April 9, 2001
The Notre Dame baseball team continues to collect the highest national rankings in the history of the program, as the Irish moved up in two of the major polls while maintaining their spot in the third poll.
Notre Dame’s 4-1 showing last week-highlighted by a three-game sweep at then-BIG EAST frontrunner Rutgers-bumped the Irish from 6th to 4th in the Collegiate Baseball poll and from 8th to 6th in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll. Notre Dame maintained its No. 7 ranking in the Baseball America poll, with this week’s rankings representing the highest position ever for the Irish in each respective poll.
Three teams are ranked ahead of Notre Dame (25-5-1 overall, 8-2 BIG EAST Conference) in each poll: consensus No. 1 Stanford, LSU (No. 2 in two polls) and Florida State (2nd-ranked in the coaches poll). Two other teams-Rice (4th, 5th) and Georgia Tech (3rd, 4th)-are ranked ahead of the Irish in the BA and coaches poll while BA also has Nebraska slotted at No. 6.
Georgia Tech and Rice both slipped behind Notre Dame in the CB poll while South Carolina and Arizona State fell behind the Irish in the coaches poll.
Notre Dame entered last week ranked second in the nation for winning percentage (now .823) and team earned-run average (now 2.47) and the Irish likely will retain those spots when the updated NCAA statistics are released later this week.
One of the key factors to Notre Dame’s sweep at Rutgers was the Irish batting average with runners in scoring position (.393, 11-for-28)-nearly 130 points higher than the team’s overall batting average for the series (.266). By contrast, during the previous 28 games this season Notre Dame hit 29 points lower with runners in scoring position (.282) than overall (.311).
For the season, Notre Dame remains on pace to post team records for season ERA (2.47) and fielding percentage (.970, with just 37 errors in 31 games). Four of the team’s five losses have come by a single run while the team’s first 31 games included 15 clashes with teams that competed in the 2000 NCAA tournament (the Irish were 12-3 in those games). Rutgers had entered the national rankings earlier this season, after posting a win over Georgia Tech before twice beating Miami (Fla.).
The complete national baseball polls can be found each week at the following links: