Mar. 12, 1997
Notre Dame Pulls Out Extra-Inning Thriller
SAN ANTONIO - Notre Dame defeated Penn State in the bottom of the 11th inning by a score of 9-8 in the opening game for both teams in the Irish Spring Classic at Municipal Field in San Antonio, Texas.
In a wild error-filled slugfest, involving five lead changes, 26 hits and 17 runs, Notre Dame (6-6) scored the game-winner in the bottom of the 11th on what should have been an intentional walk. Pat O'Keefe led off the inning with a single off of Joe Martin (0-3). O'Keefe then advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jeff Perconte. Penn State (4-8) then tried to intentionally walk J.J. Brock, but he slapped the third pitch into right field for the game-winner.
The Fighting Irish rallied from a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. Brant Ust led off with a walk, followed by a Mike Amrhein single. Jeff Wagner then doubled to left to score Ust, and three batters later Brock grounded out to first, scoring Amrhein and tying the game.
Penn State had scored three runs in the top of the seventh to pull ahead 8-6. Kevin Billotte led off the seventh with a single and John Dacostino followed with a bunt single, his fourth hit of the day. Jared Sadlowski then doubled to score Billotte, but Dacostino was thrown out at home trying to score from first. However, Carl Albrecht and Jeremy Deitrick both followed with RBI doubles to push Penn State's lead to two. Deitrick's hit extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
Scott Cavey (1-0) picked up the win in relief for Notre Dame, pitching four scoreless innings, giving up only one hit while striking out three. It was the first career decision for the freshman right-hander.
Tomorrow's Classic schedule has the Lions battling Northeastern Illinois at 3 p.m. CST, followed by Notre Dame vs. Creighton in the 7 p.m. nightcap. Both games will take place at Wolff Municipal Field.
- Today was Brock's second final-inning, game-winning hit in the last four days. He also sent a hit through the right side of the infield vs. Texas-Pan American on Mar. 9, as the Irish scored five times in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 win.
- Notre Dame did not play an extra-inning game last season (first this season).
- Brent Ust's hitting streak ends at nine games (he went 0-for-4 with two walks).
- Brooks moved from leadoff to the No. 2 spot and responded by going 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
- O'Keefe subbed for injured Justin Scholl and went 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
- Eight Notre Dame players had hits, while seven Penn State players had hits.
- Notre Dame stranded 13 runners, while Penn State stranded eight.
Penn State 200 003 300 00 - 8 13 3 Notre Dame 102 003 001 01 - 9 13 3 Arnold, Martin (6) and Sadlowski. Schmalz, Kalita (7), Balicki (7), Cavey (8) and Wagner. 2B - Penn State, Dacostino (1), Notre Dame, Greene (2), Penn State, Sadlowski (5), Penn State, Albrecht (3), Penn State, Deitrick (3), Notre Dame, Wagner (7). 3B - Penn State, Albrecht (1). WP - Cavey (1-0). LP - Martin (0-3). Time - 3:45. Attendance - 530.