Feb. 27, 1997
Irish Take Christian Brothers, Army
MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Notre Dame sophomore Jeff Wagner singled
in his first at-bat of the day and went on to collect extra bases on
each of his next four hits, fueling an offensive barrage for the Irish
baseball team that produced victories Thursday over Christian Brothers
(12-1) and Army (8-0) at the USA Baseball Field.
The first game provided Notre Dame (2-3) with its first win of the
season while the second game opened the six-team Service Academies
Classic, which also includes Air Force, Navy, Memphis and Arkansas.
Nearly half (12) of Notre Dame's 26 hits in the two games went for
extra bases, including the first home runs of the season for the
team's catching/first baseman platoon unit of Wagner and senior Mike
The Irish played without sophomore shortstop Paul Turco, who is
nursing a hamstring pull, while senior centerfielder Randall Brooks
was used at designated hitter due to a nagging quadriceps injury.
Junior Todd Frye started at shortstop vs. CBU, making several solid
defensive plays, while freshman Jeff Perconte closed out the first
game and started the second, doubling in a run vs. CBU before scoring
Senior righthander Darin Schmalz picked up his first victory of the
season and 22nd of his career, after holding Amrmy to two hits in the
seven-inning game. Schmalz -- who lost last week to then No. 24 Long
Beach State -- did not issue a walk Thursday while recording eight
strikeouts (vs. seven different Army batters). Schmalz allowed Bryan
Price a leadoff double in the fourth before Mike Scioletti picked up a
single in the seventh. The game was the first of the season for Army,
which lost to the Irish 12-8 in last year's Service Academies Classic.
Notre Dame faces No. 24 Arkansas at 3 p.m. Friday in the most
anticipated matchup of the tournament, with rising sophomore
righthander Brad Lidge expected to start for the Irish.
In Thursday's first game, senior lefthander Gregg Henebry bounced back
from his loss last week to No. 2 USC, allowing just two hits, no walks
and an unearned run through five full innings (with two strikeouts).
Notre Dame pounded out 17 hits against Christian Brothers (2-3), with
Amrhein's 24th career home run and Wagner's two doubles highlighting
seven extra-base hits for the Irish.
Wagner batted 5-for-9 in the two games while collecting 11 total bases
on the strength of three doubles and his 11th career home run, a solo
shot over the scoreboard in left field during the fourth inning of the
Army game. The 6-3, 220-pound righthander opened the day by going
3-for-5 vs. CBU, with an RBI and one run scored.
The day's pitching highlight came in the sixth inning of the CBU game
when senior righthander Larry Mohs made his first appearance for the
Irish in nearly 22 months, allowing just one hit and striking out one
in two innings of work. Mohs' last appearance for Notre Dame came in a
7-6 loss to Michigan on May 2, 1995. A month after that appearance, the
6-8 righthander suffered an elbow injury in a June 3 summer game in
the Cape Cod League. The injury required "Tommy John surgery" and Mohs
did not appear during his junior season (1986) while undergoing the
lengthy rehabilitation under the guidance of Notre Dame athletic
trainer Mike Bean.
Sophomore Allen Greene started both games Thursday in center field,
moving over from left field in place of the injured Brooks. Greene,
who opened the season last week with an 0-for-11 slump, lifted a
sacrifice fly in his first trip to the plate vs. CBU before going
2-for-3 in both games Thursday. Greene's highlights vs. the Buccaneers
included an RBI single down the left field line and an RBI double in
Notre Dame's four-run sixth inning.
Brook's was hitless in three at-bats vs. CBU but bounced back to go
2-for-3 with a run and stolen base vs. the Black Knights.
Freshmen Brant Ust and Jeff Felker continued their impressive
early-season showings. Ust collected five hits in six at-bats during
the two games while again turning in a solid fielding day at third
base. Ust, hitting in the No. 2 spot, scored three times vs. CBU after
ripping singles down the left field line in the first and fourth
innings and adding another single in the sixth. He went 2-for-2 vs.
Army , hitting an RBI single in the second before tripling to right
center and scoring in the fourth.
Felker started at his fourth different position in as many games after
taking the field vs. CBU in left field. The lanky 6-5 lefthander
opened his career last week at the Long Beach State Classic by
starting at DH vs. LBSU, right field vs. USC and first base vs.
Mississippi. In his first at-bat Thursday, Felker was hit by a pitch
with the bases loaded. He went on to single in his next at-bat, stole
second and scored on a single by Greene before adding an RBI groundout
in the sixth and a double and a run scored in the eighth. Felker then
walked in his first at-bat vs. Army and went on to score as the Irish
opened with a 3-0 lead.
A pair of freshman pitchers, lefthander Tim Kalita and righthander
Scott Cavey, made their Irish debut vs. CBU, with Kalita allowing two
hits in the eighth while the 6-5 Cavey walked one batter in the ninth.
Amrhein's 24th career home run leaves him four shy of fifth place on
the Irish all-time list, currently occupied by Tim Hutson (1985-88)
and Dan Peltier (1987-89). Schmalz' 22nd victory leaves him three
behind Pat Leahy (1990-92) for sixth on the Irish all-time victories
Army 000 000 0 -- 0 2 0
Notre Dame 321 200 -- 8 9 0
Schmalz and Amrhein. King and Hicks. WP - Schmalz (1-1). LP - King
(0-1). 2B - Price (A), Wagner (ND), Scholl (ND). 3B - Ust (ND), Greene
(ND). HR - Wagner (ND) 1.
Christian Brothers 001 000 000 -- 1 5 0
Notre Dame 301 204 11 -- 12 16 1
Voitier, Wages (6), Hargraves (8) and Kolodziej, Gentleman. Henebry,
Mohs (6), Kalita (8), Cavey (9) and Wagner. WP - Henebry (1-1). LP -
Voitier (0-2). 2B - Perconte (ND), Wagner (ND) 3, Greene (ND), Brock
(ND). HR - Amrhein (ND) 1.