March 30, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Freshman catcher Paul O'Toole delivered a game-tying single in the bottom of the ninth and then scored when Matt Nussbaum's bases-loaded grounder was misplayed by first baseman Chad Sadowski, as the Notre Dame baseball team rallied for a 7-6 victory over visiting Wisconsin-Milwaukee in non-conference action Tuesday night at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (16-7), which posted its 12th win in its last 13 games, came back from a late 6-4 deficit, sparked by junior shortstop Brant Ust's 13th home run of the season in the bottom of the eighth.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (6-14) nearly rode the solid pitching of junior righthander Andy Neary to its second win at Eck Stadium in the last three seasons. Neary (2-4) allowed five runs on 13 hits and one walk over eight and one-third innings while posting six strikeouts in his 112-pitch outing.
The Irish rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Junior rightfielder Jeff Perconte went with a 3-2 pitch, driving it down the leftfield line for an opposite-field leadoff single. Steve Stanley then hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Mike Oiler, who bobbled the ball in anticipation of the double play. Perconte was moving on the play and Oiler's only option was to throw out the speedy Stanley.
O'Toole then golfed a 1-0 pitch into right field, plating Perconte and ending Neary's night. Freshman righthander Matt Freisleben took the mound but served up a single to center field by Alec Porzel. Ust then drew his 17th walk of the season on four straight pitches, loading the bases.
Nussbaum fell behind on an 0-2 count before driving the ball towards the first baseman Sadowski, who backhanded the ball and sent a hurried throw towards the plate. But O'Toole sprinted past his fellow catcher Todd Ludwig as the throw bounced up the third-base line.
Junior righthander John Corbin (2-1) picked up the win, after allowing one hit and two walks while recording the final five outs of the game (with two double-play balls). Sophomore lefthander Mike Naumann had a rocky first three innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks (with four Ks). Sophomore Mike Carlin added two shutout innings before freshman Drew Duff gave up two runs in the next two-plus innings.
Ust ignited the rally by drilling a first-pitch shot well over the leftfield fence for his sixth home run in the last seven games and the 42nd home run of his career, one shy of the Irish record held by injured senior DH Jeff Wagner (who could return to action later this week).
UWM took a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh, when Sadowski parked a leadoff home run over the leftfield fence. The Panthers added an unearned run in the eighth, after Oiler hit a leadoff single before moving up on an errant pickoff throw by O'Toole and Steve Johnson's sacrifice bunt. Corbin then relieved Duff but gave up an RBI single up the middle by Darin Haugom.
Notre Dame had forged a 4-4 tie with two runs in the fourth. Felker got aboard with a one-out single to the shortstop before scoring on Ben Cooke's double off the fence in dead center field. The speedy Cooke then scampered home when Perconte's sharp grounder kicked off the glove of the diving Oiler.
The visitors opened the scoring in the first, on a wind-aided, solo home run from Tylke that sneaked over the 331 sign down the leftfield line.
Notre Dame answered with two runs in the bottom of the first, behind O'Toole's one-out single through the right side of the infield, Porzel's RBI double down the leftfield line, Nussbaum's two-out infield single and Felker's RBI double down the rightfield line.
UWM retied the game in the second, when Johnson's sacrifice fly plated Ludwig. The Panthers then took a 4-2 lead in the third, with Oiler's single through the right side bringing home Sadowski and Tylke.
NOTES: The Irish continue to deliver in close games this season, totaling three one-run wins, four two-run victories and three wins by three runs Notre Dame's seven losses have been by either small or large margins (three one-run losses, one by 13, two by 12 and one by 16).
WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE 1-1-2 0-0-0 1-1-0 6 11 0
NOTRE DAME 2-0-0 2-0-0 0-1-2 7 14 2
Neary, Freisleben (9) and Ludwig. Naumann, Carlin (4), Duff (6), Corbin (8) and O'Toole.