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    Fighting Irish

    March 1, 1998

    Baseball Wins Diamond Classic, 6-5, over Indiana

    • Perconte plates Frye with winning run in 9th;
    • Wagner blasts two more home runs

      EVANSVIILE, Ind. -- Senior second baseman Todd Frye gained redemption for a costly eighth-inning error by singling to lead off the bottom of the ninth and scoring the winning run on a single by sophomore leftfielder Jeff Perconte, as Notre Dame emerged with a 6-5 victory over Indiana University in the championship game of the Diamond Classic, late Sunday night at Bosse Field.

      Notre Dame (6-6) held a 4-0 lead going into the eighth inning but IU scored five unearned runs, after Frye's error on a leadoff grounder by Benji Klause. But Irish junior catcher Jeff Wagner tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with his second home run of the game, setting the stage for Frye and Perconte's big ninth-inning hits.

      Notre Dame's Aaron Heilman (2-0) bailed out fellow freshman righthander Danny Tamayo, who allowed the five unearend runs on two hits and three walks, with two strikeouts. Heilman allowed two walks but no runs in the ninth, after striking out two IU batters. Sophomore lefthander Tim Kalita had no decision after tossing five shutout innings, with four hits, four walks and five strikeouts.

      Notre Dame's Aaron Heilman (2-0) bailed out fellow freshman righthander Danny Tamayo, who allowed five runs (three earned) on two hits and three walks, with two strikeouts. Heilman allowed two walks but no runs in the ninth, after striking out two IU batters. Sophomore lefthander Tim Kalita had no decision after tossing five shutout innings, with four hits, four walks and five strikeouts.

      IU senior lefthander Greg Schabel (1-1) took the loss after serving up Wagner's home run and Frye's single while sophomore righthander Tom Willerer gave up Perconte's game-winning hit to left field. Sophomore righthander Chris Wilson pitched the first four and one-third innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks before yielding to junior righthander Jason Torres, who pitched through the seventh while totaling five K's and allowing one run on two hits.

      Perconte opened the game with a single and senior shortstop J.J. Brock grounded into a fielder's choice before Wagner stroked a one-out, two-run shot to left field. The Irish added a third run in the fifth, after a leadoff single from senior first baseman Dan Leatherman, a sacrifice bunt by Perconte and Brock's RBI double down the leftfield line.

      Leatherman gave the Irish a 4-0 lead in the seventh with his third home run of the season, a one-out solo shot to right-center field.

      Clause reached to open the eighth, after Frye's fielding error, and moved up on a groundout by Mike Spisak. Brandt Childs then walked, followed by an RBI single from Doug DeVore and Roger Rodeheaver's run-scoring fielder's choice. Pinch-hitter Dan Haegele then drew a two-out walk and Tamayo hit Frank O'Connell with a pitch before Jason Williams walked with the bases loaded, cutting the Irish lead to 4-3.

      Sam Incandela's two-run single to center field pushed IU into the lead but Williams was thrown out trying to reach third base by junior center fielder Allen Greene, ending the rally.

      Wagner tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with his fourth home run of the season and third of the Diamond Classic, a leadoff, two-strike blast over the opposite-field fence in right. It was the 31st home run of Wagner's career and marked his sixth career game with two home runs.

      Frye led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to left (on an 0-2 count) and moved up on a sacrifice bunt from junior pinch-hitter Mike Knecht, ending Schabel's brief six-batter stint. Perconte then ended the game with his third hit of the game, a single to left field.

      NOTES: Wagner mysteriously was left off the all-tournament team, in favor of Purdue catcher Erik Frei ... Wagner was 6-for-13 in the three games, with three home runs, three doubles and six RBI ... Brock, who shifted to the #2 spot in the lineup this week, was 5-for-13, with five runs, three RBI, one home run and two doubles ... Ust was 3-for-11, with two home runs, one double, three runs and five RBI ... other top hitters in the Diamond Classic included: Perconte (4-for-9, 3 RBI, 1 R, 2 BB) and Leatherman (5-for-11, 4 R) ... sophomore DH Larry Zimont entered the week hitting a team-best .407 but was 0--for-12 at the Diamond Classic (1 BB, 7 K) ... Greene's seven-game hitting streak was snapped vs. IU (he was 3-for-12 in the tournament, with three runs and three RBI) ... Frye hit 2-for-10 (2 R) in Evansville while sophomore RF Jeff Felker was 2-for-7 (2 R, 1 RBI) ... updated season batting averages: Wagner (.357), Ust (.311), Perconte (.308), Leatherman (.306), Greene (.286), Zimont (.282), Brock (.250), Frye (.225) and Felker (.139) ... Notre Dame had three all-tournament selections: Brock, sophomore third baseman Brant Ust and junior righthanded Alex Shilliday, who won Friday's game vs. Evansville in impressive fashion (8 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 0 BB, career-best 10 K's, 29 batters faced) ... Wagner was 7-for-13 in the three games, with three home runs, three doubles and six RBI ... Brock, who shifted to the #2 spot in the lineup this week, was 5-for-13, with five runs, three RBI, one home run and two doubles ... Ust was 3-for-11, with two home runs, one double, three runs and five RBI ... other top hitters in the Diamond Classic included: Perconte (4-for-10, 3 RBI, 1 R, 2 BB) and Leatherman (4-for-11, 4 R) ... sophomore DH Larry Zimont entered the week hitting a team-best .407 but was 0--for-12 at the Diamond Classic (1 BB, 7 K) ... Greene's seven-game hitting streak was snapped vs. IU (he was 3-for-12 in the tournament, with three runs and three RBI) ... Frye hit 3-for-11 (2 R) in Evansville while sophomore RF Jeff Felker was 2-for-7 (2 R, 1 RBI) ... updated season batting averages: Wagner (.381), Ust (.311), Perconte (.296), Greene (.286), Zimont (.282), Leatherman (.278), Brock (.250), Frye (.244) and Felker (.139) ... freshman LF Alec Porzel was limited to two at-bats in Friday's game with Evansville before being lost for the weekend with a knee injury ... Wagner's 31 home runs rank 5th in Irish history, behind Frank Jacobs (37, '89-'91), Mike Amrhein (37, '94-'97), Ryan Topham (34, '93-'95) and Joe Binkiewicz (33, '89-'92) ... Wagner has averaged 14.3 at-bats per home run during his career and 12.4 ABs/HR the past two seasons ... Wagner's double Sunday was the 35th of his career, placing him in a five-way tie for 8th on the Irish career list (one out of 7th).

      INDIANA (5-5)     0-0-0   0-0-0   0-5-0   --   5    6  0
      NOTRE DAME (6-6)  2-0-0   0-1-0   1-1-1   --   6   10  2 

      Wilson, Torres (5), Schabel (8), Willerer (9) and Childs. Kalita, Tamayo (6), Heilman (9) and Wagner.
      WP - Heilman (2-0). LP - Schabel (1-1).
      HRs: ND - Wagner (1st inning, one on, 3rd of season), Leatherman (7th inning, solo, 3rd of season) Wagner (8th, solo, 4th of season).

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