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Strong Pitching Highlights Baseball Split Against UConn

April 1, 2000

Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score

STORRS, Conn. – Notre Dame junior righthander Aaron Heilman tossed his fourth complete game of the season in the seven-inning opener but Connecticut freshman lefthander Jesse Carlson stole the day with a four-hit effort in the nine-inning nightcap, as the Irish and Huskies split a BIG EAST Conference doubleheader Saturday at J.O. Christian Field (8-3, 8-1).

Notre Dame (17-6, 3-2 BIG EAST) had to overcome a 3-2 deficit in the first game, with senior leftfielder Matt Nussbaum and junior shortstop Alec Porzel each plating two runs in the decisive top of the fourth. Porzel was the only Irish player with more than two hits in the doubleheader, batting 2-for-4 in each game with three doubles, two RBI and two runs scored.

Connecticut (13-8, 5-3)posted its first win over the Irish since 1996, with Notre Dame now holding a 5-2 series edge.

Heilman (5-1) allowed just two earned runs in the opener while scattering seven hits, with several of them coming on bad bounces and near-outs. He walked just one UConn batter while posting six strikeouts.

Heilman kept his career ERA at 2.37 (in 224 innings)– just shy of the Irish record set by Nick Palihnich from 1959-61 (2.36, in 149 IP)–and has won his last five decisions while pushing his career record to 23-6.

Carlson (2-1) stymied a Notre Dame lineup that included six lefthanded batters, allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out nine Irish batters.

Irish freshman rightfielder Brian Stavisky saw his 14- game hitting streak end in the nightcap, but he kept it alive in stunning fashion during the first game. Stavisky worked to a 1-0 count in the sixth inning versus sophomore righthander Rob Barton before launching his team-leading sixth home run of the season–with the ball sailing high over the 340-foot rightfield fence and landing in the service road, 100 feet past the fence.

Senior first baseman Jeff Felker gave the Irish a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the day, after sending his second home run of the season into the trees beyond the fence in right-center field.

Junior third baseman Chris Wissner–a transfer from Marist College–delivered the clinching blow for the Huskies in the nightcap, sending a grand-slam home run to deep right-center field that capped UConn’s five-run bottom of the fifth.

UConn junior righthander Chris DeBrisco (0-2) took the opening loss, after allowing six runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks in 3.2 innings. Irish senior righthander Scott Cavey (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season, yielding eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits and one walk in four-plus innings (with four Ks). Sophomore righthander Matt Buchmeier then recorded the final 12 outs for the Irish, allowing no runs and two hits with three Ks.

* The Irish opened the day with a two-run inning, sparked by Porzel’s infield single to his counterpart John Kagerer. Felker then drilled a 2-1 pitch into the trees beyond the fence in right-center field, for his second home run of the season and the 18th of his career.

* UConn cut into the lead in the second, after Wissner’s leadoff groundball took a bad hop on sophomore 3B Andrew Bushey. After a groundout and strikeout, Brian Tisbert plated the runner with a 1-2 single into left-center.

* The Huskies surged to the lead in the third, after a series of fortunate bounces. Kagerer’s leadoff grounder went back to the mound and kicked off Heilman’s glove before settling in front of senior 2B Jeff Perconte. Mike Scott followed with a sacrifice bunt and Cy Hess advanced the runner with a groundout before Clark Caudill delivered a 2-2 single to right. Wissner then flared a ball to the left side of the infield but Porzel let it go through his legs, with Caudill moving to third. Brian Packin then pushed UConn into a lead with a full- count double that sailed just wide of Perconte as he jumped to his left.

* The Irish answered with four hits and four runs in the fourth. Sophomore C Paul O’Toole sent a leadoff single to left-center and Perconte then hit a blooper into shallow left. Bushey’s groundout moved the runners over before Nussbaum scored two runs with a 2-0 single to center. Sophomore DH Matt Bok then sent the ball to the 1B Packin, who fumbled with the ball while trying to start the 3-6-3 double play. Sophomore CF Steve Stanley bunted the runners over and Porzel came through with two outs–sending a first-pitch, two-run double down the leftfield line.

* ND tacked on one run in the sixth, on Stavisky’s mammoth blast, before adding a run in the seventh, courtesy of another fielding error on Packin. Bushey provided the two-out RBI single to left center, plating O’Toole for the final margin.

* UConn claimed a 2-0 lead in the second, thanks to consecutive doubles from Tisbert and Rick Belmonte (in his first at-bat of the season) and an RBI single from Brian Esposito.

* The hosts added a run in the third, with Scott hitting a leadoff double down the rightfield line and scoring on Wissner’s single to center.

* The Irish scored their lone run on the fourth, after Porzel hit a leadoff 2-2 double to right-center, moved up on Felker’s groundout and scored on O’Toole’s flyout to center.

* UConn stretched to its final margin in the fifth, with Kagerer hitting a one-out, 2-2 single up the middle and stealing second before Scott walked on a full count. Hess then dropped down a sac. bunt but Bushey’s throw was too close to the basepath, with Felker unable to make the catch as the runner was bearing down on him (Kagerer scored on the play). Caudill then pulled off the same play but Bushey didn’t have time to make a play, loading the bases for Wissner’s 1-1 blast to right-center (his third home run of the season).

NOTRE DAME  2-0-0   4-0-1   1   -   8   9   1CONNECTICUT     0-1-2   0-0-0   0   -   3   7   2

Heilman and O’Toole. DeBrisco, Barton (4) and Esposito

NOTRE DAME  0-0-0   1-0-0   0-0-0   -   1   4   1CONNECTICUT 0-2-1   0-5-0   0-0-X   -   8  10   0Cavey, Buchmeier (5) and Nussbaum. Carlson and Esposito.