April 5, 1998

Irish Blast Seven Homers in Rout of Boston College

Leatherman hits two; Ust smacks 11th of season, Wagner 36th of career; Brock, Greene and Porzel also homer

BOSTON, Mass. - The Notre Dame baseball team used a school-record seven home runs and another solid pitching performance by junior righthander Brad Lidge to finish a sweep of its BIG EAST Conference series at Boston College, 16-6, Sunday at Pellagrini Diamond.

Notre Dame (20-9, 6-0 BIG EAST) stretched its winning streak to 10 games, longest by an Irish squad since the '96 team won 10 straight in mid-season. The Irish are 26-6 in their last 32 BIG EAST Conference regular-season games and have won 18 of their last 21 games this season, since dropping a tough three-game series at the University of Miami.

Sunday's record-setting home run onslaught included a pair of homers from senior first baseman Dan Leatherman, who nearly tied the Irish record for home runs in a game on a ninth-inning ball that went foul down the rightfield line. Sophomore third baseman Brant Ust equaled his freshman-year total with his 11th home-run of the season, a two-run shot in the seventh, while senior shortstop J.J. Brock equaled his total from the previous three seasons with his eight homer of the season, a two-run blast in the eighth.

Junior catcher Jeff Wagner followed moments after Brock's bomb with his 36th career home run, one shy of equaling the Notre Dame record shared by Frank Jacobs (1989-91) and Mike Amrhein (1994-97). Freshman leftfielder Alec Porzel also hit a solo shot in the sixth while junior centerfielder Allen Greene capped the fireworks with a three-run blast in the ninth.

Notre Dame has hit a home run in 11 straight games and 14 of the last 15. The 10-game winning streak has included 24 home runs while the Irish total of 43 has the team on a pace for 89 home runs in 60 games, which would shatter the record of 66 set last season. The previous Irish record for home runs in a game was six, set several times.

Lidge (4-2) allowed no hits and just two walks over the first four innings, highlighted by a stretch of five straight strikeouts from the second through fourth innings. He totaled eight strikeouts over seven full innings, allowing three runs on three hits and two walks, with all the runs coming on sophomore DH Steve Langone's solo home run in the fifth and two-run shot in the seventh.

Boston College (9-8-1, 0-3-1) entered the series averaged 14.4 runs per game but totaled just 12 combined runs in the three games vs. the Irish while hitting .292 as a team, well below its .398 average. Sophomore lefthander David Conley took the loss, allowing eight runs on 10 hits and a walk over five and two-thirds innings.

Notre Dame opened with three runs in the first, highlighted by sophomore rightfielder Jeff Felker's triple into the rightfield corner. Brock, Felker and Wagner then led off the third with singles and sophomore DH Larry Zimont added an RBI single of his own moments later for a 5-0 lead.

Leatherman led of the bottom of the fourth by lifting a 1-0 pitch from Conley over the rightfield fence. Porzel then jumped all over a 2-1 pitch from senior righthander Steve Dunlea in the sixth, drilling his third home run of the season to straightaway center field. Two batters later, Leatherman worked to a 2-0 count before collecting his fifth round-tripper of the season, again to right field.

Ust smacked a first-pitch offering from Dunlea to dead-center field in the seventh, plating Wagner for a 10-1 cushion and giving Ust a home run in all three games of the series. Langone hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the inning but Brock followed suit in the eighth, plating Greene with a first-pitch shot to left. Two batters later, Wagner launched a 1-0 pitch to left-center for his ninth home run of the season and a 13-3 lead.

The Eagles pushed across three runs in the eighth vs. Scott Cavey, who allowed four hits and a hit batter in the inning. Fellow sophomore righthander Steve Szczepanski closed out the game in the ninth.

The Irish capped the scoring in the ninth vs. sophomore righthander Brendan Nolan. Porzel and Leatherman reached base after a walk and an error before Greene drilled his fifth home run of the season and second of the series to left field.

NOTES: Seton Hall won just once at Providence (4-5, 16-8, 7-13) to fall to 4-2 in the BIG EAST while PC improved to 5-2-1 ... upcoming opponent Rutgers is 5-1, after taking two at Villanova (6-5, 19-5, 8-11) ... West Virginia (3-1) was idle while UConn was to play at Georgetown and St. John's at Pittsburgh (scores unavailable) ... top hitters in the BC series: Leatherman (5-for-10), Brock (6-for-13), Ust (5-for-11), Felker (5-for-12) and Porzel (4-for-10) ... the Irish made just one error in the series ... top hitters in the five games this week: Leatherman (8-for-16), Ust (9-for-20), Felker (7-for-20) and Porzel (6-for-18) ... the Irish pitchers totaled 49 K's in 45 innings this week and have 83 over 86 innings in the winning streak, in addition to a 2.93 ERA in those 10 games ... top hitters in 10-game winning streak: Ust (.524/22-for-42, 7 HR, 16 RBI), Brock (.476/20-for-42, 4 HR, 18 RBI), Leatherman (.455/15-for-33, 9 RBI) and Felker (.436/17-for-39/15 RBI) ... Brock is hitting .556 (15-for-27) in BIG EAST play this season while raising his career average in BIG EAST games to .411 (69-for-168), which would sixth in BIG EAST history ... Wagner's 6-for-22 weekend dropped his career BIG EAST average to (70-for-170) .412, which ranks fifth ... the Irish are hitting .395 in BIG EAST play, with 17 home runs, 16 doubles, a whopping .722 slugging pct., a 3.78 team ERA and an impressive .981 fielding pct. (4 errors) ... Notre Dame's totals of 43 home runs, 130 doubles and 237 K's thrown have the Irish on pace for records in those categories: 89 home runs, 130 doubles and 490 K's thrown (the standing records of 66, 127 and 399 were set last season) ... the team's .525 slugging pct. is just off last year's record (.529) ... the Irish are averaging 1.48 home runs per game (record of 1.10 set in '97) and 23.2 at-bats per home run (record of 30.53 set in '91) ... the pitching staff's 8.48 K's per nine innings remains fourth-best in Irish history and highest since 1963 ... Ust bumped his season average to .402 while Brock (.364) remains second on the team and Leatherman (.346) has surged to third ... other season averages: Greene (.339), Wagner (.333), Felker (.313), Zimont (.274) and Porzel (.250) ... Lidge has 47 K's and 18 walks in 38.1 innings ... the team season ERA now stands at 4.72 ... Notre Dame is 18-0 when scoring five-plus runs this season and 7-1 when the opponent starts a lefthanded pitcher ... Ust already is tied with George Restovich for ninth in Irish history with 22 career home runs ... Brock's 209 career starts are tied with Eric Danapilis (1990-93) for fourth in the Irish record books ... Brock's 236 career hits moved his past former teammate Randall Brooks (233) and Craig Counsell (1989-92) into sixth on the Irish career hits list, three behind former teammate Scott Sollmann.

NOTRE DAME   (20-9, 6-0 BIG EAST)     3-0-2  1-0-2  2-3-3  16 17  0
BOSTON COLLEGE (9-8-1, 0-3-1 BIG EAST)0-0-0  0-1-0  2-3-0  6  9   2
Lidge, Cavey (8), Szczepanski (9) and Wagner, Knecht (8). Conley, Dunlea (6), Nolan (9) and Waldron.

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