March 3, 2000
MINNEAPOLIS — The Notre Dame baseball team scored runs in bunches and held off a late rally by 24th-ranked Wake Forest for an 8-5 victory Friday afternoon at the Metrodome, in opening-day action at the Hormel Foods Baseball Classic.
Notre Dame junior righthander Scott Cavey (2-0) turned in six solid innings for the win, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out seven WFU batters.
Freshman lefthander Ben Clayton (3-1) took the loss for Wake Forest (8-3), which saw its eight-game winning streak come to an end. Clayton lasted just three innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks.
Notre Dame belted out 16 hits-including at least one from nine of the 10 players who had at-bats-but the Irish stranded 11 runners, leaving the door open for the Demon Deacons.
Two sophomores-centerfielder Steve Stanley and third baseman Andrew Bushey-led the Irish hit parade with three hits each while Cavey and three relievers-including No. 1 starter Aaron Heilman-combined on the eight-hitter.
Notre Dame claimed an early lead with its first of four two-run innings. Senior first baseman Jeff Felker led off the second inning with a full-count walk, followed by a one-out single from Bushey and a two-out walk from senior second baseman Jeff Perconte. Sophomore catcher Paul O’Toole then laced a 1-2 pitch through the right side of the infield, plating both runners.
Wake Forest posted its firth run in the bottom of the fifth, when third baseman Corey Slavik sent a leadoff pitch inside the rightfield foul pole, just below the luxury boxes.
The Irish extended their lead versus senior righthander Eric Schmitt in the sixth, behind RBI singles from sophomore DH Matt Strickroth and Stanley. Senior leftfielder Matt Nussbaum and Bushey got things going with a consecutive one-out singles before Strickroth sent a pitch into right-center field. The speedy Stanley then legged out a two-out single that sent shortstop Chase Voshell wide to his left, for a 4-1 Irish lead.
Cavey ran into trouble moments later, as Jason Aquilante reached on a one-out double to the gap in left center before uncharacteristic back-to-back walks from Cavey (to Voshell and Danny Borrell). Slavik then scored Aquilante with a deep flyout to center field. A walk to Matt Price re-loaded the bases but Cavey induced Dan Conway to hit a groundball to junior shortstop Alec Porzel, ending the threat.
Notre Dame stretched to a 6-2 lead in the eighth inning, behind Porzel’s two-run double to deep right-center field. Perconte had opened the inning with a leadoff single to center while Stanley again showed his speed by reaching on a one-out, push-bunt single to the first baseman (he beat Schmitt to the bag) before scoring all the way from first on Porzel’s double.
The Deacons got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, when Voshell drove a 1-1 pitch from sophomore righthander Drew Duff deep over the wall in left for his first home run of the season.
The Irish tacked on what proved to be two valuable insurance runs in the ninth, versus senior righthander Matt Briggs. Bushey sparked the two-out rally with a 3-2 hit up the middle. Sophomore pinch hitter Matt Bok then took the first pitch he saw to the alley in left, scoring Bushey. Bok scored one batter later, as Perconte sent the ball just out of reach of the lunging second baseman Aquilante.
Wake Forest fashioned a late rally versus Heilman, with three hits in the inning. Conway hit a one-out to left-center before advancing to third on a single to left by pinch hitter Stephen Sullivan. Jamie Athas then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, with junior utility player Ben Cooke making a diving catch. Cory Sullivan then doubled his namesake but Aquilante popped up to Perconte, ending the game.
NOTES: ND returns to action Saturday afternoon, versus the host Minnesota Golden Gophers in a 1:30 p.m. CST start … the game is being shown live on Midwest Sports Channel, a regional Fox Sports affiliate … the Gophers (4-5) handed Georgia (8-1) its first loss of the season in Friday’s second game, by a 9-1 count … the No. 8 spot in the batting order (shared by Strickroth, the lefthanded-hitting Bok and freshman Kris Billmaier) has totaled five hits in 13 at-bats this season, with three RBI and six runs scored … Perconte has added 5-for-12 hitting from the No. 9 spot (3 RBI, 4 R) … possible starters for Saturday’s game include junior lefthander Mike Naumann-who faced the final two batters in the eight inning Friday-Matt Laird and fellow freshman righthander J.P. Gagne, a native of Bloomington, Minn. … Heilman is slated to start Sunday night’s game versus Georgia (5:00 p.m. CST start) … freshman RF Brian Stavisky went hitless (0-for-4) for the first time this season, with one walk and one strikeout … Friday’s win was ND’s first in its minimal series history with Wake Forest (1-4, two losses in ’49 and two in ’88) … O’Toole has hits in all four games from his leadoff spot.
Notre Dame (3-1) 0-2-0 0-0-2 0-2-2 -- 8 16 0Wake Forest (9-3) 0-0-0 0-1-1 0-1-2 -- 5 8 2Cavey, Duff (7), Naumann (8), Heilman (9) and O'Toole.Clayton, Schmitt (4), Lewis (8), Briggs (9) and Conway.