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    Fighting Irish

    April 14, 1997

    Irish Move Atop National Division with 6-5 Win at Rutgers

    Wagner, Brooks Lead Balanced Attack: Shilliday Turns in Solid Start, N.J. Native Mohs Gets the Save

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. - A balanced Notre Dame offensive attack helped overcome 16 runners left on base while sophomore righthander Alex Shilliday pitched eight solid innings and New Jersey native Larry Mohs came on to pick up his second save of the series, as Notre Dame took the final game of a BIG EAST Conference series at Rutgers, 6-5, Monday at the Class of '53 Complex.

    Notre Dame (23-13, 7-4 BIG EAST)--winners of 14 of its last 16 games--moved past Rutgers (15-16, 9-6) atop the league's National Division standings, by virtue of an edge in the first criteria, winning percentage (.636 to .600). Monday's win widened Notre Dame's lead on third-place Seton Hall (8-7), which dropped two of three at Villanova (5-7).

    Notre Dame and Rutgers also played a pair of one-run games on Sunday, with the Irish taking the opener (3-2) and the Knights hanging on in the nightcap (15-14).

    Notre Dame jumped out to a 4-1 lead after five innings but the hosts used three home runs to tie the game (5-5) heading into the eighth. Irish sophomore DH Jeff Wagner--who won Sunday's first game with a late two-run homer--again came through with the clutch hit on Monday, driving in senior rightfielder Pat O'Keefe as the eventual winning run in the top of the ninth, on a two-out single to center field.

    Shilliday (3-2) allowed just five hits (including three home runs that led to five earned runs) and no walks through eight innings, while striking out seven Rutgers batters. Shilliday was hurt by hitting four batters, two of which scored on home runs later in the inning.

    Mohs, from nearby Nutley, N.J., allowed a leadoff double by Michael O'Brian in the bottom of the ninth before pinch-hitter Craig Brenhiser moved pinch-runner Rich Wurst to third with a sacrifice bunt. But Mohs forced Matt Keller--who had tied the game with a two-run homer in the seventh--to pop up in foul territory to Felker and Darren Fenster then grounded out to Brock at third, ending the game.

    The result held special significance for Mohs, who this season returned to the Irish after a 22-month absence due to injury, during which time he underwent reconstructive "Tommy John" surgery on his right elbow. Mohs leads Irish regulars with a 3.46 season ERA in 13 innings pitched, with 11 strikeouts and a .174 opponent batting average.

    Sophomore lefthander Dan Brassem (1-1) took the loss, after giving up a walk to O'Keefe and a single by Irish senior catcher Mike Amrhein in the top of the ninth, before yielding to freshman righthander Barry Walsh (who served up the game-winning hit by Wagner).

    Notre Dame's balanced attack included eight starters combining for 16 hits--led by 3-of-5 days from Wagner (who extended his hitting streak to 15 games) and freshman second baseman Brant Ust--while five different players had at least one RBI and five players combined to score the six Irish runs. Freshman first baseman Jeff Felker scored twice from the seventh spot in the lineup while junior shortstop Todd Frye scored a crucial run from his #8 spot.

    The Irish stranded at least one runner in every inning, including two or more in six of the nine innings and a total of eight runners left on base through the first four innings.

    Notre Dame jumped on senior righthanded starter Bob Prusiensky, with senior centerfielder Randall Brooks drawing a one-out walk and stealing second before scoring on Amrhein's single over the head of the first baseman. Ust added a two-out single and sophomore leftfielder Allen Greene drew a walk, but Felker struck out looking with the bases loaded.

    Frye walked to open the second and moved up on O'Keefe's one-out bunt single. Brooks then slapped a single into center, scoring Frye, with O'Keefe moving to third after center fielder Shawn Williams bobbled the ball. Prusiensky next hit Amrhein with a pitch, but Wagner grounded into a rally-killing double-play.

    The missed opportunities continued for the Irish in the third. Ust led off with a home run to left-center (his seventh of the season) before Felker and Frye hit one-out singles. But senior third baseman J.J. Brock and O'Keefe both grounded out to the pitcher, leaving the Irish with just a 3-0 lead after after placing 11 runners on base through the first four innings.

    Notre Dame added another run in the fifth, loading the bases after a one-out single from Felker, a walk by Frye, and a single by Brock before O'Keefe groundout brought Felker home.

    Rutgers out into the lead with a solo home run from O'Brien in the fifth and a two-run blast to dead-center field by Pete Zoccolillo in the sixth (after Adam Neubart was hit by a pitch). The Irish stretched to a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh, after a leadoff by Felker, a sac bunt from Frye and a two-out RBI single from Brooks off righthander Corey Long.

    In the bottom of the seventh, Shilliday again was burned after hitting Jason Jaworski with a pitch, as Keller sent a blast over the fence in left center field, knotting the game (5-5).

    • Monday's game ended a strek of five straight doubleheaders for the Irish--at home vs Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Providence, Boston College, and IUPUI and Sunday at Rutgers.
    • Wagner extended his hitting streak to 15 games, during which time he has batted .600 (33-for-55) while collecting 10 home runs, 29 RBI, 21 runs, six doubles and six walks (with just four K's).
    • During Notre Dame's 14-2 run, the Irish have 10-plus hits in 11 games and 10-plus runs in 10 games while hitting .378 as a team during that stretch, with 26 home runs...the potent #2-#5 hitters have combined to hit .483 and average a combined .861 slugging pct. during the last 16 games (listed in batting order): Brooks (.493, 21 RBI, 21 runs, six 2B) Amrhein (.456, six HR, 26 RBI, 27 runs, .842 slugging) Wagner (.559, 10HR, 29 RBI, 22 runs, six 2B, 1.169 slugging) and Ust (.418, five HR, 24 RBI, 20 runs, .818 slugging)...that foursome's output in the last 16 games includes 196 total bases (21 home runs, five triples, 17 doubles, and 72 singles).
    • The Irish have five players hitting .375 or better in BIG EAST play: Wagner (.535), Brock (.425), Brooks (.413), Amrhein (.405), and Ust (.375).
    • Brooks is two hits away from becomming the ninth Irish player to reach the 200-hit plateau...Amrhein's two hits Monday moved him into sole possession of 5th all-time at Notre Dame with 237 career hits, just two behind former teammate Scott Sollmann...Amrhein on Sunday moved past Joe Binkiewicz (1989-92) into third in the Irish career RBI list (now 180)... Amrhein and Brooks are about to become the second set of Irish teammates to reach 200 hits in the same season, the previous being Craig Counsell (235) and Binkiewicz (224) in 1992... Amrhein ranks 4th in Irish history with a .368 career batting average while Brooks is seventh at .362...Wagner already ranks ninth on the Irish career home run list (210).
    • Each Notre Dame starter is hitting .283 or higher this season...the Irish have 19 home runs in the last nine games and 40 this season in 36 games for an average of 1.11 home runs per game that would best the team record (1.03 in 1993)... the Irish also remain on pace with (over 62 games) to set team records for hits per game (11.06), home runs (69, besting the 64 in '93), fewest at-bats per home run (29.93) and slugging pct. (.526) while the .332 batting average would rank third all-time...the Irish pitching staff remians on pace for a record 405 strikeouts (the '93) team threw 392).
    • Ust is hitting .484 (15-for-31) in the last none games, with four home runs, 17 RBI and a .903 slugging pot... Brooks has hits in 23 of his last 25 games.. in the last 12 games, Brooks is batting .489 (23-for-47) ... Amrhein remains on pace to break the Irish season batting average record (.447 by Edwin Hartewell in '93), currently checking in at .454 after an "off" series at Rutgers (3-for-12) ... Amrhein has hits in 33 of 36 games and has yet to go hitless in a nine-inning game ... Felker went 4-for-11 in the Rutgers series, with three runs scored ... Brock was 4-for-12 vs. Rutgers from the #9 spot, with three runs and two RBI ... Brock continues to produce clutch hits from the bottom of the lineup ... since going 4-for-4 in the final game at Seton Hall (March 23), Brock is hitting .435 (27-for-62) over the last 17 games, with 21 runs, 12 RBI, five doubles, five triples and two home runs ... Brock had gone 13 games without an error before making two in Sunday's nightcap.

    * The Irish need just two more home runs from Amrhein and four from Ust to post the first threesome in team history that each has more than 10 home runs (Wagner has 11).

    Box Score

    Univ. of Notre Dame at Rutgers University  
    April 14, 1997 at Class of '53 Complex
    Univ. of Notre Dame 6 (23-13)
    Rutgers University  5 (15-16)
    Name (Pos)                 AB  R  H RBI  BB SO PO  A                Name (Pos)                 AB  R  H RBI  BB SO PO  A
    ----------------------------------------------------                ----------------------------------------------------
    Pat O'Keefe rf............  4  1  1  1    2  0  1  0                Shawn Williams cf.........  4  0  2  0    0  1  5  1
    Randall Brooks cf.........  5  1  2  2    1  1  1  0                Dave Marciniak 2b.........  4  0  0  0    0  0  3  2
    Mike Amrhein c............  5  0  2  1    0  1  7  2                Adam Neubart lf...........  2  1  0  0    0  1  2  0
    Jeff Wagner dh............  5  0  3  1    1  0  0  0                Pete Zoccolillo 3b........  4  1  1  2    0  1  1  2
    Brant Ust 2b..............  5  1  3  1    0  0  5  3                Chris Dorsett dh..........  4  0  0  0    0  1  0  0
    Allen Greene lf...........  3  0  0  0    1  2  1  0                Michael O'Brien 1b........  4  1  2  1    0  2  8  1
    Dan Leatherman ph/lf......  1  0  0  0    0  0  0  0                Rich Wurst pr.............  0  0  0  0    0  0  0  0
    Jeff Felker 1b............  4  2  2  0    1  1 10  1                Jason Jaworski rf.........  2  1  0  0    0  1  1  0
    Todd Frye ss..............  2  1  1  0    2  0  0  2                Craig Brenhiser ph........  0  0  0  0    0  0  0  0
    J.J. Brock 3b.............  5  0  1  0    0  0  1  3                Matt Keller c.............  3  1  1  2    0  0  5  1
    Alex Shilliday p..........  0  0  0  0    0  0  1  1                Darren Fenster ss.........  4  0  0  0    0  0  2  1
    Larry Mohs p..............  0  0  0  0    0  0  0  0                Bob Prusiensky p..........  0  0  0  0    0  0  0  3
                                                                        Corey Long p..............  0  0  0  0    0  0  0  0
                                                                        Dan Brassem p.............  0  0  0  0    0  0  0  1
                                                                        Barry Walsh p.............  0  0  0  0    0  0  0  0
    Totals.................... 39  6 15  6    8  5 27 12                Totals.................... 31  5  6  5    0  7 27 12
    
    Score by innings:                      R  H  E
    ----------------------------------------------
    Univ. of Notre Dame   111 010 101   -  6 15  1
    Rutgers University    000 012 200   -  5  6  1
    ----------------------------------------------
    E - A. Shilliday, S. Williams.
    DP - Irish 1, Sc. Knights 1. LOB - Irish 16, Sc. Knights 4.
    2B - M. O'Brien.
    HR - Brant Ust(7), Zoccolillo, M. O'Brien, Matt Keller.
    SB - Rand. Brooks(14). CS - S. Williams.
    SH - Todd Frye(4), C. Brenhiser.
    
    Univ. of Notre Dame    IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  AB  BF              Rutgers University     IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  AB  BF
    -----------------------------------------------------              -----------------------------------------------------
    Alex Shilliday......  8.0   5   5   5   0   7  28  32               Bob Prusiensky......  6.2  10   5   5   7   5  28  37
    Larry Mohs..........  1.0   1   0   0   0   0   3   4               Corey Long..........  0.1   1   0   0   0   0   2   2
                                                                        Dan Brassem.........  1.2   3   1   1   1   0   8   9
                                                                        Barry Walsh.........  0.1   1   00   0   0   1   1
    
    Winner - A. Shilliday 3-2.  Loser - Dan Brassem 1-1.  Save - Larry Mohs (3).
    WP - Prusiensky 2.
    HBP - by Prusiensky (Mike Amrhein), by A. Shilliday (Matt Keller), by A.
    Shilliday (Adam Neubart), by A. Shilliday (Adam Neubart), by A. Shilliday (J. Jaworski).
    Umpires -
    Start: Noon   
    Time: 2:45  
    Attendance: 50

    Play-by-play

    Univ. of Notre Dame at Rutgers University
    April 14, 1997 at Class of '53 Complex

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 1
    Pat O'Keefe grounded out to 3b. Rand. Brooks walked. Rand. Brooks stole second. Mike Amrhein singled down the rf line, RBI; Rand. Brooks scored. Jeff Wagner flied out to lf. Brant Ust singled to left center; Mike Amrhein advanced to third. Allen Greene walked; Brant Ust advanced to second. Jeff Felker struck out looking. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 LOB.

    Rutgers University inning 1
    S. Williams singled to center field. D. Marciniak flied out to cf. S. Williams out at second c to 2b, caught stealing. Adam Neubart popped up to 2b. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 2
    Todd Frye walked. J.J. Brock flied out to cf. Pat O'Keefe singled to catcher; Todd Frye advanced to second. Rand. Brooks singled to center field, RBI; Pat O'Keefe advanced to second, advanced to third on an error by cf; Todd Frye scored. Mike Amrhein hit by pitch; Rand. Brooks advanced to second. Jeff Wagner grounded into double play ss to 2b to 1b; Mike Amrhein out on the play. 1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 2 LOB.

    Rutgers University inning 2
    Zoccolillo struck out. Chr. Dorsett grounded out to 3b. M. O'Brien struck out. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 3
    Brant Ust homered to left center, RBI. Allen Greene struck out, out at first c to 1b. Jeff Felker singled to center field. Todd Frye singled to left field; Jeff Felker advanced to second. J.J. Brock grounded out to p; Todd Frye advanced to second; Jeff Felker advanced to third. Pat O'Keefe grounded out to p. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

    Rutgers University inning 3
    J. Jaworski popped up to 2b. Matt Keller hit by pitch. D. Fenster grounded into double play ss to 2b to 1b; Matt Keller out on the play. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 4
    Rand. Brooks flied out to cf. Mike Amrhein struck out. Jeff Wagner singled to left field. Brant Ust flied out to cf; Jeff Wagner advanced to second on a wild pitch. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

    Rutgers University inning 4
    S. Williams singled to center field. D. Marciniak grounded out to p; S. Williams advanced to second. Adam Neubart hit by pitch. Zoccolillo popped up to 2b. Chr. Dorsett struck out. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 5
    Allen Greene flied out to cf. Jeff Felker singled to right center. Todd Frye walked; Jeff Felker advanced to second. J.J. Brock singled to left field; Todd Frye advanced to second; Jeff Felker advanced to third. Pat O'Keefe grounded out to 3b, RBI; J.J. Brock advanced to second; Todd Frye advanced to third; Jeff Felker scored. Rand. Brooks struck out. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

    Rutgers University inning 5
    M. O'Brien homered to left field, RBI. J. Jaworski struck out. Matt Keller popped up to 3b. D. Fenster grounded out to 2b. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 6
    Mike Amrhein flied out to cf. Jeff Wagner walked. Brant Ust flied out to rf. Allen Greene struck out. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

    Rutgers University inning 6
    S. Williams struck out. D. Marciniak flied out to lf. Adam Neubart hit by pitch. Zoccolillo homered to center field, 2 RBI; Adam Neubart scored. Chr. Dorsett flied out to rf. 2 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 7
    Jeff Felker walked. Todd Frye grounded out to p, SAC, bunt; Jeff Felker advanced to second. Jeff Felker advanced to third on a wild pitch. J.J. Brock popped up to 2b. Pat O'Keefe walked. Corey Long to p for Prusiensky. Rand. Brooks singled to left field, RBI; Pat O'Keefe advanced to third; Jeff Felker scored. Mike Amrhein reached on a fielder's choice; Rand. Brooks out at second 2b to ss. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

    Rutgers University inning 7
    M. O'Brien struck out looking. J. Jaworski hit by pitch. Matt Keller homered to left center, 2 RBI; J. Jaworski scored. D. Fenster grounded out to 2b. S. Williams out at first 1b to p. 2 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 8
    Dan Brassem to p for Corey Long. Jeff Wagner singled to left field. Brant Ust singled to left field; Jeff Wagner advanced to second. Leatherman pinch hit for Allen Greene. Leatherman reached on a fielder's choice, bunt; Brant Ust advanced to second; Jeff Wagner out at third p to 3b. Jeff Felker popped up to ss. Todd Frye popped up to 2b. 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

    Rutgers University inning 8
    Leatherman to lf. D. Marciniak grounded out to ss. Adam Neubart struck out. Zoccolillo reached on an error by p. Chr. Dorsett grounded out to 3b. 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 9
    J.J. Brock flied out to lf. Pat O'Keefe walked. Rand. Brooks popped up to 1b, interference. Mike Amrhein singled to left field; Pat O'Keefe advanced to second. Barry Walsh to p for Dan Brassem. Jeff Wagner singled to center field, RBI; Mike Amrhein advanced to third, out at home cf to 1b to c; Pat O'Keefe scored. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

    Rutgers University inning 9
    Larry Mohs to p for A. Shilliday. M. O'Brien doubled to center field. Rich Wurst pinch ran for M. O'Brien. C. Brenhiser pinch hit for J. Jaworski. C. Brenhiser grounded out to c, SAC, bunt; Rich Wurst advanced to third. Matt Keller fouled out to 1b. D. Fenster grounded out to 3b. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

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