April 23, 1998
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Senior first baseman Dan Leatherman (Orland Hills, Ill.) tied the Notre Dame record with five hits while freshman righthander Mike Carlin came on in relief for his first win, as the Irish overcame an early four-run deficit Wednesday to post their 13th straight win and 13th come-from-behind victory of the season, 11-4 over visiting Toledo at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (33-10) pounded out 22 hits-one shy of equaling the most by an Irish team in the 1990s--including eight doubles and solo home runs from sophomore third baseman Brant Ust and freshman leftfielder Alec Porzel. Every Irish starter had a hit and eight scored, led by junior centerfielder Allen Greene and junior catcher Mike Knecht-who both had three hits, two RBI and two runs scored (Greene did so in six at-bats while Knecht had three ABs, a walk and a sacrifice bunt).
The Irish extended their school-record run to 23-1 while improving to 51-5 in their last 56 home games. Carlin (1-0) equaled his combined innings from four previous outings, logging six and two-thirds shutout innings while allowing three hits and five walks. The current 13-game win streak equals the fifth-longest in the program's 107-year history and is longest since the 1993 team won 14 straight.
Notre Dame-which has outscored the opposition 134-65 this season during the 4th-6th innings-posted three runs in each of those innings and added four more in the eighth, en route to breaking open a close game.
During the current 23-1 run, the Irish have faced seven first-inning deficits but come back to win each of those games, highlighted by a four-inning comeback vs. Georgetown and three-run comebacks vs. Northeastern Illinois and Villanova.
Toledo (14-24) jumped out to a 4-0 lead vs. freshman lefthander Mike Naumann, highlighted by Greg Cancilla's two-run double, but Carlin came on to record the final two outs. Irish sophomore righthander Tom O'Hagan and freshman righthander Anthony Berticelli both allowed a walk, each in one inning of work, to close out the game. The final three Irish pitchers faced just 33 batters-seven over their minimum-thanks to a pair of double-play balls and Knecht throwing out an attempted base stealer.
Freshman lefthander Todd Fleetwood (1-1) took the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits over four and one-third innings. The Irish are now 11-1 this season when the opponent starts a lefthander.
Leatherman--a graduate of Victor J. Andrew High School who attended St. Xavier University for two years before transferring to Notre Dame-extended his hitting streak to eight games, equaling his season-best. He raised his season batting average to .391 (second on the team behind Ust's .400) and is hitting 13-for-22 (.591) during his eight-game streak.
Leatherman's 5-for-5 game included three hits vs. lefthanded pitchers and a pair of early doubles to right-center field: with two-outs in the second-inning (1-0 count) and with one out on a first pitch from Fleetwood in the fourth. He added a one-out, opposite-field single to left-center in the fifth (0-1 count) vs. freshman righthander Jim Crooks and a two-out single past the first-base bag in the sixth (1-0), vs. sophomore lefthander Joel Mohler.
The record-tying hit came vs. junior righthander Jim Murray, with a runner on second and no outs. Leatherman opened with an 0-2 count, fouled off the next two pitches, and worked to a full count before slapping his third double of the game down the rightfield line.
Notre Dame began its comeback with two runs in the third, when Jeff Felker singled home Knecht and Jeff Wagner plated J.J. Brock on a sacrifice fly. The three-run third included a sacrifice, squeeze bunt by Knecht that scored Leatherman while the fourth-inning was highlighted by Porzel's two-run double down the leftfield line and Todd Frye's RBI bunt single.
The Irish stretched to an 11-4 lead in the sixth, with Ust and Porzel notching back-to-back solo home runs. Ust sent a 1-2 pitch from Crooks over the leftfield fence for his team-leading 13th home run of the season before Porzel hooked a 1-0 pitch inside the leftfield foul pole for his fifth home run of the season and second in the last six days. The four-run eighth included Leatherman's RBI double and a two-run double by junior centerfielder Allen Greene.
Brock started his 223rd career game to tie Craig Counsell (1989-92) atop the Irish record book while fourth-year head coach Paul Mainieri registered his 158th win at Notre Dame (68 losses) to move past Larry Gallo (157-163-3, '81-'87) as the third-winningest coach in Notre Dame baseball history, behind Jake Klein (558-449-5, '34-'75) and Pat Murphy (318-116-1, '88-'94). Brock has missed just three games in his career and started every game he has played (223), trailing only Counsell (236) and Mike Coss (235, 1988-91) on the Irish career games played list.
NOTES: Notre Dame has been outscored in only one inning this season-the first (34-20)-but has outscored the opposition 302-176 after the first inning ... a Notre Dame players has totaled five hits 16 times in recorded team history, including a 5-for-6 game by Greene vs. IUPUI last season ... at-bats are available for the last eight Irish players who have recorded five hits, with Leatherman joining Joe Binkiewicz (vs. Dayton, 5/20/89) and Mike Amrhein (vs. Pepperdine, 2/26/95) as known players with 5-for-5 efforts ... the Irish totaled 36 bases vs. Toledo-the season-high is 40 in the April 5, seven-home-run game at Boston College-boosting the team slugging pct. to .538 (the record of .529 was set last season) ... the team batting average jumped from .318 to .323 while the team ERA remained at 3.94 ... the team fielding pct. remains at .959, a full 17 points above last season's fielding (.942) ... the team home run total sits at 59, seven shy of last season's record total (66) ... Knecht is hitting .333 this season (14-for-42) and is second on the team with five sacrifice bunts (Frye has seven) ... Porzel has pushed his season batting avg. to .287, after going 9-for-20 over the past seven games ... longest win streaks in Irish baseball history: 18 (1991), 17 (1907), 16 (1988), 14 (1993) and 13 (1908, 1992 and 1998).
TOLEDO (14-24) 4-0-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 4 8 3 NOTRE DAME (33-10) 0-0-2 3-3-3 0-4-X 15 22 1 Fleetwood, Crooks (5), Mohler (6), White (7), Murray (9) and Cameron, Court (9). Naumann, Carlin (1), O'Hagan (8), Berticelli (9) and Knecht.