Mar. 22, 1997

Seton Hall Takes Two From Notre Dame

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- David Kim's three-run homer sparked a Seton Hall comeback in the opener and junior righthander Jason Grilli held Notre Dame to three hits in the nightcap, while receiving plenty of offensive help, as the Pirates swept a Saturday doubleheader from the Irish, 5-4 and 16-0, in both teams' opening day of the Big EAST Conference play.

Seton Hall (10-7) came back from a 4-1 deficit in the opening seven-inning game before belting out 20 hits to run away with the nine-inning game.

Notre Dame (9-10) was done in by two costly errors by senior third baseman J.J. Brock in the third inning of the first game, moments before Kim's game-tying home run. The 16-run deficit represents the biggest shutout loss by a Notre Dame team in 11 years, since the 1986 team mande nine errors in a 18-0 loss at Lewis University.

Junior righthander Brian Ridley (4-0) went the distance for the opening win, allowing seven hits and one walk over the full seven innings while striking out four Notre Dame batters.

Irish senior righthander Darin Schmalz (2-2) suffered the loss, after allowing a homer for the first time since 1995 (spanning more than 110 innings). Schmalz was touched for eight hits over six innings, while allowing five runs (four earned) and one walk, while recording two strikeouts.

Notre Dame sophomore Brad Lidge (2-2) didn't last through the second inning of the nightcap, allowing six runs, six hits and a walk while recording four outs.

The highly-touted Grili (2-0) struck out nine Irish batters over eight full innings, while allowing just three hits and two walks. Notre Dame had three other baserunners, who all reached on defensive miscues, but Grilli faced just 29 batters. Catcher Dan Hummel threw out attempted basestealers Pat O'Keefe and Randall Brooks in the first inning and Grilli induced Allen Greene into a 4-6-3 double play after Dan Leatherman had walked in the seventh.

While Kim's home run highlighted the opener, it was a fifth-inning double from Mike Condon that plated the game-winner. Kim drew a one-out walk, moved up on a groundout and took third on a single from Hummel before Condon sent the clutch hit down the leftfield line.

Notre Dame opened the day with a three-run first inning. O'Keefe led off with a single to center field and Brooks brought him home with his third home run of the season over the leftfield fence. Freshman second baseman Brant Ust kept things going with a double to centerfield, scoring moments later on a sacrifice fly from sophomore DH Jeff Wagner.

Seton Hall scored in the top of the second, behind a double from Condon and single by Brian McGee, but the Irish went back ahead by three in the top of the third, after a leadoff walk by O'Keefe and one-out singles from Ust and Amrhein.

The Pirates answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to even things at 4-4. John Bravette led off with a roller to the left side, reaching base when Brock could not come up with the play. Alex Melconian then hit a grounder to Brock, who threw to Ust at second base for the force. But the throw was short and Ust cound not handle the bounce, with both runners safe on the play. Kim then sent a shot into a wind that was blowing out, with the ball flying over the fence in the left-center field for the crucial three-run blast.

Seton Hall opened the second game with four straight hits. Melconian led off with a double and Kim followed with a single before Craig Zimmerli's blooper fell inside the rightfield line. Hummel then smacked a RBI single up the middle, Mark Racciopo added a one-out sacrifice fly and McGee hit a run-scoring single to left for a 4-0 Pirate lead.

The hosts added three runs in the second. Bravette drew a leadoff walk and moved up on Melconian's sacrifice bunt before Kim's RBI double ended Lidge's day. Zimmerli, who had four hits in the second game, kept things going with a single vs. senior lefthander Wally Widelski and Mike Condon loaded the bases with a two-out walk before Raccioppo belted a two-run single to center.

The Pirates added three more runs in the third, behind a RBI single from Bravette and a two-run single by Zimmerli. Seton Hall kept rolling with four runs in the sixth, as errors by Brock and centerfielder Brooks led to two unearned runs.

Notre Dame failed to advance a runner to third base vs. Grilli, with just three baserunners getting to second base. Brock touched Grilli first, on a double down the leftfield line, and Amrhein extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a smash that was knocked down by shortstop Condon. Brooks added Notre Dame's third hit in the sixth, a single to left field.

Seton Hall 5, Notre Dame 4
Notre Dame    301 000 0   -  4 7 2
Seton Hall    013 010 x   -  5 8 0    
ND: Schmalz and Amrhein. SH: Ridley and Hummel.
2B: Ust (ND), Condon 2 (SH).  HR: Brooks (ND), 
Kim (SH). WP: Ridley (4-0). LP: Schmalz (2-2).
Attend: 200.

Seton Hall 16, Notre Dame 0
Notre Dame    000 000 000  -  0  4 3 
Seton Hall    430 034 11x  - 16 20 2
ND: Lidge, Widelski (2), McKeown (3), Balicki (5), Xalita (7)
and Wagner. SH: Grilli, Probst (9) and Hummel. 2B: Brock (ND),
Melconian (SH), Kim (SH), Condon (SH). 3B: Kish (SH). 
HR: Robinson J. (SH). WP: Grilli (2-0). LP: Lidge (2-2)
Attend: 170.

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