April 2, 1997
Irish Hold on to Down Eastern Illinois 7-5
Amrhein Pushes Hit Streak to 20
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Freshman second baseman Brant Ust had a hand in three runs and senior DH Mike Amrhein extended his hitting streak to 20 games as the University of Notre Dame held off visiting Eastern Illinois, 7-5, in non-conference baseball action Wednesday at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (14-11) jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the first--thanks to three Panthers errors that led to four unearned runs. Eastern Illinois (10-14) chipped away with two runs in the second and another in the fourth but could not catch the Irish, who tacked on key single runs in the bottom of the sixth and eighth.
Sophomore righthander Alex Shilliday (1-2) picked up his first win of the season, after pitching four and one-third innings of middle relief. Shilliday allowed just one run one three hits and a walk, while striking out two EIU batters. Mike Balicki pitched a scoreless eighth--lowering his team-leading season ERA to 3.45--while fellow senior righthander Larry Mohs closed the door in the ninth for his first save of the season and the ninth of his career.
EIU junior righthander Randy Eversgerd was the hard-luck loser, after allowing five runs (just one of which was earned) on five hits and a walk over the first two innings, with one strikeout.
Senior rightfielder Pat O'Keefe reached to open the bottom of the first when shortstop David Mikes bobbled his grounder. Senior centerfielder Randall Brooks then grounded out to the mound, moving O'Keefe to second, before Amrhein belted a single up the middle to score O'Keefe (Amrhein's team-leading 29th RBI of the season). Sophomore catcher Jeff Wagner then walked and Ust sent a sharp single into center field, scoring Amrhein with Wagner holding at third.
Sophomore leftfielder Allen Greene then ground out to first base (for what should have been the third out of the inning), with Wagner chugging toward home on the play. First baseman Clint Beehoff tried to nail Wagner at home but his throw was wide, allowing Ust to move up to third. Senior first baseman Justin Scholl then smacked an RBI double to the gap in left-center field, with an error on centerfielder Sean Lyons allowing Scholl to move to third. Junior shortstop Todd Frye's bloop double to left field capped the flurry of unearned runs.
EIU made things interesting with two runs in the second--sparked by a leadoff single by Justin Stone, an RBI double by David Mikes, a single by Josh Zink and an RBI single by Mark Smith. The Panthers added another run in the third, ending the night for junior lefthander Chris McKeown, who allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks (with two K's).
The Irish tagged on a run in the sixth, loading the bases after a single from Brooks (who stole second and was caught stealing third), a walk by Amrhein, a single by Wagner and a walk by Ust (chasing by Eversgerd). Lefthander Caleb Englehardt then hit Greene with a pitch, plating Amrhein for a 6-4 lead.
The Panthers scored in the seventh, when Mark Tomse's double plated Nolan Lofgren, but the Irish earlier in the inning nailed Smith at home, after Lofgren's bouncer to senior third baseman J.J. Brock.
Notre Dame pushed its lead to 7-5 in the eighth, after Wagner reached on a leadoff error by third baseman Smith before Ust poked a triple to center field.
Univ. of Notre Dame 7, Eastern Illinois 5