May 29, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Sophomore righthander Adam Johnson tossed his third complete game of the season while the Cal State Fullerton offense erupted for four runs in the decisive fifth, as the top-seeded Titans advanced to the championship round of the NCAA Baseball South Bend Regional with a 6-3 victory over No. 2-seeded Notre Dame at Eck Stadium.
Fullerton (46-11), which used three home runs to account for five of its six runs, will face the winner of Saturday night’s Notre Dame-Michigan game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. If the Titans lose that game, a second (and final) title game will be held at 6:00 p.m.
Johnson (10-3) scattered eight hits and five walks over his 132-pitch outing, with six strikeouts. Irish junior lefthander Tim Kalita (4-2) was strong over the first four innings before working into trouble in the fifth. Kalita was touched for five runs, five hits and four walks in his four and two-thirds innings while posting six Ks. Senior lefty Chris McKeown closed the game with a solid outing, allowing one run on three hits.
Notre Dame (43-17) claimed early leads of 1-0 and 2-1 but went on to strand nine runners in the game.
The decisive top of the fifth saw Kalita issue leadoff walks to Fullerton’s No. 8 and No. 9 hitters, with Craig Patterson drawing a full-count pass while Chris Stringfellow walked on four pitches. David Bacani’s bunt moved the runners over and junior centerfielder Reed Johnson took the next pitch for a ball before drilling his 12th home run of the season to left-center. Chris Beck then ended Kalita’s day with his eighth home run of the season, sending a 1-1 pitch to left-center for a 5-2 Titans lead.
The teams traded single runs over the first three innings. The Irish struck in the bottom of the first, when freshman catcher Paul O’Toole homered for the third straight game, drilling a 1-0 pitch over the leftfield fence for his seventh home run of the season.
Fullerton answered in the second, when third baseman Ryan Owens parked a 2-2 pitch over the rightfield fence for his 19th home run of his junior season.
The Irish went back ahead in the third, sparked by O’Toole’s two-out double to right-center. Sophomore shortstop Alec Porzel then walked on a ful count and junior leftfielder Matt Nussbaum came through with a 3-0, run-scoring single to right field.
After Fullerton’s big fifth inning, the Irish answered with a single run in the bottom of the inning. Freshman centerfielder Steve Stanley hit a leadoff double down the leftfield line before scoring from third on Porzel’s one-out single to right.
The Titans capped the scoring in the seventh, after Johnson’s one-out infield single, Spencer Oborn’s fielder’s choice and pair of stolen bases and Beck’s triple to the wall in right-center.
FULLERTON 0 1 0 0 4 0 1 0 0 -- 6 8 0 NOTRE DAME 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 -- 3 8 1
Adam Johnson and Craig Patterson. Tim Kalita, Chris McKeown (5) and Paul O’Toole.
W-Johnson (10-3). L-Kalita (4-2).
HRs-CSF: Reed Johnson (12), Chris Beck (8), Ryan Owens (19); ND: O’Toole (7).