June 5, 2004
No. 2 seed UC Irvine vs. No. 1 seed Notre Dame June 5, 2003 – 11:05 p.m. Eck Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.
Today’s game was the first-ever meeting between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Anteaters of UC Irvine.
UC Irvine is making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament as a Division I school. Its previous two NCAA tournament appearances (1973 and 1974) resulted in Division II national championships.
This marks the fourth time since 1999, and the third in the last four years, Notre Dame’s Eck Stadium has played host to NCAA Championship action. This is the seventh time in school history that Notre Dame has played host to NCAA tournament play.
Notre Dame’s four occasions as a regional host since 1999 are eclipsed by only four schools: Miami (5), Florida State (6), LSU (6) and Stanford (6).
NOTRE DAME TEAM NOTES
Notre Dame improves to 50-11 on the season, becoming the second Division I team to win 50 games in 2004 (also Texas at 51-13). The 50 wins ties the school record set by the 2002 squad that went to the College World Series.
The Notre Dame bullpen pitched four innings and gave up one run in this morning’s ballgame. For the season, the pen is 19-2 with a 2.97 ERA, 194 strikeouts, 74 walks and an opponent’s batting average of just .224.
The Irish are now 10-4 in one-run games this season.
Notre Dame is making its 19th all-time appearance in the NCAA baseball tournament, and its seventh in the 10-year Mainieri era. The Irish are 39-38 all-time in tournament play. This year’s tournament appearance is the sixth consecutive for the Irish.
Notre Dame is 15-6 all-time in NCAA tournament games following a loss. The Irish are 6-2 in such games under head coach Paul Mainieri.
Notre Dame has lost back-to-back games only once in its last 73 outings (8-6 and 7-6 at Pittsburgh in DH on April 25, 2004), avoiding a second two-game skid today.
Notre Dame’s first-inning run marks the 11th time in the last 15 games the Irish have scored in the opening frame. The Irish own a 37-5 record when scoring first in a game this season, but all three of the team’s one-run losses have come in games in which they got on the board first.
Notre Dame is 20-1 in its last 20 games against a first-time opponent.
When Cody Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning of today’s game, it was the 106th HBP for the Irish this season, passing the 2000 San Jose State team (105) for fifth-most in a season in NCAA history.
Sophomore outfielder Craig Cooper’s third-inning home run gave him 10 on the season, making him the fourth Irish player with double-digit homers on the year (also Macri 14, Bransfield 12 and Edwards 10). This marks the first time in the 112 years of Notre Dame baseball that four players on the same team have reached double figures in home runs for the season.
Notre Dame’s 64 home runs on the season tie it with the 1993 Irish squad for the fourth-most homers in a campaign.
Bransfield’s sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning of today’s game marked the fourth straight game in which Notre Dame has executed such a play.
The two home runs hit by the Irish today mark the first multi-home run game for the Irish in the NCAA tournament since they went deep four times against South Alabama in regional action at Eck Stadium in 2002.
In the 17 games since the Notre Dame players finished their final exams, the team has hit 21 homeruns, lead by senior third baseman Matt Macri’s seven.
UC IRVINE TEAM NOTES
The Anteaters’ five-game losing streak to end the season is the team’s longest of 2004. UC Irvine previous long came when they dropped four straight from May 11 through May 16. The team dropped 10 of its final 13 games.
This series marks the first time since 1971 UC Irvine went 0-2 in NCAA tournament action.
UC Irvine has now committed an error in six straight games, dating back to their May 23 outing against UC Riverside.
The Anteaters laid down four sacrifice bunts in the game, including two by Tim Stewart (who only had two on the season prior to today).
UC Irvine left 12 runners on base yesterday against Arizona, then stranded 12 men again today versus the Irish. The Anteaters were only averaging 7.8 LOB per game heading into the NCAA tournament.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER NOTES
Senior second baseman Steve Sollmann collected his 300th career hit in the fifth inning of today’s game. He is only the second player in school history to achieve that milestone, joining former Irish center fielder Steve Stanley (385 hits from 1999-2002). Sollmann was 2-for-4 on the day, and his career batting average in NCAA tournament games stands at .488 (41-for-84).
Sophomore pitcher Ryan Doherty picked up his 12th save in 13 chances. His 12 saves on the season are second to J.P Gagne’s 13 in 2003 on the Notre Dame single-season record book.
Freshman pitcher Dan Kapala extended his scoreless innings pitched to 8.1 over his last six outings. In his last 21 appearances, Kapala owns a 1.20 ERA. For the season, the righty has allowed only 5 of 21 inherited runners to score (24%).
Prior to today, junior righthander Grant Johnson had allowed only one earned run in his last three outings (3-0, 1.55 ERA in 29 IP). Today, however, he gave up three ER in five innings. He had not given up three ER since losing to Pittsburgh on April 25, and the four total runs he gave up today were the most for him this season.
Johnson picked off his first runner of the 2004 season when he caught UC Irvine’s Jordan Szabo off of first base in the first inning.
Before hitting Kyle Ryckebosch with two outs in the fifth inning, Johnson had retired 24 consecutive batters he faced with two outs in an inning. He recovered to retire the next batter, Gary Dudrey, and thus opposing hitters are now hitless in their last 25 official at-bats against the Irish junior with two outs in an inning.
After hitting just three batters in his first 11 outings, Johnson has hit at least one in each of his last three. He hit Irvine’s Gary Dudrey in the fourth inning of today’s game to load the bases, and Kyle Ryckebosch in the fifth with the bases loaded to tie the game at 4-4.
Junior outfielder Craig Cooper’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the fifth inning gave him 15 RBI with the bases full this season, good for the team lead.
Sophomore outfielder Cody Rizzo’s stolen base in the second inning of today’s ballgame tied him with teammate Matt Edwards for the team lead in stolen base percentage with an 83 percent success rate.
Rizzo’s HBP in the eighth inning was his 21st of the season, and extends his Notre Dame career record to 49.
Rizzo had only one hit in his last 15 at-bats heading into play today. Against Irvine, however, the sophomore outfielder was 2-3 with a home run.
Sophomore shortstop Greg Lopez’s two errors give him four errors in his last three games.
UC IRVINE PLAYER NOTES
Sophomore third baseman Matt Anderson’s two hits today tied Jeff Oberdank (1988) for the UC Irvine record for hits in a season, with 94.
Junior pitcher Glenn Swanson’s first-inning wild pitch marked his fourth consecutive outing with a wild pitch, and his sixth errant offering over that span. Prior to that stretch, he had thrown only one wild pitch in his first 11 outings of 2004.
Swanson also picked up his third hit batsman in his last three outings when he hit Irish DH Matt Bransfield in the third inning.
Junior right fielder David Kennedy’s fourth-inning triple was his first of the year, and just his second extra base hit of the season. Last season, his four triples tied him for the Big West lead in that category.
Freshman first baseman Tim Stewart collected two hits today to extend his hitting streak to six games. Over that stretch, he is 8-for-17 at the plate (.471), with four sacrifice bunts.
Anderson has tallied at least one hit in 12 of his last 13 games, going18-for-53 (.339) over that stretch.
Freshman designated hitter Cody Cipriano picked up a single in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to five games. Over that period, he is 7-for-19 (.368).
Freshman pitcher David Huff has not allowed an earned run in his last eight outings, a span of 11.0 innings. During that stretch, he gave up three unearned runs, struck out 10 and walked only one batter.
Sophomore catcher Mark Wagner’s two hits extended his hitting streak to six games, over which he has five RBI.