April 13, 1998

Irish Top UWM, 4-1

Wagner Breaks Notre Dame Record with 38th Career Home Run

Second game of doubleheader with Panthers rained out.

NOTRE DAME, Ind.- Junior catcher Jeff Wagner broke the team record with his 38th career home run while junior lefthander Chris McKeown turned in a complete game, as Notre Dame defeated visiting Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 4-1, in non-conference baseball action Monday at Eck Stadium.

The second game of the seven-inning doubleheader was canceled due to rain, which began to fall in the late innings of the opener, marking the 12th Irish game this season that has been lost to the weather (makeup game TBA).

Notre Dame (23-10) has won 14 of its last 15 games and is 38- 5 at home over the past two seasons, with one of those losses coming by a score of 2-1 last season at the hands of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. McKeown (3-1) turned in his third career complete game, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out three Panthers batters.

UWM (15-9-1) stranded five runners while receiving a solo home run in the sixth inning from senior catcher Lee Jaramillo. Senior righthander Michael Casper (3-2) took the loss, allowing two hits--including Wagner's home run--and five walks over the first four innings, with five strikeouts.

Wagner's 38th career home--a two-run blast in the fourth--pushed him past Frank Jacobs (1989-91) and former teammate Mike Amrhein (1994-97) atop the Irish career home runs list. He has 11 home runs for the season, tying sophomore third baseman Brant Ust for the team lead, after hitting 10 as a freshman and 17 last season.

Both teams managed just two baserunners over the quickly-moving first three innings before Wagner put two runs on the board in the fourth, sending a first-pitch fastball from Casper over the fence in straightaway center field to plate sophomore DH Jeff Felker, who had drawn a leadoff walk.

The Irish added two runs in the fifth, ignited by senior shortstop J.J. Brock's leadoff bunt single. Brock stole second and scored on Felker's single to left-center, with Felker advancing to second after an error on Eric Hanson. Felker moved to third on Wagner's groundout before scoring on Ust's first-pitch single up the middle, which extended Ust's hitting streak to nine games.

Notre Dame next plays host to Manchester on Tuesday, April 14 (5:05), with acting Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig scheduled to throw out the first pitch (he will be speaking at Notre Dame earlier in the day). The home game vs. Purdue on Wednesday night, April 15 (6:05 PM) will serve as the annual "turn-back-the-clock" night.

The Irish have seen 12 games canceled due to weather this season in five different states, with just four of the rainouts coming at home. The other canceled games have come in New Orleans, La. (1), San Antonio, Texas (3), Providence, R.I. (2) and Storrs, Conn. (2).

NOTES: Wagner is averaging a home run every 13.87 at-bats during his career (527 ABs) ... he is riding a seven-game hitting streak, is batting .354 for the season and has nearly as many home runs (11) as strikeouts (13) this season, similar to the numbers put up by Amrhein last season (14 HRs, 17 Ks) ... Wagner has just two K's in the last 15 games (61 at-bats) and more walks (16) than Ks for the season ... he is averaging nearly 10 ABs per K this season (127/13), after striking out every 4.2 ABs as a freshman and every 7.8 last season ... Notre Dame has at least one home run in 15 of its last 16 games and 18 of the last 20 ... the Irish have totaled 47 home runs in 34 games, on pace for 83 over a 60-game season (the record of 66 was set last season) ... Brock moved into sole possession of seventh on the Irish career games played list (214) and third on the career games started list (also 214), behind Craig Counsell (223, 1989-92) and Mike Coss (218, 1988-91) ... Ust's 1-for-2 day bumped his season average to .421 while dropping his slugging pct. to .813 ... the Irish also are on pace for a record 129 doubles (127 last season), totaling 73 through 34 games ... the team slugging pct. of .530 is just ahead of last year's record (.529) ... the Irish are averaging a home run every 24.47 at-bats this season, well ahead of the record set in 1991 (30.53).

WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE (15-9-1)    0-0-0   0-0-1   0       1   4   1
NOTRE DAME (24-10)              0-0-0   2-2-0   X       4   5   2
Casper, Oiler (5), Schreiner (6) and Jaramillo.  McKeown and Wagner.

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