April 12, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The first nine batters in the bottom of the 7th all reached base as the Notre Dame baseball team broke open a 5-2 game en route to a 14-2 win over visiting Bowling Green, in Tuesday-night baseball action at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (17-14) improved to 8-2 at home this season while seeing another strong outing from its pitching staff, which has allowed just three earned runs during the current three-game winning streak. Sophomore righthander Derik Olvey (2-1) shut out Bowling Green (20-9) before yielding a pair of runs in his sixth and final inning. Olvey struck out two and did not walk a batter while holding the Falcons to four hits.
Notre Dame's 20 hits versus the Falcons are its most in 87 games, dating back to a similar 20-hit game in the wild 12-11, 11-inning win over Southern Illinois at the 2004 Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio (March 6, 2003). The last time a Notre Dame team had 20-plus hits in a game that did not extend to extra innings was nearly two years ago, in a 20-hit effort vs. IPFW on April 24, 2003 (a span of 117 games). It has been 164 games since a Notre Dame team had more than 20 hits, stretching back to the historic 32-hit explosion in the 25-1 win over South Alabama at the 2002 NCAA Regional (June 1, 2002).
Three Notre Dame batters - junior centerfielder Alex Nettey (2 RBI, 2 R), freshman leftfielder Tony Langford (RBI, 2 R) and sophomore catcher Sean Gaston (2 RBI, 2 R) - each had a double in their respective 3-for-4 nights to lead the Irish offense. Langford boosted his season batting average to .373, ranking just behind team leader Matt Edwards (.377).
Sophomore lefthander Adam Gumpf (3-2) suffered the loss, after allowing four runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings (with 2 Ks).
Four other Irish batters had two-hit games, yielding seven total ND players with multiple hits (10 had at least one hit).
Notre Dame's big 7th inning included Nettey's leadoff double, a two-run, pinch-hit triple by junior Steve Andres and three singles (led by a two-run hit from Gaston), plus three walks, a hit batter, two wild pitches and a stolen base.
Freshman righthander Joey Williamson and two lefthanders - sophomore Mike Dury and freshman David Gruener - each tossed a scoreless inning of relief while combining to face just 10 batters (one over the minimum), as the Irish pitching staff ultimately allowed just five hits and two walks in the full nine innings.
The past three games have seen seven Notre Dame pitchers - junior LHP Tom Thornton, sophomore RHPs Jeff Manship, Jeff Samardzija and Olvey, plus Williamson, Dury and Gruener - combine for a 1.00 ERA while holding the opposition to a .198 batting avg. during those 27 innings, with 12 strikeouts and just 3 walks in that three-game span.
Nettey - whose team-best 15-game hitting streak was followed by a recent 0-for-12 slump - now has hits in four of his last six at-bats (including a triple and double), boosting his season batting avg. to .301.
Gaston doubled and scored on Nettey's single through the left side to give the Irish a 3rd-inning lead. The hosts then tacked on three runs in the 5th, after four straight singles by Greg Lopez, Gaston, Nettey and Lilley (the final run scored after a failed pickoff attempt).,
Olvey could have notched another shutout inning in the 6th but the Falcons were able to scratch across a pair of runs. Jeff Warnock reached with one out when he slid around the tag after a leftside bunt. Olvey then hit Andy Hudak with a two-out pitch, Josh Stewart sent an RBI single up the middle and the runners moved up on the double steal before Hudak scored on a wild pitch.
Junior righthander Greg Becker took the mound in the 7th, as the second BG reliever, with Nettey sending a leadoff double to right-center on an 0-2 pitch before Lilley walked on five pitches. Nettey came around to score on pair of wild pitches (with Lilley adding a stolen base in between) before Becker plunked Matt Edwards with a 2-0 pitch.
Andres settled in as the pinch-hitter and greeted senior righthander Matt Hundley by pulling an 0-1 pitch past the first-base bag and down the line for his seventh career triple and an 8-2 lead. Craig Cooper then coaxed a full-count walk, Langford stroked an opposite-field, RBI single into right field (2-2 pitch) and Ross Brezovsky added his own full-count walk.
Lopez became the eighth straight batter to reach in the inning, sending a 1-2 pitch into right-center for the opposite-field single and a 10-2 cushion. Gaston then pulled the next pitch into the same gap, plating two more runs as the Irish batted around with each player reaching base. Lilley later added a two-out single up the middle to complete the eight-run inning (13-2).
Junior catcher Nick Mainieri registered the first hit of his two-year career with the Irish (7 ABs), delivering with the bases loaded by sending a first-pitch offering through the left side of the infield.
Andres is batting just .213 in 61 at-bats this season but Edwards (11 HR, 11 2B) is the only Notre Dame player with more extra-base hits than Andres - who actually has totaled more extra-base hits (4 HR, 3B, 2 2B) than singles (6) this season.
The Irish defense has made just three errors in the current three-game winning streak, after totaling 15 in the previous four games (a 1-3 stretch).
Bowling Green (20-9) 0-0-0 0-0-2 0-0-0 - 2 5 3
Adam Gumpf (L, 3-2), Nick Cantrell (5), Greg Becker (7), Matt Hundley (7), Bryan Flory (7), Kyle Knoblauch (8) and Josh Stewart.