May 1, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind.– Junior leftfielder Matt Nussbaum continued his hot hitting as Notre Dame concluded a three-game sweep of Oakland University, 9-1 and 10-5, in non-conference baseball action Saturday at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (36-11) – which next takes a six-day break for final exams – inched closer to its 11th consecutive 40-win season while continuing to produce at the plate. The Irish totaled 23 hits in the doubleheader, including four home runs, one triple and five doubles. Oakland (15-19) made four errors in the first game while struggling at the plate versus junior righthander Scott Cavey, who extended his recent dominance en route to his fifth win of the season. In the nightcap, the Golden Grizzlies forced an early 3-3 tie only to see the Irish score seven of the game’s next eight runs.
Cavey (5-1) tossed a career-best eight strikeouts while allowing just one run on three hits and two walks in his 81-pitch, six-inning outing. Cavey-who has 28 Ks and just two walks in his last 32 innings-opened the game by giving up a leadoff walk to Kyle Simmons but retired the next 12 batters before Mike Morasso’s leadoff single in the fifth. Senior righthander Alex Shilliday (3-3) picked up his 24th career win in the nightcap, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks over six innings (with two Ks).
Freshman Gordon Hosbein (1-1) lost the opener, allowing seven runs (five earned) on eight hits and three walks over 3.1 innings. Sophomore lefty Erick Swanson (1-4) gave up eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits and one walk in five nightcap innings.
Nussbaum – a former walk-on who was 0-for-16 his first two seasons – extended his hitting streak to 11 games, going 3-for-3 in the opener before collecting hits in his first three at-bats of the nightcap. Nussbaum – whose day included four RBI, three doubles and a home run – was denied a rare seven-hit day when his seventh-inning line drive was caught by the centerfielder. Nussbaum is batting 20-for-37 (.541) in his 11-game streak-including 13-for-22 team in the last six games. He owns a .325 season average (sixth-best on the team), while also ranking first on the team in runners advanced (27), third in RBI (28) and two-out batting average (.340), fourth in home runs (5) and total bases (73) and fifth in doubles (7).
Other Irish offensive heroes on Saturday included: freshman DH Ken Meyer (3-for-7, RBI, 2 R, 2 2B, BB), sophomore second baseman Alec Porzel (3-for-7, 3 RBI, 3 R, HR, 2B, BB, SB), junior shortstop Brant Ust (3-for-6, 2 RBI, 3 R, BB, SB) and junior rightfielder Jeff Felker (2-for-6, 5 RBI, R, HR, 3B).
GAME ONE: Notre Dame opened the scoring in the second, on Nussbaum’s leadoff, first-pitch home run left-center S the Irish broke open the game with four runs in the third and four in the fourth … Ben Cooke reached to open the third when Hosbein dropped his pop-up bunt … Steve Stanley followed with a first-pitch bunt single and Meyer scorched an RBI double over the first-base bag … the inning continued with Porzel’s RBI groundout, Ust’s single to center, Nussbaum’s RBI double down the leftfield line and Felker’s sac. fly … the four-run fourth included RBI doubles down the leftfield line from Porzel (scoring Stanley on a 1-2 count) and Nussbaum (on a full count) and Felker’s RBI triple to right-center (Cooke had singled and scored the inning’s first run after a stolen base, wild pitch and throwing error on the catcher) S Oakland averted the shutout on Kyle Simmons’ RBI single in the sixth.
GAME TWO: The Irish opened the nightcap with three runs, sparked by Paul O’Toole’s one-out single to the third baseman … Porzel added a single to center and the runners pulled off a double steal before Ust sent a two-run single through the left side and moved up to second on the throw … Ust then stole third and scored on Nussbaum’s RBI single to right … Oakland tied the game in the second, thanks to Greg Rogers’ two-run triple and Chris Kimball’s sacrifice fly …. O’Toole reached on a third-inning error and scored on an Ust single and a wild pitch, followed by a Nussbaum single and Felker’s RBI groundout S the Irish tacked on three in the fifth, thanks to Porzel’s rare opposite-field shot to right (his eighth home run of the season), Nussbaum’s double to right and Felker’s first-pitch blast that carried over the rightfield fence for his fifth home run of the season S Oakland added single runs in the seventh (RBI double by Bennion) and the ninth (sacrifice fly from Kip Harris), with the Irish plating two in the eighth after Meyer singled to center and Matt Strickroth launched his third home run of the season to straightaway center field.
NOTES: The Irish had just two home runs in their previous seven games before Saturday’s barrage S the Irish pitchers have totaled 383 strikeouts (in 395 innings), already the fourth-most Ks thrown in team history (sophomore Aaron Heilman’s total of 91 also ranks fourth in Irish history, 17 shy of the record) S Notre Dame has pushed its team batting average to .321 (well above last year’s .304), with the biggest improvements coming from Felker (.340 this season, ..283 in ’98) and Porzel (.353, up from .265 in ’98) S nine Irish players are hitting above .300, with the others including: Ust (.381), Jeff Wagner (.354), Stanley (.349), Jeff Perconte (.323), Andrew Bushey (.310) and O’Toole (.303), followed closely by Ed Golom (.282), Meyer (.280) and Cooke (.277) S Nussbaum’s six-hit day is not unprecedented, as Felker went 6-for-6 with two walks in a doubleheader vs. Northeastern Illinois in ’98 S in BIG EAST action Saturday, second-place Rutgers (16-6) won twice at last-place Georgetown, 14-5 and 17-2, while ninth-place Connecticut (9-13) split at 10th-place Boston College (6-13), 7-6 and 8-11 S the weekend’s other two series begin Sunday: St. John’s (11-6) at Providence (12-8) and Pittsburgh (10-9) at Seton Hall (9-10) S Notre Dame owns a .909 (30-3) combined BIG EAST winning pct. in baseball (16-3) and softball (14-0), which would rank first in BIG EAST history, since the conference started sponsoring softball in 1992 (Notre Dame holds the existing record of ..800, set by the baseball and softball teams of 1996 and ’98) S Notre Dame is bidding to become the first BIG EAST school ever to post the top conference winning percentages in baseball and softball during the same season.
OAKLAND 0-0-0 0-0-1 0 1 4 4NOTRE DAME 0-1-4 4-0-0 X 9 12 0 Hosbein, Devantier (4) and Van Robays. Cavey, Buchmeier (9) andDrevline.
OAKLAND 0-3-0 0-0-0 1-0-1 5 7 1 NOTRE DAME 3-0-2 0-0-3 0-2-X 10 11 1 Swanson, Sokoll (6) and Van Robays. Shilliday, Naumann (7), Carlin (8),Arnold (9) and O'Toole.