Oct. 10, 2001
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The blue team used strong efforts from its veteran players, four double-play balls and some clutch pitching from junior righthander Matt Buchmeier to defeat the gold team, 19-8, in Wednesday’s second game of the annual Notre Dame baseball Blue-Gold World Series, at Eck Stadium.
The series-which saw the gold win Tuesday’s game, 7-4-will be decided by Thursday’s game (4:30 p.m., open to the public), with the blue team slated to start junior righthander Ryan Kalita while the gold will counter with yet another freshman righthander, John Axford.
Notre Dame associate head coach Brian O’Connor’s strategy of selecting veteran position players for his blue squad paid major dividends on Wednesday, as four regular starters from the 2001 Irish team-sophomore second baseball Steve Sollmann, senior third baseman Paul O’Toole, junior leftfielder Brian Stavisky and sophomore first baseman Joe Thaman- combined to bat 10-for-16 with four walks, two home runs, three doubles, nine RBI and 13 runs scored.
Freshman designated hitter Brent Weiss also had a strong showing for the blue team’s 15-hit attack, batting 3-for-5 with a two-run single and a two-run home run.
Freshman shortstop Matt Macri (1-for-4) failed to match his game-one output (2-for-4 with a walk) but his namesakes that followed him in the batting order had solid days. Freshman leftfield Matt Edwards went 3-for-4 while batting in the third spot, with a solo home run, an RBI double and three runs scored. Senior rightfielder Matt Bok delivered as well from the cleanup spot, batting 2-for-2 with two walks, an RBI and run scored.
Senior centerfielder Steve Stanley continued his stellar pay as the gold team’s leadoff batter, hitting 3-for-5 with a triple, RBI and run scored. He also swiped three bases as the designated baserunner for Edwards while making several moer running catches in the field.
Buchmeier allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits and two walks over five innings, with three strikeouts. He repeatedly avoided the big inning, serving up a groundball in the first (leaving Bok stranded at third) and striking out Macri in the second (with Stanley on third) before ending the next three innings on double plays.
The blue team turned four double plays in the first six innings, including two started by O’Toole at third base (he could split time with classmate Andrew Bushey at third and catcher next spring).
Freshman righthander Martin Vergara was touched for eight runs on eight hits and four walks during his five-inning stint, with four strikeouts.
The blue team opened the game with four runs, highlighted by Sollmann’s leadoff double, Thaman’s two-run single to right field and a two-run single to right from Weiss. One inning later, Vergara lost freshman centerfielder George Howard on a full count, leadoff walk and Sollmann smacked a 2-0 pitch off the scoreboard in left field. Senior rightfielder Matt Strickroth plated O’Toole with sacrifice fly for an early 7-1 cushion.
The gold put single runs on the board in the first three innings before scoring twice in the fifth-on RBI hits from Edwards and Bok-for an 8-5 game.
A pair of errors by the gold team in both the sixth and seventh innings led to nine unearned runs, plus two earned runs to open the seventh.
ND BLUE 4-3-0 1-0-4 7 - 19 15 0ND GOLD 1-1-1 0-2-0 3 - 8 13 4
Matt Buchmeier, Drew Duff (6) and Soran Leahy
Martin Vergara, Mike Morgalis (6) and Mike Milligan
Home Runs: Steve Sollmann, B (2nd inning, one on), Matt Edwards, G (3rd inning, solo), Joe Thaman, B (6th inning, one on), Brent Weiss, B (7th inning, one on)
Triple: Steve Stanley (G)
Doubles: Sollmann (B), Paul O’Toole (B), Brian Stavisky (B), Javier Sanchez (B), Matt Edwards (G), Matt Bok (G)