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April 2, 1998

Ust's 11th-Inning Bomb Pushes Irish past Bowling Green, 6-4

April 2, 1998

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Junior catcher Jeff Wagner hit a game-tying, opposite-field home run in the sixth and sophomore third baseman Brant Ust ended the game on a two-run, opposite-field shot in the 11th as Notre Dame came back from a 4-0 deficit to defeat visiting Bowling Green, 6-4, in non-conference baseball action Thursday at Eck Stadium.

Notre Dame (17-9)--winners of seven straight and 34-4 at home over the past two seasons--put three runs on the board in the fifth before Wagner tied the gamer in the sixth. Bowling Green (11-8) scored two unearned runs in the first and stretched to a 4-0 lead in the fourth. The Falcons used six pitchers, with sophomore righthander Ryan Streb (1-1) taking the loss after coming on in the 11th.

The Irish went hitless from the sixth through 11th inning (a 17-batter stretch) while four Notre Dame pitchers held the Falcons to no hits and two walks over the final seven and one-third innings (a 23-batter stretch). The Irish staff combined for a season-high 15 strikeouts, one night after posting 14 K's vs. Western Michigan.

Sophomore righthander Tom O'Hagan (1-0) picked up the win, after striking out the only two batters he faced, with a runner on second in the top of the 11th.

Irish freshman righthander Aaron Heilman continued his dominating season, facing the minimum nine batters from the eighth through 10th innings. Heilman had six strikeouts during those three no-hit innings while lowering his season ERA to 1.85 and opponent batting average to .186 (he as 31 K's in 24 and one-third innings, an average of 11.5 per nine innings).

Wagner got things going with two outs in the 11th, sending a first pitch from Streb into center field for a single. Ust then worked to a 2-1 count before drilling his eighth home run of the season down the rightfield line.

John Corbin opened the game for the Irish before yielding to fellow sophomore righthander Steve Szczepanski in the fourth. Corbin allowed four runs, two of them earned, on seven hits and one walk over three and two-thirds innings, with five strikeouts. Szczepanski pitched three and one-third shutout innings, allowing no walks and one walk with two strikeouts.

Wagner tied the game, 4-4, in the bottom of the sixth with his team-leading eighth home run of the season. Wagner took a 1-0 offering from sophomore righthander Mike Muzi and drilled an opposite-field shot over the rightfield fence for his 35th career home run, two shy of the Irish record shared by Frank Jacobs (1989-91) and Mike Amrhein (1994-97).

The Irish pushed across three runs in the fifth. Ust led off with double to right-center and Dan Leatherman followed with an RBI single to right. Junior lefthander Chris Vaught then recorded two outs and worked to a full count on Allen Greene but the junior centerfielder drilled a two-run double into left-center field to cut BG's lead to 4-3.

BG opened the game with a pair of unearned runs, after fielding errors by Ust and shortstop J.J. Brock and RBI singles by Bob Niemet and Jay Harrington. The Falcons tacked on two more runs in the fourth, when Niemet sent a first pitch from Corbin into right-center for a two-out, two-run single that plated Matt Marcum and Aaron Mora.

BOWLING GREEN (11-8)  2-0-0  2-0-0  0-0-0  0-0  4  7   0
NOTRE DAME  (17-9)    0-0-0  0-3-1  0-0-0  0-2  6  10  3
Kelley, Vaught (4), Muzi (5), Hundley (8), Blanc (9), Streb (11) and Marcum. Corbin, Szczepanski (4), Heilman (8), Naumann (11), O'Hagan (11) and Knecht, Wagner (8).

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