Feb. 27, 1997
Irish Take Christian Brothers, Army
MILLINGTON, Tenn. — Notre Dame sophomore Jeff Wagner singledin his first at-bat of the day and went on to collect extra bases oneach of his next four hits, fueling an offensive barrage for the Irishbaseball team that produced victories Thursday over Christian Brothers(12-1) and Army (8-0) at the USA Baseball Field.
The first game provided Notre Dame (2-3) with its first win of theseason while the second game opened the six-team Service AcademiesClassic, which also includes Air Force, Navy, Memphis and Arkansas.
Nearly half (12) of Notre Dame’s 26 hits in the two games went forextra bases, including the first home runs of the season for theteam’s catching/first baseman platoon unit of Wagner and senior MikeAmrhein.
The Irish played without sophomore shortstop Paul Turco, who isnursing a hamstring pull, while senior centerfielder Randall Brookswas used at designated hitter due to a nagging quadriceps injury.Junior Todd Frye started at shortstop vs. CBU, making several soliddefensive plays, while freshman Jeff Perconte closed out the firstgame and started the second, doubling in a run vs. CBU before scoringvs. Army.
Senior righthander Darin Schmalz picked up his first victory of theseason and 22nd of his career, after holding Amrmy to two hits in theseven-inning game. Schmalz — who lost last week to then No. 24 LongBeach State — did not issue a walk Thursday while recording eightstrikeouts (vs. seven different Army batters). Schmalz allowed BryanPrice a leadoff double in the fourth before Mike Scioletti picked up asingle in the seventh. The game was the first of the season for Army,which lost to the Irish 12-8 in last year’s Service Academies Classic.
Notre Dame faces No. 24 Arkansas at 3 p.m. Friday in the mostanticipated matchup of the tournament, with rising sophomorerighthander Brad Lidge expected to start for the Irish.
In Thursday’s first game, senior lefthander Gregg Henebry bounced backfrom his loss last week to No. 2 USC, allowing just two hits, no walksand an unearned run through five full innings (with two strikeouts).
Notre Dame pounded out 17 hits against Christian Brothers (2-3), withAmrhein’s 24th career home run and Wagner’s two doubles highlightingseven extra-base hits for the Irish.
Wagner batted 5-for-9 in the two games while collecting 11 total baseson the strength of three doubles and his 11th career home run, a soloshot over the scoreboard in left field during the fourth inning of theArmy game. The 6-3, 220-pound righthander opened the day by going3-for-5 vs. CBU, with an RBI and one run scored.
The day’s pitching highlight came in the sixth inning of the CBU gamewhen senior righthander Larry Mohs made his first appearance for theIrish in nearly 22 months, allowing just one hit and striking out onein two innings of work. Mohs’ last appearance for Notre Dame came in a7-6 loss to Michigan on May 2, 1995. A month after that appearance, the6-8 righthander suffered an elbow injury in a June 3 summer game inthe Cape Cod League. The injury required “Tommy John surgery” and Mohsdid not appear during his junior season (1986) while undergoing thelengthy rehabilitation under the guidance of Notre Dame athletictrainer Mike Bean.
Sophomore Allen Greene started both games Thursday in center field,moving over from left field in place of the injured Brooks. Greene,who opened the season last week with an 0-for-11 slump, lifted asacrifice fly in his first trip to the plate vs. CBU before going2-for-3 in both games Thursday. Greene’s highlights vs. the Buccaneersincluded an RBI single down the left field line and an RBI double inNotre Dame’s four-run sixth inning.
Brook’s was hitless in three at-bats vs. CBU but bounced back to go2-for-3 with a run and stolen base vs. the Black Knights.
Freshmen Brant Ust and Jeff Felker continued their impressiveearly-season showings. Ust collected five hits in six at-bats duringthe two games while again turning in a solid fielding day at thirdbase. Ust, hitting in the No. 2 spot, scored three times vs. CBU afterripping singles down the left field line in the first and fourthinnings and adding another single in the sixth. He went 2-for-2 vs.Army , hitting an RBI single in the second before tripling to rightcenter and scoring in the fourth.
Felker started at his fourth different position in as many games aftertaking the field vs. CBU in left field. The lanky 6-5 lefthanderopened his career last week at the Long Beach State Classic bystarting at DH vs. LBSU, right field vs. USC and first base vs.Mississippi. In his first at-bat Thursday, Felker was hit by a pitchwith the bases loaded. He went on to single in his next at-bat, stolesecond and scored on a single by Greene before adding an RBI groundoutin the sixth and a double and a run scored in the eighth. Felker thenwalked in his first at-bat vs. Army and went on to score as the Irishopened with a 3-0 lead.
A pair of freshman pitchers, lefthander Tim Kalita and righthanderScott Cavey, made their Irish debut vs. CBU, with Kalita allowing twohits in the eighth while the 6-5 Cavey walked one batter in the ninth.
Amrhein’s 24th career home run leaves him four shy of fifth place onthe Irish all-time list, currently occupied by Tim Hutson (1985-88)and Dan Peltier (1987-89). Schmalz’ 22nd victory leaves him threebehind Pat Leahy (1990-92) for sixth on the Irish all-time victorieschart.
Game OneArmy 000 000 0 -- 0 2 0Notre Dame 321 200 -- 8 9 0Schmalz and Amrhein. King and Hicks. WP - Schmalz (1-1). LP - King(0-1). 2B - Price (A), Wagner (ND), Scholl (ND). 3B - Ust (ND), Greene(ND). HR - Wagner (ND) 1.Game TwoChristian Brothers 001 000 000 -- 1 5 0Notre Dame 301 204 11 -- 12 16 1Voitier, Wages (6), Hargraves (8) and Kolodziej, Gentleman. Henebry,Mohs (6), Kalita (8), Cavey (9) and Wagner. WP - Henebry (1-1). LP -Voitier (0-2). 2B - Perconte (ND), Wagner (ND) 3, Greene (ND), Brock(ND). HR - Amrhein (ND) 1.