March 28, 1998

Notre Dame Baseball Sweeps Georgetown

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame baseball team came back from an early 4-0 deficit to win the opener, 7-6, and then exploded for 23 hits and four home runs to take the nightcap, 19-7, as the Irish swept a doubleheader from visiting Georgetown in BIG EAST Conference action Saturday at Eck Stadium.

Notre Dame (14-9, 2-0 BIG EAST) is 31-4 at home over the past two seasons while the 23 hits in the nightcap equal the most hits by a Notre Dame team since a 25-hit game at Dayton on April 16, 1989. In the 546 games since that 22-9 Irish win over the Flyers, Notre Dame has recorded 23 hits three times: May 20, 1989 vs. Dayton in the MCC Tournament (20-4), March 3, 1995 vs. Washington in the Seattle Kingdome (21-10) and Saturday vs. the Hoyas--the latter representing the most hits by an Irish squad in 203 games.

Georgetown (13-14, 1-3) opened the day with a 4-0 first-inning lead but managed just two more runs over the next 10 innings of the doubleheader, before making things interesting with a seven-run fifth inning in the nightcap. But the Irish responded with a run in the bottom of the inning and six more in the sixth to go back ahead by 10 runs, 17-7.

Junior righthander Alex Shilliday (3-2) picked up the complete game win in the opener, allowing five earned runs on eight hits and one walk, with seven strikeouts. Senior righthander Jason Urban (4-3) took the tough loss, allowing seven runs (just four earned) on 10 hits over the first five innings, with four strikeouts.

Sophomore lefthander Tim Kalita was one out away from being the pitcher of record in the nightcap but left with two outs in the fifth. Kalita gave up seven runs, just two of them earned, while allowing five hits and five walks (with four K's).

Junior lefthander Chris McKeown (1-1) came on for the win, allowing two hits and one walk over two and one-third innings (three K's). Freshman lefthander Randy Erwin (4-1) took the loss, allowing eight runs (five earned) on seven hits and one walk over the first one and two-thirds innings.

Notre Dame chipped away in the first game, scoring one or two runs in the second through sixth innings while twice claiming the lead. Sophomores Jeff Felker and Brant Ust led the Irish in the nightcap, both going 4-for-6, while four other players--Allen Greene, J.J. Brock, Mike Knecht and Dan Leatherman--had three-hit games. Brock, Felker, Ust and Jeff Wagner all homered in the nightcap while the first five batters in the lineup combined to go 16-for-27 (.593).

The Irish pushed across the winning run in the sixth inning of the opener. Todd Frye led off with a single and Leatherman walked before Brock lifted a one-out, RBI double just out of the reach of centerfielder Sean Mignogna.

Georgetown had tied the game in the top of the sixth, when Steven Buckley sent a leadoff, opposite-field blast over the rightfield fence for his fourth home run of the season.

Notre Dame surged ahead, 6-5, with an unearned run in the fifth. Ust sent a two-out single past third baseman Andrew Mariniello and took second when leftfielder Kevin DeSanto had trouble fielding the ball. Jeff Perconte then parked an RBI double over Mignogna's head.

The Irish forged a 5-5 tie on a two-out, two-run blast in the fourth by Greene--who hit two home runs in a nine-run, second inning of last year's series opener vs. the Hoyas. Alec Porzel reached to open the inning on an error by shortstop Jeremy Horowitz before Greene sent an 0-1 pitch over the fence in straightaway center field for his third home run of the season.

Notre Dame scored twice in the second, after singles by Wagner, Ust and Perconte loaded the bases. Frye brought home Wagner with a single past a diving Horowitz and Leatherman's groundout plated Ust for a 4-2 game.

Notre Dame jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the nightcap, after a seven-run second inning. Knecht led off with an infield single and Leatherman was hit by a pitch before Greene smacked a one-out single down the rightfield line. A balk by Erwin allowed Knecht to score and Brock then sent his fifth home run of the season to dead-center field. Wagner and Ust kept things going with two-out singles and Perconte reached on an error, ending Erwin's day. Knecht greeted Mike Cannone with an RBI single to right and Perconte scored the seventh run of the inning when DeSanto dropped a fly ball off the bat of Frye. Felker's second home run of the season tacked on three more runs in the third.

Georgetown made a push with seven runs in the fifth, highlighted by DeSanto's two-run single, a bases-loaded groundout by Horowitz and Matt Dzamba's two-out, two-run double to right-center field.

Notre Dame's six-run sixth included consecutive monster home runs to left by Wagner (a two-run shot) and Ust, the seventh home run of the season for both players.

NOTES: Wagner is three home runs shy of the Irish all-time record (37), shared by Frank Jacobs ('89-'91) and Mike Amrhein ('94-'97) ... Ust already is tied for 10th on the Irish career home run list, with 18 ... Brock's five home runs are a career-high and just three shy of his total from the previous three seasons combined (8) ... the Irish have 11 home runs in seven games this week, including four by Ust, three by Wagner and two by Felker ... Brock's 5-for-8 day gives him 226 career hits, moving past Joe Binkiewicz into 9th on the Irish career hits list ... Notre Dame's top hitters in seven games this week: Felker (12-for-24/.500, 8 RBI, 7 R), Brock (12-for-25/.480, 12 RBI, 10 R, 5 2B), Ust (13-for-28/.464, 10 RBI, 9 R) and Greene (13-for-29/.448, 4 RBI, 8 R) ... in other BIG EAST action Saturday, Rutgers posted two home wins over Pittsburgh (4-1, 12-2), West Virginia split at St. John's (2-1, 1-9), Providence swept at Villanova (8-2, 11-3) and Seton Hall swept at Connecticut (11-7, 21-5/called after 8 innings).

GEORGETOWN              4-0-0   1-0-1   0       6   8   2
NOTRE DAME              0-2-1   2-1-1   X       7   11  2
Urban, Becchetti (6) and Buckley. Shilliday and Wagner.
GEORGETOWN (13-14, 1-3 BIG EAST)    0-0-0   0-7-0   0-0-0       7   8   4
NOTRE DAME (14-9, 2-0 BIG EAST) 1-7-2   0-1-6   0-2-X       19  23  1
Erwin, Cannone (2), Murphy (6), Asato (6) and Buckley.  Kalita, McKweown (5), Naumann (8) and Knecht, Stohl (9).

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