Feb. 23, 2002
NEW ORLEANS – The fourth-ranked Notre Dame baseball team overcame three deficits and took a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the 9th but the University of New Orleans had the final rally, winning the game on Gabe Trevizo’s two-out, three-run home run (8-7), in Saturday’s action at the UNO/Ron Maestri Classic.
Notre Dame (1-1) – which left 10 runners on base while seeing three others erased as baserunners – had rallied with three runs of its own in the top of the 9th, with Brian Stavisky’s RBI triple tying the game, before an error and senior catcher Andrew Bushey’s run-scoring single pushed the Irish to a 7-5 lead.
Bushey became the eighth player in the eight-year Paul Mainieri era to register five-plus hits in a game, batting 5-for-5 with three RBI. The team co-captain forged a 4-4 tie in the 6th, smacking his sixth career home run – and first since 1999 – over the fence in right-center field (Bushey also homered at UNO in 1999, as part of ND’s record-tying total of seven home runs in a 14-11 win over UNO).
Notre Dame – which has seen 10 of its last 15 losses come by one run – faced the rare challenge of playing without its starting middle infielders, who also hit in the No. 2 and No. 3 holes in the Irish batting order, as freshman shortstop Matt Macri remained sidelined by an elbow strain while sophomore second baseman Steve Sollmann did not play due to a quad injury.
UNO (4-1) was down to its last out before J.D. Huether reached on a single that skipped past third baseman Paul O’Toole and down the leftfield line. Justin LoFranco then kept the rally going with a single to center and Trevizo ended the game with his blast to right field.
The game was slated for a 1:00 p.m. start but the first pitch was not thrown until 1:45, due to a tribute ceremony for Maestri, the former UNO baseball coach and athletic director whose former players include the four head coaches at this week’s UNO Classic (Privateer Park was renamed Ron Maestri Field as part of the ceremony).
The back-and-forth game saw the Irish seize the lead in the top of the 9th, sparked by a one-out blooper that fell into right field off the bat of freshman Matt Edwards, who had an impressive game at shortstop while batting second (3-for-4, RBI, 2 R, also reached on error and hit-by-pitch). With Edwards at second after a throwing error, Stavisky then went with the first pitch from lefthanded reliever Brandon Migues and drilled an opposite-field triple to the left-center gap (he left the game after diving into third base, with his status yet to be determined).
Righthander Jared Bahnsen then took the mound and appeared to have recorded the inning’s second out, but third baseman J.D. Huether mishandled Kris Billmaier’s ground ball, with pinchrunner Matt Strickroth hesitating on the play before scoring the go-ahead run. O’Toole then laid down the next pitch for a bunt single to the left side and Bushey capped the inning two batterrs later, sending a 1-1 pitch to left-center for the 7-5 lead.
Notre Dame had opened the scoring with a pair of 3rd-inning runs vs. sophomore lefthander Jeff Stander, via Stanley’s leadoff bunt, a failed pickoff throw, Edwards’ RBI double to left, Stavisky’s single through the right side and a wild pitch.
UNO answered with three runs moments later, vs. junior righthanded J.P. Gagne. The four-hit inning included RBI doubles from Chandler Rose and Huether and Mark Monoghan’s run-scoring single.
Notre Dame had the chance for a big inning in the 4th, tying the game on Ken Meyer’s double and Bushey’s RBI single up the middle. But Stander served up a comebacker with the bases loaded, ending the threat. UNO then retook the lead (4-3) in the bottom of the 4th, as Scotty Collette drew a two-out walk vs. freshman righthander John Axford before scoring on a double to right-center from Mike Sanchez (three of UNO’s first four runs were scored from first base).
Axford’s debut included just three hits and two runs in four innings but the Canadian all-star walked six batters, with one strikeout.
Bushey greeted Migues to open the 6th, driving a 1-1 pitch over the fences for a 4-4 score. The hosts then claimed their third lead in the 8th, with LoFranco’s leadoff single and Trevizo’s full-count walk ending Axford’s 77-pitch outing. Chris Adams gave UNO a 5-4 lead with a 1-1 single through the right side but junior righthander Brandon Viloria worked out of the jam, with Trevizo later thrown out at home while Rose went down swinging to end the inning.
Senior centerfielder Steve Stanley recorded his 269th career hit in the game, tying 1997 graduate Mike Amrhein for fifth in the Notre Dame record book and just four behind J.J. Brock (’94-’98).
Stavisky’s triple was the 10th of his career, with the 6-3, 220-pound lefthander becoming just the 10th ND player ever to post 10-plus triples. Among those players, only Ryan Topham (34, 1993-95) and Alec Porzel (37, 1998-2001) have totaled more home runs than Stavisky’s 24.
#4 NOTRE DAME (1-1) 0-0-2 1-0-1 0-0-3 7 14 0
NEW ORLEANS (4-1) 0-0-3 1-0-0 0-1-3 8 11 5
J.P. Gagne, John Axford (4), Brandon Viloria (8, L, 0-1) (1-0) and Andrew Bushey.
Jeff Stander, Brandon Migues (6), Jared Bahnsen (9, W, 2-0) and Mike Sanchez.
Home Runs: Andrew Bushey, ND (solo in 6th, 1st of season), Gabe Trevizo, UNO (2 on in 9th, 1st of season).
Triple: Brian Stavisky (ND).
Doubles: Matt Edwards (ND), Ken Meyer (ND), Andrew Bushey (ND), Donnie Bollich (UNO), J.D. Huether (UNO), Mike Sanchez (UNO), Chandler Rose (UNO).