Jan. 31, 1998
Irish Rallies Fall Short in 10-8 Loss to North Carolina State
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - North Carolina State scored seven runs in
the bottom of the eighth while a grand slam by junior catcher Jeff Wagner
in the top of the ninth proved to be too little, too late, as the Wolfpack
held on for a 10-8 victory over the Irish in second-day action Saturday
night at the ACC/Disney Baseball Blast, held at the Disney Wide World of
Notre Dame (1-1)--which beat #23 Florida State 10-1 on Friday--came back
from an early 3-0 deficit to claim a 4-3 lead on a solo home run from
sophomore third baseman Brant Ust in the top of the eighth. But NCSU
(1-1)--which suffered a 23-6 opening loss to Tennessee--pushed across seven
runs in the bottom of the inning, thanks to four walks, three hit batters,
two doubles and a single.
Junior righthander Whitney Hughes (1-0)--the fourth of five Wolfpack
pitchers--recorded the final two outs in the eighth and first two in the
ninth to pick up the victory. Sophomore righthander Steve Szczepanski (0-1)
was the hard-luck loser, allowing two earned runs on three hits over
three-plus innings, with two strikeouts. Irish sophomore lefthander Tim
Kalita scattered eight hits and no walks over the first four innings,
allowing three runs (two earned) while totaling six strikeouts. Junior
righthander Bubba Scarce threw six and one-third innings for the Wolfpack,
allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits and no walks, with eight K's.
NCSU--playing its first ever game against Notre Dame--pushed across an
unearned run in the second, when junior shortstop Todd DeMakes singled,
stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored when Irish senior
shortstop J.J. Brock misplayed a groundball off the bat of Craig Lee. The
Wolfpack added a pair of runs in the third behind leadoff doubles from
junior catcher Andy Ferguson and senior rightfielder Jake Weber and an RBI
single from junior third baseman Brian Ward.
The Irish began their comeback in the fifth. Wagner reached on an error to
open the inning and moved up on a single by junior centerfielder Allen
Greene before scoring on a two-out single to right-center by sophomore DH
Larry Zimont, who was making his first career start for the Irish. Notre
Dame tacked on a run in the sixth, after senior second baseman Todd Frye
singled, stole second and scored on Ust's single to left. The Irish tied
the game in the seventh, when freshman leftfielder Alec Porzel stroked a
leadoff triple to right-center--the first hit of his Notre Dame
career--before trotting home on a sacrifice fly from Zimont, ending
Scarce's day. Sophomore lefty Chris Carter and sophomore righthander Grant
Dorn each recorded an out to get NCSU out of the eighth.
Ust--who set the Notre Dame freshman home run record last season
(11)--greeted Dorn in the eighth with a leadoff shot that smacked off the
scoreboard in left-center field for a 4-3 Irish lead. Wagner then singled,
Greene walked and Jeff Felker hit an infield popup before Hughes took the
mound and induced Porzel into an inning-ending double play.
Szczepanski yielded a leadoff double by Ward and a single by junior first
baseman Luis Figuero to open the bottom of the eighth before giving way to
senior righthander Dan Stavisky. But DeMakes delivered a game-tying single
and the runners moved up on a wild pitch before Stavisky walked junior DH
Chris Conrad. Lee then hit a grounder to Frye, who threw home to force out
Figuero, but senior centerfielder Jimmy Slaughter delivered a two-run
double down the rightfield line. Brad Piercy then drew an intentional walk
and Weber drilled a sacrifice fly to center before NC State pulled off the
double steal and Keith Walsh walked, ending Stavisky's day.
Sophomore righthander Scott Cavey had a rough 1998 debut, hitting Ward with
a bases-loaded pitch before walking Figuero and hitting DeMakes with a
pitch, pushing home Walsh with the 10th Wolfpack run.
Zimont was hit by a pitch to open the ninth, Frye walked with two outs and
Ust hit an infield single before Wagner smacked a grand slam to
right-center, chasing Hughes. But the righthanded Konrad induced Greene
into a game-ending groundout to first base.
NOTES: Wagner's home run was the 28th of his career, moving him into a tie
for sixth in Irish history with Tim Hutson (1985-88) and Dan Peltier
(1987-89), one behind Eric Danapilis ('93) ... Saturday's other scores:
Duke 22, Tennessee 12 and FSU 6, Ohio State 4 (Duke beat OSU 8-7 on
NOTRE DAME (1-1) 000 011 114 - 8 11 1
NORTH CAROLINA STATE (1-1) 012 000 07X - 10 13 1
Kalita, Szczepanski (5), Stavisky (8), Cavey (8) and Wagner;
Scarce, Carter (7), Dorn (7), Hughes (8), Conrad (9) and Ferguson, Piercy.
W - Hughes (1-0).
L - Szczepanski (0-1).
HR - ND 2: Ust (solo, 7th, 1st of season), Wagner (3 on, 9th inn., 1st of season).
3B: ND 1 (Porzel).
2B: NCSU 4 (Weber, Ward, Slaughter, Ferguson).