May 1, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame baseball team used a seven-run second inning, error-free fielding and some solid middle and late-inning pitching to extend its winning streak to 14 games, with Wednesday’s 11-5 win over visiting Oakland University on the annual “Turn Back The Clock” promotional night at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (32-10) now owns the second-longest winning streak of the eight-year Paul Mainieri (the 2001 squad won 16 straight), with the current run also matching the sixth-longest in the program’s 110-year history.
Oakland (14-24) plated the game’s first run in the top of the second and played its way back into the game in the third, when Josh Patton’s three-run shot cut the Irish lead to 7-4. But Notre Dame answered with two more runs in its half of the third before limiting the visitors to one run over the final six innings.
Senior righthander Drew Duff (1-0) – the third of six Irish pitchers – was credited with the win after logging a pair of scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth, with four strikeouts, two walks and one hit allowed. Freshman righthander Pete Echitnaw (0-1) took the loss after the rocky second inning, recording five outs while allowing seven runs, six hits and four walks.
The Irish continued their recent streak of offensive efficiency, totaling more runs scored (11) than runners left on base (10) – yielding a nine-game stretch of 16 more runs (80) than runners stranded (64).
The big second inning saw 13 Notre Dame batters come to the plate, with five hits, four walks and a pair of hit batters. Four Irish players had RBI singles, with the final three runs coming with the bases loaded on a walk followed by a pair of hit-by-pitch situations (the last by reliever Nate Weller).
Senior centerfielder Steve Stanley rebounded from just the third 0-for-5 game of his career by leading the 11-hit Irish attack on a 3-for-4 night, with an RBI single in the second inning plus three runs scored. Senior Andrew Bushey – making his 13th start of the season behind the plate – went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and a run scored while posting his 22nd consecutive game (and 35th overall this season) without an error.
Freshman righthander Martin Vergara followed Duff’s outing with two shutout innings of his own, facing just seven batters with one strikeout and one hit allowed.
Senior Paul O’Toole – who shifted to third base versus the Golden Grizzlies – smacked his 46th career double, good for 11th in Notre Dame history, while moving into the ND career top 10 for career games played (197).
NOTES: ND’s run in the 5th pushed its scoring margin to 41-8 in the 5th inning this season … Stanley drew the 113th walk of his career, tying former ND career home run leader Frank Jacobs (’89-’91) for 8th on the ND career walks list … O’Toole steadily has moved into various ND career top 10 lists, including 6th in stolen bases (52), 8th in home runs (29) and at-bats (740), 9th in runs scored (181) and games started (207) and 10th in games played (197) and triples (10) – needing one double, nine hits and14 RBI to crack those top-10 lists … Bushey’s next game will be his 200th at ND while he is two starts shy of following Stanley and O’Toole as the 11th player ever to start 200-plus games with the Irish … Bushey (9th with 48 doubles) also is in range of various other ND top-10 career lists, needing 17 games played, three games started, 27 at-bats and 33 hits.
THE TRIUMVERATE: As they near the end of their careers as four-year starters, Bushey, O’Toole and Stanley have combined for the following numbers: 647 games played and 637 started; 787 hits in 2,337 at bats for a .337 combined batting average; 40 home runs, 25 triples and 136 doubles; 374 RBI and 517 runs scored; 171 stolen bases and 264 walks (to 213 strikeouts) … Stanley (232) and O’Toole (207) already have become the first Notre Dame classmates ever to start 200-plus games, with Bushey (198) soon to join that list.
OAKLAND (14-24) 0-1-3 0-0-0 0-1-0 – 5 8 1
NOTRE DAME (32-12) 0-7-2 0-1-0 0-1-X – 11 11 0
Pete Echitnaw (L, 0-1), Nate Weller (2), Brent Brown (4), Tim Edick (5), Steve Kniebbe (6), Brad Morenko (7), Kyle Boehm (8) and Matt Gabrielli.
Ryan Kalita, Matt Buchmeier (3), Drew Duff (4; W, 1-0), Martin Vergara (6) , Matt Laird (8), Brandon Viloria (9) and Andrew Bushey.
Home Run: Josh Patton, OAK (2 on in 3rd; 1st of season).
Double: Paul O’Toole, ND (46th of career); Spencer Hynes (OAK).