COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. - Sophomore lefthander Tim Kalita turned in one of the top performances of his career while the Notre Dame offense received timely hitting from several players, as the Irish defeated the University of Michigan, 9-1, in a neutral-site game Tuesday at Old Kent Park, home of the Western Michigan Whitecaps A squad.
Notre Dame (30-10)-winners of 10 straight and 20 of its last 21-pushed across two runs in the first inning and added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh before breaking the game open on a ninth-inning, bases-loaded triple by junior centerfielder Allen Greene.
Kalita (3-0) allowed an unearned run on two hits and three walks over seven and one-third innings, with five strikeouts. All of Kalita's walks came in the first two innings. He retired eight straight batters from the third through sixth innings before Bobby Scales broke up the no-hitter with a bouncer back to the mound that glanced off Kalita' s chest.
Freshman righthander Aaron Heilman came on in the eighth and ninth to record his team-leading sixth save of the season, allowing two hits and striking out three UM batters while extending his shutout streak to 22 and one-third innings over his last 15 appearances.
The Irish pitching staff has allowed just one earned run (six runs overall) during the last 50 innings, including an active 27-inning streak in which it has allowed no earned runs (one overall).
Michigan (16-21-1) left seven runners on base while turning three double plays early in the game to stay within striking distance. Junior righthander Brian Berryman (3-4) took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks over the first seven innings, with one strikeout.
Notre Dame's current 20-1 run equals the program's second-best streak with one loss, trailing only a 21-1 run by the 1992 team (the 1908, 1990 and 1991 teams also turned in 20-1 runs). The Irish are 28-4 since dropping the three-game series at the University of Miami, going 12-1 away from home during that 32-game stretch (including nine straight wins on the road).
Greene opened the game by battling through eight pitches before earning a leadoff walk. Berryman then hit senior shortstop J.J. Brock with the next pitch and sophomore rightfielder Jeff Felker executed a first-pitch hit-and-run, slapping the ball past the diving second baseman Scales to plate Greene and move Brock to third. Jeff Wagner followed by hitting into a double play, with Brock scoring on the play.
Wagner drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and advanced to third on sophomore third baseman Brant Ust's double past the third base bag. Sophomore designated hitter Jeff Perconte plated Wagner with a sacrifice fly to right and Ust then beat a throw to home plate after Alec Porzel's grounder to first base.
The Irish benefited from a mental error by UM third baseman Mike Cervenak in the ninth. Righthanded reliever Bryce Ralston hit Ust with a pitch but Perconte followed with a lineout to Cervenak, who quickly threw back to first. Ust was running on the play and stood watching the attempted double-play throw, but the ball bounced past the bag and towards the Irish dugout, allowing Ust to slide safely back into first.
Ust then scored all the way from first when Porzel found the gap in left-center for his seventh double of the season. Righthander Tyler Steketee then took the mound and appeared to strike out Todd Frye but catcher David Parrish dropped the third strike and bobbled the ball twice, allowing Frye to reach first.
Senior first baseman Dan Leatherman kept things going with a walk to load the bases before Greene stroked an 0-1 pitch off the wall in right-center field for a bases-clearing triple. Brock then plated Greene with a two-strike double to left-center off senior righthander Matt Herr, who was making his first appearance with the UM baseball team since helping Michigan capture the NCAA hockey championship.
Heilman's six saves equal the second-most in a season at Notre Dame, trailing Mike Coffey's mark of 10 saves in the 1989 season. Heilman lowered his season ERA to 1.26 while Notre Dame's season team ERA has nearly dipped below 4.00 (4.09), after standing at 9.13 following the Miami series (the team ERA in the 32 games since the Miami series is 2.78).
NOTRE DAME (30-10) 2-0-0 0-0-0 2-0-5 9 8 2 MICHIGAN (16-12-1 ) 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1 4 1
Berryman, Ralston (8), Steketee (9), Herr (9) and Parrish.
Kalita, Heilman (8) and Wagner.