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    Irish Split Doubleheader with Mountaineers

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Freshman Jeff Felker and Brant Ust both homered while sophomore right-hander Alex Shilliday turned in a timely seven-inning effort as Notre Dame bounced back from a lost opportunity in the opener to split a doubleheader with West Virginia, 5-7 and 7-6 in Big East Conference action before an overflow crowd at Hawley Field.

    Notre Dame (31-16, 11-5 Big East) maintained first place in the Big East National Division, after second-place Rutgers (12-7) split at home against St. John's (13-5). West Virginia (31-15, 15-6) remained just percentage points behind St. John's in the American Division.

    The Irish nearly beat WVU's ace, senior right-hander Chris Enochs (9-1), in the opening seven-inning game, but the WVU offense rallied to help Enochs post his eighth-straight complete game. Notre Dame touched Enochs for 10 hits and four earned runs, with the Irish stretching to a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth. But WVU scored twice in the fourth and once more in the fifth (on a Jason Frushour home run) off freshman left-hander Tim Kalita before pushing across three runs in the sixth, the last two coming off senior right-hander Mike Balicki (4-1).

    Shilliday battled out of trouble in the nightcap while the Irish nearly got burned by stranding 10 runners. Felker's solo shot (off a 1-1 changeup) gave Notre Dame a 4-2 edge in the third and the Irish added a run in the sixth before the hosts cut the lead to 5-4 with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Ust then swung the momentum, launching a first-pitch fastball from right-hander Steve Beller over the fence in right-center field. It was his 10th home run of the season and fifth to opposite field. A Notre Dame player has hit 10 or more home runs in a season just 16 times. Ust joins teammate Jeff Wagner as the second Irish freshman ever to collect 10-plus homers in a season (Wagner had 10 last season).

    Shilliday came through for the injury-depleted Irish pitching staff, scattering 12 hits and three walks over 7 1/3 innings while allowing five earned runs and striking out four. Senior right-hander Larry Mohs picked up his fourth save of the season, allowing a solo homer by Mat Rubino while setting down the other five batters he faced (with two strikeouts).

    Notre Dame shuffled its lineup, with freshman switch-hitter Jeff Perconte inserted as a DH in the opener and in right held during the second game. Perceonte went 2-for-3 as the No. 8 hitter in the opener, collecting an RBI and a run scored, before going 3-for-4 as the Irish leadoff hitter in the second game. The doubleheader featured an off day for two of the Big East's top six hitter, with Notre Dame's Mike Amrhein (who entered the weekend with a .421 batting average) suffering an 0-for-9, four-strikeout day while WVU's Kirk Taylor (.407) was just 1-for-8 with four strikeouts.

    The Irish used back-to-back singles from Allen Greene, Feelker and Perconte to tie the game (1-1) in the second inning of the opener before scoring three times in the third behind RBI doubles by Jeff Wagner and Greene and a run-scoring single from Ust. Perconte led off the fourth with a bunt single and moved all the way to third when Enochs sent a wild throw to first, before scoring on a wild pitch.

    WVU chipped away with two run in the fourth and scored again in the fifth, cutting the Irish lead to 5--4. Abe Barker's leadoff double ended the day for Kalita (1-2) in the top of the sixth before Jack Smarslak pulled off a sacrifice bunt and Jamie Hammond singled to center off Balicki, plating Barker as the tying run, and Hammond stole second before Josh Williamson was walked intentionally. A single by Rubino then scored Hammond as the eventual winning run and Joe McNamee's single through the left side later brought home Williamson.

    Notre Dame struck early in the nightcap, scoring three times in the top of the first behind singles from Randall Brooks and Wagner, an RBI double from Ust and a two-run double off the bat of Greene. WVU scored twice in the bottom of the first before the Irish added runs in the third, on Felker's home runs and in the sixth, on an RBI single by Brooks. WVU sliced the lead to 5-4, scoring twice in the sixth, but Ust followed a leadoff walk by Wagner with his key home run.

    Just as they had in the first game, the Mountaineers chipped away with a run in the eighth, ending Shilliday's long outing with one and runners on the corners. Smarslak hit a sacrifice fly off Mohs, cutting the lead to 7-6. But with the winning run at the plate, Mohs worked to a 2-2 count on Hammond before getting the clutch strikeout, with Hammond swinging at a changeup to end the inning.

    Rubino homered to left-center field with one out in the ninth, cutting the lead to 7-6, but Mohs struck out Taylor - blowing a fastball past the potent right-hander - and Frushour flew out to left field, ending the game.

    Game One

    Notre Dame 5 (30-16)                                     West Virginia 7 (31-14)
    Name (Pos)                 AB  R  H RBI  BB SO PO  A     Name (Pos)                 AB  R H RBI   BB SO PO  A
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Todd Frye 2b..............  4  1  1  0    0  0  4  2     Josh Williamson lf........  3  1  1  1    1  0  0  0 
    Randall Brooks cf.........  4  0  1  0    0  2  3  0     Matt Rubino ss............  4  1  3  1    0  0  2  3 
    Mike Amrhein 1b...........  4  0  0  0    0  2  5  0     Kirk Taylor cf............  4  0  0  0    0  2  2  0 
    Jeff Wagner c.............  4  1  1  1    0  1  2  1     Jason Frushour c..........  3  1  3  2    1  0  6  0 
    Brant Ust ss..............  3  1  1  1    0  1  2  3     Joe McNamee 1b............  3  0  1  1    1  0  9  0 
    Allan Greene lf...........  3  1  3  1    0  0  0  0     Troy Englehart dh.........  3  1  1  0    1  0  0  0 
    Jeff Felker rf............  2  0  1  0    0  0  1  0     Abe Barker rf.............  2  1  1  0    0  0  1  0 
     Dan Leatherman ph/rf...... 0  0  0  0    0  0  0  0     Jack Smarslak 3b..........  1  0  0  0    0  0  1  2 
    Perconte dh...............  3  1  2  1    0  0  0  0     Jamie Hammond 2b..........  3  2  2  2    0  0  0  2 
    JJ Brock 3b...............  2  0  0  0    1  0  1  2     Chris Enochs p............  0  0  0  0    0  0  0  1 
    Tim Kalita p..............  0  0  0  0    0  0  0  0                 
     Mike Balicki p............ 0  0  0  0    0  0  0  0                 
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Totals.................... 29  5 10  4    1  6 18  8     Totals.................... 26  7 12  7    4  2 21  8 
    Score by innings:                   R  H  E
    -------------------------------------------
    Notre Dame            013 100 0  -  5 10  1
    West Virginia         100 213    -  7 12  2
    -------------------------------------------
    E - Felker, Smarslak, Enochs. 
    DP - Irish 1, Mountaineers 1. LOB - Irish 5, Mountaineers 8. 
    2B - Wagner, Greene, Williamson, Rubino 2, Frushour, Barker. 
    HR - Frushour(6). 
    SB - Frye, Hammond. 
    SH - Leatherman, Barker, Smarslak. 
    
    Notre Dame             IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  AB  BF    West Virginia          IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  AB  BF
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tim Kalita..........  5.0   9   5   5   2   2  21  25    Chris Enochs........  7.0  10   5   3   1   6  29  31 
    Mike Balicki........  1.0   3   2   2   2   0   5   8               
    Winner - None.     Loser - Balicki 4-1.  Save - None.
    WP - Enochs. PB - Wagner. 
    HBP - by Kalita (Smarslak). 
    Umpires - Home:Minkmeyer  1st:Katellis  2nd:DeSantis  
    Start: 12:00   Time: 2:06   Attendance: 1077
    Kalita faced 1 batter in the 6th.
    

    Game Two

    Notre Dame 7 (31-16) West Virginia 6 (31-15) Name (Pos) AB R H RBI BB SO PO A Name (Pos) AB R H RBI BB SO PO A -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Perconte rf............... 4 0 3 0 0 1 2 0 Josh Williamson lf........ 2 1 0 0 3 1 0 0 Justin Scholl rf.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Matt Rubino ss............ 5 2 2 1 0 0 1 3 Randall Brooks cf......... 4 1 2 1 0 0 3 0 Kirk Taylor cf............ 4 0 1 1 0 2 4 0 Mike Amrhein c............ 5 0 0 0 0 2 6 1 Jason Frushour c.......... 5 1 2 0 0 0 6 2 Jeff Wagner dh............ 3 2 2 0 2 1 0 0 Joe McNamee 1b............ 4 2 4 1 0 0 9 1 Brant Ust ss.............. 5 2 2 3 0 0 4 4 Abe Barker rf............. 4 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 Allan Greene lf........... 5 0 1 2 0 0 3 0 Troy Englehart dh......... 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 Jeff Felker 1b............ 3 1 2 1 1 0 7 0 Jack Smarslak 3b.......... 3 0 0 2 0 0 3 0 Pat O'Okeefe pr........... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Jamie Hammond 2b.......... 4 0 2 0 0 1 2 4 Dan Leatherman 1b......... 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 Garrett Zyskowski p....... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Todd Frye 2b.............. 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 Steve Beller p............ 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 JJ Brock 3b............... 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 Frank Cafaro p............ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Alex Shilliday p.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 Larry Mohs p.............. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Totals.................... 37 7 15 7 4 5 27 11 Totals.................... 34 6 13 6 3 6 27 13 Score by innings: R H E ---------------------------------------------- Notre Dame 301 001 200 - 7 15 0 West Virginia 200 002 011 - 6 13 0 ---------------------------------------------- DP - Irish 2, Mountaineers 1. LOB - Irish 10, Mountaineers 7. 2B - Wagner, Ust, Greene. 3B - Taylor. HR - Ust(10), Felker(3), Rubino(4). CS - Perconte, Frye, Hammond. SH - Perconte, Brooks, Frye. SF - Taylor, Englehart, Smarslak. Notre Dame IP H R ER BB SO AB BF West Virginia IP H R ER BB SO AB BF ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alex Shilliday...... 7.1 12 5 5 3 4 29 34 Garrett Zyskowski... 1.2 5 3 3 2 1 10 12 Larry Mohs.......... 1.2 1 1 1 0 2 5 6 Steve Beller........ 6.0 9 4 4 2 3 23 28 Frank Cafaro........ 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 4 4 Winner - Shilliday 5-3. Loser - Zyskowksi 5-3. Save - Mohs (4). Umpires - Home:Katellis 1st:DeSantis 2nd:Minkmeyer Start: 2:29 Time: 1:53 Attendance: 1077
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