April 9, 2005
BROCKTON, Mass. –
2005 NOTRE DAME BASEBALL – Week 8, vs. Boston College, at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Mass. (April 9-10)
ANOTHER TOP TEST – The Notre Dame baseball team (14-13, 3-3 BIG EAST) faces another top contender this weekend when the Irish take on league frontrunner Boston College (19-7, 6-1) in a series to be played at minor-league park Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Mass. (home of the Brockton Rox) … the teams will play a doubleheader on Sat., April 9 (2:00 p.m. EDT), followed by a noon game on Sunday … ND’s probable rotation includes (in order): sophomore RHP Dan Kapala, junior LHP Tom Thornton and sophomore RHP Jeff Manship while BC is expected to counter with senior LHP Mike Wlodarczyk, senior RHP Joe Martinez and junior LHP Nate Jeans … ND joins BC, Rutgers (5-1), St. John’s (4-1), UConn (3-2) and Villanova (4-3) in the early race for the 4-team BIG EAST Tournament … the Irish went 6-1 on their first homestand, then 1-3 in games earlier this week … Paul Mainieri, in his 11th season at ND and 23rd overall as a college head coach, heads into the BC series with a 795-464-2 career record that includes 464-185-1 with the Irish.
RADIO, LIVE-STATS & HOTLINE – All of ND’s 2005 games again will be broadcast by South Bend-based WDND 1580 AM (and its sister station, WNDV 1490) … the broadcasts are available via the internet at www.und.com (College Sports Pass subscription required) … und.com also provides links to livestats on the website’s main page, for all home games and select road games (ND will provide GameTracker stats for the BC games, with links on und.com) … call the ND Sports Hotline at 574-631-3000 for schedule and result information for all varsity sports currently in season (from the main menu, select “4” and then select “1” for baseball information).
THE SERIES – ND leads the BC series 20-7 (10-3 at Eck Stadium, 8-2 at BC/Cape Cod, 2-2 at BET), with a split in the 2004 regular season at Eck Stadium (4-7, 6-4) before the Irish beat the Eagles to open the ’04 BIG EAST Tournament (3-2) and again in the BIG EAST title game (11-5) … see ’04 game recaps below … ND has won 3 straight in the series and 6 of the previous 7 meetings … the teams were slated to play a 2003 doubleheader in Brockton, Mass., that was cancelled due to weather … the Irish swept the ’02 series (8-2, 10-6, 5-2; at The Eck) after BC had won 4 of the previous 6 … Joe Thaman hit grand slams in back-to-back games of the ’02 ND-BC series … BC knocked off the Irish twice at the 2000 BIG EAST Tournament (12-1, 10-6) … the teams played just twice (in 1909 and ’28) prior to ND joining the BIG EAST in 1996 … ND’s first BIG EAST baseball games were played vs. BC in that ’96 season, as the Irish swept the doubleheader, 6-1 and 11-6, in games played on Cape Cod at Yarmouth-Dennis HS).
RECAPPING THE 2004 ND-BC GAMES
â€¢ BC 7, ND 4 (April 10; Eck Stadium) – BC snapped ND’s 11-game win streak as the Irish continued to play without injured 2B Steve Sollmann … Matt O’Donnell went the distance for the win (7 IP, 6 H, 4 UER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 116 pitches) while Chris Niesel suffered the loss (4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R/4 ER, 4 Ks) … ND’s Matt Bransfield hit 2-for-2, with no other Irish player managing double-digit hits, RBI or runs … 2B Josh DiScipio (2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 R, HR, 2B) led four BC players with 2-hit games … the Eagles left just one runner on base.
â€¢ ND 6 , BC 4 (April 10; Eck Stadium) – Matt Edwards delivered the decisive 2-run double in the bottom of the 8th to give the 4th-ranked Irish the split … the only ND players with more than two hits in the doubleheader were 3B Matt Macri (4-for-8, 2 RBI, 4 R, HR, 2B), (3-for-6, 2 R, HBP) and LF Steve Andres (3-for-7, RBI, R, BB, SB) … the other nine ND players who appeared in the doubleheader combined to hit just 4-for-38 (.105) … ND survived a 5-error game in the nightcap … the go-ahead rally began with Andres’ single up the middle … Greg Lopez then bunted Andres to second before Joe Martinez hit 2B Javi Sanchez with an 0-1 pitch (ending his brief relief stint … closer Mike Gauthier came on to get a big strikeout but Edwards jumped all over an 0-1 pitch, pulling it into the leftfield corner for a 2-run double and the 6-4 lead … in the top of the 8th, ND closer Ryan Doherty came on to walk a batter and load the basses before blowing a 2-2 pitch by 8-hole hitter Marco Albano (keeping the game 4-4) … Tom Thornton pitched well enough to win (6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R/2 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 55 of 76 pitches for strikes) while Jeff Samardzija was the first ND reliever in the nightcap and extended his shutout streak to 16 innings (H, BB) … Jake Marsello (6 IP, 6 H, 4 R/3 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks) was the BC starter … Sanchez had an early 2-run single and Macri later smacked a 2-un HR.
â€¢ ND 3, BC 2 (May 27; Commerce Bank Ballpark) – A gamble by Paul Mainieri made the difference as the Irish scored in the bottom of the 9th to open the BIG EAST Tournament with a key win … the game featured a showdown between two of elite pitchers: ND’s Grant Johnson (7 IP, 5 H, 2 R/1 ER, BB, 6 Ks, 9 GO, 107 pitches) and BC’s Chris Lambert (8 IP, 2 H, 2 UER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 123 pitches) … ND made some big plays in the 8th, as Sanchez threw out lead runner Ryan Morgan on Garrett Greer’s sac. bunt attempt while eventual winner Dan Kapala came on to blow a full-count fastball by pinch-hitter Shawn McGill and then quickly struck out Marco Albano to leave runners on first and second … BC closer Gauthier hit Sanchez with an 0-1 pitch in the 9th and Mainieri then made the rare lefty-lefty switch as Danny Dressman hit for Andres … BC was looking for the bunt but Dressman sent the first pitch skipping through the left side for an opposite-field single that moved Sanchez to third on the surprise hit-and-run … Gauthier walked Craig Cooper intentionally and Edwards then dug in to reprise their his big AB vs. Gauthier from six weeks earlier … BC moved CF Drew Locke into the left side of the infield but Edwards drove a 1-0 pitch into left field to end the game … ND forged a 2-2 tie in the 5th, thanks to Edwards’ full-count walk, Cody Rizzo’s HBP, Lopez’s opposite-field single and Sollmann’s rightside groundout that was booted by the 2B DiScipio (allowing two runs to score) … Locke singled to score Eric Wright in the 1st and added another RBI single in the 3rd (scoring Albano).
â€¢ ND 11, BC 5 (May 29; Commerce Bank Ballpark) – The Irish won an unprecedented third straight BIG EAST title, behind a big power day that included 5 home runs (Macri 2, Cooper 2, Bransfield) … Macri (3-for-5, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB) took home tournament MVP honors (.429, 6-for-14, 5 RBI, 2 HR) while Cooper (2-for-3, 4 RBI, 2 R, BB, HBP) also had a solid day … ND opened the game with 6 runs in the 1st (including Bransfield’s 2-run shot and Cooper’s 3-run blast) … Thornton worked through some bumpy moments to pick up the win (7-plus IP, 8 H, 5 R/3 ER, BB, HB, 3 Ks, 12 GO, held BC to 1-for-9 hitting with 2 outs) … Sollmann smacked his 297th career hit to claim 2nd place on that ND top-10 list … Joe Martinez took the loss (0.1 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 2 WP, 7 BF, 25 pitches) … Cooper completed the rare feat of home runs in back-to-back innings with a solo shot in the 2nd.
Dan Kapala CAREER STATS (see PDF)
Kapala’s 2005 Situational Stats: 39% of leadoff batters reached (3.5 per 9 IP) … .159 opp. batting with runners on, .200 with 2 outs … has limited LH batters to .100 hitting in ’05 (3-for-30), plus .353 by RH hitters
Kapala’s 2005 Nine-Inning Averages: 9.3 hits, 4.0 walks, 5.3 Ks, 8.9 groundouts (avg. 14.2 outs via Ks or GOs)
Dan Kapala 2005 GAME-BY-GAME (see PDF)
KAPALA QUICK NOTES – Was slated to start 2004 midweek game vs. Purdue (planned rotation) but the game was rained out … owns a 1.39 ERA in the past 13 innings and 8 appearances (2 ER, 8 H), since returning from spring break trip (his ERA was 6.14 coming off the spring trip) … the first 43 appearances of his ND career have been out of the bullpen … has allowed 5-of-15 inherited baserunners to score in 2005 (the bullpen as a whole has allowed 39%, or 26-of-67, inherited runners to score).
Tom Thornton CAREER STATS (see PDF)
THORNTON’S SITUATIONAL PITCHING – Has allowed 45% of leadoff batters to reach (avg. of 4.1 per 9 IP) while allowing opponents to hit .280 with runners on base but just .191 with 2 outs … has totaled nearly the same number of groundouts (42) as flyouts (50) … averaging 5.2 IP per start … his 9-inning averages include 4.2 Ks, 3.5 walks, 10.0 hits allowed and 9.8 groundouts … LH batters are hitting just .194 vs. him in ’05 (.308 by RH batters).
MORE THAN JUST A STUDENT OF THE GAME – Tom Thornton is one of several ND players who are strong candidates for 2005 Academic All-America honors, taking a 3.46 cumulative GPA into the ’05 spring semester as a double major in anthropology and film, television and theater (he earned Academic All-District honors in 2004 and advanced to the Academic All-America ballot).
Tom Thornton 2005 GAME-BY-GAME (see PDF)
IT’S ALL THEIR FAULT – Notre Dame would be riding a 406-game scoring streak if not for one game, an 11-0 loss to Rutgers, late in the 2002 season …that game ended ND’s team-record scoring streak at 231 (stretching from 2/26/99-5/4/02) but the Irish have scored in every game since that loss (174) for the 2nd-longest scoring streak in the program’s history … ND has scored in virtually every game of the 11-year Paul Mainieri era (99.08%; 645 of 651).
TRIPLE THREAT – Current ND junior OF Craig Cooper came on strong at the end of the ’04 season to lead the BIG EAST in conference batting avg. (.470), on-base pct. (.545) and slugging pct. (.712) but it was not enough to claim 1st-team honors … Cooper was just the 5th BIG EAST batting champ not to earn 1st team all-BIG EAST … nine BIG EAST batting champs have earned the league’s MVP award, including ND players Brant Ust (’98) and Steve Stanley (’02).
BIG EAST STAT LEADERS (rankings are prior to Toledo game, stats updated)
Matt Edwards – 1st in RBI (42), HR (11), runs (32) and total bases (83) … 2nd in slugging (.776) and OPS (1.189) … 3rd in hits (42), 5th in on-base pct. (.477), 6th in batting avg. (.393), 7th in doubles (8)
Brett Lilley – 1st in on-base pct. (.525), 5th in walks (16), 9th in batting avg. (.353)
Cody Rizzo – 4th in on-base pct. (.467), 5th in walks (16)
Ross Brezovsky – 6th in triples (2)
Craig Cooper – 3rd in walks (17)
Derik Olvey – 14th in ERA (3.18)
Dan Kapala – 1st in appearances (15)
Tom Thornton – 8th in innings (38.2)
Ryan Doherty – 2nd in saves (4)
ND IN THE BIG EAST TEAM STATS (rankings are prior to Toledo game, stats updated)
1st – on-base pct. (.404) and runs (200)
2nd – batting avg. (.299), home runs (24)
3rd – slugging pct. (.432), walks (111)
7th – stolen bases (26)
6th – low walks per 9 IP (3.98)
7th – ERA (5.28)
9th – strikeouts per 9 IP (5.52)
10th – low opp. batting avg. (.313)
FRIEND OR FOE? – ND junior OF Craig Cooper and BC’s Marco Albano were teammates in the 2005 Cape Cod League on the Brewster Whitecaps.
HOMECOMING, PART II. – For the second straight week, a lofty ND junior pitcher will be playing in his home state … 7-foot-1 closer Ryan Doherty (Toms River, N.J.) pitched last week at Rutgers while 6-foor-6 LHP Tom Thornton (Middleboro, Mass.) is the likely game-2 starter vs. BC … Thornton is 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in two previous starts vs. BC (13.2 IP, 15 H, 5 Ks, BB, 2 HB).
BRANSFIELD LOOKING TO GET BACK IN GROOVE – Junior DH Matt Bransfield recently returned after missing 18 games due to a broken hand … Bransfield ran away with the BIG EAST 2004 RBI title (33 in league play) but was overlooked in the all-conference balloting … 23 of 26 previous BIG EAST RBI champs received all-conference honors (including every RBI champ from ’94-’03).
STENCIL THEM IN – Two ND players have started all 27 games this season, with freshman 2B Brett Lilley the only one to do so at the same position … senior Matt Edwards (18 starts at 1B, 9 at 3B) is the only player to hit in the same spot (3-hole) in all 27 games.
RED RATIO UPDATE – ND assistant coach David “Red” Grewe tracks a special ratio to gauge the Irish batters plate discipline: walks plus hit-by-pitch minus strikeouts … the ’04 ND squad was +23 in the “Red Ratio,” easily the best mark of the Paul Mainieri era (dating back to ’95; avg. ratio of -31 from ’95-’03) … the ’05 team has nearly doubled the final ’04 ratio, entering the BC series with a +38 ratio of walks (111) plus HBPs (61) minus Ks (134) … freshman 2B Brett Lilley is +23 (16 BB, 16 HBP, 9 Ks) in the ratio while the rest of the team is +15 … other top ratios on the ’05 team include: junior OF/1B Craig Cooper (+13), senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards (+10) and junior RF Cory Rizzo (+10), with the rest of the team (not including Lilley) combining for just a -18 ratio.
HBP HIGHWAY ROLLS ON – Notre Dame remains on pace for a record team hit-by-pitch total, with 61 HBPs in the first 27 games … at 2.26 HBPs per game, that would factor out to 127 in the 56-game regular season, well ahead of the team record of 106/5th in NCAA history set in ’04) … in fact, the Irish may break the NCAA record for HBPs in a season, set by Nevada in 1997 (125) … freshman 2B Brett Lilley has racked up 16 HBPs, joining teammate Cody Rizzo (28 in ’03, 21 in ’04) as the only ND players with more than 15 HBPs in a season … other 2005 HBP leaders include Rizzo (10) and his fellow junior OF Alex Nettey (8).
HIT MASTERS – Senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards leads the team with 13 multi-hit games while compiling 8- and 10-game hitting streaks in a recent 20-game stretch … he also leads ND with 11 multi-RBI games … others of note include freshman 2B Brett Lilley (7 multi-hit), junior OF Craig Cooper (7 multi-hitm 7 multi-RBI) and junior CF Alex Nettey (team-best 15-game hitting streak ended vs. Ball State; matched longest ND hit streak since Steve Stanley’s 16-game streak in 2000) … Edwards and Nettey are the only ND players with hitting streaks longer than 7 games (Cooper has a 7-game hit streak but no other player has collected hits in more than 5 straight games).
RECORD-BOOK WATCH – Matt Edwards – who missed most of his freshman season due to injury and has the option to apply for a 5th year of eligibility in ’06 – already ranks 9th in ND history with 31 career home runs … he is averaging one home run every 5.1 games played in his ND career (159 GP) … Edwards (11 HRs) is on pace for 23 home runs in the 56-game regular season (the ND record of 20 HRs was set by two-sport star Frank Jacobs, in ’91) … since the college bat standards changed in the late 1990s, the top ND season home run totals are owned by Brian Stavisky (14, in 2000) and Matt Macri (14, in ’04) … Edwards also has racked up 42 RBI in 27 games this season (1.56/gm), putting him on pace for 87 RBI in the regular season (All-American Dan Peltier owns the record with 93 RBI, in ’89) … his 169 career RBI rank 9th on that ND top-10 list … he also owns a .776 season slugging pct. (8 2B, 83 TB) that would challenge Peltier’s standing ND record (.783, in ’89) … Edwards has 14 walks and 5 hit-by-pitch this season for a .477 on-base pct. and 1.253 OPS (combined on-base and slugging) that is shy of Peltier’s record (1.296, in ’89).
MAJOR-LEAGUE MAULER – To put Matt Edwards’ 2005 power and run-producing numbers in perspective, he would be on pace to total 66 home runs and 252 RBI in a 162-game Major League season.
EDWARDS LAUNCHES THREE HOME RUNS – Matt Edwards joined an elite group of ND players by launching three home runs while driving in six runs, in the 9-5 in over Western Michigan (March 29) … Edwards, who also twice was walked intentionally by WMU, became the first ND player to hit three home runs in a game since All-America 3B Brant Ust homered vs. three different pitchers in a 1998 game at Seton Hall … sophomore RHP Derek Schlecker served up two Edwards home runs, the first coming with 2 outs in the 1st when he left a 1-0 slider up and over the plate (Edwards drove the ball into the wind and over the leftfield fence) … two innings later, Edwards delivered on another 1-0 pitch, turning on a high fastball and driving it over the leftfield fence for a 2-run shot … Edwards then greeted senior RHP Tim Bebber in the 7th, working ahead in the count (2-0) before pulling a belt-high fastball down the leftfield line and out of the park for a booming 3-run shot shot …Ust had been the program’s only player with three home runs in a game since the early 1990s, when 1B Jon Binkiewicz had 3-HR games vs. Evansville and Michigan in a 12-day stretch of the ’91 season … the 113-year history of Notre Dame baseball now has seen just seven players hit three home runs in a game (a total of eight times) – with Edwards, Ust and Binkiewicz the only players to do so in nearly 50 years … one of the top players for Notre Dame’s first College World Series team, Jim Morris, had 3 HRs in a game vs. Naval Air Station during that 1957 season … one must go back 23 seasons before that to find another 3-HR game, by Andy Pilney vs. the University of Chicago in 1934 … Jake Kline – the Hall of Fame coach who will be honored at Eck Stadium during the Villanova series in late April (when a bust of the former Irish coach will be unveiled in the stadium concourse area) – was the second ND player ever to hit three home runs in a game, doing so in a 1916 game vs. Michigan (Jerry Sheehan is the first known to have a 3-HR game, vs. Hillsdale in 1906).
THAT WAS NOTHING … – The last time Matt Edwards had hit three home runs in a game was when he had a 4-HR game as a 14-year-old at a Virginia AAU state tournament … in fact, he hit nine home runs and a double in his first 11 at-bats of that tournament, while playing with the Richmond Virginians.
LEAPING LILLEY – Rookie 2B Brett Lilley is on pace for one of the top offensive seasons ever compiled by an ND freshman … Lilley’s .353 season batting avg. would rank among the best by an ND freshman in the 11-year Paul Mainieri … Lilley – who has 16 walks and 16 HBPs – owns a .525 season on-base pct. and could challenge the ND record held by Danapilis (.531, by Eric Danapilis in ’91; Danapilis also holds the ND freshman record, with a .509 OB in 1990) … current junior RF Cody Rizzo (28 in ’03, 21 in ’04) is the only ND player ever to total more HBPs in a season than Lilley’s current total of 16 .. Lilley is on pace for an ND-record 33 HBPs plus 33 walks in the 56-game regular season (he even could have a rare 40 HBP, 40 BB season).
PROCEED TO FIRST – Junior RF Cody Rizzo was hit-by-pitch six times in the 7-game homestand, giving him 9 HBPs for the season and 58 in his career (his 28 HBPs in 2003 and 21 in ’04 are the most in ND history) … Rizzo now ranks 9th on the NCAA career HBP list with 59 … Rizzo is on pace for 21 HBPs in the 2005 regular season (56 games), which would push his career total to 70 (that would rank 4th in NCAA history) … Rizzo’s career avg. is 0.44 HBPs per game … at that pace, Rizzo would need to play a total of 211 games (76 more) in order to break the NCAA record set by San Francisco’s Tony Hurtado (’97-’00) – meaning he essentially would break the NCAA record late in the 2006 season.
NCAA DIVISION I CAREER HIT-BY-PITCH LEADERS (see PDF)
MORE ON RIZZO AND THE BASEPATHS – Cody Rizzo’s first two seasons with the Irish featured a total of just 15 walks (4 in ’04) and 6 stolen bases but he already has passed that BB total with 16 walks in ’05 while owning a team-best 8 stolen bases (in 9 attempts).
FIVE-HIT HOME DEBUT – Brett Lilley turned in a 5-for-5 game vs. Cincinnati on March 22, becoming the first ND freshman ever to produce five hits in a home opener … Lilley is one of 29 all-time ND players with five-plus hits in a game (done 31 total times) and is just the second to do so in a home opener … LF Allen Greene needed extra innings to complete the feat during the home opener of his sophomore season in 1997, batting 5-for-6 in an 8-7, 12-inning win over IUPUI … the 5-foot-7 Lilley joins another short list as one of four ND freshmen ever to post a five-hit game at any time in their debut season … current sophomore C Sean Gaston went 5-for-6 early in the 2004 season vs. Florida Memorial (at FAU) while CF Scott Sollmann hit 5-for-6 at Purdue in his freshman season (5/10/94) and 1B Joe Binkiewicz had a 5-for-5 game vs. Dayton as a rookie (5/20/89) … each of the above four players is a lefthanded hitter – in fact, 10 of the past 17 Irish players to get five-plus hits in a game have been lefthanded or switch-hitters … starting with Steve Stanley late in the ’01 season, five of the past seven to do so have hit from the left side (also Brian Stavisky and Paul O’Toole in ’02 and Gaston in ’04, plus righthanders Steve Sollmann in ’02 and Matt Macri in ’04) … Sollmann (6-for-7 vs. South Alabama in the 2002 NCAA regionals) and his former teammate Alec Porzel (6-for-6 vs. Pittsburgh, in 2001) share the Notre Dame record for hits in a game.
NOTRE DAME 2005 CAREER STAT UPDATES (as of April 8; see PDF, includes updated bullet notes for each player-see PDF)
NOTRE DAME BASEBALL 2005 ROSTER (as of Feb. 23; see PDF)