Jan. 27, 2016
By Russell Dorn
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Just 24 days away from the start of the 2016 college baseball season, it’s time for another edition of around the bases with the University of Notre Dame baseball team.
The Irish kick off the 2016 season February 19-21 in Santa Clara, California for a three-game series with the Santa Clara Broncos.
ACC Preseason Coaches Poll
Coming off their first NCAA Regional appearance since 2006, the Irish were picked Wednesday to finish fourth out of seven (Atlantic Division) and eighth out of 14 teams overall in the loaded Atlantic Coast Conference in a poll of the league’s 14 head coaches.
Notre Dame, which finished tied for third in the ACC during the regular season in 2015 after being picked sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th overall in the preseason, is ranked as high as No. 24 (Perfect Game) in the national polls.
The ACC is expected to be as challenging as ever in 2016, with talented and veteran squads scattered throughout the league.
Last year, seven ACC teams earned bids to the NCAA Championship, tied for the most from any conference, while four squads reached the Super Regionals. Miami and Virginia advanced to the College World Series, with Virginia securing its first national championship.
Eight different ACC teams have been ranked in the four national polls that have been announced so far (D1Baseball, Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America and Perfect Game), including four that have earned spots in the Top 10.
2016 ACC Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll
- Louisville (14)
- Louisville (14) – 98
- Florida State – 74
- NC State – 72
- Notre Dame – 50
- Clemson – 46
- Wake Forest – 35
- Boston College – 17
- Miami (13) – 97
- Virginia (1) – 80
- North Carolina – 71
- Georgia Tech – 58
- Duke – 38
- Virginia Tech – 30
- Pitt – 18
Biggio Tabbed Third Team All-American
The honors continued to pour in for junior standout Cavan Biggio earlier this week, as D1Baseball.com tabbed the Houston, Texas native as a third team preseason All-American.
A two-year starter, Biggio used the motivation from a tough freshman campaign to put together a break out sophomore season that ended with him earning all-region accolades at the NCAA Champaign Regional and ultimately a Rawlings Gold Glove for his defensive brilliance at second base. He was one of just nine Division I players to earn a gold glove (one each at all nine defensive positions).
Biggio finished 2015 with 50 walks (14th – DI), nine homers and an impressive .406 on-base percentage while starting all 60 contests. He boasted a .986 fielding percentage and played a role in turning 62 double plays.
He was recently ranked No. 63 in Perfect Game’s top 150 college prospects list (No. 106 in top 250 overall prospects) for the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft. Baseball America ranked him No. 79 overall in its top 100 college prospects list for the draft.
Meeting The Team On Social Media
In case you have missed it on social media (Twitter & Facebook), Notre Dame baseball is counting down the days to opening day (Feb. 19 @ Santa Clara) with short video features on each player. Yesterday (Jan. 26) marked 24 days until opening day, which corresponds to our No. 24 freshman outfielder and RHP Matt Vierling.
He pitches, plays defense, & hits…he does it all! Get to know freshman #24 @matt_vierling.
24 days ’til we open!
— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) January 27, 2016
Tickets On Sale
Tickets for both the 2016 USA Baseball-Irish Classic in Cary, North Carolina and the 2016 ND home schedule are now on sale. Check out UND.com/buytickets for more information.
Under the direction of head coach Mik Aoki, a veteran coaching staff and co-captains Lane Richards and James Nevant, the Irish return 20 monogram winners, the entire infield including Biggio and third team all-Atlantic Coast Conference performer Kyle Fiala (3B), their starting catcher in Johnny Bench Award candidate Ryan Lidge and 472.2 of 554.2 innings on the mound in 2016 from a team that went 37-23 overall and finished tied for third during the regular season in the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference before advancing to their first NCAA Regional appearance since 2006.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).
Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.