March 30, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Four Notre Dame pitchers combined to allow five hits and the Irish offense received hits from nine different players, as Notre Dame posted a 9-2 victory over visiting Siena Heights University in rapidly-moving action Thursday at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (16-5) surged to a 5-0 lead with four runs in the third while the Irish 14-hit attack included five players with two hits: junior shortstop Alec Porzel, senior first baseman Jeff Felker (two doubles), senior catcher Matt Nussbaum, sophomore leftfielder Matt Strickroth (two doubles) and junior third baseman Ben Cooke. Eight different Irish players crossed the plate while five combined for the team’s seven RBI.
Freshman righthander Matt Laird (2-1) was credited with the win in a planned rotation, after allowing just one hit during the first three innings (he faced the minimum nine batters). Junior Mike Carlin then pitched three innings, followed by two innings from Tom O’Hagan (his first game action since 1998) and one inning from his fellow senior John Corbin.
The nine-inning game was quick even by seven-inning standards, with just two hours and two minutes of game time.
Siena Heights (8-21) was guilty of four errors that led to three earned runs. Freshman righthander Tim Pierce (2-3) suffered the loss, logging the full eight innings with one walk and one strikeout.
The Irish avoided a rare three-game losing streak, as Notre Dame has dropped three straight games just seven times during the six-year tenure of head coach Paul Mainieri (including two four-game skids, longest of the Mainieri era).
Felker’s eight doubles this season give him 46 for his career, ranking eighth in the Notre Dame record book (just two behind Joe Binkiewicz, ’89-’92).
The Irish scored an unearned run in the first, with sophomore CF Steve Stanley beating out an 0-2 single to second base before Porzel reached on a two-base throwing error by his counterpart Matt Pike … Stanley then scampered home on a two-out error from Pike, who had trouble handling a ground ball off the bat of sophomore C Paul O’Toole.
ND surged to a 5-1 lead with four runs in the third … freshman RF Brian Stavisky extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a leadoff single to right before Porzel sent the next pitch up the middle, with Stavisky motoring to third while Porzel moved up on the throw … Felker then cleared the bases with a first-pitch double that bounced over the head of 1B Kris Hemry … O’Toole followed with a single through the right side and senior 2B Jeff Perconte lifted a sacrifice fly to center, with a throwing error by CF Caleb Cosmi allowing O’Toole to move up two bases … Nussbaum capped the inning with an RBI groundout to the right side.
The Saints pushed across a run in the fifth, after Eric Russell’s one-out triple to left-center and a two-out bouncer off the bat of Cosmi that skipped under the glove of the 3B Cooke for an unearned run.
Nussbaum led off the sixth with a triple to right, followed by Strickroth’s double down the leftfield line … Cooke then reached on a bunt before Pierce’s wild pitch brought home Strickroth for a 7-1 Irish cushion.
Dave Brooks greeted O’Hagan in the seventh with a first-pitch triple to right-center before scoring on Paul Ferrell’s one-out sacrifice fly to center.
The Irish capped the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the seventh … Perconte drew a one-out walk and scored all the way from first on Strickroth’s slicing double to right-center … Cooke followed with a 3-1 single to left for the final margin.
Pierce and Brooks. Laird, Carlin (4), O’Hagan (7), Corbin (9) and Nussbaum, Bok (9).