March 12, 2001
FRESNO, Calif. – Senior righthander Danny Tamayo delivered Notre Dame’s second shutout in the last five games while freshman second baseman Steve Sollmann used his bat and his glove to make two of the game’s biggest plays, as the 11th-ranked Irish baseball team opened play at the Pepsi/Johnny Quick Classic with a 3-0 victory over the University of New Mexico, in early Monday action at Fresno State’s Beiden Field.
Notre Dame (9-2) failed to plate any of its six baserunners during the first six innings before breaking through with a pair of runs in the seventh. New Mexico (10-16) then loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning but Sollmann saved the day with a lunging stab of a linedrive that nearly tied the game.
Tamayo (2-1) reprised the three-hit shutout that he turned in at Mississippi State in the 2000 NCAA Starkville Regional, allowing two other baserunners to reach via walks while striking out five UNM batters. His 122-pitch outing included eight groundouts and 13 flyouts, with a single through the left side of the infield in the first inning, a single to right in the third and an infield single in the seventh.
Tamayo retired nine straight batters from the third through sixth innings, highlighted by four straight strikeouts of the No. 5-8 batters. The shutout dropped Tamayo’s season ERA to 1.00, with 22 Ks, five walks and 16 hits allowed in 27 innings.
Junior righthander Jason Bengert (0-1) took the loss, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks over six and one-third innings (with five Ks).
Sollmann continued the impressive start to his rookie season with a couple of prime-time plays in the pivotal seventh inning. Junior catcher Andrew Bushey ignited the rally with a one-out single to left before senior third baseman Ben Cooke executed the hit-and-run, moving Bushey to third on a single down the leftfield line.
Sollmann then fouled off three pitches with two strikes before ultimately slapping a full-count groundball to the left side. Shortstop Dusty Young was playing in, looking for a play at the plate, and couldn’t stop the hard-hit grounder from skidding into left field, with Cooke then taking third on a wild pitch.
UNM opted tp send junior lefty Josh Love to the mound, but lefthanded-hitting leadoff batter Steve Stanley lifted Love’s first pitch to center field, plating Cooke with the sacrifice fly for a 2-0 Irish lead.
The Lobos were poised to tie the game moments later, after Sean Murray’s slow grounder to the left side and a pair of errors loaded the bases with one out. Tamayo then induced Young into a first-pitch popup to the shortstop Alec Porzel before leadoff batter Troy Cairns ripped a full-count pitch towards Sollmann’s right-with the converted outfielder quickly leaping into the air and extending nearly horizontal to the ground before snaring the ball to end the threat.
Junior rightfielder Paul O’Toole smacked his second home run of the season and 17th of his career to open the eighth, sending a 2-1 pitch over the rightfield fence.
NOTES: Notre Dame tied the team record for consecutive games with at least one run scored, as the Irish have scored in 133 straight games (dating back to a 12-0 loss at Florida International on Feb. 21, 1999) … ND also scored in the first 133 games of the Paul Mainieri era (Feb. 24, 1995-March 9, 1997) and has scored in of 372 of 377 total games during the Mainieri era (98.7 percent) … ND’s last 13 games have including three shutout performances by Irish pitchers (Tamayo’s pair and Aaron Heilman’s five-hitter vs. Florida Atlantic on March 2) … Monday’s game was the first ever between the ND and UNM baseball squads (the Lobos became the 272nd team on the Irish all-time opponents list) … ND’s starting rotation now owns a 1.50 season ERA and 7-1 record in 72 innings pitched, with 61 Ks, 16 walks ad 51 hits allowed (Heilman is 1.24, 4-0, 30 Ks/7 BB/20 H in 29 IP while junior RHP Matt Buchmeier is 1-0, 2.86, 9 Ks/4 BB/15 H in 16 IP) … Sollmann (.385 season avg.) and fellow freshman Joe Thaman (.333, including his 7th double of the season vs. UNM) continue to produce as members of a veteran Irish offense that is hitting just .296 as a team.
#11 Notre Dame (9-2) 0-0-0 0-0-0 2-1-0 – 3 8 3
New Mexico (10-16) 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 0 3 0
Danny Tamayo (W, 2-1) and Andrew Bushey, Paul O’Toole (8).
Jason Bengert (L, 0-1), Josh Love (7) and Matt Alexander.
Home Runs: Paul O’Toole, ND (solo in 8th, 2nd of season).
Doubles: Steve Stanley (ND), Joe Thaman (ND).