Mar. 26, 1997

Irish Even Record with 11-4 Win over Northeastern Illinois

Lidge fans 10 batters in five innings, Amrhein’s hitting streak reaches 17 games

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Sophomore righthander Brad Lidge (Englewood, Colo.) struck out 10 batters over the first five innings while senior centerfielder Randall Brooks (Hazelcrest, Ill.) drove in three runs and scored two more as the University of Notre Dame defeated Northeastern Illinois, 11-4, in non-conference baseball action Wednesday at Eck Stadium.

Notre Dame (11-11) had just eight hits but took advantage of five Eagles errors by scoring seven unearned runs.

Northeastern Illinois (8-11) was held to just four hits vs. Lidge and relievers Dan Stavisky (Mt. Pleasant, Pa.) and Larry Mohs (Nutley, N.J.).

Lidge (3-2) allowed three runs (two of which were earned) on three hits and two walks while striking out eight different Eagles batters. He is the fifth Irish pitcher to record 10 or more strikeouts in a game during the 1990’s, with current senior righthander Darin Schmalz turning in a 1990’s-best 12 K’s last season vs. Georgetown. A Notre Dame pitcher has reached 10 K’s a total of eight times this decade, with David Sinnes topping 10 K’s three times and Alan Walania doing so twice (Christian Parker is the fifth pitcher to do so in the 1990’s, reaching 11 K’s in a game last season vs. Georgetown).

The Irish scored once in the first–when a double from sophomore DH Jeff Wagner (Louisville, Ky.) plated senior catcher Mike Amrhein (Oak Park, Ill.)–before erupting for six runs, four of which were unearned, in the bottom of the second.

Senior righthander Doug Kirar took the loss for the Eagles, after allowing five runs (three earned) on three hits and two walks over one a third innings.

Freshman first baseman Jeff Felker (Ellicott City, Md.) opened the bottom of the second with a double to left field and junior shortstop Todd Frye (Aledo, Ill.) then reached base as well when Kirar misplayed his sacrifice bunt. Senior J.J. Brock (Colorado Springs, Colo.) then brought home Wagner with a linedrive sacrifice fly before Frye stole second and moved on to third when catcher Mark Raciti sent his throw into center field.

Senior rightfielder Pat O’Keefe (Grand Ledge, Mich.) kept things going with a base on balls and Brooks then cleared the bases with a two-run double to the gap in right-center, ending Kirar’s night.

Junior righthander Craig Hallgren then took the mound, with Brooks swiping third (his eighth stolen base of the season) before Amrhein hit into an apparent inning-ending groundout. But first baseman Chris Reehof dropped the ball, allowing Brooks to score, and Wagner kept things going with a single to left. Hallgren then struck out Brant Ust and the runners moved up on a passed ball before sophomore Allen Greene (Seattle, Wash.) smacked a two-run double to left-center, capping the big inning.

The Eagles scored an unearned run in the third and added two more runs in the fifth, when Kevin Loukota doubled and Matt Dunne homered over the leftfield fence. NEIU tacked on one more run in the sixth, as Chris Reehof sent a pitch from Stavisky over the fence in right field.

The Irish welcomed the return of Stavisky, who had not pitched since the third game of the season (Feb. 23 vs. Mississippi). The junior righthander worked three innings while striking out two Eagles batters, allowing just one walk and the home run by Reehof.

Notre Dame surged to a 10-1 lead with three unearned runs in the third, as Brock beat out an infield single, Brooks reached on a throwing error by second baseman Mike Mizwicki (which allowed Brock to score) and Amrhein unloaded over the fence in dead center field for his fourth home run of the season.

The Irish closed the scoring with a run in the eighth, with Brock reaching on an error and scoring on a single through the left side by Brooks.

Amrhein’s home run extended his hitting streak to 17 games. The 6-2, 200-pound righthander has hits in 21 of Notre Dame’s 22 games this season and now has 27 home runs in his career, just one shy of moving into a share of fifth on the Irish all-time home runs list.

Brock again made a big impact from the #9 spot in the order, collecting a hit while scoring twice and driving in a third run. Over the past four games, Brock has hits in nine of his last 13 at-bats.

Senior Justin Scholl (Athens, Ohio) returned to the lineup after missing the past nine games with a ribcage injury. Scholl pinch-hit for Felker in the fourth inning before closing out the game at first base.

Notre Dame 11, Northeastern Ill. 4

Northeastern, Ill   001 021 000  -   4 4 5Notre Dame          163 000 01x  -  11 8 3

ND: Lidge, Stavisky (6), Mohs (9) and Amrhein, Knecht. Northeastern, Ill.: Kirar, Hallgren (2), Puorto (4), Kowalawski (5), Loukota (7), Sullivan (8) and Raditi, Cartier. 2B: Loukota (Northeastern, Ill.), Brooks (ND), Wagner (ND), Greene (ND), Felker (ND). 3B: None. HR: Dunne (Northeastern, Ill.), Reehof (Northeastern, Ill.), Amrhein (ND).
WP: Lidge (3-2). LP: Kirar (0-2).