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Notre Dame Baseball Scores Early To Beat Butler, 3-2

March 15, 2000

Jacksonville, Fla. (3/15/00) – The Notre Dame baseball team used clutch pitching and a three-run second inning to get back on the winning track Wednesday morning, with a 3-2 victory over Butler in the Kennel Club Classic at Harmon Stadium.

Freshman righthander J.P. Gagne (1-0) earned his first career win with the Irish, after tossing three and two-thirds relief innings and allowing just one unearned run on three hits and one walk, with two strikeouts. Senior righthander John Corbin recorded the final four outs for his fourth save of the season (in four chances) and the 13th of his career, moving Corbin atop the Notre Dame all-time saves list.

Butler freshman righthander Pat Neshek (0-1) allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits in six innings of work, with six strikeouts and two walks.

Notre Dame (9-3) was guilty of five errors but received solid pitching from junior righthander Danny Tamayo, Gagne, junior lefthander Mike Naumann and Corbin-with that foursome scattering eight hits and three walks over the nine innings.

Notre Dame’s lone scoring inning saw just one ball leaving the infield. Senior leftfielder Matt Nussbaum reached an infield single between the third baseman and the catcher, advancing to second on the play when catcher Eddie Olszta hurried a throw that sailed into right field. Back-to-back walks to junior second baseman Ben Cooke and sophomore DH Matt Bok loaded the bases for leadoff hitter Paul O’Toole, and the sophomore catcher delivered with a full-count single up the middle. Second baseman Jeff Steele dove to keep the ball in the infield but was unable to make the play.

The no-outs rally continued when sophomore centerfielder Steve Stanley then hit a ball to the left side, with third baseman Eric Storey’s throw then pulling Olstza off home plate, with Cooke scoring on the play. Junior shortstop Alec Porzel capped the Irish scoring by lifting a sacrifice fly to left.

Butler (5-6) came back with a run of their own in the second. Shortstop Justin Keever led off the frame with a double inside the third-base bag and scored on a single through the right side of the infield by Franco Dattilo.

The Bulldogs threatened again in the third. Tamayo registered the first two outs of the inning before surrendering a single to Luke Murphy and walks to Storey and Keever. Gagne then took the hill and struck out Dattilo, ending the threat.

Butler cut the lead to one in the seventh, thanks in part to three Irish errors. Olszta reached to lead off the inning, after Porzel’s throw senior Jeff Felker off the first-base bag. Olszta stole second, moved to third when O’Toole’s throw went into center field and scored when Jeff Steele reached on a throw in the dirt by Porzel.

The Bulldogs had a chance to take the lead in the eighth, with Tim Marks reaching when Cooke could not handle a groundball. David Carr then singled and Ryan Lundervold bunted the runners over, with two outs. Corbin took the mound and hit Lance Links with a pitch, loading the bases, before striking out Olszta to end the inning.

Butler again put the potential tying run on base in the ninth. Jay Swansson walked to open the inning but Luke Murphy struck out when his 0-2 bunt attempt went foul. Corbin then struck out Storey but Swansson moved to second when O’Toole’s toss back to the mound sailed into center field, with Keever’s flyout to right field ending the game.

The previous Irish career save record of 12 was shared by current junior righthander Aaron Heilman, Mike Coffey (’88-’90) and current lefthanded Major League hopeful Chris Michalak (’90-’93).

Notre Dame 0-3-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 — 3 5 5
Butler 0-1-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 — 2 8 2

Tamayo, Gagne (3), Naumann (7), Corbin (8), and O’Toole. Neshek, Williams (7) and Olszta