Feb. 13, 2001
ACADEMICS – The Notre Dame baseball squad posted a 3.19 team grade-point average in the 2000 fall semester-the program’s best semester in the seven-year tenure of head coach Paul Mainieri. Nine players turned in a Dean’s List semester (3.4 or higher) in the fall of 2000, with 21 at 3.0 or higher. Irish baseball players have earned GTE Academic All-America honors 13 times since 1982, including a pair in 2000: 2B Jeff Perconte (3.76 cumulative GPA, double major in economics and government, now attending Notre Dame Law School) and current senior LHP Mike Naumann (3.92, pre-professional science, three 4.0 semesters, already accepted into and plans to attend Baylor Medical School). Notre Dame was one of seven Division I baseball teams with multiple Academic All-Americans in 2000 and only two of those schools-Notre Dame and North Carolina-participated in the 2000 NCAAs. Top All-America candidates for 2001 include Naumann, junior 3B Andrew Bushey (3.33, finance) and sophomore RF Brian Stavisky (3.69, Mendoza College of Business). ?
ALL-AMERICANS – Notre Dame baseball players have combined for 16 major All-America awards (14 since ’89, eight last three seasons). Junior pitcher Aaron Heilman owns six of those awards, as he was named third team All-America by Collegiate Baseball magazine as a freshman and sophomore while also earning 1999 third-team honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association before earning All-America from Collegiate Baseball, the ABCA and Baseball America as a junior (2000). Infielder Brant Ust was tabbed by the ABCA and Baseball America as a third-team All-American as a sophomore in 1998. ?
ALUMNI – Notre Dame’s 792 baseball monogram winners include several who have gone on to successful administrative careers: executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association Chuck Lennon (catcher, 1960-61), recently-retired Notre Dame assistant vice president for special events Jim Gibbons (P/OF, ’52-’53), commissioner of the Mid-American Conference Rick Chryst (OF, ’81-’83), Xavier University athletic director Mike Bobinski (P, ’78-’79), Indiana lieutenant governor Joe Kernan (C, ’67-’68), Detroit Tigers executive John McHale (1B, ’43) and former Notre Dame athletic director Dick Rosenthal (1B, ’52-’53). Former Irish pitcher Steve Whitmyer (’83) is in his first season as the head baseball coach at Navy.
ANSON – Brothers Sturgis and Cap Anson helped popularize baseball on the Notre Dame campus in 1866 (Cap later became one of pro baseball’s most dynamic players in the late 1800s). Notre Dame began playing off-campus competition in 1888 and baseball became a varsity sport in 1892. The program’s first varsity game was held April 21, 1892, a 6-4 home win over the University of Michigan.
BIG EAST RECORD BOOK – In five seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame already has made its mark in the league’s baseball record book. Notre Dame in 1999 became the first-and still only-BIG EAST team ever to win more than 18 conference games (20-5) while the ’99 Irish pitching staff set a BIG EAST record with 199 strikeouts in conference play. Four former Notre Dame players rank among the top 17 players on the BIG EAST list for career batting average in conference games (min. 150 ABs): 2B/CF Randall Brooks (3rd, .418, 69-for-165, ’96-’97), IF Brant Ust (5th, .413, 100-for-242, ’97-’99), IF J.J. Brock (12th, .399, 89-for-223, ’96-’98) and C/DH Jeff Wagner (17th, .390, 98-for-251, ’96-’99). Ust is the only player ranked in the BIG EAST career top 10 for conference batting average, home runs (6th, 19) and RBI (10th, 71). Wagner’s 24 home runs in BIG EAST regular-season play trail only former Seton Hall great Mo Vaughn (26) in BIG EAST history and he is tied for third with 83 career RBI in BIG EAST play.
BIG EAST RECORD BOOK, PART II – Irish senior Aaron Heilman ranks 10th in BIG EAST history with a 2.84 ERA in BIG EAST regular-season play (min. 70 IP) and third in wins (15, two back of Providence great Todd Incantalupo) and Ks (143, one back of former Boston College pitcher Doug MacNeil, 21 behind Seton Hall recordholder Jason Grilli’s ’95-’97 total) and 10th in complete games (10, Incantalupo holds the record with 15). Former Irish pitcher Darin Schmalz (’96-’97, 2.74) ranks eighth on the ERA list and is tied for 10th with 10 career BIG EAST complete games, while Alex Shilliday (’96-’99) ranks fourth in conference wins (14), fifth in starts (22) and 10th in Ks (119). John Corbin saved seven BIG EAST games from 1999-2000 (fourth all-time) while Heilman is seventh on that list (five).
“BINK” – Former 1B Joe Binkiewicz is assured a place in Notre Dame lore with two amazing hitting records. In a game versus Evansville on April 6, 1991, he became the fifth Irish player to hit three home runs in a game before repeating the feat 12 days later against Michigan. In between those games, “Bink” hit a monstrous home run over the 40-foot centerfield wall at South Bend’s Coveleski Stadium. The wall (405 feet from home plate) had never previously been cleared by any player since its opening in ’88.
CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN – Former Notre Dame shortstop Craig Counsell and his father John are the only father/son combination to captain the same team sport at Notre Dame (John as a rightfielder in 1964, Craig in 1992).
COACHING CONNECTIONS – Several former Notre Dame baseball players currently are involved in college coaching, including: J.J. Brock (Ohio University graduate assistant), Cory Mee (Michigan State assistant), Steve Whitmyer (Navy head coach) and Wally Widelski (Notre Dame volunteer assistant). Whitmyer-in his first year at Navy after a stint as an assistant at Virginia-will have the chance to coach versus his alma mater this season, when Notre Dame and Navy tangle at the Fresno State Classic (March 13).
THE COMMISH – Former Notre Dame baseball player Rick Chryst was named commissioner of the Mid-American Conference on May 11, 1999. Chryst spent the previous seven years at the Atlantic Coast Conference, last serving as assistant commissioner in charge of marketing, television, corporate programs, legal affairs, special events and outreach programs. He earlier had spent three years as an assistant commissioner with the Southwest Conference. Chryst-a native of Plateville, Wis.-was an all-conference outfielder for the 1983 Irish baseball team, graduated magna cum laude with an economics degree and received his law degree from Duke in 1989.
CONFERENCE WINNING PCT. – Over the course of its first five BIG EAST seasons (1996-2000), Notre Dame ranks first in the 11-member conference with: a .705 overall winning percentage (215-90, Rutgers is second at .634), a .736 BIG EAST regular-season winning percentage (81-29, Rutgers is second at .713) and a .702 winning percentage in combined BIG EAST regular-season and tournament games (92-39, Rutgers is second at .690). St. John’s owns the best BIG EAST Tournament winning pct. during the past five seasons (.600, 10-6), followed by Notre Dame at .524 (11-10). The double-elimination tournament has been the ultimate bugaboo for Notre Dame, with the same team providing the Irish losses during each of the first three seasons (WVU in ’96, Villanova in ’97, Rutgers in ’98) before the Irish were beaten by complete game-efforts from Seton Hall and Providence in ’99, followed by a pair of losses to Boston College in 2000. DOUBLE-DOUBLE – The 1999 Irish baseball and softball teams combined for an .878 (36-5) winning percentage in BIG EAST regular-season play, the best combined winning percentage by one?school since the league began sponsoring softball in ’92. The softball team went 16-0 for the first undefeated season in BIG EAST history and the baseball team went 20-5 (no other BIG EAST baseball team ever has totaled more than 18 wins). Notre Dame became the first BIG EAST school ever to post the top regular-season winning percentages in baseball and softball in the same season. ?
THE ECK – Notre Dame has enjoyed great success at Frank Eck Stadium (see pp. 60-61), located on the southeast corner of campus. The Irish won more than 80 percent of their games at “The Eck” during the facility’s first seven seasons (169-40, .809, 1994-2000), highlighted by a 25-2 mark in ’97 and a 140-33 home record (.809) during the first six years under head coach Paul Mainieri. The Irish head into 2001 with victories in 96 of their last 118 games (.814) at Eck Stadium (since late in the ’96 season), including a 43-9 mark in home BIG EAST games during that stretch.
EIGHT(EEN) Ks IS ENOUGH – Current Irish senior RHP Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) tied a BIG EAST record and came just shy of the Notre Dame record with an 18-strikeout effort in a 3-1, 10-inning win at West Virginia on April 15, 2000 (the game was scheduled for seven innings). Heilman seemingly became stronger as the game wore on, spotting his tough slider with regularity while delivering a fastball that still touched 91 miles-per-hour in the lategoing. He retired 15 straight batters from the 5th-10th innings and struck out 10 of the final 12 he faced, including seven straight before yielding a single with two outs in the 10th. Kevin Olkowski-who had two of his team’s six hits-went down swinging on three pitches to end the game. Heilman’s 18 Ks tied the BIG EAST record set by Seton Hall’s Jason Grilli in a 7-2 win over Connecticut in ’97 (Grilli went on to become the fourth pick in the ’97 draft, by the San Francisco Giants). Frank Carpin is the only other Irish pitcher ever to record 18-plus Ks in a game, with 19 in a 10-inning win over Indiana on April 16, 1958 (12-10). Heilman’s memorable day included just two walks, with 11 groundball outs and one flyout. All nine Mountaineers starters-plus reserve Matt McGee-were K victims.
FAN MAIL – At first, they began to trickle in but then there was no stopping them, as literally hundreds of e-mails, faxes and chatboard posts came flooding through the information highway in praise of the Notre Dame baseball team and the way it competed at the 2000 NCAA Starkville Regional. A large portion of the comments came from the rabid Bulldogs fans, who formally had inducted the names of Notre Dame players such as Stanley, Billmaier, Tamayo, Felker, Nussbaum, Porzel and Corbin into the storied history of Dudy-Noble Field. A common thread throughout all the e-mails originating from Mississippi was a desire for the Irish to make a return visit … and it didn’t take long to work out those logistics, as Notre Dame will open its 2001 season at Mississippi State’s National Bank of Commerce Classic, on Feb. 17-18. ???? ?
(ALMOST) FIFTY STATES – The Notre Dame list of all-time monogram winners includes players hailing from 43 home states. Current sophomore pitcher Brandon Viloria (Wailuku, Hawaii) in 2000 became the first Irish baseball letterwinner from the island state while current freshman LHP Cody Wilkins (Hudson, N.C.) could become the first from the Tar Heel state. The only other states that have not produced Notre Dame baseball letterwinners include: Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Vermont.??? ? FIRST-ROUNDERS – Notre Dame junior RHP Brad Lidge (right) earned the 1998 BIG EAST pitcher-of-the-year award and several weeks later was selected in the Major League Draft by the Houston Astros, with the 17th pick of the first round. Lidge is one of 17 Notre Dame players drafted in the first 10 rounds (since 1965), including nine during the tenure of seventh-year Irish head coach Paul Mainieri. Ken Plesha, a sophomore catcher in 1965, was Notre Dame’s other first-round pick-also going with the 17th pick, to the Chicago White Sox. ?
FIVE HUNDRED WINS – Notre Dame’s Paul Mainieri reached the 500-win milestone early in the 1999 season, when the Irish posted a 14-11 win at the University of New Orleans (255 of his 587 wins have come with the Irish). The milestone held special significance for Mainieri, who played on two Sun Belt Conference championship teams during his playing career at New Orleans. FORTY-WIN SEASONS – Notre Dame has posted 12 straight seasons with 40-plus wins, including 48 wins in 1989 and ’92, 46 victories in four seasons (’90, ’93 ’94, ’00), 45 wins in ’91 and 44 in ’95. Notre Dame’s active streak of seasons with 40-plus wins ranks fourth in Division I baseball, trailing only Florida State (23), Wichita State (23) and Clemson (15).
FOUR-TIME ALL-AMERICANS – Notre Dame senior RHP Aaron Heilman could post the fourth All-America season of his career, which would place him among an elite group of Notre Dame student-athletes (he already is the first Irish baseball player ever to be a three-year All-American). Just 16 previous Notre Dame student-athletes have been four-year All-Americans, with four coming from team-oriented sports: men’s basketball player Kevin O’Shea (’47-’50) and women’s soccer players Holly Manthei (’95-’98), Jen Grubb (’96-’99) and Anne Makinen (1997-2000). Others include cross country runners Oliver Hunter (’40-’43) and Mike McWilliams (’90-’93), plus men’s fencers Mike Sullivan (’76-’79), Charles Higgs-Coulthard (’84-’87), Yehuda Kovacs (’86-’89), Leszek Nowosielski (’88-’91), Jeremy Siek (’94-’97) and Luke LaValle (’96-’99) and women’s fencers Molly Sullivan (’85-’88), Myriah Brown (’96-’99), Sarah Walsh (’96-’99) and Magda Krol (’97-’00).
FRESHMAN PHENOMS – Notre Dame has produced two BIG EAST rookies of the year-DH Jeff Wagner (’96) and infielder Brant Ust (’97)-while current freshman RHP Aaron Edwards has been tabbed by Baseball America as the 2001 preseason BIG EAST rookie of the year. Wagner set the Irish freshman home run record (10) only to see Ust hit 11 in ’97. Ust was the first freshman middle infielder ever named first team all-BIG EAST and was a consensus Freshman All-America pick by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. RHP Aaron Heilman was second team all-conference, a consensus ’98 Freshman All-American and one of three players named co-national freshman of the year by Collegiate Baseball. Centerfielder Steve Stanley was named second team all-BIG EAST in ’99, the only freshman to earn all-BIG EAST. His classmate, catcher Paul O’Toole, became the seventh Notre Dame player to earn first-team Freshman All-America in the ’90s, as one of three catchers named to the Collegiate Baseball team. Rightfielder Brian Stavisky was the only freshman position player to earn all-BIG EAST honors in 2000 (second team) before being named a Freshman All-American by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball (his 14 home runs ranked fourth in the nation among all freshmen).
GAME-ENDING HOME RUNS – Junior shortstop Alec Porzel has made a name for himself when it comes to game-ending home runs. In addition to his 10th-inning blast vs. Pittsburgh (11-8) on May 7, 2000, Porzel also beat the Panthers with a first-pitch, walkoff home run to cap the ’99 Pittsburgh series (3-2, in the ninth). As a freshman, he ended the longest game in Eck Stadium history with a 15th-inning homer vs. West Virginia (5-3). Most recently, Porzel’s first career grand slam broke an 7-7 tie in the eighth inning of the 15-7 BIG EAST Tournament win over Pittsburgh. HERING – Frank Hering was the first baseball coach at Notre Dame (1897-99) and the first paid football coach. More importantly, he unknowingly helped launch many a greeting card company by proposing an annual “Mother’s Day” at his lodge in 1904. President Woodrow Wilson eventually made Mother’s Day part of the nation’s calendar, and it was adopted officially by Congress a few years later.
INFORMATION AGE – Notre Dame baseball fans can follow the team on the official website (und.com). Real-time stats for home games are available, as well as real-audio broadcasts, player features, press releases, game stories, photos, historical archives and a wide variety of other information.???? ?
JAKE – Clarence Kline needed only one name for those associated with college baseball to know the personality involved. “Jake” Kline began his playing career for Notre Dame in 1915 and earned three monograms while hitting .300 each year and captaining the 1917 squad. He still shares the team record with three home runs in a game. Kline returned as the Irish freshman baseball coach in ’31, after spending time in World War I and in various baseball leagues. In ’34, he became the school’s 15th coach … and the 16th would not be needed for another 42 seasons. Jake retired in ’75 at the age of 81, coaching in more than 1,000 games and winning 558. He was voted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in ’68, and the former Cartier Field was renamed Jake Kline Field in ’75. Kline remained in touch with Irish baseball and was active in many Notre Dame functions until his death in ’89, at age 94. When the Irish baseball team moved to Eck Stadium in ’94, Kline’s name moved as well. The official title of the playing surface is Jake Kline Field at Frank Eck Stadium. ? K CREW – The Notre Dame pitching staff posted the team strikeout record every season from ’97-’99: 399 in ’97, 456 in ’98 and 478 in ’99 (before 454 in 2000). The Irish have averaged 447 Ks the past four seasons (1,787 total), with the ’99 staff averaging 8.38 Ks per nine innings-best by an Irish staff since ’63 (the 2000 staff then set the Notre Dame record for K-to-walk ratio, at 2.50). Top contributors to the K crew in the last four seasons have included current senior Aaron Heilman (314 Ks in 279.2 IP with a team-record 118 in both ’99 and 2000), first-round draft pick Brad Lidge (’96-’98, 143 Ks in 129.2 IP, 93 in ’98), ’99 graduate Alex Shilliday (third in Irish history with 265 career Ks) and lefty Tim Kalita (214 Ks in 214 IP, ’97-’99).
KANALEY & O’CONNOR – The most prestigious honor awarded to a Notre Dame student-athlete is named in memory of a former Notre Dame baseball player and University trustee (see p. 109). The Byron V. Kanaley Award has been presented since 1927 to senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as students and leaders. The awards are named in honor of the Weedsport, N.Y., native and 1904 Notre Dame graduate who was an outfielder with the Notre Dame baseball program. Kanaley went on to a successful banking career in Chicago and served as a lay trustee of the University from 1915 until his death in 1960. Eleven Irish baseball players have received the award, including current Mid-American Conference commissioner Rick Chryst (’83) and 2000 recipient Jeff Perconte.
The well-rounded quality of Notre Dame baseball’s 2000 senior class was validated at the season-ending All-Sports Banquet, which pays tribute to the 26 varsity sports teams while recognizing a variety of award winners. Irish baseball players were recipients of two of the most prestigious awards in 2000, with Perconte receiving one of five Kanaley Awards presented that night while catcher Matt Nussbaum received the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award, presented annually to one male and one female student-athlete at Notre Dame who best embody such virtues as team spirit, inspiration, caring, courage, honesty and patience. The award is named after a student-athlete who died in 1973 following his freshman year at Notre Dame (Pat O’Connor was the son of William “Bucky” O’Connor who played guard in football for Notre Dame in the 1940’s).
MAJOR STUDIES – The academic achievement of the Notre Dame baseball team is all the more noteworthy when considering the challenging majors being pursued by many of the team members, most notably: senior lefthander Mike Naumann (science pre-professional), junior DH Ken Meyer (civil engineering) and sophomore righthander Brandon Viloria (electrical engineering).
MEDIA GUIDE AWARDS: The Notre Dame baseball media guide recently has ranked among the best in the nation, according to annual judging coordinated by the College Sports Information Directors of America (in conjunction with the College Baseball Writer’s Association). The 1998 Notre Dame baseball media guide was judged second-best in the nation while the 1999 guide was rated third-best (the 2000 guide earned best-in-the-district honors).
MONOGRAM CLUB – Several former Irish baseball players have gone on to serve on the board of directors for the Notre Dame National Monogram Club. Former outfielder Pat Eilers (’89) completed his three-year stint on the board in 2000 while former leftfielder Bob Senecal (’56-’58) is a board member through 2002. Former Notre Dame pitcher Robert “Buster” Lopes (’83-’85) served his three-year term on the Monogram Club board from ’96-’99. NAMESAKE: Former Notre Dame student Lou Sockalexis never lettered in baseball at Notre Dame, but he had a lasting impact on Major League baseball. As one of the finest Native American athletes in the nation in the early 1900s, Sockalexis played for the Cleveland team known as the Spiders. He overcame heckling of fans to have a successful rookie season. When it was decided in 1915 to give the franchise a permanent nickname, the chosen name honored this favorite ex-player, and the Cleveland “Indians” name has stuck ever since, making Sockalexis the first true Cleveland Indian.
NAMESAKE, PART II: There is one known grandfather-grandson combination in Notre Dame baseball history. Third baseman Dennis O’Keefe captained the Notre Dame baseball team in the early 1930s while O’Keefe’s grandson, Pat O’Keefe, lettered as an outfielder with the Notre Dame baseball program in 1996 and ’97.
NCAA STAT CHAMPIONS: Four Notre Dame players have ranked first in an official NCAA season statistic: Shaun Fitzmaurice (0.34 triples/gm, ’64), Dan Peltier (32 doubles, ’89) and Scott Sollmann (11 triples, ’95) and Aaron Heilman (1.61 ERA, ’98)
THE NINETIES: Notre Dame posted the seventh-highest winning percentage among Division I baseball teams during the 1990s (.724, 440-168), behind Wichita State, Miami (Fla.), Clemson, Florida State, LSU and Delaware. ?
OPPONENTS: Notre Dame has faced 267 different opponents entering its 109th year of varsity baseball. James Madison, Florida International, Missouri and Oakland were first-time opponents in 1999, followed by North Florida and Akron in 2000. Potential first-time opponents in 2001 include Bucknell, Florida Atlantic, New Mexico, Pacific, Sam Houston State and South Florida. Notre Dame’s most common all-time opponents: Northwestern (130 games), Michigan State (125), Western Michigan (121), Wisconsin (118), Purdue (114) and Michigan (113). Noteworthy teams that Notre Dame has yet to face: Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and UC Santa Barbara.
PELTIER – Dan Peltier (’87-’89) was an academic and athletic All-American, with his .406 career batting average ranking first in Irish history (he ranks second with 60 doubles and 202 RBI). Peltier played in the Majors with the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants. PLAYERS OF THE YEAR – Five Irish players have been named conference player or pitcher of the year (since ’83). Third baseman Brant Ust (below right) and righthander Brad Lidge (left) were the fourth set of teammates to win the BIG EAST’s top awards in the same season (’98). Ust became the third sophomore ever named BIG EAST player of the year, joining former Seton Hall great Mo Vaughn and Connecticut’s Jason Grabowski. Three Irish players received player-of-the-year honors from the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (no pitcher award): OFs Dan Peltier (’89) and Eric Danapilis (’93) and LHP Tom Price (’94).
SCORING STREAKS – Notre Dame heads into 2001 on the verge of setting the school record for consecutive games with at least one run scored. The Irish scored in the final 58 games of the ’99 and in all 64 games of 2000, yielding an active 122-game scoring streak that stretches back to a 12-0 loss at Florida International on Feb. 21, 1999. The record 133-game scoring streak began with the first game of the Paul Mainieri era, a 10-6 loss to Texas at the Anaheim Classic, on Feb. 24, 1995 (the Irish were shut out by Auburn, 8-0, in their final game of the 1994 NCAA East Regional at Clemson, S.C.). The record streak ended with a shutout loss to another Texas team, 2-0 versus Texas Pan-American in a seven-inning game on March 10, 1997 (at Wolff Stadium in San Antonio). Just as impressive as those two streaks is the fact that Notre Dame has scored in 98.6 percent of its games in the Mainieri era (363 of 368), with the other three shutouts coming at Seton Hall (16-0, March 22, 1997), vs. St. John’s (3-0, May 9, 1998) and vs. Rutgers in the BIG EAST Tournament (12-0, May 16, 1998). Prior to the Mainieri era, the longest Notre Dame scoring streaks were a 121-game stretch from April 23, 1930 to May 26, 1937, and a 103-game streak spanning May 25, 1907-May 17, 1912.
SERIES SUCCESS – In five BIG EAST seasons, Notre Dame owns 34 series wins, five series losses and five series ties. The Irish have won 17 of their last 19 BIG EAST series (’99 series tie at Rutgers, ’99 series loss to St. John’s) and 29 of the last 34 (three ties). Notre Dame has played 42 all-time BIG EAST doubleheaders, sweeping 22 (18 splits, just two opponent sweeps). The Irish have played 33 straight BIG EAST doubleheaders since last being swept (at Seton Hall, March 22, 1997). The only other DH sweep by a BIG EAST team over Notre Dame was by West Virginia in ’96 (at Eck Stadium). The Irish have played 23 BIG EAST series at Eck, winning 19 (one tie) and have won their last nine home BIG EAST series, since dropping one to St. John’s in ’98.
SIX-HIT CYCLE – Junior SS Alec Porzel was more than just an observer in Notre Dame’s wild 22-18 loss to Pittsburgh on May 7, 2000, at Eck Stadium-as Porzel turned in one of the most noteworthy accomplishments in Notre Dame baseball history by batting 6-for-6 and hitting for the cycle-including both a traditional and an inside-the-park home run. He became the first player to record six hits in a game in the 108-year history of ND baseball and is the first Irish player to hit for the cycle since at least the mid-1980s (boxscore records are incomplete prior to ’85)-with the addition of an inside-the-park HR making his day one of the more unique accomplishments in baseball. Porzel tied the BIG EAST single-game hit record and his 15 total bases came three shy of the BIG EAST record. He is just the second known Irish player to record five-plus hits in a losing effort. Porzel had registered four-plus hits just once previously and it marked just the second game in his Irish career that Porzel had been credited with two home runs. His previous 2-HR game also was unconventional, as he hit one on May 19, 1999, and one the next day-in a rain-suspended BIG EAST Tournament game vs. West Virginia. The six-hit game included: an RBI triple to right-center in the first (1 out, 0-2 pitch), a two-out, 2-1 hit to shallow left-center that kicked past the sliding centerfielder and rolled to the track for a third-inning HR, a two-out, first-pitch single to center in the fifth, and three straight leadoff hits in the seventh (full-count double to left-center), eighth (2-2 home run to left) and ninth (1-0 single through the left side).
SUPER STAFF – The ’92 Irish staff ranks as one of the most talented and deepest in team history: 6-7, 245-pound Pat Leahy (’90-’92, 25-7, 3.67, 192 Ks), lefties Chris Michalak (’90-’93, 34-13, 12 saves, 3.21, 263 Ks) and Tom Price (’91-’94, 40-8, 5 SV, 2.70, 276 Ks), and big-game performers David Sinnes (’90-’93, 32-8, 6 SV, 2.91, 315 Ks) and Al Walania (’90-’93, 30-12, 8 SV, 236 Ks). That fivesome combined for a 161-48 record, 31 saves, a 3.19 career ERA and 1,282 Ks in 1,627 IP (7.09 per 9 IP).
SUPER STAFF, No. 2 – The Irish produced another strong staff in ’98, with the 4.02 ERA ranking 12th in the nation. The ’98 staff included four pitchers with noteworthy careers: first-round draft pick Brad Lidge (’96-’98, 13-5, SV, 4.86, 143 Ks), lefty Tim Kalita (’97-’99, 11-1, 4.00, 214 Ks), four-year regular Alex Shilliday (’96-’99, 25-17, 4.41, 265 Ks) and three-time All-American Aaron Heilman (’98-? , 28-7, 12 SV, 2.80, 314 Ks). That foursome’s combined career totals: 77-30, 17 SV, 3.92 ERA and 936 Ks in 913.2 IP (9.22 per 9 IP).??? THREE-SPORT ATHLETE – Kevin Hardy is one of the most versatile athletes in recent Notre Dame history. As a sophomore (’64-’65), he became the first Notre Dame athlete in 19 years to monogram in three sports the same year. A two-time football All-American (’66, `67), Hardy lettered on the ’64-’65 basketball team and led the ’67 baseball team with a .398 batting average. 3,000 GAMES – Notre Dame baseball has amassed 3,047 games in 108 varsity seasons, reaching the 3,000-game milestone in the opener of a March 25, 2000, doubleheader versus Villanova (photo above) at Richie Ashburn Field in downtown Philadelphia (Aaron Heilman tossed a one-hitter in the 4-0 win).
30-30 – Notre Dame senior shortstop Alec Porzel heads into 2001 on the verge of becoming the first Irish player ever to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in his career. Porzel totaled 29 HRs and 26 SBs in his first three seasons (in 176 GP), leaving him on the doorstep of the 30-30 plateau. Junior catcher Paul O’Toole (16 HR, 28 SB, 115 GP) likewise has a shot at the 30-30 distinction.
TOP-FIVE CONFERENCE – BIG EAST baseball heads into 2001 with a prestigious ranking from Baseball America, which rated the BIG EAST as the nation’s fifth-best Division I baseball conference, behind traditional power conferences (SEC, ACC, Pac-10, Big 12). Four current BIG EAST teams participated in the 2000 NCAAs: Notre Dame, Rutgers, Seton Hall and newcomer Virginia Tech (formerly of the Atlantic-10). Five other current BIG EAST teams advanced to the NCAAs in the 1990s while the league consistently has produced high draft picks and NCAA statistical leaders (see p. 89). TRAVEL – Notre Dame’s schedule regularly takes the baseball team to top-notch facilities and noteworthy cities. In Paul Mainieri’s seven seasons, the Irish have visited: Fullerton and Long Beach, Calif., Seattle, Wash. (Kingdome), San Antonio, Texas, four Florida cities (Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville and St. Petersburg), Atlanta, Ga., New Orleans, La., Boston, Mass., Washington, D.C., New York City, and Minneapolis, Minn. (Metrodome). ?
TWENTY-FOUR HOURS – That’s nearly how long it took Notre Dame to win four straight games before emerging with the championship trophy at the ’89 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournament. Due to rain delays and the immediacy of an automatic NCAA bid, the Irish defeated Dayton, 20-4 in a game that started at 1:37 and ended at 4:21 a.m. … but that was just the beginning. The Irish grabbed what rest they could while beating Evansville (11-2) and Detroit (4-1) before pounding Detroit, 21-10, for the program’s first NCAA bid since 1970 (the final game ended at 11:47 p.m.). ?
YAZ – Yes, Carl Yastrzemski attended Notre Dame in the 1957-58 academic year (see p. 59) and would have been on the varsity as a sophomore if he had not signed a six-figure pro contract with the Boston Red Sox. “Yaz” continued to attend classes at Notre Dame and graduated from Merrimack College. ?
ZOLNOWSKI – RHP Ray Zolnowski is the final player on Notre Dame baseball’s list of 792 all-time letterwinners. The 800th letterwinner likely will play in 2001 or 2002.
Notre Dame Baseball
“By the Numbers”
All-time varsity baseball games
First varsity baseball season
WJVA radio (AM) is scheduled to broadcast most of the 2001 season
Paul Mainieri’s career coaching wins
Record-setting strikeout total by the 1999 staff
Dan Peltier’s record for career batting average
David Sinnes’ career strikeout record
Aaron Heilman’s career strikeout total, heading into the 2001 season
All-time Notre Dame opponents
J.J. Brock’s record total for games played and started
Pat Pesavento’s record for consecutive starts
Aaron Heilman’s record season strikeout total (1999 and 2000)
Winning seasons (out of 108)
Record-setting home run total by the 1997 offense
Team winning percentage in 1990s
Jeff Wagner’s career home run record
States represented in all-time roster
Games needed by ’99 and 2000 squads to reach 30 wins (tying team record)
States played in by Irish (since ’57)
Players’ home states during seven-year tenure of head coach Paul Mainieri
Notre Dame’s record streak of games with one loss (23-1) during 1998 season
College World Series record set by Notre Dame for runs scored in an inning (1957)
Players who posted a GPA of 3.0-plus in 2000 fall semester
Strikeouts thrown by Aaron Heilman in 10-inning game at West Virginia (4/15/00)
First-round pick with which Ken Plesha (1965) and Brad Lidge (1998) were selected in the Major League Draft
States represented on 2001 roster
Former Irish players in pro baseball during 2000 season
Active streak of consecutive seasons with 40-plus wins
Preseason ranking for Notre Dame in 2001 Baseball America poll
Team single-game home run record (set in both 1998 and `99)
Aaron Heilman’s rank on Baseball America’s list of pro prospects for 2001
Team ERA in ’98 (12th in nation)
Consecutive games in which Paul O’Toole homered to close ’99 season
Team ERA in 2000 (16th in nation)
Baseball team GPA in the 2000 fall semester
Aaron Heilman’s NCAA-best season ERA (1998)