May 11, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Mike Rodriguez’ single sparked a crucial three-run eighth inning and senior righthander Darin Spassoff overcame a rocky start to toss seven solid innings, as the No. 2-ranked University of Miami baseball team rallied for a 5-3 victory over No. 24 Notre Dame, in the first game of a two-game weekday series Tuesday night at Eck Stadium.
Miami (36-11) saw the Irish jump out to an early 3-0 lead before scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh. The Hurricanes-who turned five timely double plays-then came through with two-out RBI hits from Rodriguez, Greg Lovelady and Manny Crespo in the decisive eighth inning.
Notre Dame (39-12) pushed across two runs in the first inning before seeing freshman DH Ken Meyer hit his first career home in the second. Junior lefthander Tim Kalita had no decision despite seven strong innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and four walks over seven innings, with four strikeouts.
Junior righthander John Corbin (7-2) took the loss, yielding three runs on four hits and one walk over the final two innings, with one strikeout.
Spassoff (2-0) was touched for three early runs but held the Irish hitless during the third through sixth innings. Spassoff’s seven-inning, 71-pitch outing included three runs on five hits, one walk and two hit batters, with two Ks and 11 groundouts.
Miami junior righthander Michael Neu gave up a leadoff single to Ben Cooke in the eighth but forced Steve Stanley into a double play and struck out Paul O’Toole swinging. Neu then struck out the side in the ninth (on 12 pitches) for his 10th save of the season.
Walker opened the eighth with a leadoff walk and moved up on Brian Seever’s sacrifice bunt. Corbin then set down leadoff hitter and All-American Bobby Hill on a full-count, called strike but Rodriguez responded with an 0-1 single through the right-center, plating Walker.
Lovelady then brought Rodriguez all the way around with a first-pitch double that rolled to the fence in left-center and Crespo capped the big inning with an RBI single past diving third baseman Andrew Bushey.
Notre Dame put two runs on the board in the first inning, after the first four batters reached base. Stanley executed a bunt single to the left side, with Spassoff slipping as he tried to field the ball. O’Toole then laced a first-pitch, opposite-field single through the left side and Alec Porzel followed with a first-pitch smash of his own. The shortstop Hill made a diving stop but had no play as Porzel hustled down the line, loading the bases.
Spassoff then hit Brant Ust with the next pitch and O’Toole scored the second run when Matt Nussbaum hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
The Irish stretched to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, when Meyer pulled a pitch that smacked off the leftfield foul pole.
Miami finally pushed across a run in the sixth, thanks to consecutive errors from the left side of the Irish infield. Walker sent a leadoff groundball to the shortstop Ust, who failed to come up with the backhand stab. Seever then laid a sacrifice bunt down the left side but the third baseman Bushey threw high to first base. The runners then moved on wild pitch and Hill walked on a full count before Rodriguez hit into a run scoring doubleplay.
The Hurricanes added another run in the seventh, when Crespo singled through the left side, stole second and scored on Kevin Brown’s single to right field.
Nussbaum’s hitting streak ended at 14 games while his strikeout to end the game was his first K since his previous hitless game.
MIAMI 0-0-0 0-0-1 1-3-0 5 7 2 NOTRE DAME 2-1-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 3 6 3 Spassoff, Neu (8) and Lovelady. Kalita, Corbin (8) and O'Toole.