Feb. 4, 2016

By Russell Dorn

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Almost two weeks until opening day in beautiful Santa Clara, California, exciting news and notes are coming in from all sides for a University of Notre Dame baseball team that is receiving plenty of preseason hype nationally.

Let’s go around the bases to highlight some of the latest info both in the Atlantic Coast Conference and nationally.

TV Schedule

The Irish are set to appear on the ESPN family of networks an impressive 23 times during the 2016 regular season, which is the most in program history. Notre Dame is scheduled to have eight ESPN3 home broadcasts, 14 ESPN3 road broadcasts and one ESPNU game (at North Carolina – May 16).

In addition, all 15 games of the 2016 ACC Baseball Championship will be available on the ESPN family of networks. The two opening round games and all 12 of the pool play contests will be available on ESPN3/RSN (Regional Sports Networks). The ACC Championship game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

A full list of ESPN games for ACC teams can be found on TheACC.com.

Here’s the complete rundown of ESPN contests for the Irish:

2016 ND Baseball Online & TV Schedule
(As of Feb. 4)

Date – Time (All ET/All P.M.) – Opponent – Online Broadcast/TV
March 11 – 3:00 – Louisville – ESPN3
March 12 – 1:00 Louisville ESPN3
March 13 – 1:00 Louisville ESPN3
March 18 – 6:30 NC State ESPN3
March 19 – 6:30 NC State ESPN3
March 20 – 1:00 NC State ESPN3
March 24 – 5:30 Virginia Tech ESPN3
March 25 – 5:30 Virginia Tech ESPN3
March 26 – 12:00 Virginia Tech ESPN3
March 31 – 6:05 – Oregon – ESPN3
April 5 – 6:05 – Michigan – ESPN3
April 10 – 1:05 – Miami – ESPN3
April 15 – 6:05 – Boston College – ESPN3
April 16 – 3:05 – Boston College – ESPN3
April 17 – 1:05 – Boston College – ESPN3
April 22 6:00 Florida State ESPN3
April 23 6:00 Florida State ESPN3
April 24 1:00 Florida State ESPN3
May 10 – 6:05 – LSU – ESPN3
May 11 – 6:05 – LSU – ESPN3
May 13 7:00 North Carolina ESPN3
May 14 6:00 North Carolina ESPN3
May 16 7:00 North Carolina ESPNU

* Home games in Bold.
* All other home games will be streamed live on WatchND.tv.
* Other road broadcasts will be announced in the week leading up to each game.

Biggio Named A First Team All-American By Baseball America

The accolades continued to roll in for junior standout Cavan Biggio recently, as the Houston, Texas native has been named a preseason first team All-American by Baseball America after previously earning third team D1Baseball.com All-America accolades January 25.

Baseball America determines its preseason All-America listing by surveying Major League Baseball scouting directors for the best MLB prospects in Division I college baseball.

A two-year starter at second base, 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.

Baseball America also selected Biggio as the best defensive 2B in the ACC and judged him as having the best strike-zone judgment in the league.

Irish Shown Some Love In Various Preseason Publications

A near consensus top-35 team nationally, the Irish have received plenty of love from various publications over the last couple of weeks.

Notre Dame is ranked No. 24 in the Perfect Game poll and No. 27 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll and is receiving votes in both the NCBWA poll and USA Today Coaches poll. The NCAA recognizes those four polls – along with Baseball America and D1Baseball.com – during the season for their weekly rankings.

Elsewhere, the Irish were picked No. 9 by Athlon Sports in its preseason top 25 poll, while College Sports Madness has Notre Dame at No. 19 in its preseason top 25 poll.

College Sports Madness also puts out a weekly NCAA Championship bracket and has the Irish qualifying for the NCAA Regionals for a second year in a row. The organization predicts that Notre Dame will join Ole Miss and Holy Cross at the not yet unveiled No. 3 overall seed regional.

Baseball America and D1Baseball.com have also both predicted the Irish to qualify for the NCAA Regionals.

College Sports Madness tabbed Biggio (utility player) and junior RHP Ryan Smoyer as preseason second team all-ACC performers.

More MLB Draft Rankings

Boatloads of MLB Draft rankings and class rankings have come down the pipe in the last few weeks. Here’s a quick summary of the rankings:

Junior 2B Cavan Biggio – Eligible For 2016 MLB Draft
No. 15 (Perfect Game’s Top 30 ACC Prospects)
No. 16 (Baseball America’s Top ACC Prospects)
No. 18 (D1Baseball.com Top ACC Prospects)
No. 59 (Perfect Game’s Top 100 College Juniors)
No. 63 (Perfect Game’s Top College Prospects)
No. 79 (Baseball America’s Top College Prospects)
No. 85 (D1Baseball.com’s Top College Prospects)
No. 106 (Perfect Game’s Top Overall Prospects)

Sophomore RHP Brad Bass – Eligible For 2017 MLB Draft
No. 15 (Perfect Game’s Top 15 ACC Prospects)
No. 37 (D1Baseball.com Top College Prospects)
No. 59 (Perfect Game’s Top 100 College Sophomores)
No. 91 (Perfect Game’s Top College Prospects)

Sophomore RHP Peter Solomon – Eligible For 2017 MLB Draft
No. 11 (Perfect Game’s Top 15 ACC Prospects)
No. 69 (Perfect Game’s Top 100 College Sophomores)
No. 95 (D1Baseball.com Top College Prospects)

Sophomore RHP Brandon Bielak – Eligible For 2017 MLB Draft
No. 14 (Perfect Game’s Top 15 ACC Prospects)
No. 57 (Perfect Game’s Top 100 College Sophomores)
No. 88 (Perfect Game’s Top College Prospects)

Freshman OF/RHP Matt Vierling – Eligible For 2018 MLB Draft
No. 48 (Perfect Game’s Top 100 College Freshmen)

Irish Alum Spotlight

At last Friday’s Notre Dame hockey game against Boston College, former Notre Dame baseball player Joe Kernan was honored on military appreciation night at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

A former South Bend mayor, Indiana lieutenant governor and then governor, Kernan earned two monograms with the Irish in 1967 & 1968 before serving his country in the Vietnam War. Kernan was a prisoner of war during his stay in Vietnam and once owned the local minor league baseball franchise – the South Bend Silverhawks.

Check out this article from the Notre Dame Monogram Club for more information on Kernan.

Notre Dame Baseball Tickets On Sale

Tickets for both the 2016 USA Baseball-Irish Classic in Cary, North Carolina and the 2016 ND home schedule are on sale. Check out UND.com/buytickets for more information.

Tickets on Sale For ACC Baseball Championship

Tickets are on sale for the 2016 ACC Baseball Championship, which is set for May 24-29 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, North Carolina.

Full tournament passes are $150 while weekend passes are $50. Single-game tickets go on sale March 4.

Ten teams qualify for the ACC Championship. Four teams play opening-round games May 24 with the two winners qualifying for pool play (May 25-28) along with the top six seeds. Each of the eight teams plays three games in pool play. The two pool winners play in the ACC Championship game May 29 on ESPN2.

Last year the Irish finished tied for third in the ACC during the regular season to earn the No. 3 seed in the ACC Championship. Notre Dame lost to NC State, beat national champion Virginia and lost in heart-breaking fashion to College World Series qualifier Miami to finish 1-2 in pool play in its first ACC Championship appearance.

Check out TheACC.com 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.