drilled a first-pitch offering into right field, with that double ending Werner’s day (he allowed the six runs on six hits and two walks, with one K).
The Gophers forged a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the inning, behind Howard’s one-out double to left-center and Brosseau’s RBI single to center. That run would be the only one allowed by freshman righthander Matt Laird, who has two strikeouts while yielding three hits and one walk over three innings in relief of his classmate Gagne.
The Irish answered back in the sixth-versus senior righthander Brandon Kitzerow-with senior leftfielder Matt Nussbaum collecting a full-count, leadoff walk and stealing second before scoring on Perconte’s two-out single to center.
The host team struck for a pair of runs in the first inning, after Arlt’s leadoff walk, Howard’s double to right-center and Brosseau’s RBI single. The Gophers then tacked on two more runs in the second, with Scott Welch sending a leadoff double down the leftfield line before scoring on designated hitter Luke Appert’s home run over the 21-foot-high wall in left.
Minnesota added an unearned run in the third, when Brosseau led off the inning with a single up the middle, stole second and took third on O’Toole’s throwing error. Hannahan’s double-play ball pushed across Brosseau for the 5-0 lead.
Notes: Minnesota improved to 2-0 in the tournament, while the Irish fell to 1-1 … in Saturday’s nightcap, Wake Forest handed Georgia a 4-2 loss … action concludes on Sunday, with the Gophers taking on WFU in the first game and ND facing on Georgia in the nightcap … if WFU beats Minnesota, the Irish could claim the tournament title with a decisive victory over Georgia … that scenario would yield a three-way tie between ND, WFU and Minnesota (they each would be 2-1 and 1-1 vs. each other), with the tie being decided by run differential (Minnesota currently is +8, ND is +1 and WFU is -1) … Saturday marked the third straight game that the Irish opponent has started a lefthander … Stanley is batting 5-for-8 in the tournament (3 R, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 3-3 SB) … Naumann (5-1) suffered the first loss of his career, in 29 appearances … Stavisky has opened his career with his first four hits all going for extra-bases (double-triple-home run-double) … Corbin faced nine batters and recorded the final five outs for the Irish (three of them strikeouts), with one run allowed on one hit and one walk.
Notre Dame (3-2) 0-0-0 2-4-1 0-0-0 -- 7 10 2Minnesota (5-6) 2-2-1 0-1-0 2-1-x -- 9 11 1Gagne, Laird (4), Naumann (7), Corbin (7) and O'Toole.Werner, Kitzerow (5), DeWitt (7) and Beaulieu, Negen (8).