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    Notre Dame Beats West Virginia, 5-4

    FIGHTING IRISH Jeff Wagner has 2 RBI<br>in win over Mountaineers.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Jeff Wagner has 2 RBI
    in win over Mountaineers.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    May 13, 1998

    NORWICH, Conn. -- Notre Dame sophomore third baseman Brant Ust--just a day removed from being named the BIG EAST Conference player of the year--delivered a clutch two-out, two-run opposite field home run to tie the game in the eighth and fellow Seattle-area native Allen Green then bounced back from a four-strikeout start by smacking the game-winning double in the ninth as the Irish rallied for a 5-4 victory over West Virginia in BIG EAST Championship first round action Wednesday at Dodd Stadium.

    Notre Dame (39-15), seeded second in the tournament, will advance in the winners bracket of the six-team, double elimination tournament after suffering first-game losses in 1996 and '97. The Irish will play the 7:00 p.m. game on Thursday, May 14, against defending champion and third-seeded St. John's, a 7-2 winner over #4 Providence.

    The start time of the Notre Dame-West Virginia game was pushed back from 3:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. due to a 17-inning tournament opener between #1 Rutgers and #6 Seton Hall, a game that lasted five hours and 29 minutes. SHU forced extra innings in the ninth, after a two-out error by RU shortstop Darren Fenster, and the teams combined for 41 runners left on base (including 22 by SHU) before RU's Joe Walleck won the game with a pinch-hit, two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the 17th for a 9-6 victory.

    West Virginia (38-16), the #5 seed, plated single runs in the third, fourth, fifth and eighth innings before the Irish staged their 17th come-from-behind victory of the season.

    The game was a fitting extension of a growing rivalry that has seen the teams split 12 games over the past three seasons. All but one of those games have been decided by 1-3 runs (including three one-run games and five two-run games), with each of the four games this season producing comeback wins (the May 2-3 series at Notre Dame included wins by the Irish of 4-3 and 5-3 in 15 innings while WVU won the middle game, 11-9 in 10 innings.)

    Notre Dame's last eight games have been decided by 1-3 runs (the Irish are 4-4 in those games), and the Irish are now 11-4 this season in games decided by one run or in extra innings. Notre Dame also improved to 14-2 in games this season when opponent starts a lefthander (the Irish are hitting .330 vs. lefties, .308 overall).

    The loss spoiled a strong outing by WVU junior lefthander Louie Ross, who baffled the Irish with his off-speed pitches for most of his 133-pitch outing. Ross racked up 14 strikeouts over seven and two-third innings while allowing four unearned runs on six hits and three walks. Rose left the game after serving up Ust's game-tying home run while junior righthander Jeremy Cummings (4-2) took the loss.

    Irish junior righthander Alex Shilliday pitched eight and two-thirds solid innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits and three walks while striking out five. Freshman righthander Aaron Heilman (7-2) came on to record the final out in the top of the ninth before earning the decision thanks to Greene's big hit.

    Freshman second baseman Ben Cooke got things going in the ninth with a leadoff walk and moved to second on the team-leading ninth sacrifice bunt of the season by junior catcher Mike Knecht. Greene--who owns a team-best .380 batting average this season with runners in scoring position--then worked to a 2-1 count, took strike two and fouled off two more pitches before sending a bouncer past WVU third baseman Kevin Olkowski and down the leftfield line, with speedy Cooke scoring easily on the play.

    Three straight fortunate bounces helped the Irish rally for four unearned runs with two outs in the eighth. Senior shortstop J.J. Brock reached when his counterpart Jamie Hammond bobbled Brock's groundball and then threw wide left of the first base bag. Ross then worked to an 0-2 count on sophomore rightfielder Jeff Felker but the lanky lefthander sent the next pitch to shallow left-centerfield with two outfielders and Hammond converging on the ball as it narrowly feel between them.

    With runners on first and second, junior DH Jeff Wagner then worked a 1-1 count before dipping a fly ball down the rightfield line. Rightfielder Abe Barker dove forward for the ball squarely on the foul line but the ball squirted out of his glove, with first base umpire Joe Cacciatore signaling a fair ball as Brock and Felker scampered home and Wagner pulled into second with his 45th career double.

    WVU head coach Greg Van Zant then signaled for Cummings to start throwing in the bullpen and made the slow walk to the mound to plot strategy with Ross. The Mountaineers stuck with Ross but Ust jumped all over his first offering, going with an outside pitch on the right side and sending it off the third-row Mohegan Sun billboard in right field for his 18th home run of the season.

    Eddie Weightman got things going for WVU in the third with a first-pitch, one-out single to right field. Hammond then moved the runner to third and Matt Hart followed with a hit-and-run groundball to Brock. Hammond beat Brock to second base and Hart was forced out on the throw to first with Weightman scoring on the play.

    WVU's Joe McNamee drew a one-out walk in the fourth and moved to third on a Brad Elwood's first-pitch single to center field. The Mountaineers then put on the double steal with the Irish tagging out Elwood before McNamee slid home to beat the throw from first Dan Leatherman.

    WVU added a run in the fifth when Weightman lifted a solo shot to left field for his ninth home run of the season. The Mountaineers stretched to a 4-0 cushion in the eighth after Hammond's bunt single, Hart's sacrifice and Lance William's RBI single to center field.

    West Virginia (36-16-1) 0-0-1   1-1-0   0-1-0   4   10  3
    Notre Dame (39-15)      0-0-0   0-0-0   0-4-1   5   7   0
    Ross, Cummings (8) and Elwood.  Shilliday, Heilman (9) and Knecht.

    NOTES: Ust's 18 home runs tie him with Tim Hutson (1988) and Ryan Topham (1995) for the second-most in a season by a Notre Dame player (Frank Jacobs hit 20 in 1991) ... Ust also moved into a tie with Eric Danapolis (1990-93) for sixth on the Irish career home run list (29) ... the Irish turned two double plays to tie the team season record (58, in 1989) ... Notre Dame won the first game in eight previous conference tournaments and went on to win five of them (the 1989 and 1991-94 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Championships).

    West Virginia vs Notre Dame Box
    

    May 13, 1998 at Norwich, Conn. (Dodd Stadium)

    West Virginia 4 (36-16) Name (Pos) AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB Avg Matt Hart 2b.............. 3 0 0 1 0 0 2 2 0 Lance Williams cf......... 4 0 1 1 0 0 2 0 1 Kevin Olkowski 3b......... 3 0 1 0 1 1 1 2 0 Joe McNamee lf............ 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 Brad Elwood c............. 4 0 2 0 0 0 14 1 0 Abe Barker rf............. 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 Eddie Weightman dh........ 4 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 Jim Kavourias 1b.......... 3 0 0 0 1 1 5 0 1 Jamie Hammond ss.......... 4 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 2 Lewis Ross p.............. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 Jeremy Cummings p......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 Totals....................32 410 3 3 5 25 7 5

    Univ. of Notre Dame 5 (39-15) Name (Pos) AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB Avg Allen Greene, cf cf....... 5 0 1 1 0 4 1 0 0 J.J. Brock, ss ss......... 4 1 1 0 0 2 2 9 1 Jeff Felker, of rf........ 3 1 1 0 1 2 2 0 0 Jeff Wagner, c dh......... 4 1 1 2 0 2 0 0 1 Brant Ust, 3b 3b.......... 4 1 1 2 0 2 1 2 0 Dan Leatherman 1b 1b...... 3 0 1 0 1 0 13 1 1 Alec Porzel, lf lf........ 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 Todd Frye, 2b 2b.......... 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 Larry Zimont, dh ph....... 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 Ben Cooke, of/if 2b....... 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 Mike Knecht, c c.......... 3 0 1 0 0 0 4 4 0 Alex Shilliday p.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 Aaron Heilman p........... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Totals....................32 5 7 5 4 14 27 20 7

    Score by innings: R H E ---------------------------------------------- West Virginia 001 110 010 - 4 10 3 Univ. of Notre Dame 000 000 041 - 5 7 0 ----------------------------------------------

    Note: 1 out, 1 runner(s) LOB when the game ended. E - Olkowski(22), Hammond 2(18). DP - Mountaineers 1, Irish 2. LOB - Mountaineers 5, Irish 7. 2B - Allen Greene(14), J.J. Brock(14), Jeff Wagner(14). HR - Weightman(9), Brant Ust(18). SB - McNamee(6), Brant Ust(11), Leatherman(7). CS - Williams(2), Olkowski(2), J.J. Brock(5). SH - Hart(8), Mike Knecht(9).

    West Virginia IP H R ER BB SO AB BF ERA NP Lewis Ross.......... 7.2 6 4 0 3 14 30 33 133 Jeremy Cummings..... 0.2 1 1 1 1 0 2 4 18

    Univ. of Notre Dame IP H R ER BB SO AB BF ERA NP Alex Shilliday...... 8.2 10 4 4 3 5 31 35 118 Aaron Heilman....... 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2

    Win - A. Heilman 7-2. Loss - Cummings 4-2. Save - None. WP - Ross(5), A. Shilliday(9). Umpires - Start: Time: 2:40 Attendance:

    Game Notes:
    BIG EAST Tournament 1st round (ND to face St. John's-Providence winner on May 14 at 7 PM) ... ND's 17th comeback win of season ... Ust tied game with 2-run HR in 8th ... Greene's 2B down LF line scores Cooke from 2nd in 9th ... Last 12 ND-WVU gms: three 1-run gms, five 2-run gms, three 3-run gms

    Play-by-play

    West Virginia vs Univ. of Notre Dame
    May 13, 1998 at Norwich, Conn. (Dodd Stadium)

    Score by innings:   R H E
    ---------------------------------------------- 
    West Virginia   001 110 010 - 4 10 3
    Univ. of Notre Dame 000 000 041 - 5 7 0
    ---------------------------------------------- 

    West Virginia inning 1
    Hart grounded out to ss (0-1). Williams grounded out to c (0-0). Olkowski grounded out to 3b (1-1). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 1
    Allen Greene struck out swinging (1-2). J.J. Brock doubled down the lf line (0-0). J.J. Brock out at third c to 3b, caught stealing. Jeff Felker walked (3-1). Jeff Felker advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jeff Wagner struck out looking (3-2). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

    West Virginia inning 2
    McNamee out at first p to 2b to 1b (3-2). Elwood singled to right center (1-0). Barker grounded into double play 2b to ss to 1b (0-1); Elwood out on the play. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 2
    Brant Ust struck out swinging (2-2). Leatherman grounded out to 1b unassisted (0-0). Alec Porzel struck out swinging (1-2). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    West Virginia inning 3
    Weightman singled to right field (0-0). Kavourias flied out to rf (0-0). Hammond singled to right field (1-1); Weightman advanced to third. Hart grounded out to ss, RBI (1-1); Hammond advanced to second; Weightman scored. Williams grounded out to ss (0-1). 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 3
    Todd Frye grounded out to 2b (2-1). Mike Knecht singled to right field (0-1). Allen Greene struck out swinging (1-2). J.J. Brock struck out swinging (2-2). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

    West Virginia inning 4
    Olkowski struck out, out at first c to 1b (1-2). McNamee walked (3-2). Elwood singled to center field (0-0); McNamee advanced to third. Elwood out at first 2b to ss to 1b; McNamee stole home. Barker struck out swinging (3-2). 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 4
    Jeff Felker struck out swinging (3-2). Jeff Wagner grounded out to p (0-1). Brant Ust reached on an error by 3b (1-2). Brant Ust stole second. Leatherman flied out to cf (1-1). 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB.

    West Virginia inning 5
    Weightman homered to left field, RBI (1-2). Kavourias flied out to lf (2-2). Hammond struck out swinging (1-2). Hart grounded out to 3b (1-1). 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 5
    Alec Porzel walked (3-2). Todd Frye grounded into double play 3b to 2b to 1b (1-2); Alec Porzel out on the play. Mike Knecht flied out to cf (2-1). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    West Virginia inning 6
    Williams flied out to rf (3-2). Olkowski singled to right field (0-1). Olkowski out at second c to 2b, caught stealing. McNamee grounded out to ss (3-2). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 6
    Allen Greene struck out swinging (2-2). J.J. Brock struck out swinging (1-2). Jeff Felker struck out swinging (1-2). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

    West Virginia inning 7
    Elwood flied out to cf (1-1). Barker grounded out to ss (0-1). Weightman singled to left center (2-1). Weightman advanced to second on a wild pitch. Kavourias struck out swinging (2-2). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 7
    Jeff Wagner struck out swinging (1-2). Brant Ust struck out looking (1-2). Leatherman singled to left center (1-0). Alec Porzel reached on an error by ss (1-2); Leatherman advanced to second on an error by ss, advanced to third on an error by ss. Larry Zimont pinch hit for Todd Frye. Larry Zimont struck out swinging (2-2). 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 error, 2 LOB.

    West Virginia inning 8
    Ben Cooke to 2b for Larry Zimont. Hammond singled to pitcher, bunt (0-0). Hart out at first 1b to 2b, SAC, bunt (1-2); Hammond advanced to second. Williams singled to center field, advanced to second on the throw, RBI (1-1); Hammond scored. Olkowski intentionally walked (3-0). McNamee struck out swinging (2-2); Williams out at third c to 3b, caught stealing. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 8
    Mike Knecht flied out to rf (1-1). Allen Greene struck out looking (3-2). J.J. Brock reached on an error by ss (1-1). Jeff Felker singled to left center (0-2); J.J. Brock advanced to second. Jeff Wagner doubled down the rf line, 2 RBI (1-1); Jeff Felker scored, unearned; J.J. Brock scored, unearned. Brant Ust homered to right field, 2 RBI, unearned (0-0); Jeff Wagner scored, unearned. Leatherman walked (3-2). Cummings to p for Ross. Leatherman stole second. Alec Porzel grounded out to 3b (1-2). 4 runs, 3 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB.

    West Virginia inning 9
    Elwood grounded out to ss (1-0). Barker singled to center field (0-1). Weightman reached on a fielder's choice (0-1); Barker out at second ss to 2b. Kavourias walked (3-0); Weightman advanced to second. A. Heilman to p for A. Shilliday. Hammond popped up to ss (1-0). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

    Univ. of Notre Dame inning 9
    Ben Cooke walked (3-1). Mike Knecht out at first p to 2b, SAC, bunt (0-0); Ben Cooke advanced to second. Allen Greene doubled down the lf line, RBI (2-2); Ben Cooke scored. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

    Game Notes:
    BIG EAST Tournament 1st round (ND to face St. John's-Providence winner on May 14 at 7 PM) ... ND's 17th comeback win of season ... Ust tied game with 2-run HR in 8th ... Greene's 2B down LF line scores Cooke from 2nd in 9th ... Last 12 ND-WVU gms: three 1-run gms, five 2-run gms, three 3-run gms


     

     

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