Mar. 15, 1997

Crieghton Comes Back to Win Irish Baseball Classic, 8-5 over Notre Dame

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Tournament most valuable player John Bickelmeyer smacked a game-winning, bases-loaded double in the top of the eighth as Creighton overcame an early four-run deficit to post an 8-5 victory over Notre Dame and claim the championship of the third annual Irish Baseball Classic, held at Wolff Municipal Stadium.

Notre Dame (8-8) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, but Creighton (11-5) forged a 5-5 tie after scoring one in the third and twice in both the fourth and fifth before Bichelmeyer’s big hit in the eighth.

Sophomore righthander Brad Erickson (2-0) picked up the victory in relief of Drue Concill while junior Kevin Frederick notched his sixth save of the young season. Erickson allowed just one walk while facing five batters in the seventh and eighth innings while Frederick recorded the final five outs of the game, recording one walk and one strikeout.

Notre Dame sophomore righthander Alex Shilliday (1-1) took the loss, after leaving the game in the eighth with two men on base. Shilliday allowed just five hits but was done in by six walks, a wild pitch and an untimely balk.

Council had no decision, after yielding five runs (four of which were earned) on 11 hits and three walks over the first six innings, with five K’s.

Frederick opened the eight with a walk and Andy Vosik added a one-out single, ending Shilliday’s night. Senior righthander Mike Balicki then walked Mike Haynes – despite an opening 0-2 count – before Bichelmeyer stroked a 1-2 pitch over the head of centerfielder Randall Brooks, with Haynes holding at third. Erik Lauritsen added a sacrifice fly to push the Bluejays to a three-run cushion.

Notre Dame put four runs on the board in the bottom of the first. Junior first baseman Dan Leatherman reached on a dipping single that fell out of the glove of diving rightfielder Haynes and Brooks followed with a single to center. The Irish then went with the hit and run on the next pitch and senior Mike Amrhein cleared the bases with a deep triple to right-center field.

Freshman Brant Ust then hit a slow roller that was mishandled by third baseman Ryan Gripp, plating Amrhein and senior J.J. Brock then reached on an infield single, with shortstop Kenny Sarna’s errant throw allowing the baserunners to move up. Sophomore Jeff Wagner plated the final run of the inning, hitting into a fielder’s choice that allowed Ust to score a second unearned run.

Creighton plated an unearned run in the third, after Bichelmeyer legged out an infield single and scored all the way from first on Kenny Sarna’s blooper to shallow center field that was dropped by the charging Brooks. Erick Christensen then walked, but Shilliday worked to a full count before striking out Frederick, ending the threat.

The Bluejays cut the lead to 4-3 with two runs in the fourth, after leadoff walks by Gripp and Vosick, another left-side infield single by Bichelmeyer and Lauritsen’s sacrifice fly.

The Irish added a run in the bottom of the fourth, after leadoff walks by Gripp and Vosik, another left-side infield single by Bichelmeyer and Lauritsen’s sacrifice fly.

The Irish added a run in the bottom of the fourth, set up by two-out walks from Brooks and Amrhein, with Brooks stealing second and taking third on a wild throw by catcher Christensen. Ust then worked to a full count, fouling off three extra pitches along the way, before executing the hit and run with and RBI shot through the right side of the infield.

Crieghton came back again, this time tying the game in the fifth. Sarna led off with a double down the leftfield line and Christensen followed with a towering two-bagger that flew over Brooks head and smacked against the wall in dead-center field. A balk by Shilliday moved the runner to third and Frederick popped up to shortstop Paul Turco before Gripp tied the game with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Notre Dame opened the bottom of the fifth with singles from Wagner and classmate Allen Greene, with Turco moving the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. But Concill struck out Pat O’Keefe and forced Dan Leatherman into a groundout, ending the inning.

Score by InningsCreighton          001 220 030  -  8   6  4Notre Dame         400 100 000  -  5  11  2

C: Concill, Erickson (7), Frederick (8) and Christensen. ND: Shilliday, Balicki (8), Cavey (8), Corbin (8) and Amrhein. WP – Erickson (2-0). LP – Shilliday (0-2). 2B: Kenny Sarna (C), Adam Christensen (C), John Bichelmeyer (C), Dan Leatherman (ND). 3B: Mike Amrhein (ND).