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Feb. 28, 1998

Brant Ust Homers Twice in Second Inning to Lead Notre Dame Past Purdue, 12-6

EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Sophomore third baseman Brant Ust's pair of home runs highlighted an eight-run second inning as the Notre Dame baseball team defeated Purdue, 12-6, in second-round action late Saturday night at the Diamond Classic Championship, held at Bosse Field.

Notre Dame (5-6) will face Indiana--a 3-2 winner over Ball State--in Sunday's championship game (7:00 p.m. central) of the eight-team tournament, which features each of the state's Division I programs.

Junior righthander Brad Lidge (1-2) stuck out four batters over five full innings to pick up the victory, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. Freshman lefthander David Gassner (0-2) took the loss, as Purdue errors led to six of Notre Dame first eight runs being unearned. Gassner lasted just two innings, allowing six hits and three walks, with three strikeouts.

Notre Dame also received the second home runs of the season from junior catcher Jeff Wagner--a two-run shot in the sixth--and senior shortstop J.J. Brock, who hit a solo home run in the seventh.

Ust opened the scoring with his second home run of the season, a solo shot in the second that cleared the scoreboard in left-center. Sophomore rightfielder Jeff Felker added a one-out single and senior second baseman Todd Frye walked before a bloop single from senior first baseman Dan Leatherman scored Felker. Frye then scored on a two-out error by shortstop Daryl Hallada before junior centerfielder Allen Greene slapped a two-run double down the left-field line. Wagner's double to right plated Greene and Ust capped the big inning with another blast to deep left-center.

Purdue pushed across a run in the second, behind a two-out double by Ryan Cole and Mike Rothstein's RBI single. The Boilers cut the lead to 8-3 in the fourth. Halada hit an RBI single, following a walk by Cole and single by Rothstein, and Ust then threw errantly into leftfield trying to force Halada at second base on a grounder by Mark Tomsyck, allowing Halada to score as the first of three unearned Purdue runs in the game/

The Irish stretched to an 11-3 lead in the sixth, behind a double by Brock, Wagner's two-run shot to left field and a single from Felker that plated Ust, who had reached when hit by a pitch from reliever Austin Bilke.

Notre Dame junior lefthander Chris McKeown worked the sixth, facing four batters with one strikeout and one hit allowed. Senior righthander Dan Stavisky work the next two innings, allowing three runs (only one earned) on three hits and a walk. Sophomore righthander Steve Szczepanski faced three batters in the ninth to close out the game.

Both teams scored a run in the seventh, with Brock sending a home run over the leftfield fence while a wild double-play attempt from Frye allowed Chris Walker to score an unearned run.

Purdue's two-run eighth included an RBI single from Walker to center field, with Greene's error on the play allowing Tomsyck to score Purdue's final unearned run.

NOTES: Wagner's home run was the 29th of his career, moving him into a tie with Eric Danapilis ('93) for fifth in Notre Dame history ... Wagner's two doubles Saturday give him 34 in his career, tying him for 12th on the Irish career list (just one out of eighth and two out of seventh).

NOTRE DAME (5-6)        0-8-0       0-0-3       1-0-0       --  12  12  4       
PURDUE (2-3)            0-1-0       2-0-0       1-2-0       --  6   11  3
Gassner, Bilke (3), Ballard (8), Kaebisch (9) and Frei, Lorek (8).
Lidge, McKeown (6), Stavisky (7), Szczepanski (9) and Wagner.
WP - Lidge (1-2).    LP - Gassner (0-2).
HRs: ND - Ust (2nd inning, solo, 2nd of season), Ust (2nd inning, one on, 3rd of season), 
Wagner (6th innings, one on, 2nd of season), Brock (7th inning, solo, 2nd of season). 

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