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Baseball Battles South Alabama In NCAA South Bend Regional

June 1, 2002

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GameDay Notes – NCAA South Bend Regional (vs. South Alabama, June 1)

Today’s Starter – Grant Johnson, Fr., RHP (relief vs. Missouri, St. John’s, Ball State, Michigan)
(15 GP/11 GS, 3.35, 7-4, 80.2 IP, 79 H, 74 K/35 BB, .258 opp. avg., 3 HB, 5 WP, 85 GO, 73 FO)

vs. Missouri, at UNO (2/22; 7-6 in 10) win, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, K
vs. Florida International, in Homestead (3/2; 4-13) 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R/2 ER, BB, 7 K
vs. TCU, in Round Rock (3/8; 3-7) loss, 8.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, BB, HB, 8 K
vs. Southern Illinois, in San Antonio (3/14; 5-3) win, 8 IP, 5 H, UER, 6 K

at Connecticut (3/23; 3-4) loss, 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R/3 ER, 5 BB, 7 K
at West Virginia (3/28; 2-4) loss, 4.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 5 K
St. John’s (4/6; 3-4) 3 IP, 3 BB, K
Pittsburgh (4/11; 5-7) loss, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 BB, 9 K

Ball State (4/16; 10-1) 2.0 IP, H, BB, K
at Seton Hall (4/21; 4-2) win, 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 WP
vs. Michigan (4/30; 7-4) win, 3.0 IP, H, 2 BB, 2 K
Rutgers (5/4; 7-2) win, 6.0 IP, 5 H, UER, 4 BB, 5 K

vs. Villanova, in Philadelphia (5/11; 7-8) 5.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K, WP, HB
Boston College (5/17; 8-2) win, 6.0 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, 6 K, WP, HB
vs. Rutgers, BET (5/23; 7-4) win, 7.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 7 K, WP

Situationally: 37.6% leadoff batters reached; .298 opp. batting with 2 outs,.231 with runners on
Nine-Inning Averages: 8.8 hits, 3.9 walks, 8.3 strikeouts, 9.5 groundouts, 39.6 batters faced

After minimal early-season run support, Grant Johnson has pushed his record to 7-4 by winning his last five decisions, including a relief stint vs. Michigan … he has lowered his ERA to 3.35 (good for 6th in the BIG EAST), with his stats from the last six outings breaking down as follows: 3.41 ERA in 31.2 IP, 31 H, 14 BB, 29 K, 5 WP, 2 HB

Johnson’s first eight starts saw the Irish average just 4.1 runs in those games … the run support for Johnson improved in his last four starts (7.3 rpg), with his first seven starts including three games where the Irish scored just 2-3 runs.

Notre Dame’s balanced pitching staff includes four different pitchers who have started Game 1 of a weekend series or tournament, led by freshmen Grant Johnson (7) and John Axford (5), plus juniors Peter Ogilvie (2) and J.P. Gagne (1).

Grant Johnson’s dominant innings have been the 2nd-5th, with a 1.86 ERA, 48 Ks and 18 walks in those innings … those numbers are even more noteworthy when considering his stats from the first inning (6.55, 16 Ks/6 BB) and the sixth inning (8.22, .429, 2 Ks, 4 BB).


  • ND and South Alabama are slotted in the same Regional for the third time in the last seven years but ND and USA did not face each other in ’96 (at Alabama) or 2000 (at Mississippi State) … the only series meeting came in 1991 (a 9-7 home win for the Jaguars).
  • Notre Dame went 1-2 this season vs. Sun Belt Conference teams, losing 8-7 at New Orleans and 13-4 vs. Florida Intatnal (in Homestead, Fla.) before beating Arkansas-Little Rock in San Antonio (7-5) … South Alabama was 2-1 vs. UNO this season, 4-1 vs. FIU and 1-0 vs. UALR.
  • ND head coach Paul Mainieri faced South Alabama 11 times as a player at the University of New Orleans during the 1978 and ’79 seasons, with the Privateers winning eight of those battles.


  • OSU opted to start sophomore LHP Josh Newman versus a Notre Dame lineup dominated by lefthanded hitters … the Irish responded by giving senior DH Ken Meyer his 31st start of the season, with Meyer and the other three righthanded batters combining to hit 8-for-12 vs. Newman
  • Friday was a day for the junior class at Eck Stadium, as Peter Ogilvie logged a solid 5 1/3 innings while fellow righthander J.P. Gagne again bounced back from an opposing home run to pick up the victory … the only third-year players in the lineup also played major roles, as rightfielder Kris Billmaier hit 3-for-3 with an RBI from the cleanup spot while leftfielder Brian Stavisky had a hand in half of the Irish runs from his No. 3 spot (2-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 R).
  • Billmaier continued his career trend of elevated play in the NCAAs, as he now is batting 18-for-38 (.474) in 11 games of Regional action – more than 200 points higher than his .275 average in his other 135 games with the Irish.
  • Gagne (8-4) pushed his career record to 20-10, after yielding three runs on five hits and one walk over the final three innings (with two strikeouts).
  • On a day when its three leading veterans – Steve Stanley, Andrew Bushey and Paul O’Toole – combined to hit just 1-for-12, the rest of the Irish lineup more than picked up the slack by collecting 14 hits in their 22 at-bats … sophomore 2B Steve Sollmann had a strong day in the No. 2 hole, batting 3-for-4 with a walk, RBI and two runs scored … ND’s 15-hit attack equaled its fifth-highest hit total of the season and came on the heels of a dismal .208 team batting average at last week’s BIG EAST Tournament.
  • ND now has posted 45-plus wins in nine seasons (all since 1989)
  • The Irish are 7-8 in home NCAA games, including 5-4 at Eck Stadium.
  • Notre Dame is 9-8 in opening games in NCAA tournament play, with five straight wins in NCAA openers.
  • The win was the 21st come-from-behind victory for Notre Dame this season and it marked the 11th time the Irish have scored the winning run in the last three innings in 2002.
  • Sanchez extended his hitting streak to 11 games (only Stanley has a longer streak in 2002) … Sanchez is hitting .444 (16-36) in the 11-game hitting streak.
  • Ogilvie’s starts have been aligned with solid offensive days from Sanchez, who now has hit .391 (16-for-41) in the 12 games started by Ogilvie (3-for-4 on Friday).
  • Bok smacked the second pinch-hit HR for an Irish player this season (Matt Strickroth vs. Detroit) … it was the fifth career HR for Bok, who is 3-for-6 as a pinch-hitter this season (he hit a pinch-hit triple and scored to beat Virginia Tech in 11 innings, 2-1).
  • Stavisky is hitting .391 (18-46) with 3 HR, 5 2B, 17 RBI and 14 R in 11 career NCAA games … Stavisky also owns a .382 career batting avg. at Eck Stadium (105-for-275), including .432 in 2002 (32-for-74).

Stanley Named First Team All-American
Notre Dame senior centerfielder Steve Stanley (Upper Arlington, Ohio) has been named a first team All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine. Stanley – one of three outfielders named to the elite 17-player team – becomes just the third Notre Dame baseball player ever to earn All-America honors in multiple seasons, joining former teammate and current New York Mets pitching prospect Aaron Heilman (’98-’01) and former ND catcher Elmer Kohorst (’56-’57) in that distinction.

Stanley – whose 2001 honors included second team All-America from USA Today Baseball Weekly and third team from Baseball America – also joins Kohorst, Heilman and two other former centerfielders, Dan Peltier (’89) and Eric Danapilis (’93), as the only Irish players ever to earn first team All-America recognition.

The first individual ever to repeat as the BIG EAST Conference baseball player of the year , Stanley entered Friday’s NCAA matchup versus Ohio State with the nation’s seventh-best season batting average (.442). The Irish leadoff batter also had struck out just eight times in 276 total plate appearances, with 35 walks, 31 stolen bases, 67 runs scored, 31 RBI, 15 doubles, three triples, a home run – and just one error (countered by many dazzling plays in the field).

The other two outfielders named to the first team included Santa Clara’s Joey Gomez and Michigan State’s Bob Malek (the Big Ten player of the Year). Four other conference players of the year were named to the first team: Nebraska catcher Jed Morris (Big 12), Gonzaga 1B Nate Gold (West Coast Conference), Southern University 2B Richie Weeks (Southwestern) and Clemson SS Khalil Greene (Atlantic Coast), who also earned player of the year honors from CB.

All six of the starting pitchers named to the first team were pitchers of the year in their respective conferences: Texas LHP Justin Simmons (Big 12), Stanford RHP Jeremy Guthrie (Pac-10), Ball State RHP Bryan Bullington (Mid-American), Wichita State RHP John Tetuan (Missouri Valley), Houston RHP Brad Sullivan (Conference USA) and Richmond RHP Tim Stauffer (Atlantic 10).

The other four members of the first team included Wake Forest relief ace Dave Bush, Florida State 3B Ryan Barthelemy, New Mexico State DH Gabe Veloz and North Carolina utility player Chris Maples.

Four current players rank among ND’s top-13 leaders in career doubles, led by senior 3B Andrew Bushey (6th with 53) … the other three are bunched just outside the top 10: senior C Paul O’Toole (47), senior CF Steve Stanley (45) and junior LF Brian Stavisky (45).

Notre Dame’s eight-member senior class – DH Matt Bok, 3B Andrew Bushey, C Paul O’Toole and CF Steve Stanley, plus DH Ken Meyer, OF Matt Strickroth and RHPs Matt Buchmeier and Drew Duff – has helped ND compile a four-year record of 183-64-1 (.740) from 1999-2002 … that ranks as the fourth-best four-year winning pct. in the last 87 seasons of Notre Dame baseball, trailing only the four-year runs posted concurrently by the classes of 1993 (.758/185-59, from ’90-’93), 1992 (.750/187-62-1) and 1994 (.746/185-63).

Here’s a rundown of the impressive statistics racked up by the senior class during their combined college careers (five runs short of 800; 16 RBI below 600):

  • 1,258 games played, with 1,000 starts
  • a .315 combined batting avg. (1,138-3,611)
  • 584 RBI and 795 runs scored
  • 65 home runs, 41 triples and 216 doubles
  • 56 more walks (444) than strikeouts (388)
  • 190 stolen bases and 60 sacrifice bunts
  • the two pitchers have combined for a 17-7 record, 10 saves, 253 innings, 201 strikeouts and just 95 walks

Notre Dame’s trio of fourth-year starters – CF Steve Stanley, 3B Andrew Bushey and C Paul O’Toole – are the only ND classmates ever to start 200-plus games (Stanley 248, O’Toole 221 and Bushey 214) … their combined career numbers include 694 games played, 683 starts, 830 hits in 2,299 at-bats (.361), 402 RBI and 554 runs scored, 42 home runs, 26 triples and 145 doubles, 60 more walks (288) than strikeouts (228), 176 stolen bases and 56 sacrifice bunts.

Senior CF Steve Stanley (.436) and junior LF Brian Stavisky (.397) are bidding to become the third pair of ND teammates ever to hit above .400 in the same season (and the first to do so in seven years) … another outfield duo did it in 1993, when LF Edwin Hartwell set the still-standing ND record (.447) while CF Eric Danapilis was hitting .438 (they dueled atop the NCAA charts for much of ’93) … one season later, IF Robbie Kent and CF Scott Sollmann both hit .402 in ’94.

Notre Dame’s recent surge in offensive efficiency has included quality execution, with the team’s 60 total sacrifice bunts (an ND record) more than double the total posted by the 2001 ND team (28) … senior 3B Andrew Bushey has executed 10 sacrifice bunts (more than doubling his entire total of just four SACs in his first three seasons combined) … junior RF Kris Billmaier (11, including two squeeze bunts) also has a high sac-bunt total, after totaling none as a freshman and just two in 2001 – while sophomore 1B Joe Thaman now owns the team sac. bunt lead, with 12 (he had three in ’01).

Eighth-year ND head coach Paul Mainieri owns a 680-418-1 (.619) record in 20 college seasons … in addition to his 348-139-1 (.714) mark in eight seasons at ND, Mainieri’s teams were 180-121 in six seasons at St. Thomas (Fla.) and 152-158 in six seasons at Air Force … Mainieri’s ND teams have combined for a 121-41(.747) record in regular-season BIG EAST games, making the Irish skipper the winningest coach in BIG EAST history (based on winning pct.).

Three Chicago-area natives have emerged among Notre Dame’s top-five starting pitchers in the 2002 season: junior RHPs Peter Ogilvie (Buffalo Grove/Stevenson HS) and Ryan Kalita (Oak Park/OP-River Forest HS) and freshman RHP Grant Johnson … that Windy City trio has combined for a 19-7 record and 3.46 ERA, with 165 strikeouts, 69 walks and 203 hits allowed in 187.1 innings … some of the top players in the eight-year Paul Mainieri era have hailed from Chicagoland, including IF/C Mike Amrhein (OPRF HS), CF Randall Brooks (Hazelcrest/Hillcrest HS), C Bob Lisanti (Chicago/Fenwick HS) and SS Alec Porzel (Lisle/Naperville North HS) – plus pitchers Tim Kalita (Ryan’s brother) and Darin Schmalz (Barrington HS).

Notre Dame’s impressive home record during the 2002 season (24-3, .890) ranks as the third-best home winning pct. in the program’s history (min. 15 home games) … the 1997 squad went 25-2 at Eck Stadium while the 1980 team won 19 of its 20 home games at Jake Kline Field … ND’s all-time home record in 110 seasons is 1,060-330 (.762), well above the program’s overall winning pct. of .623.

In the 11 games prior to the Rutgers loss, Notre Dame totaled 19 more runs (93) than runners left on base (74), batting .439 with runners in scoring position during that 11-game span (an impressive 125 points higher than the team’s .314 overall batting in those games) … in fact, the Irish hit just .247 during those 11 games in “non-RBI” at-bats, before cranking it up nearly 200 points higher with runners in scoring position … ND then hit 0-for-4 with RBI opp’s in the loss to Rutgers (1-for-10 in all ABs with runners on) … for the season, ND owns nearly a 1-to-1 ratio of runs scored/LOB (429/456; 0.94), compared to just an 0.55 ratio for the opponents (256/460) – with the Irish also owning a huge edge in season batting with runners in scoring position (.325-.222).

Freshman RHP Grant Johnson has a chance to post one of the highest strikeout totals ever by a ND freshman, with his 74 Ks ranking just four behind the freshman record set by Aaron Heilman in 1998 (78) … David Sinnes posted 77 Ks as a freshman in 1990 while Tom Price’s rookie season included 69 Ks … Johnson (7-4) also is the seventh ND freshman ever to post 7-plus wins in his rookie season, with that group led by the 1990 tandem of Sinnes (9-2) and fellow RHP Pat Leahy (8-1), plus seven-game winners Price (7-2), Dan Stavisky (7-1 in ’96), Heilman (7-3, mostly in relief) and J.P. Gagne (7-1 in ’00) … Johnson’s 80.2 innings pitched rank third all-time among ND freshmen, just behind Leahy (83.0) and Price (81.1) … since 1991, the best opponent batting averages compiled by ND freshmen have come from Heilman (.198), Larry Mohs (.201) and Stavisky (.235) – with two current freshmen having a chance to crack that threesome: Martin Vergara (.236) and John Axford (.239).

Senior CF Steve Stanley is on the verge of entering the top five of the NCAA Division I career hits list, with his 369 hits within close range of former Wichita State greats Tim Raley (370; ’84-’87) and Jim Thomas (373, ’79-’82) … he also entered the week ranked seventh in the nation for 2002 season batting average (.442) … Stanley’s career average of 1.49 hits per game is better than each of the five players above him on the list while his .382 career batting average is third-best among that group … Stanley and Clemson’s Khalil Greene (389) have the most hits of any Division I players in the last 15 years (the other four on the below list played before the 56-game schedule limits).

NCAA Division I Career Hits
1. Phil Stephenson (Wichita State, ’79-’82)
418 H, 288 GP (1.45/gm, .423 career avg.)

2. Khalil Greene (Clemson, ’99-’02)
389 H, 263 GP (1.48 H/gm, .377 career avg.)

3. John Fishel (Cal State Fullerton, ’82-’85)
379 H, 295 GP (1.29 H/gm, .340 career avg.)

4. Jim Thomas (Wichita State, ’79-’82)
373 H, 288 GP (1.30 H/gm, .351 career avg.)

5. Tim Raley (Wichita State, ’84-’87)
370 H, 273 GP (1.36 H/gm, .394 career avg.)

6. Steve Stanley (Notre Dame, ’99-’02)
369 H, 248 GP (1.49 H/gm, .381 career avg.)