March 14, 2001
FRESNO, Calif. – Brian Stavisky launched the first grand slam of his career while his fellow sophomores J.P. Gagne and Brandon Viloria combined for 10 clutch innings on the mound, as the eighth-ranked Notre Dame baseball team used a run in the bottom of the 10th to defeat the host team Fresno State, 5-4, in third-round action Wednesday at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic, with nearly 4,000 vocal fans in attendance at Beiden Field.
Notre Dame (10-2-1) surged to a 4-2 lead with Stavisky’s linedrive shot in the sixth but Fresno State (17-9) tied the game on its second two-run homer of the game, with the Irish then winning in the 10th on junior catcher Paul O’Toole’s single through a drawn-in infield.
Gagne logged seven and one-third solid innings, yielding four runs on five hits and four walks while striking out five FSU batters. Senior lefthander Mike Naumann recorded one out in the eighth before yielding to Viloria, who hit the first batter faced and then retired the final seven Bulldogs batters.
The Irish finished as the No. 1 seed in the “Red Division” pool play and will face Miami (Ohio) University in Thursday’s first round of cross-divisional play, with the Irish and RedHawks set to play at 4:00 p.m. PST. Miami went 1-2 in Blue Division games, losing to Bucknell and Illinois before beating Portland on Wednesday morning (7-6).
Freshman second baseman Steve Sollmann ignited the winning rally with a one-out bunt single down the third-base line. Junior centerfielder Steve Stanley then caught the shortstop Josh Labandeira moving to his left on a hit-and-run play, sending a first-pitch single through the left side-with Sollmann hustling all the way to third.
Junior lefthanded reliever Beau Hintz-who struck out the first five batters he faced (spanning the 8th, 9th and 10th)-then worked to a 1-1 count on O’Toole, who delivered the game-winning single to the left side with the infield looking for the double play.
Fresno State opened the scoring in the third inning, as Tom Creighton led off with a full-count walk before Oscar Lopez sent a 1-0 pitch over the leftfield fence for his second home run of the season.
Notre Dame then executed a pair of plays to help set up Stavisky’s grand slam in the sixth. Sollmann went with a first pitch on the outside part of the plate for a single to right field before Stanley delivered one of his three hits, slapping the ball to the left of the drawn-in third baseman Lopez for a hit-and-run single.
Sophomore righthander Ben Fritz-who yielded four runs, seven hits and one walk over 7.2 innings, with six Ks-then hit O’Toole with a 2-2 pitch and Stavisky followed two batters later with his first home run of the season and the 15th of his young Irish career, drilling a 1-1 pitch that quickly disappeared over the rightfield wall.
FSU’s Brandon Gemoll came through on a 1-2 pitch in the eighth, smacking a one-out double off the glove of a diving Irish shortstop Alec Porzel. Gagne then worked ahead in the count to Brad Harper (1-2) but the Bulldogs catcher launched his fifth home run of the season over the fence in left-center field to forge a 4-4 tie.
Notre Dame now is 7-0-1 in its last eight extra-inning games, dating back to a loss to Boston College in April of 1999.
FRESNO STATE (17-9) 0-0-2 0-0-0 0-2-0 0 – 4 6 9
NOTRE DAME (10-2-1) 0-0-0 0-0-4 0-0-0 1 – 5 10 1
Ben Fritz, Beau Hintz (8, L, 1-4) and Brad Harper.
J.P. Gagne, Mike Naumann (8), Brandon Viloria (9, W, 2-0) and Paul O’Toole.
Home Runs: Oscar Lopez, FSU (3rd, one on, 2nd of season), Brian Stavisky, ND (6th, grand slam, 1st of season), Brad Harper, FSU (8th, one on, 5th of season).
Double: Brandon Gemoll (FSU).