ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING:
The Notre Dame baseball team (40-13, 16-6 BIG EAST) wraps up a 13-game homestand this weekend with the BIG EAST regular-season title on the line, as the Irish will face league-leading Rutgers in a three game series (doubleheader on Sat., May 13, single game on Sun., May 14 – both starting at 12:05) … the Rutgers series will be carried live by South Bend-based WJVA radio (1580 AM), with real-audio (plus real-time stats) available via the ND website (www.und.com).
Thanks to the resilient play of the Notre Dame baseball team – plus some help two weeks ago from Seton Hall (which posted a pair of 7-5 wins over Rutgers) – the BIG EAST regular-season title has yet to be clinched by league-leading Rutgers (17-3) … ND (16-6) needs to sweep all three games from RU this weekend to claim the title … if any of the games are cancelled due to weather, the Knights would claim the title based on winning pct. (a 2-0 series would not be enough to catch RU in the loss column) … ND’s possible 1st-round opponents include five teams: Connecticut, Boston College, Pittsburgh, St. John’s and West Virginia.
WATCH OUT FOR PIRATES:
Seton Hall’s three one-run wins last week over West Virginia moved the Pirates (15-7) one game back of ND in the BIG EAST standings (SHU closes with a road series vs. 8-12 St. John’s) … ND’s magic number for clinching 2nd is two (combination of ND wins and SHU losses) … if any ND or S U games are cancelled, the following results would be possible (all others would give ND 2nd):
|ND series ends 0-1||SHU would take 2nd with 2-0 or 3-0 series vs. St. John’s|
|ND series ends 1-1||SHU would take 2nd with 3-0 series|
|ND series ends 0-2||SHU would take 2nd with 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 or 3-0 series|
|SHU series ends 0-0 or 1-0||SHU would take 2nd if ND series ends 0-2, 1-2 or 0-3|
|SHU series ends 2-0||SHU would take 2nd if ND series ends 0-1, 0-2, 1-2 or 0-3|
|SHU series ends 0-1 or 1-1||SHU would take 2nd is ND series ends 0-3|
Notre Dame’s Probable Starting Lineup
* – lefthanded hitter, # – switch hitter
|DH||Ken Meyer||So.||6-0/210||Fort Myers, FL||.354 (34-for-96), 16 RBI, 23 R, 2 HR, 4 3B, 11 2B, 2 BB, 15 K||9-gm BE hit streak (16-for-35, 33 TB)|
|CF||*Steve Stanley||So.||5-9/150||Upper Arlington, OH||.357, 22 RBI, 41 R, 3B, 10 2B, 28 BB, 16 K, 24-31 SB, 10 SAC||Riding 16-game hit streak (28-for-59)|
|SS||Alec Porzel||Jr.||6-0/190||Lisle, IL||.354, 48 RBI, 36 R, 8 HR, 4 3B, 19 2B, 15 BB, 19 K, 7-13 SB, 7 SF||May 7 vs. Pitt: 6-for-6, cycle w/ 2 HRs|
|1B||*Jeff Felker||Sr.||6-5/190||Ellicott City, MD||.309, 41 RBI, 35 R, 6 HR, 3B, 16 2B, 10 BB, 20 K, 1-4 SB||DNP last two Pitt games (foot)|
|RF||*Brian Stavisky||Fr.||6-3/230||Port Allegany, PA||.289, 36 RBI, 41 R, 13 HR, 5 3B, 11 2B, 15 BB, 32 K, 1-6 SB||Owns ND freshman HR record|
|C/LF||Matt Nussbaum||Sr.||6-0/180||South Bend, IN||.271, 32 RBI, 30 R, 3B, 9 2B, 11 BB, 13 K, 4-4 SB, 3 SF||Has caught 76% of IP in last 30 gms|
|LF/C||*Paul O’Toole||So.||6-2/210||Lakewood, OH||.288, 27 RBI, 37 R, 5 HR, 3B, 7 2B, 17 BB, 24 K, 13-14 SB, 3 SF||May ’99: .353 (18-for-51), 4 HR, 12 RBI|
|3B||*Andrew Bushey||So.||6-0/200||Boardman, OH||.282, 26 RBI, 23 R, 3 HR, 3B, 8 2B, 19 BB, 9 K, 1-3 SB, 5 SF||Team-best 22.6 plate app. per K|
|2B||*Jeff Perconte||Sr.||5-11/190||Arlington Hts., IL||.209, 14 RBI, 17 R, 3B, 4 2B, 8 BB, 24 K, 0-2 SB, 2 SF, 6 SAC||Just 4 errors in 146 chances (.973)|
|or||Kris Billmaier||Fr.||5-11/185||Woodinvale, WA||.345 (19-for-55), 15 RBI, 16 R, 4 HR, 2 2B, 5 BB, 6 K, 0-1 SB||4 HRs in last 3 weeks (2 – GU, Oak, Pitt.)|
|DH/LF||Matt Strickroth||So.||6-5/230||Mission Viejo, CA||.281, 13 RBI,16 R, HR, 6 2B, 5 BB, 12 K, 2-2 SB, SF||Tm-best .429 w/ runners in scor. pos.|
|DH||#Matt Bok||So.||5-11/185||Akron, Ohio||.240, 11 RBI, 16 R, 3 2B, 12 BB, 12 K, 1-2 SB, SAC, SF||Hitting .389 w/ runners in scor. pos.|
|UTIL||#Ben Cooke||Jr.||5-9/170||Bay Village, OH||.209, 4 RBI, 10 R, 2 2B, 3 BB, 11 K, 2-6 SB, 3 SAC||Two 1Bs, 2 R in 6-4 win over Georgia|
|RHP||Aaron Heilman||Jr.||6-5/210||Logansport, IN||2.21, 10-1, 14 GP/11 GS, 8 CG, 85.2 IP, 102 K/19 BB, .213 opp. avg.||Has won last 10 dec., 18 Ks @WVU|
|RHP||Scott Cavey||Sr.||6-5/200||Omaha, NE||4.17, 5-2, 10 GS, 58.1 IP, 55 K/16 BB, .238 opp. avg.||Career: 14-3 record, just 2.06 BBs/9 IP|
|RHP||J.P. Gagne||Fr.||6-0/190||Bloomington, MN||4.25, 6-1, 15 GP/10 GS, 59.1 IP, 37 K/20 BB, .333 opp. avg.||BE Rookie of Week (6 IP, 0 ER vs. BC)|
|or RHP||Matt Laird||Fr.||6-1/190||Bellaire, TX||2.82, 5-2, 13 GP/9 GS, CG, 44.2 IP, 34 K/12 BB, .272 opp. avg.||.247 opp. avg. w/ runners on base|
|or RHP||Drew Duff||So.||6-0/175||Sevierville, TN||5.60, 4-2, 13 GP/8 GS, 45 IP, 39 K/15 BB, .315 opp. avg.||ND record for Ks at Eck (10 vs. IUPUI)|
|or RHP||Danny Tamayo||Jr.||6-2/225||Miami, FL||2.92, 1-0, 7 GP/2 GS, 12.1 IP, 16 K/10 BB, .196 opp. avg.||Returned from “Tommy John” surgery|
|RHP||Matt Buchmeier||So.||6-0/190||Greenwood, IN||3.61, 3-2, 16 GP/2 GS, 42.1 IP, 34 K/12 BB, .256 opp. avg.||Team-best .189 opp. avg. w/ runners on|
|RHP||John Corbin||Sr.||6-3/200||Hollywood, FL||4.06, 4-2, 11 SV, 25 GP, 37.2 IP, 48 K/14 BB, .230 opp. avg.||ND season & career (20) save leader|
|LHP||Mike Naumann||Jr.||6-0/180||Tucson, AZ||3.58, 2-1, 23 GP/32.2 IP, 17 K/7 BB, .364 opp. avg.||Only LHP on Irish staff|
|RHP||Brandon Viloria||Fr.||5-11/215||Wailuku, HI||3.18, 0-0, 11 GP/1 GS, 17 IP, 15 K/1 BB, .284 opp. avg.||Lefties hitting just .130 vs. him|
|RHP||Mike Carlin||Jr.||6-5/210||Manhattan, KS||4.82, 0-0, 6 GP/9.1 IP, 5 K/8 BB, .229 opp. avg.||20 career appearances|
|RHP||Tom O’Hagan||Sr.||6-3/180||Crystal Lake, IL||2.45, 0-0, 3 GP/3.2 IP, 3 K/2 BB, .091 opp. avg.||DNP in 1999|
None of the current RU players have played at Eck Stadium (a ’98 doubleheader between the teams was rained out) … during the past 37 months, ND and RU have met just four times and just twice in the regular season … Rutgers is the only BIG EAST team to own a winning record vs. ND, with the teams splitting eight regular-season matchups while RU beat the Irish twice in the ’98 BIG EAST Tournament (7-6 in 10 innings, 10-1), for a 6-4 series edge … nine of the previous 10 games in the series have produced either very close finishes (six decided by 1-2 runs) or blowouts (three by nine-plus) … the teams first met in ’96, the inaugural season for each program in the BIG EAST … during the past five seasons, ND leads the BIG EAST with a .738 winning pct. in regular-season BIG EAST games (79-28) while Rutgers is second with a .721 winning mark in that five-year span (81-31-1) … ND has lost just five all-time BIG EAST series and just three at home, with one coming in mid-April of ’96 vs. Rutgers (2-4 in 8 innings, 5-3 and 7-10) .
CAREER STATS VS. RUTGERS
ND’s veteran players have limited game experience vs. RU, as just three have totaled 10-plus ABs vs. the Knights (Cavey is the only pitcher with more than 3.0 career IP vs. RU) … Steve Stanley hit 3-for-9 vs. RU last season while Jeff Felker owns just a .261 career avg. vs. RU in seven games (6-for-23, 0 RBI, 5 R, 2B, 2 BB, 4 Ks) … Alec Porzel has hit just .200 vs. RU in four career games (3-for-15, 5 RBI, 3 R, HR, BB, K, SB) … Aaron Heilman’s only career outing vs.. RU was a relief loss in the ’98 BIG EAST Tournament (2.2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, BB, K).
RECAPPING THE 1999 NOTRE DAME-RUTGERS SERIES:
The ’99 ND-RU series came in late March at The Class of ’53 Complex and produced two blowouts (10-1 for the Irish, 17-1 for the Knights) … the ’99 opener featured a dominating performance from Cavey (7 IP, 22 BF, 2 H, 2 Ks, 10 groundouts) while all nine ND starters scored, with Porzel, Stanley, Brant Ust and Jeff Perconte each collecting two RBI … RU claimed a 13-1 lead after three innings in the nightcap, with RU’s leaders for the game including Jim Wilson (9 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 32 BF, 87 pitches), David DeJesus (3-for-5, HR, 5 RBI) and Todd Speedy (4-for-5, HR, 2 RBI) … RU’s Jeff Pierce was the loser in the ’99 opener (5.1 IP, 5 R, 8 H) while ND’s Alex Shilliday lost the nightcap (0.2 IP, 5 R, 2 H, 4 BB, 2 WP).
OTHER RECENT ND-RU MEETINGS:
in the ’98 BIG EAST Tournament, RU completed a six-run comeback with DeJesus’ sacrifice fly in the 9th and won the game on Adam Neubart’s single to left in the 10th (7-6) … ND’s Tim Kalita overcame a rocky 5th in his 7-inning outing (5 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 8 Ks) while Heilman took the loss (2.2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, BB, K) … Rich Kennedy (6 IP, 6 R, 8 H, 4 BB, 3 Ks) opened the game for RU and Keith Connolly picked up the win (4 IP, 14 BF, 7 Ks) … ND’s top offensive players included Allen Greene (2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 2B) and Porzel (1-for-4, 2 RBI, R) while RU was paced by Neubart (2-for-5, RBI, 2 R, SB), Jake Daubert (2-for-5, RBI, R) and Jason Jaworski (1-for-4, 2 RBI, R) … Mike Mundy’s 125-pitch complete game beat ND in the ’98 title game, 12-0 (6 H, 3 BB, 7 Ks) … Shilliday took the loss (4 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 6 H, 6 Ks) while RU was led at the plate by tournament MVP Dave Marciniak (3-for-5, 3 RBI, 2 R, 3B, HR) and Pete Zoccolillo (3-for-6, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2B, HR).
THE EARLY MEETINGS:
The ’97 series at RU produced three exciting one-run games … ND won the 3-2 opener, thanks to Jeff Wagner’s two-run HR in the 6th … Wagner then hit two more HRs in the nightcap but the Knights held on for a 15-14 win … ND rallied for 10 runs in the final four innings of that game while RU scored in all eight of its innings, including seven runs in its final three turns at-bat … big hitters from the 15-14 game included ND’s Randall Brooks (4-for-6, RBI, 2 R), plus RU’s Neubart (3-for-6, 4 R) and Zoccolillo (3-for-4, 2 RBI, 3 R) … ND took the ’97 series on a 6-5 win, with Wagner hitting the game-winning single in the 9th while Shilliday tossed eight solid innings (5 R, 5 H, 7 Ks) and Larry Mohs notched the save (1 H, 4 BF) … the first game ever played between ND and RU came on April 13, 1996, with Paul Galucci’s two-run double in the 8th giving the Knights a 4-2 extra-inning win … ND stranded nine runners, with Darin Schmalz taking the loss and Scott Madison picking up the win … ND came back later that day to post a 5-3 win, with Shilliday and Rich Sauget combining on a six-hitter while ND plated three crucial runs in the 6th, on RBI singles from Greene and Brooks and Mike Amrhein’s double-play ball … RU took the series, 10-7, as three ND errors yielded three unearned runs in the 9th … ND staked Christian Parker to a 5-0 lead but Sauget took the mound after RU had scored four in the 5th.
THE TALE OF THE TAPE
|1999 Records||37-21, 19-7||43-18, 20-5|
|Current Stats||(BIG EAST Rank)||(BIG EAST Rank)|
|Overall Batting Average||(1)||.354||(8)||.299|
|BIG EAST Batting Average||(1)||.342||(4)||.306|
|Runs Per 9 Innings||(1)||8.86||(6)||7.13|
|At-Bats Per Home Run||(7)||49.3||(5)||42.0|
|Batters BB/K Ratio||(2)||0.74||(7)||0.68|
|Stolen Base Percentage||(4)||.762||(10)||.636|
|Overall Team ERA||(1)||3.23||(3)||3.63|
|BIG EAST ERA||(1)||2.80||(5)||4.50|
|Pitchers’ K-to-BB Ratio||(5)||2.03||(1)||2.94|
|Pitchers’ Ks Per 9 Innings||(5)||6.64||(1)||8.14|
|Opponent Batting Average||(2)||.251||(4)||.269|
|Overall Fielding Pct./Errors||(2)||.963/66||(1)||.965/70|
|Double Plays Turned||(2)||46||(2)||46|
IN THE POLLS:
Rutgers is ranked in all three major national polls, including 18th according to Baseball America, 21st by Collegiate Baseball magazine and 23rd in the USA Today coaches poll. The Irish currently check in at 22nd in the USA Today poll and 23rd according to Baseball America.
The ND-RU series is scheduled to open with a marquee pitching matchup, as the Irish plan to send junior RHP and two-time All-American Aaron Heilman (10-1 – including 10 straight winning decisions – plus a 2.21 ERA) to the mound while Rutgers will counter with freshman RHP Bob Brownlie (6-0, 2.39), who has racked up five BIG EAST rookie-of-the-week honors … Heilman and Brownlie rank among the BIG EAST’s top-four ERA leaders and stand 1-2 in the league for victories.
HEILMAN ranks 23rd in the nation (3rd in the BIG EAST) with a 2.21 ERA … he leads all BIG EAST players in overall wins (10-1), Ks (102) and complete games (8), ranking 2nd in low opponent batting avg. (.213) and shutouts (2) and 3rd in ERA (2.21) and innings (85.2) … in conference games only, Heilman leads the BIG EAST in wins (7-0), Ks (60) and CGs (7), ranking 2nd in opponent avg. (.215) and shutouts (2), 3rd in IP (50) and 4th in ERA (2.52)) … Heilman’s 2.60 career ERA in BIG EAST play ranks 10th all-time among players with 36-plus IP (he has 124.2) – but also ranks 6th among those with 60-plus IP and 2nd among those with 100-plus (current Major Leaguer C.J. Nitkowski posted a 1.93 at SJU from ’93-’94, in 102.2 IP) … Heilman ranks 3rd on the BIG EAST career K list (137), behind BC four-year pitcher Doug Macneil (144, ’88-’91) and Seton Hall 1st-rounder Jason Grilli (164, ’95-’97) … despite just two seasons as a starter, Heilman is tied for 2nd on the BIG EAST list for career wins in conference games (15-3), two back of former PC pitcher Todd Incantalupo (’95-’97) … Heilman is tied for 4th in BIG EAST history with 12 career CGs (in conference play) and is one shy of tying the BIG EAST season records for wins (8) and complete games (7)
Brownlie ranks 31st in the nation with a 2.39 ERA (4th in the BIG EAST) while ranking 2nd in the conference for overall Ks (66) and CGs (6), 9th in IP (71.2) and 1st in shutouts (3) … in conference games only, he is tied for 1st with Heilman for CGs (6) while ranking 2nd in wins (6-0) and ERA (1.93), 4th in opponent avg. (.224), 5th in Ks (44), 8th in IP (49) and 1st in shutouts (3).
ND’s Aaron Heilman (2.21, 10-1) is one of three pitchers in the nation who are ranked among the top-25 ERA leaders and have 10-plus wins … the others are former teammates of Heilman’s from the 1999 USA Baseball national team: Stetson’s Lenny Dinardo (2.13, 13-1) and Houston’s Kyle Crowell (1.98, 11-2).
OTHER LIKELY STARTERS:
Likely Game 2 pitchers include Irish senior RHP Scott Cavey (5-2, 4.17) and RU junior lefty Buddy Gallagher (4-1, 2.89) while the series finale is slated to include Rutgers senior RHP Jim Wilson (4-1, 3.76) … depending on Saturday’s results and the ND pitchers who are used in relief, the Irish could start one of four RHPs in the series finale: freshmen J.P. Gagne (6-1, 4.25) and Matt Laird (5-2, 2.82) , sophomore Drew Duff (4-2, 5.60) or junior Danny Tamayo (1-0, 2.92).
Rutgers ranks as one of the nation’s most balanced teams, ranking 2nd among all Div. I teams for team batting average (.354) and 3rd in team ERA (3.23) – making RU the nation’s only team ranked among the top nine in batting avg. and team ERA … ND has dropped to 17th on the national ERA charts (2.63) and ranks 8th in the nation for winning pct. (.755 ) … ND (11) and RU (11) have combined to earn half of the BIG EAST weekly awards (for top player, pitcher and rookie) in 2000 while players from the two squads include: five of the top-six BIG EAST leaders in overall RBI, three of the league’s top-eight home run leaders and four who rank among the league’s top-six ERA leaders.
A May 6 sweep of Pittsburgh landed the ND baseball team (40-12) on 40 victories in the second-fewest games in team history (trailing only the 1990 team, which opened 40-10) … ND has secured the Irish baseball program’s 12th consecutive season with 40-plus victories … ND entered 2000 with the nation’s fifth-longest streak of consecutive seasons with 40-plus wins, but just two of the four teams with longer streaks already has reached 40 (Florida State is 41-11, for its 23rd straight 40-win season, while Clemson is 40-12 and owns 14 straight 40-win seasons) … Wichita State (34-18) needs a late surge to reach 40 wins for the 23rd straight season while Oklahoma State (34-19) could see an end to its streak of 20 straight seasons with 40-plus wins.
ND REMAINS AMONG ERA LEADERS:
Following the 22-18 loss to Pittsburgh, ND’s team ERA (3.63) has slipped to 17th in the nation, narrowly trailing UNC-Wilmington (3.61), San Jose State (3.59), Houston (3.58), Stanford (3.53), Miami (3.53) and Rice (3.52) … the Irish pitchers have allowed 0-3 earned runs in 35 of 53 games while the ND defense has played 35 games with 0-1 errors (the Irish head into the RU series with just three errors in the last seven games and four straight error-free games) … the nation’s top-10 ERA leaders include Louisiana-Lafayette (2.89), Florida State (3.22), Rutgers (3.23), Nebraska (3.28), South Carolina (3.33), Texas (3.33), Louisiana-Monroe (3.40), Baylor (3.41), Tennessee (3.44) and Seton Hall (3.48).
Notre Dame finished ’98 ranked 12th in the nation with a 4.02 ERA and posted a 5.15 ERA in ’99, with 12 of 13 current ND pitchers having an ERA that is lower than that number (8 are under 3.70) … 6th-year ND pitching coach Brian O’Connor – who pitched in the CWS while at Creighton – has overseen the ND pitching staff’s rise among the national ERA leaders … the 13-member staff includes four freshmen, two sophomores, a junior who missed most of ’98 and all of ’99 before “Tommy John” surgery and a senior who did not pitch in ’99 while preparing for his medical school tests … just three of the nine veterans had logged 50-plus career innings prior to 2000: junior Aaron Heilman (176) and seniors Scott Cavey (94.1) and John Corbin (66.1) … the Irish lost three top pitchers from ’99: senior Alex Shilliday (career stats of 65 GP, 290 IP, 25-17, 4.41, 265 Ks), senior LHP Chris McKeown (53 GP, 182.1 IP, 13-7, 3.85, 153 Ks) and junior LHP Tim Kalita (47 GP, 214 IP, 11-3, 4.00, 214 KS) … that threesome combined for 165 appearances, 687 IP, a 49-27 record and 664 Ks … in individual NCAA stats, Heilman ranks 30th with a 2.40 ERA while Corbin is tied for 12th in saves (11).
HEILMAN LOOKS FOR 11TH STRAIGHT:
Aaron Heilman heads into the Rutgers series with victories in each of his last 10 decisions … his lone loss came to Ohio State in the first week of the season (5-4), after his errant throw starting a double play led to two unearned runs and a squandered 4-0 lead) … Heilman is the second ND pitcher – and the first since 1908 – to win 10 straight decisions (Frank Scanlan posted a 10-0 record in ’08) and could become the first to post 11 straight winning decisions.
MORE ON THE ND STAFF:
The current 3.63 ERA would rank best by an ND staff since the ’94 Irish pitchers finished at 3.25 (and 5th-best since 1971) … equally as impressive, the ND pitchers have nearly a 3-to-1 K-to-walk ratio (2.98, 406/138), which would blow away the team record of 2.40 (set in ’63) … the staff’s 2.77 BB/9 IP (138/449) also is on pace for a team record (2.82 in ’94) … the ND defense (.965) is on pace to tie the team record for season fielding pct. (’82, ’92) and has turned nearly one double play per game (46 in 53) … finally, the ND pitchers have a huge ratio in favor of groundouts (488, 9.8/gm) over flyouts (376, 7.5/gm) … ND’s opponents in 2000 have included four of the nation’s top hitting teams (three-game series vs. BC, plus games vs. Air Force, Chicago State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and two of the nation’s top-scoring teams (Wake Forest and Georgia), plus noteworthy games vs. Ohio State, Minnesota, Georgia, North Florida (the nation’s top-ranked Div. II team) and Illinois (2) … two of O’Connor’s former pitchers – RHP Brad Lidge (’96-’98, 17th pick in 1st round by Houston) and LHP Tim Kalita (’97-’99, 7th-round in ’99 by Detroit) – developed into high draft picks while at ND (Lidge was a 42nd-rounder out of HS, Kalita was not drafted) … junior RHP Aaron Heilman currently is rated as high as the No. 3 prospect in college baseball, after being a 54th-round pick out of HS.
EASY AS 1-2-3:
Despite sporting just a .299 team batting avg., averaging just 7.13 runs/gm and lacking a true cleanup hitter, the ND offense has shown signs of awakening in recent weeks – led by the first three batters in the lineup: sophomore DH Ken Meyer, sophomore CF Steve Stanley and junior SS Alec Porzel … Meyer has been a spark at the leadoff spot, starting each of the last nine games while helping the Irish hit .333 in that nine-game stretch … in particular, Meyer’s presence appears to have boosted the play of Stanley and Porzel, who are hitting .452 (14-for-31) and .436 (17-for-39) during the past nine games … in fact, Porzel (38-for-95) and Stanley (32-for-80) each are hitting an even .400 in the 22 games that Meyer has started this season (compared to .311 and .328 in games where Meyer has not started) … the Irish headed into early April with just a .289 team batting avg. before inserting Meyer into the lineup, for his second start of the season … since that April 2 game at UConn, Meyer has started 21 of the last 30 games and the Irish are hitting .306 during that 30-game stretch … not surprisingly, Meyer (.423), Porzel (.354) and Stanley also lead the team for batting avg. in games decided by 1-2 runs or in extra innings (the rest of the team is hitting just .236 in those games).
MORE ON THE TOP OF THE LINEUP:
Leadoff batter Ken Meyer (.354, 16 RBI, 23 R, 2 HR) leads the Irish with a .615 slugging pct. and owns a nine-game active hitting streak in BIG EAST games (.457/16-for-35, 7 RBI, 10 R, 2 HR, 2 3B, 7 2B) … Steve Stanley – who hit primarily leadoff in ’99 and for much of 2000 – has made 32 starts at the No. 2 spot, where he can utilize his tough bunting skills and speed to wreck havoc with runners on base … Stanley caries a career-best, 16-game hitting streak into the Rutgers series (28-for-59/.475, longest by an ND player this season) and leads the team with a .357 overall batting avg., plus 41 runs, 22 RBI, 28 walks and 24 stolen bases … Alec Porzel has spent most of 2000 in the No. 3 spot (49 games, after hitting there in 50 games in ’99) – a spot that most coaches view as being more crucial than cleanup … Porzel has surged to a .354 season avg., including a 14-for-27 effort (.519) in six games last week … he has proven to be one of the BIG EAST’s top all-around offensive players and is the league’s only player with 70-plus hits (70), five-plus home runs (8) and 45-plus RBI (48).
THERE’S LOTS OF STATS:
Despite seeing its team batting avg. drop from .307 in ’99 to .299 this season, the ND offense has made noteworthy improvements in some often-overlooked areas … specifically, the Irish batters have grounded into just 18 double plays this season (compared to 41 in ’99) while the ND hitters have dropped the team strikeout total from 316 in ’99 to 219 this season … ND’s current average of 8.06 at-bats per strikeout is the best AB-to-K ratio by an Irish team since 1982.
A MULTI-HEADED MONSTER:
Like Irish junior SS Alec Porzel – who has 28 home runs and 10 triples in his career – freshman RF Brian Stavisky has proven to be more than a simple power hitter (Baseball America tabbed him as having the “best raw power” of any player in the BIG EAST) … Stavisky has fashioned possibly the top all-around offensive season by any BIG EAST rookie, ranking second in the BIG EAST with 13 home runs, plus a .289 batting avg., 36 RBI, a league-leading five triples and 11 doubles … the 6-3, 230-pound lefty also ranks 3rd in the BIG EAST with 119 total bases (Porzel has 121) and 10th with a .583 overall slugging pct. … in BIG EAST games only, Stavisky ranks 2nd in total bases (54, again behind Porzel’s 60) and 3rd in conference slugging pct., at .667 (Porzel leads the league with .698) … despite his struggles at times this season, Stavisky had hits in 39 games this season and has gone hitless in consecutive games just once – on April 12-13 vs. Bowling Green and Toledo … since those hitless games, Stavisky has batted .329 (26-for-79) in the last 21 games … one of two ND players to start all 53 games this season (sophomore CF Steve Stanley is the other, Stavisky also has made strides in cutting down his strikeouts – as he totaled 25 Ks in the first 28 games but has just seven in the last 15 (and just one K in the last five games).
GOOD TO BE HOME:
Notre Dame played 29 of its first 43 games away from home, posting a 22-7 record in those games (including wins in 12 different stadiums) … from April 15-26, the Irish played 12 road games (plus a home DH) in a span of 12 days – and in six different cities – with ND posting a 12-2 record during that stretch.
The Irish have won all 11 multiple-game series that they have played this season, including six 3-game BIG EAST series, two BIG EAST doubleheaders, two games vs. Illinois and doubleheaders vs. Chicago State and Oakland.
BEST OF THE BEST?:
Irish junior RHP Aaron Heilman was the featured player in Baseball America’s current update of the Louisville Slugger player-of-the-year watch … he is one of six pitchers on that list, with the other pitchers including Auburn RHP Chris Bootcheck (8-0, 3.32), South Carolina RHP Kip Bouknight (14-0, 2.61), Arizona RHP/DH Ben Diggins (9-3, 3.55, .376, 9 HR, 34 RBI), Texas RHP Beau Hale (10-3, 3.17) and Stanford RHP Justin Wayne (10-3, 3.11) … the 11 position players include: San Francisco 1B/3B Tagg Bozied (.361, 14 HR, 48 RBI), LSU catcher Brad Cresse (.417, 23 HR, 86 RBI), Auburn 1B Todd Faulkner (.412, 20 HR, 89 RBI), Auburn OF Gabe Gross (.420, 12 HR, 75 RBI), Old Dominion SS Tim Hummel (.412, 7 HR, 57 RBI), Arizona State C/1B Casey Myers (.417, 11 HR, 75 RBI), California 3B Xavier Nady (.335, 18 HR, 55 RBI), Pepperdine C Dane Sardinha (.360, 16 HR, 69 RBI) and Georgia Tech 3B Mark Teixeira (.428, 13 HR, 57 RBI) … Heilman’s teammates on the ’99 USA Baseball team include four of the above players: Diggins, Wayne, Bozied and Nady … Collegiate Baseball magazine has named Heilman as a Louisville Slugger co-national players of the week twice this season, following his 12-K game vs. Georgia on March 5 and his 18-K game at WVU on April 15 – making Heilman one of two players in the nation (UCLA lefty Rob Henkel was the other) to receive that honor twice in 2000 (as of mid-April).
A WINNING TRADITION:
In five BIG EAST seasons, ND has posted 33 series wins, five series losses and four series ties … the Irish have won 16 of their last 18 BIG EAST series (with one tie) and 28 of the last 33 (with three ties) … Notre Dame has played 40 all-time BIG EAST doubleheaders, sweeping 21 of them (with 17 splits and just two sweeps by the opponent) … the Irish have played 31 straight BIG EAST doubleheaders since the last time they were swept by the opponent (at Seton Hall, early in ’97) … the only other doubleheader sweep by a BIG EAST team over ND was by West Virginia in ’96 (at ND) … the Irish have played 22 BIG EAST series at Eck Stadium, winning 18 of them (plus one tie) … St. John’s is the only team to post a series win over the Irish in ND’s last 18 BIG EAST series (at the end of the ’99 season).
THE X FACTORS:
Three Notre Dame players have shown noticeably different production in the Irish wins and losses this season: sophomore DH Ken Meyer (.431 batting avg. in wins, .125 in losses – for a .306 differential), senior 1B Jeff Felker (.354 in wins, .159 in losses, .195 differential) and sophomore C/LF Paul O’Toole (.342 in wins, .163 in losses, .179 diff.) … in fact, during ND’s last five losses, the above three players have combined to hit just 8-for-58 (.138):
- West Virginia (1-for-12) Meyer 0-for-4 … O’Toole 0-for-4 … Felker 1-for-4
- Western Michigan (1-for-12) Meyer 0-for-4 … O’Toole 0-for-4 … Felker 1-for-4
- St. John’s (2-for-10) Meyer 1-for-3 … O’Toole 1-for-3 … Felker 0-for-4
- Northwestern (1-for-13) Meyer 0-for-5 … O’Toole 0-for-4 … Felker 1-for-4
- Pittsburgh (3-for-11) Meyer 1-for-5 … O’Toole 2-for-6 … Felker dnp (inj.)
NEED A NEW SCORECARD?:
The last three weeks of the ND baseball season have provided several unforgettable moments – ranging from an 18-K pitching performance to game-ending tags at the plate and walkoff home runs – but rarely does one see a game like that staged May 7 by ND and Pittsburgh, at wind-swept Eck Stadium … when it was all said and done, Pitt had kept alive its postseason hopes with a 22-18 victory … the day’s sheer numbers – 49 combined hits, 66 baserunners and 85 total bases – were enough to see several records tumble from the ND and BIG EAST record books … there were several eye-popping individual efforts as well – led by Irish junior SS Alec Porzel, who became the first ND player ever to collect six hits in a game while hitting for the cycle, with the added feature of both a ?traditional? and an inside-the-park home run (see below) … Pitt used five runs to claim a 12-5 lead in the 6th only to see the Irish score 13 straight (three in the 6th, five each in the 7th and 8th) before the Panthers posted 10 in the 9th … the game-tying play was a two-out, two-run flyball that could have been the winning out for the Irish, but the ball fell untouched in shallow LC – between the backpedaling SS Porzel and the charging CF Steve Stanley … here’s a breakdown of the particulars:
- The 40 combined runs are 2nd-most ever in a game involving ND and the most in 100 years – since a 34-7 win over Indiana on May 1, 1900 (a span of 2,985 ND games) … the 40 runs are 3rd-most ever in a regular-season BIG EAST game.
- The 49 hits are most in the 7-year history of Eck Stadium and were one shy of equaling the record for a BIG EAST game, trailing the 50 posted by Providence (30) and UConn in a 1999 game.
- Pitt’s 30 hits tied the BIG EAST record set by PC in its 25-18 win over UConn in ’99.
- The teams had a combined 66 baserunners (14 BB, 2 HBP, 1 E) and set a BIG EAST record with 85 total bases (8 HR, 2 3B, 8 2B, 31 1B, the ’99 PC-UConn game had 83).
- The teams used 38 total players (22 by Pitt), including 13 pitchers (7 by Pitt).
- Six Eck Stadium records were set: team runs (22) and combined runs (40), longest 9-inning game (4:06), team hits (30) and combined hits (49), and RBI by one player (8, by Pitt’s Eric Katchur).
- The teams combined for 20 late-game runs in a span of 2 1/2 innings (28 in span of 3 1/2) … 30 of the 40 runs came during five half-innings (one 10-run, four five-runs).
- The eight combined HRs are 2nd-most in Eck Stadium history (ND had 5, Bowling Green 4 in a ’95 game).
- ND wrapped up an error-free series while Pittsburgh made just one error that led to one unearned run (39 of the day’s runs were earned) … ND entered the day ranked 5th in the nation with a 3.25 team ERA, Pitt ranked 5th in the BIG EAST with a solid 4.24.
- The Panthers sent 10 batters to the plate in the 3rd and 6th before totaling 16 plate appearances in the 9th.
- Pittsburgh totaled 39 baserunners, with 15 left on base and two erased on double plays.
- The game marked the first time in a game involving ND that both teams scored 17-plus runs (in 3,036 all-time games) … comparable games were played in 1950 (an 18-16 loss at Chicago), in ’66 (a 17-16 loss at Georgia) and in the ’99 win over the University of Dallas (19-16, in San Antonio).
Sophomore CF Steve Stanley heads into the RU series riding a career-best, 16-game hit streak (he had a 12-game streak in 1999) – longest by an ND player this season, besting streaks by junior SS Alec Porzel (15 games) and freshman RF Brian Stavisky (14) … Stanley is hitting .475 during the 16-game streak (28-for-59), with 20 runs scored, 10 RBI, seven stolen bases, eight doubles (he had just three before the streak), nine walks and just two strikeouts … he has raised his batting average during the streak from .307 to a team-best .357 … ND’s top hitters during the last 10 games include freshman 2B/DH Kris Billmaier (.500, 7-for-14, 7 RBI, 8 R, 2 HR, 2 2B, BB), Stanley (.457, 16-for-35, 14 R, 6 RBI, 3 2B, 7 BB, 4-4 SB) and junior SS Alec Porzel (.386, 17-for-44, 14 RBI, 11 R, 5 HR, 3B, 2 2B) … players who are looking to end recent hitting slumps include senior 2B Jeff Perconte (2-for-21/.095 in last 10 games) and senior LF/C Matt Nussbaum (8-for-34/.235, 7 RBI, 7 R, 2 2B, 4 BB).
IRISH TAKE TWO FROM PITT (May 6):
Aaron Heilman flirted with a no-hitter into the 6th inning of the 7-inning opener (7-0) while ND rallied from an 8-2 deficit to win the nightcap on Alec Porzel’s 10th-inning HR (11-8) … Heilman (7 IP, 2 H, BB, HB, 8 Ks) set down the first 10 batters he faced and needed just 76 pitches en route to his 8th complete game of the season and his 10th straight winning decision – becoming just the second Irish pitcher to accomplish that feat and the first since 1908 … ND broke open the opener with a five-run 5th, with the big blow coming on a three-run shot from sophomore Paul O’Toole … Pitt turned in its own five-run 5th in the nightcap and added a run in the sixth for an 8-2 bulge … ND responded with three in the 6th, the last scoring on Ken Meyer’s double down the RF line … ND tied the game in the 8th, on Steve Stanley’s first-pitch, two-run single through the left side … Matt Bok sparked the winning rally with a first-pitch single up the middle, followed by a wild pitch, a muffed catch by the 1B, Stanley’s groundout and Porzel’s first-pitch blast over the LF fence … John Corbin tossed the final three innings to win the nightcap, with Matt Buchmeier providing 2.1 innings of solid middle relief
ND junior SS Alec Porzel has made a name for himself when it comes to game-ending home runs … in addition to last week’s 10th-inning blast vs. Pittsburgh (11-8), Porzel also beat Pitt with a first-pitch, walkoff HR to cap the team’s 1999 series (3-2, in the 9th) … as a freshman, he ended the longest game in Eck Stadium history with a 15th-inning homer vs. West Virginia (5-3).
IRISH SWEEPS BIG EAST AWARDS:
ND became the first team to sweep the weekly BIG EAST Conference baseball awards in 2000, as junior SS Alec Porzel (see note below), junior RHP Aaron Heilman (see Pitt recap) and freshman 2B Kris Billmaier were honored for their accomplishments during May 1-7 … Porzel was named player of the week while Heilman earned his 8th career pitcher-of-the-week award and his 4th of the 2000 season … no other player in BIG EAST history has totaled more than four career player or pitcher-of-the-week awards while Heilman’s four awards in 2000 represent the most in one season ever by a BIG EAST player (he shared the previous record, with three in ’99) … Billmaier shared BIG EAST rookie-of-the-week honors with Pittsburgh 1B Brant Colamarino.
DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?:
Junior SS Alec Porzel (Lisle, Ill.) closed last week in the May 7 game vs. Pitt (a 22-18 loss) with one of the most noteworthy accomplishments in the history of ND baseball, by batting 6-for-6 and hitting for the cycle – including both a traditional and an inside-the-park home run … he became the first player to record six hits in a game in the 109-year history of ND baseball and is the first Irish player to hit for the cycle since at least the mid-1980s (boxscore records are incomplete prior to ’85) – with the addition of an inside-the-park HR making his day one of the more unique accomplishments in baseball … Porzel tied the BIG EAST single-game hit record, joining former SHU players Dana Brown (vs. Villanova, ’89) and Josh Vath (vs. UConn, ’98), and his 15 total bases came three shy of the BIG EAST record set by UConn’s Jeff Uccello in a ’96 game vs. BC (4 HRs, 2B) … he is just the second known ND player to record 5-plus hits in a losing effort (Dan Peltier went 5-for-7 in a 16-15 loss to Detroit at the ’89 MCC Tournament) … despite playing in 165 career games with ND, Porzel had registered 4-plus hits just once previously: 4-for-5 earlier this season at UConn (April 2) … it also marked just the second game in his ND career that Porzel has been credited with two home runs … his previous 2-HR game also was unconventional, as he hit one on May 19, 1999, and one the next day – in a rain-suspended BIG EAST Tournament game vs. WVU … Porzel’s six-hit game included: an RBI triple to RC in the 1st (1 out, 0-2 pitch), a 2-out, 2-1 hit to shallow LC that kicked past the sliding CF and rolled to the track for an inside-the-parker, a 2-out, 1st-pitch single to CF in the 5th, a leadoff HR to left in the 8th (his third 2-strike hit of the game), and a 1-0, leadoff single through the left side in the 9th.
WHAT A WEEK:
Alec Porzel led the ND regulars in several categories last week , including a .519 batting avg. (team-best 14 hits in 27 at-bats), 30 total bases, 11 RBI, seven extra-base hits (three doubles, one triple), four HRs, a 1.111 slugging pct. and nine runs scored … he had just one strikeout for the week and helped the Irish play error-free defense in the Pittsburgh series (he had just one error for the week, in 19 chances) … he hit 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position, 5-for-7 with two outs and reached on 4-of-6 leadoff at-bats … Porzel’s single-game highlights included a 3-for-3 effort and run scored in a 5-3 win over Oakland (Mich.) on May 3 … he opened the Pitt series by batting 0-for-9 before smacking a walkoff HR to give the Irish a 10-inning, 11-8 win over Pittsburgh in the May 6 nightcap (marking the third straight season that he has hit a walkoff home run in a BIG EAST game) before closing the week with the once-in-a-lifetime effort in the 22-18 game.
The ND-Rutgers series will feature arguably the top two shortstops in the BIG EAST, as RU senior Darren Fenster ranks near the top of several BIG EAST categories while ND junior Alec Porzel has emerged as one of the BIG EAST’s top all-around offensive players … Porzel ranks 2nd in the conference for overall total bases (121), 3rd for overall hits (70), doubles (19) and triples (4), 4th in RBI (48), 7th in home runs (8) and 8th in slugging pct. (.611) … in BIG EAST games only, Porzel ranks 6th among conference players in batting avg. (.384) while leading the league in RBI (25), doubles (10), total bases (6) and slugging pct. (.698) – plus ranking 2nd in hits (33) and 4th in home runs (5).
BILLMAIER KEEPS DELIVERING:
Irish freshman 2B Kris Billmaier (Woodinvale, Wash.) made some key contributions last week, particularly in the final two games of the Pittsburgh series as the Irish coped with the absence the of one of their top hitters, injured senior 1B Jeff Felker … Billmaier led all Irish players during the week with a .538 batting avg. (7-for-13) and ranked 3rd on the team during the week with eight runs scored, despite not playing in one of the games and starting just three … he also ranked 2nd on the team during the week with 15 total bases, including a pair of HRs and two 2Bs (plus 1 BB) … he was perfect on all nine of his fielding chances and hit 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position … Billmaier was pressed into the starting lineup for the May 3 DH vs. Oakland, as regular starting 2B Jeff Perconte was attending the All-Sports Banquet … Billmaier responded to the challenge in the 9-3 opener by sparking ND’s seven-run 2nd inning with a leadoff single and run scored … he then stroked a solo shot in the 2nd inning of the nightcap for a 4-0 lead and the eventual winning run (5-3) … Billmaier was inserted into the lineup in mid-game of the May 6 nightcap vs. Pitt and delivered an RBI double and run scored in the 6th, a walk and run in the 8th and a third run scored in the winning 10th inning … he capped his big week in the May 7 series finale, with a three-run HR in the 6th, an RBI double and run scored in the 7th and an RBI single and run in the 8th.
Notre Dame has compiled 11 BIG EAST weekly awards in 2000 – matching Rutgers for the most by any league school (six different Irish players have been honored by the BIG EAST, one better than RU’s total) … junior RHP Aaron Heilman previously won the pitcher award on March 6, March 27 and April 17 (before winning again on May 8) while senior RHP Scott Cavey received pitcher-of-the-week honors on Feb. 29 and April 24 … sophomore catcher Paul O’Toole (March 13) and freshman rightfielder Brian Stavisky (April 24) have earned the player award and righthander J.P. Gagne picked up the April 10 rookie award … junior SS Alec Porzel (player) and freshman 2B Kris Billmaier (rookie) joined the list of Irish award winners on May 8 … ND has produced at least one award winner in eight of 11 weeks this season.
SWEEP A RARITY:
In the four seasons in which the BIG EAST has presented three weekly awards (player, pitcher and rookie), one team has swept all three awards just four times: Rutgers on May 4, 1998 (Dave Marciniak, Mike Mundy, Jake Daubert), Pittsburgh on April 6, 1999 (Lou Melucci, Josh Knauff and Mike Gonda), Notre Dame on May 12, 1999 (Jeff Felker, Scott Cavey and Paul O’Toole) and Notre Dame on May 8, 2000 (Alec Porzel, Aaron Heilman and Kris Billmaier) … the only true sweep was the ND one in ’99, as RU’s Marciniak shared the player award with ND’s Mike Knecht on May 4, 1998, while Pitt’s Melucci (Felker) and Knauf (SJU’s Keith Stamler) both were co-winners on April 6, 1999 (Billmaier shared with Pitt’s Brant Colamarino.
Compared to a 1999 season that saw three ND starting position players miss 88 combined games, the 2000 season has featured a fairly consistent cast of characters for the Irish … starting 2B Jeff Perconte missed 11 games (March 5-22) after reaggravating a shoulder injury and has struggled to regain his form at the plate, as he no longer is able to switch hit … starting C Paul O’Toole was limited to not playing (he did not start in a total of nine games) and DH duty for a 25-game midseason stretch, due to an elbow problem (he returned to platooning as starting catcher in late April) … junior RHP Danny Tamayo missed a month (mid-March to mid-April) due to tendonitis (he was inactive for 23 games) but steadily has gained strength and could play a key role in the BIG EAST Tournament … freshman RHP Peter Ogilvie has missed the entire season due to a sprained elbow (e was expected to be a key member of the middle relief crew).
WE REALLY MISS THAT GUY:
Senior 1B and cleanup hitter Jeff Felker has missed four games to an assortment of injuries and the Irish have struggled in each game, dropping an early 6-1 game to Division II power North Florida (ND’s backup 1B made a costly error in that game) before struggling to get by Bowling Green in midseason, 2-1 (Felker missed the game after taking a ball off the face in BP) … he then missed the final two games of the May 6-7 Pittsburgh series with a foot injury and ND had to rally to win the May 6 nightcap, 11-8 in 10 innings, before losing the series finale, 22-18.
GOING, GOING … NOT GONE:
Home runs truly have been at a premium in college baseball during the 2000 season, as the national average has dipped 20 percent – from 0.95 per game to 0.77 … the HR production has dropped even more among BIG EAST teams (from 1.01/gm in ’99 to 0.70 this season – a drop of 30 percent) … Notre Dame has totaled 42 home runs in its first 53 games of the 2000 season (compared to 57 HRs at the 53-game point in ’99) and the Irish likely will post their lowest season home run total since the 1996 season (58, followed by season HR totals of 66-73-70 from ’97-’99) … freshman RF Brian Stavisky (13) has accounted for roughly one-third of the Irish home run total in the 2000 season, with just three others players owning more than three HRs: junior SS Alec Porzel (8), senior 1B Jeff Felker (6), and sophomore C/LF Paul O’Toole (5) … the loss of the team’s top two career HR leaders (Jeff Wagner, 49, and Brant Ust, 46) has left a void in the Irish lineup but several players are capable of closing with a home run flurry – in fact, the Irish head into the Rutgers series with 20 wins in the last 13 games.
THE PRECIOUS LONG BALL:
The dropoff in home runs has made them even more pivotal to the Irish success this season, as Notre Dame is just 16-10 in games this season when not hitting a home run, compared to 24-3 when the Irish hit a least one homer (8-1 with two-plus) … the Irish head into the Rutgers series riding a five-game HR streak and have totaled 20 home runs in the last 13 games.
SIX-RUN PLATEAU: Despite ND’s dropoff in team batting average (.307 in ’99, .299 in 2000) and scoring (from 7.5 runs/9 IP to 7.1), the Irish have used consistently effective pitching and defense to compile one of the nation’s top won-loss records … in fact, ND is 24-3 this season when scoring six-plus runs – with the losses coming in the second week of the season to Minnesota (9-7), in the recent 11-7 loss to Western Michigan and in last week’s 22-18 slugfest with Pittsburgh.
MAKING ‘EM EARN IT:
The Notre Dame position players have compiled one of the top defensive seasons in Irish baseball history and defense has played a tangible role in the won-loss column, as four of ND’s 13 losses in 2000 have been a result of unearned runs … the Irish are just 9-9 this season when making two-plus errors but own a sparkling 31-4 mark when making 0-1 miscues in the field … the current .965 season fielding pct. (70 errors in 53 games, 1.3/gm) is tied for 1st in Irish history, matching the 1982 and ’92 ND squads … the Irish head into the Rutgers series with just three errors in the last seven games, including no errors in each of the last four games … ND has posted 17 error-free games in 2000, plus 18 with one error, nine with two errors and nine with three-plus Es … the Irish defense also is averaging nearly one double play per game (46), on pace to challenge the team record of 60 DPs set in 1998 … senior 2B Jeff Perconte opened the season with 34 error-free games and has totaled just four errors for a .973 fielding pct. … the other starter on the leftside also has just four errors, as senior 1B Jeff Felker owns a .991 fielding pct. … sophomore 3B Andrew Bushey (.926, 11 E) has turned in a solid season at the hot corner while sophomore CF Steve Stanley has made just two errors (.985).
GETTING IT OUT OF THE WAY:
ND’s current streak of 40-win seasons has seen the Irish reach that mark seven times during the regular season and five times during the postseason … with a current mark of 40-13 and three games left on the schedule, ND has a chance to post the second-most wins in the regular season ever by an ND team (the 1990 team went 44-10), with four other previous ND teams posting 41 regular-season wins: 1989 (41-16-1), 1991 (41-16), 1992 (41-13) and 1999 (41-15) … that ’99 season marked the first time in the Paul Mainieri era that the Irish didn’t need the postseason to reach 40 wins (it took three wins in the ’95 MCC Tournament, one at the ’96 and ’97 BIG EAST Tournaments and two at the ’98 BET) … ND’s current winning pct. (.755) ranks as the 3rd-best regular-season record by an Irish team during the past 12 seasons, trailing only the ’90 team (44-10, .815) and the ’92 squad (41-13, .759).
FELKER, IRISH WALK OFF WITH SJU SERIES:
Jeff Felker – who provided the game-winning hit four days, in an 11-inning, 5-4 win over Michigan – again came through in the clutch with a walkoff home run to punctuate a wild game with St. John’s on April 30 (9-8) … the teams combined for 12 runs and 11 hits (3 HRs) in the final three innings … St. John’s strategy of holding back its ace Kevin McGerry (7 IP, 9 H, 4 BB) was wrecked by the Irish offense … ND countered with the lesser-heralded J.P. Gagne, but the freshman RHP was in line for the win after six solid innings (8 H, 2 BB, 2 Ks) … Ken Meyer completed an 8-for-13 weekend by batting 4-for-5, highlighted by his 3rd career HR (second of the season), plus a double and another run scored … the teams combined for five HRs, including the first opposite-field shot of the season from Irish freshman RF Brian Stavisky – a three-run blast over the leftfield fence that pushed the Irish to a 7-5 lead in the 7th … despite facing a lefthander in freshman Tom Klemm, Felker went with the first pitch and drove the ball over the fence – just 20 feet left of the dark screen in center field (for a rare opposite-field shot from ND RECORD BOOK UPDATE (see sidebars): Junior SS Alec Porzel is tied for 8th on the ND career home runs list (28), just one behind Eric Danapilis (’90-’93) … Porzel’s 10 triples rank 9th in ND history (Gene Duffy had 11 from ’57-’59) and he also ranks 9th with 45 career doubles (Joe Binkiewicz had 48 from ’89-’92) … in terms of single-seasons stats, Porzel’s 19 doubles in 2000 already are tied for 10th in the ND record book (two shy of 5th) while his seven sacrifice flies are tied for 2nd, two back of the record set by Robbie Kent in 1994 … senior 1B Jeff Felker is tied for 7th on the career games played list (217) and could move past four others before the end of the regular season: Joe Binkiewicz (217, ’89-’92), Pat Pesavento (218, ’86-’89) and former Irish assistant coach Cory Mee (219, ’89-’92) … Felker’s 209 career starts are tied for 5th all-time, four behind former teammate Mike Amrhein (’94-’97) … Felker also ranks 4th in career at-bats (752), is tied for 10th in career triples (9) and stands 9th on the career hits list (234), just one behind Craig Counsell (’89-’92) and five back of Scott Sollmann (’94-’96) … Felker’s 54 career doubles rank 4th in ND history, trailing only Danapilis (61), Peltier (60) and Amrhein (58), while he also ranks 10th for times hit-by-pitch in a career (16) … Felker (234, 54, 9), Brock (272, 42, 16) and Amrhein (269, 58, 9) are the only players currently ranked among ND’s top-10 career leaders for hits, doubles and triples … senior RHP John Corbin’s 62 appearances rank 10th in Irish history … Corbin also owns the ND career and season saves records, with 20 overall and 11 in 2000 … sophomore CF Steve Stanley (24-for-31) has joined Pesavento (38 in both ’88 and ’89) as the only ND players ever to steal 24-plus bases in consecutive seasons (he also had 24 in ’99) … Stanley already stands 5th on the ND career SB list, with 48 … freshman RF Brian Stavisky needs one home run to become the 11th ND player to hit 14-plus HRs in a season.
The strength of ND’s pitching and defense in 2000 has led to a downturn in the team’s number of close finishes and comeback wins … the Irish have needed to rally in their final turn at-bat just six times in 2000 (and four of those came in extra innings) – compared to 13 final-AB wins in ’99 (one in extra innings) … ND has posted just 10 wins with a margin of 1-2 runs (17 in ’99) … the Irish have totaled 16 “blowout” wins (5-plus runs) this season (just 11 in ’99), with the team’s average margin of victory rising from 3.6 in ’99 to 4.4 this season.
|Wins in final turn at-bat||13||7|
|Record in 1-run games||10-4||7-1|
|Record in extra-innings||1-1||4-0|
|Record in 1 or 2-run games||17-6||10-4|
|Average win margin||3.6||4.4|
APRIL IN THE BOOKS:
Notre Dame turned in a solid 20-6 record during the month of April (.769), representing the eighth season in which an ND baseball team has won 20-plus games in its last full month of competition … the more noteworthy April records turned in by recent ND teams include 20-3 in 1998, 22-5 in ’94, 21-5 in ’90, 24-6 in ’95 and 22-6 in ’80.
WINDY ROAD TO SAVE RECORD:
Notre Dame senior righthander John Corbin (Hollywood, Fla.) set the Irish single-season record with his 11th save of the 2000 campaign, in the 5-3 nightcap vs. Oakland on May 3 … Corbin – who had squandered two save chances during the previous weekend in the St. John’s series – also is the ND career save leader with 20, well ahead of the three players who previously had held the record with 12 (current junior Aaron Heilman was one of those previous record-holders).
A “CLOSER” LOOK:
Despite his rocky weekend vs. the Red Storm and a rough closing effort in the finale vs. Pitt (he had logged three innings the day before), senior RHP John Corbin has compiled a steady 2000 season that includes a 4.06 ERA, a 4-2 record, 48 strikeouts (3rd on the staff) and just 14 walks in 37.2 IP … Corbin has proven highly effective in key situations, as he leads the staff in low opponent two-out batting average (.224) and ranks 3rd among the ND pitchers for opponent avg. with runners on base (.247) … righthanded batters are hitting just .220 vs. Corbin and he leads the staff with 11.5 Ks per game (his 3.4 K-to-walk ratio trails only Aaron Heilman’s 5.4) … Corbin leads the BIG EAST in saves and appearances (25, 6th in ND history) … his 11 saves are tied for 14th in the nation, with East Carolina’s Cory Scott owning an eye-popping 20 … during his two seasons as the ND closer, Corbin has converted 20 of 26 save opportunities (11-of-14 in 2000) while allowing 14 of 35 inherited baserunners to score (7-of-17 this season) … Corbin had left nine straight inherited runners on base before letting 5-of-6 score in three straight outings with inherited runners (the 7-5 loss to Purdue and the final two SJU games) … after missing most of his first two seasons due to injury, Corbin’s past two seasons have seen him have a hand in 31 ND wins while yielding the following two-year stats: a 4.32 ERA, 11-5 record, 20 saves, 92 Ks in 85.1 IP, 38 walks and 81 hits allowed .
SEE THE BALL, HIT THE BALL:
Notre Dame sophomore DH Ken Meyer has compiled an unusually high ratio of hits to walks during the 2000 season, as the righthander has totaled 34 hits while drawing just two walk (one of which came in last week’s Pittsburgh series) … Meyer also has shown an affection for extra-base hits, as half of his hits (17) have produced singles, plus eight 2B, four 3B and two HRs – producing his team-best .615 slugging pct.
The ND baseball program posted a 3.10 team GPA in the ’99 fall semester – the program’s best semester in the six-year tenure of head coach Paul Mainieri … 11 players turned in a Dean’s List semester (3.4-plus) in the fall of ’99, with 19 at 3.0 or higher … Irish baseball players have earned GTE Academic All-America honors 11 times since ’82, with top candidates in 2000 including senior 2B Jeff Perconte (3.73 cumulative GPA, double major in economics and government) and junior LHP Mike Naumann (3.95, pre-professional science, three 4.0 semesters) … senior LF/C Matt Nussbaum (3.28, government) and sophomore 3B Andrew Bushey (3.49, business) also have been nominated for Academic All-America honors.
CONFERENCE WINNING PCT.:
Over the course of its first four seasons in the BIG EAST Conference (1996-99), ND ranked first in the 11-member conference with: a .701 overall winning pct. (169-72, Rutgers was second at .618), a .741 BIG EAST regular-season winning pct. (63-22, Rutgers was second at .692) and a .709 winning pct. in combined BIG EAST regular-season and tournament games (73-30, Rutgers was second at .665) … St. John’s owned the best BIG EAST Tournament winning pct. during the past four seasons (.625, 9-6), followed by Notre Dame at .556 (10-8) … in fact, the double-elimination tournament has been the ultimate bugaboo for Notre Dame, with the same team providing the Irish losses during each of the first three seasons (WVU in ?96, Villanova in ?97, RU in ?98) before the Irish were beaten by complete game-efforts from Seton Hall and Providence in ?99. ?
ND has enjoyed great success at Frank Eck Stadium, located on the southeast corner of campus … the Irish have won nearly 85 pct. of their games at ?The Eck? in six-plus seasons (167-39, .811, since ’94), highlighted by a 25-2 mark in ’97 and a 138-32 home record (.812) during five-plus years under head coach Paul Mainieri … ND has posted victories in 94 of its last 115 games (.817) at Eck (since late in the ’96 season), including a 41-8 mark in home BIG EAST games during that stretch.?
THREE THOUSAND GAMES:
The Notre Dame baseball program has amassed 3,015 official games in 108 seasons as a varsity sport – reaching the 3,000-game milestone on Saturday, March 25, in the first game of the doubleheader at Villanova.
Notre Dame posted an .878 (36-5) combined BIG EAST regular-season winning pct. in 1999 in baseball (20-5) and softball (16-0, first unbeaten season in BIG EAST history) … that .878 combined winning pct. ranks first in BIG EAST history, since the conference started sponsoring softball in 1992 (Notre Dame held the previous record of .800, set by the baseball and softball teams of 1996 and ’98) ? Notre Dame also became the first BIG EAST school ever to post the top conference regular-season winning percentages in baseball and softball during the same season … thus far in the 2000 season, the ND baseball (40-13) and softball (46-12) teams have combined for a .775 overall winning pct. (86-25).
NARROWEST OF MARGINS:
The ND baseball team has posted a 7-1 mark in one-run games during the 2000 season, with wins in seven straight after a 5-4 defeat to Ohio State in the second game of the season … the one-run wins include the following: Memphis (4-3), Butler (3-2), Iowa (3-2), Bowling Green (2-1), West Virginia (4-3), Michigan (5-4, 11 inn.) and St. John’s (9-8) … the Irish are 12-4 overall in games decided by 1-2 runs or extra innings, with the best ND hitters in those “close games” including sophomore DH Ken Meyer (.423, 11-for-26), junior SS Alec Porzel (.354, 23-for-65) and sophomore CF Steve Stanley (.345, 20-for-58) – with the rest of the team hitting just .236 in such close games.
Gagne EARNS BIG EAST Rookie Of The Week:
ND RHP J.P. Gagne (Bloomington, Minn.) was named BIG EAST rookie of the week, after an impressive victory as the game one starter in the BC series (April 8) … Gagne was moved into the role of first-game starter, after the BC series shifted to a DH on the second day (due to weather) … Gagne scattered six hits and four walks over six IP in the 12-1 win, allowing one unearned run while recording three Ks and six groundouts.
GOOSE ON THE LOOSE:
Sophomore DH Ken Meyer – nicknamed “Mongoose” due to his deceptive speed – continues to spark the Irish from the leadoff spot and turned in an impressive series vs. St. John’s on April 29-30, batting 8-for-12 (.667) with 18 total bases, including a home run, two triples and three doubles … he reached base nine times in the SJU series (also a HBP) and scored six runs in the three games (he reached on 11-of-15/.773 of his leadoff at-bats during the entire week) … in the 8-3 win over SJU, Meyer doubled and scored in both the 1st and 3rd before tripling and scoring in the 6th (all were leadoff ABs) … in the 6-4 loss to SJU, he hit another leadoff triple and scored … in the 9-8 series finale, Meyer singled in the 1st and, doubled and scored in the 7th and hit a huge solo HR in the 8th (for an 8-6 ND lead).
THAT’S WHY THERE’S FOUR BASES:
The ND pitching staff opened the season with solid success versus leadoff batters, but the season average of leadoff batters reaching base has risen to 34.1 percent … despite allowing an average of three leadoff batters to reach base in every 9-inning game, the Irish pitchers have buckled down with runners on base (.266 opponent batting average), with runners in scoring position (.264) and with two outs (.271) – all of which fall below or near the overall opponent batting avg. (.269) … the ND pitchers have sliced their opponent batting avg. with runners in scoring position by 20 pct. points from 1999 (.284 to .264).
GO THE DISTANCE:
Notre Dame surprisingly has produced three of the BIG EAST’s leaders in triples: freshman RF Brian Stavisky (1st, with five), sophomore DH Ken Meyer (3rd, with four) and junior SS Alec Porzel (3rd, with four) … Stavisky totaled just three triples in his entire high school career (due primarily to the smaller ballparks) while Meyer did not have a triple in 60 ABs during his freshman season at ND … Porzel tripled in four consecutive games early in the ’99 season (that ended up being his season total) and is tied for 9th in Irish history with 10 career triples.
SENIORS RECEIVE PRESTIGIOUS HONORS:
Both of the Notre Dame baseball team’s senior captains were honored at the annual All-Sports Banquet, as Jeff Perconte (Arlington Heights, Ill.) was one of five student-athletes to receive the Byron Kanaley Award while Matt Nussbaum (South Bend, Ind.) was one of two to receive the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award … the Kanaley Awards are the most prestigious honors presented to senior student-athletes at the University … since 1927, they have been awarded annually to monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as both students and leaders … selected by the Notre Dame Faculty Board on Athletics, the awards are named in honor of Byron V. Kanaley, a 1904 graduate who played baseball for the Irish … following his graduation, Kanaley went on to enjoy a successful banking career in Chicago, Ill. … he then served on the University’s Alumni Association as a lay trustee until his death in 1960 .
Perconte was hitting .429 until a shoulder injury caused him to miss 11 games early in the 2000 season … a tri-captain and starting second baseman, he played 34 error-free games to open the season … a six-time Dean’s List student, he carries a 3.73 GPA as a double major in economics and government … Perconte earned GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District honors in 1999 and is a member of the Academic Honors faculty mentoring program … he is a two-time Rockne Student-Athlete Award winner and serves as a resident assistant at Knott Hall … Perconte is the 11th baseball player to win the honor and the first since Erik Madsen won the award in 1989 … Perconte will attend Notre Dame’s law school in the fall … the other Kanaley Award recipients included swimming standouts Elizabeth Barger and Ray Fitzpatrick, baseball star Jeff Perconte, women’s soccer All-American Jenny Streiffer (Baton Rouge, La.) and rowing headliner Katrina Ten Eyck.
Nussbaum joined women’s tennis captain Kelly Zalinksi as the 1999-2000 recipients of the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award … since 1993, the University has presented this award named for a student-athlete who died in 1973 following his freshman year at Notre Dame … Pat O’Connor was the son of William “Bucky” O’Connor who played guard in football for Notre Dame in the 1940’s … the award honors one female and one male student-athlete who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions and inspirations to their respective teams … to be considered, student-athletes must possess qualities attributed to Pat O’Connor himself – caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience … Nussbaum first joined the baseball program as walk-on freshman in 1997 and played sparingly during his first two seasons before bursting onto the scene as a two-year starter and as one of the team’s top situational hitters … he has played in 50 games while helping the Irish post a 40-13 record and earn a national top-25 ranking … he has started at left field, in addition to making 32 starts this season at catcher, despite just picking up that position in the summer of ’99, and ranks fourth on the 2000 team with 30 runs batted in.
Due to a midseason arm injury to sophomore Paul O’Toole, senior Matt Nussbaum has shouldered much of the recent catching duties for ND and has logged 58 percent of the innings behind the plate this season (261 of 449) … Nussbaum caught 19 straight games fro April 1-22 (he caught 136 of 160 innings in that stretch, or 85%) and he turned in an 11-game stretch from April 11-22 that saw him behind the plate for 88 of 91 innings.
HARD TO K:
Senior LF/C Matt Nussbaum again has proven to be a tough out at the plate, averaging 15.1 plate appearances per strikeout (196/13) … sophomore 3B Andrew Bushey has been the toughest ND player to strike out in 2000, with 22.6 plate appearances per K (203/9) … true to his season average, Bushey heads into the Rutgers series with just one K in his last 54 plate appearances … Nussbaum (4) and Bushey (2) have struck out “looking” just a handful of times in the 2000 season (senior 1B Jeff Felker has just three KLs this season).
WINS & LOSSES:
ND’s team stats have some glaring differences when comparing the 40 wins to the 13 losses, including: a .313 team batting avg. in the wins, .257 in the losses, a .973 team fielding pct. in the wins, .939 in the losses, and 19 unearned runs in the wins (0.5/gm), compared to 30 in the losses (2.3/gm).
CLEARING THE COBWEBS:
After early first-inning struggles, ND now owns a 29-23 scoring edge in the 1st inning and a 106-73 in the first three innings … the Irish have dominated most in the 4th inning (37-15) and own a 173-115 scoring edge from the 5th-8th innings (+58, in 53 games).
IN THE CLUTCH:
Despite hitting just .298 as a team, the ND offense has performed noticeably better with runners on base (.318) but is hitting just .296 with runners in scoring position … top Irish hitters with runners in scoring position include four sophomores: LF/DH Matt Strickroth (.429), CF Steve Stanley (.396), DH Matt Bok (.389) and DH Ken Meyer (.379).
HEILMAN UPGRADED TO NO. 3 PROSPECT:
In another noteworthy release from a national publication, Baseball America magazine upgraded Heilman to the No. 3-rated prospect in college baseball, based on reports filed in early April (prior to Heilman’s 18-K game at WVU) … Heilman entered the 2000 season as the No. 9-rated prospect in college baseball, according to BA’s annual survey of major league scouting directors.
BASEBALL AMERICA UPDATED DRAFT FORECAST (April 15):
” … The best attribute among other top pitching prospects has been consistency. No scouting director with a pick among the first 10 in the draft will come out and say, ‘Id love to get a shot at Justin Wayne or Aaron Heilman or Beau Hale,’ but most acknowledge that all three would be on a short list. … Wayne has compiled a 22-2 record in three years at Stanford and has been unhittable at times this spring. His stuff is solid across the board and he pitches with maturity and purpose. … Heilman had limited opportunity to impress scouts because of Notre Dame’s early schedule, but his 93 mph sinking fastball is one of the most effective pitches in college baseball. … Hale throws harder than either Wayne or Heilman, consistently touching 94-95 mph, but he doesn’t have the secondary pitches or movement on his fastball of the other two. … “
BA’s Top 25 College Prospects (April 15):
1. Ben Diggins, rhp/1b, Arizona , 2. Justin Wayne, rhp, Stanford, 3. Aaron Heilman, rhp, Notre Dame, 4. Dane Sardinha, c, Pepperdine, 5. Tyrell Godwin, of, North Carolina, 6. Xavier Nady, 3b, California, 7. Beau Hale, rhp, Texas, 8. Daylan Holt, of, Texas A&M, 9. Joe Borchard, of, Stanford, 10. Chris Bootcheck, rhp, Auburn, 11. Patrick Boyd, of, Clemson, 12. Taggert Bozied, 1b, San Francisco, 13. Jason Young, rhp, Stanford, 14. Rob Henkel, lhp, UCLA, 15. Adam Johnson, rhp, CS Fullerton, 16. Chase Utley, 2b, UCLA, 17. Chad Qualls, rhp, Nevada , 18. Tim Hummel, ss, Old Dominion, 19. Mike Tonis, c, California, 20. Eric Henderson, lhp, North Carolina, 21. Lance Niekro, 3b, Florida Southern, 22. Tommy Murphy, ss, Florida Atlantic, 23. Aaron Krawiec, lhp, Villanova, 24. Bill Traber, lhp, Loyola Marymount, 25. Cory Vance, lhp, Georgia Tech.
2000 Draft Order (June 5-7):
1. Florida, 2. Minnesota, 3. Chicago Cubs, 4. Kansas City, 5. Montreal, 6. Tampa Bay, 7. Colorado, 8. Detroit, 9. San Diego, 10. California, 11. Milwaukee, 12. Chicago White Sox, 13. St. Louis, 14. Baltimore, 15. Philadelphia, 16. N.Y. Mets, 17. Los Angeles, 18. Toronto, 19. Pittsburgh, 20. California, 21. San Francisco, 22. Boston, 23. Cincinnati, 24. St. Louis, 25. Texas, 26. Cleveland, 27. Houston, 28. N.Y. Yankees, 29. Atlanta.
HEILMAN IN THE ND RECORD BOOK:
Irish junior RHP Aaron Heilman needs 17 Ks to break his own ND season record (118, ’99) and needs 18 to surpass David Sinnes’ ND career record (315) … he also ranks 8th at Notre Dame in career appearances (65) and innings (258.2) and 6th in career victories (28, two out of 4th) while his .824 career winning pct. (28-6) ranks 4th all-time at ND and best since 1924 … Heilman’s other single-season stats have him tied for 6th in the ND record book for complete games (8), tied for 7th in wins (10-1), 7th in low opponent batting avg., since 1991 (.213) and 5th in winning pct. (.909, 10-1) … he needs two more wins to join Tom Price as the only ND player ever to post 12-plus wins in a season (Price won 14 in ’94, 12 in ’93) … Heilman’s 2.44 career ERA ranks 2nd-best in ND history, behind Nick Palihnich’s 2.36 from 1959-61 (Heilman has tossed 110 more innings than Palihnich’s 148.2) … Heilman (12 vs. Georgia, 18 at WVU) joined future Chicago Cubs World Series championship team member Ed Reulbach as the only ND pitchers ever to post 12-plus Ks in multiple games (Reulbach had 16 vs. both Indiana and Beloit in the 1904 season).
Heilman Ties BIG EAST Record With 18-K Game
- Notre Dame junior RHP Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) tied a BIG EAST Conference record and came just shy of the ND record with an 18-strikeout effort and a 3-1 victory in 10 innings at West Virginia on April 15 (the game was scheduled for seven innings) … Heilman – whose previous career best was 12 Ks, earlier this season vs. Georgia – seemingly became stronger as the game wore on, spotting his patented tough slider with regularity in the closing innings while delivering a fastball that still touched 91 miles-per hour in the lategoing … he retired 15 straight batters from the 5th-10th innings and struck out 10 of the final 12 batters he faced, including seven straight before yielding a single by Todd Cisneros with two outs in the 10th … Kevin Olkowski-who had two of WVU’s six hits-went down swinging on three pitches to end the game.
- Heilman tied the BIG EAST record set by Seton Hall’s Jason Grilli in a 7-2 win over UConn ’97 (Grilli went on to become the 4th pick in the ’97 draft, by the S.F. Giants) … Frank Carpin is the only other ND pitcher ever to record 18-plus Ks in a game, with 19 in a 10-inning win over Indiana on April 16, 1958 (12-10) … one mark that did fall was the Hawley Field record for Ks in a game, as former WVU pitchers Kim West (vs. Geneva, ’71) and Wes Shaw (vs. Fairmont State, ’89) had shared that record with 16-strikeout games.
- Heilman’s memorable day included just six hits and two BB, with 11 groundball outs and just one flyout … all nine WVU starters–plus reserve Matt McGee–were K victims, with Mike Frownfelter and Eddie Weightman each registering three (four others had two) … Heilman’s Ks by inning progressed as follows: 1-3-0-2-2-0-2-2-3-3 … six came on called third strikes while just two came on 3-2 counts (three on 0-2) … Heilman reached three-ball counts vs. just seven of the 39 batters he faced … WVU scored its lone run in the 2nd inning.
IRISH WIN WILD GAME WITH MICHIGAN (April 26)
- Senior C and tri-captain Matt Nussbaum – who was featured in a Grand Rapids Press article earlier in the week – was involved in two of the game’s biggest plays , as ND pulled even with Michigan in the 9th, went ahead 5-4 in the 11th and won on a play at the plate, in annual “Baseball Bash” action at Old Kent Park in Grand Rapids … ND held a 3-0 lead in the 5th, only to see Michigan surge ahead, 4-3 … the teams combined for 24 runners left on base (13 by ND).
- ND’s frustrations on the bases continued in the 9th, when Ken Meyer was picked off 2nd (with Steve Stanley at 1st) … Alec Porzel kept the Irish alive with a single to center and Nussbaum came through with two outs on a 2-0 count – lofting a single that landed inside the RF line.
- Michigan had a chance to end the game in regulation – with runners on 2nd and 3rd – but John Corbin forced Jay Dines into an inning-ending flyout to center.
- Stanley ignited the winning rally, drilling a 1-1 pitch that tucked inside the LF line for a single … Jeff Felker went with a one-out first pitch and drove the ball into the gap in right-center – with Stanley motoring all the way home as the Irish dugout erupted with the 5-4 lead.
- Corbin struck out Blake Rutkowski to lead off the 11th, but Jeff Quinn sent a full-count pitch up the middle and Scott Tousa flied out to center, before David Parrish worked to an 0-2 count … with Quinn running, Parrish sent a tricky groundball to the left of the 2B bag … Porzel ranged to his left in pursuit of the tough play but the ball ricocheted off his body and bounced in unusual fashion into shallow RC field … Quinn was waved home as four Irish players converged on the ball … Stanley was charging from CF but Porzel quickly called him off, grabbed the ball and threw a strike to Nussbaum, on the 1B side of the plate .. as Quinn began his slide, Nussbaum dove across the plate and applied the tag – ending the game in the most dramatic of fashions.
- ND has won the last three games vs. Michigan at Old Kent Park … Stanley is now 7-for-10 in two career games at OKP.
STAVISKY, CAVEY HONORED BY BIG EAST:
The Notre Dame baseball team picked up two more weekly awards from the BIG EAST Conference on April 24, as freshman RF Brian Stavisky (Port Allegany, Pa.) was named the league player of the week while senior RHP Scott Cavey (Omaha, Neb.) was tabbed as co-pitcher of the week – following a string a six wins and no losses for the Irish during the April 17-23 period … Stavisky – the first BIG EAST freshman to earn a player or pitcher-of-the-week award this season – led the Irish during the week with a .455 batting average (10-for-22) … e also paced the team during the week with 10 hits, eight RBI, seven runs, three home runs and 25 total bases, plus two triples, two walks, just two strikeouts, a 1.136 slugging pct. and a .500 on-base pct … the 6-5, 230-pound lefthander extended hit hitting streak to nine games while boosting his season batting average to .300 – his highest mark since March 26 … Cavey earned his second BIG EAST pitcher award of the season, after tossing six shutout innings in the 5-1 win at Georgetown on April 22 … the lanky senior allowed four hits and no walks while posing four strikeouts and five groundouts. He did not allow a GU leadoff batter to reach base.
HEAD COACH PAUL MAINIERI:
Sixth-year ND head coach Paul Mainieri owns a 582-386 (.601) record in 17-plus seasons as a college head coach, surpassing the 500-win milestone in the Feb. 27, 1999, win at New Orleans (14-11) … in addition to his 250-107 (.700) mark with the Irish, Mainieri’s teams were 180-121 in his six seasons at St. Thomas (Fla.) and 152-158 in six seasons at Air Force … Mainieri experienced two noteworthy homecomings in ’99, making his third return to the University of New Orleans (where he played) with the Irish baseball program and his third return to his hometown of Miami as the Notre Dame coach … Mainieri coached his 800th career game on Feb. 20, 1998, at the University of Miami, after a Feb. 15 game at UNO was rained out … he notched his 499th career win in the 1999 season opener versus James Madison, in a game played in Miami at Florida International (Feb. 19) … Mainieri’s 246 wins rank third at ND, behind Pat Murphy (318, ’88-’94) and Jake Kline (558, ’34-’75) … Mainieri has seen 20 of his Irish players go on to pro baseball, with 14 selected in the major-league draft … 15 of Mainieri’s players at St. Thomas went on to pro baseball, including three – Joe Klink, Dane Johnson and Dan Rohrmeier – who have played in the major leagues … Mainieri and his father Demie are the only known father-son combo in college baseball history to each top 500 career coaching wins … Demie won 1,018 games in his 30-year career at Miami-Dade North CC … Mainieri picked up his 200th win at Notre Dame in the 7-6 win over Oakland on April 30 ,1999 … he coached his 900th college game in the opener at Georgetown on May 8, 1999.
IRISH AMONG NUMEROUS PRESEASON PICKS:
Notre Dame embarked on its 2000 season with a national ranking in two of the three major polls – the only school from the Midwest or Northeast in either poll – while several Irish players received a variety of preseason honors:
- ND was ranked 20th in the Baseball America preseason poll – marking the highest preseason ranking for the Irish since 1994. The Irish were ranked 25th in the Collegiate Baseball magazine preseason poll and received the 26th-most votes in the preseason USA Today Baseball Weekly Coaches Poll.
- Junior RHP Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) was named a first team preseason All-American by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. Heilman and Stanford’s Jason Young were the only pitchers named first team by both publications (each listed five).
- BA lists Heilman as the No. 9 professional prospect among draft-eligible college players (15th overall, including high school seniors). Heilman ranks fourth on that list among draft-eligible college pitchers.
- Heilman also was tabbed by both BA and the BIG EAST Conference coaches as the preseason BIG EAST pitcher of the year.
- BA lists Heilman and Young among the three prospects with the best breaking ball (both throw sliders). The magazine also singled out Heilman and Young as the pitchers who are “closest to the major leagues.”
- BA lists ND freshman RF Brian Stavisky (Port Allegany, Pa.) as the top newcomer in the BIG EAST Conference and the preseason BIG EAST freshman of the year. The magazine also projects Stavisky as the nation’s No. 5-rated prospect among current college freshmen, behind Clemson shortstop Jeff Baker, Florida third baseman Pat Osborne, Texas A&M first baseman Travis Wong and Stanford outfielder Jason Cooper.
- BA’s list of the “best tools” among BIG EAST players includes four from Notre Dame: Stavisky (“best raw power”), Heilman (“best fastball”), sophomore centerfielder Steve Stanley (“fastest runner”) and senior Jeff Felker (“best defensive first baseman”).
- BA picked ND to win the 2000 BIG EAST regular-season title, followed by Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. The BIG EAST coaches preseason poll forecasted Rutgers as the 2000 champion (76 voting points, five 1st-place votes), narrowly edging ND (74, 3), followed by St. John’s (69, 2), Seton Hall, WVU and Pittsburgh.
ND junior Aaron Heilman was listed 9th on Baseball America’s annual list of the top professional prospects in college baseball (15th among all players, including high schoolers) … Heilman ranked fourth on that list among draft-eligible pitchers, behind Arizona sophomore Ben Diggins (3rd), Auburn’s Chris Bootcheck (4th) and Stanford’s Jason Young (7th) … others on that list included California 3B Xavier Nady (1st), Clemson OF Patrick Boyd (2nd), North Carolina OF Tyrell Godwin (5th), Texas A&M OF Daylon Holt (6th) and Pepperdine C Dane Sardinha (8th) … Heilman’s teammates on the USA national team during the summer of ’99 included all of the above players, except for Bootcheck, Boyd and Sardinha … Heilman and Young were the only pitchers that were tabbed as preseason first team All-Americans by both BA (which also included Bootcheck, Diggins and UCLA’s Josh Karp) and Collegiate Baseball (which also included Miami’s David Gil, Florida State’s Jon McDonald, Oklahoma State’s Matt Smith and Cal State Fullerton’s Adam Johnson).
PROSPECTS, PART II:
The BIG EAST placed two players in the top 25 of BA’s list of class of 2000 prospects, with St. John’s RHP Kevin McGerry checking in at No. 21 … only three conferences had more players among the top 25 prospects while the BIG EAST’s three players among the top 35 was tied for the second-most by any conference in the nation (Rutgers OF David DeJesus was rated 32nd) .. . eight BIG EAST players were listed among the top 150 prospects – ranking the BIG EAST behind just four conferences for most players in the top 150.
Top Situational Hitters
Two-Out Batting Average
(’99 team avg. was .283)
Batting with Runners in Scoring Pos.
(’99 team avg. was .319)
Leadoff On-Base Percentage
(’99 team avg. was .419)
*Plate Appearances Per Strikeout
* AB, BB, HP, SF, SH / Ks (’99 tm avg.: 7.24)
#Best Double Play Ratios
|1.||Kris Billmaier||34 ABs (0)|
|Matt Strickroth||34 ABs (0)|
|3.||Alec Porzel||111.0 (1)|
|4.||Brian Stavisky||95.0 (1)|
|5.||Matt Nussbaum||93.0 (1)|
|6.||Steve Stanley||79.0 (1)|
|Team Average||48.4 (18)|
|7.||Andrew Bushey||45.5 (2)|
|8.||Ken Meyer||41.0 (1)|
|9.||Matt Bok||38.0 (1)|
|10.||Jeff Felker||33.0 (3)|
|11.||Jeff Perconte||21.7 (3)|
|12.||Paul O’Toole||18.5 (4)|
# Lowest grounded into DP ratio, vs. ABs with runners on base (’99 team avg. – 23.7)
Notre Dame Among the 2000 BIG EAST
Offensive Stat Leaders
Conference Batting Average
Overall Home Runs
Conference Home Runs
Overall Total Bases
Conference Total Bases
Overall Slugging Percentage
Conference Slugging Percentage
Overall Stolen Bases
Conference Stolen Bases
Conference Runs Scored
Notre Dame Among the 2000 BIG EAST
Pitching Stat Leaders
Overall Innings Pitched
Conference Innings Pitched
Overall Opp. Batting Average
Conference Opp. Batting Average
Overall Complete Games
Conference Complete Games
Team Stats (Overall)
|Batting Average||8th (.299)|
|Slugging Pct.||6th (.453)|
|Home Runs||3rd (42)|
|On-Base Pct.||9th (.359)|
|Stolen Bases||7th (56)|
|Strikeouts Per 9 IP||(8.14)|
|Low Walks Per 9 IP||(2.77)|
|Low Home Runs Allowed||5th (23)|
|Low Opp. Batting Avg.||4th (.269)|
|Complete Games||4th (9)|
|Fielding Pct.||1st (.962)|
|Double Plays||1st (44)|
Team Stats (Conference Games)
|Batting Average||4th (.306)|
|Slugging Pct.||4th (.460)|
|Home Runs||1st (124)|
|On-Base Pct.||5th (.369)|
|Stolen Bases||7th (15)|
|Strikeouts Per 9 IP||(7.58)|
|Low Walks Per 9 IP||(3.23)|
|Low Home Runs Allowed||3rd (10)|
|Low Opp. Batting Avg.||4th (.286)|
|Complete Games||9th (5)|
|Fielding Pct.||2nd (.970)|
|Double Plays||3rd (19)|
Notre Dame Baseball Career Record Book
|1.||J.J. Brock (1994-98)||238|
|2.||Craig Counsell (1989-92)||236|
|3.||Mike Coss (1988-91)||235|
|4.||Cory Mee (1989-92)||219|
|5.||Pat Pesavento (1986-89)||218|
|6.||Joe Binkiewicz (1989-92)||217|
|Jeff Felker (1997- )||217|
|1.||J.J. Brock (1994-98)||238|
|2.||Craig Counsell (1989-92)||233|
|3.||Mike Coss (1988-91)||218|
|4.||Mike Amrhein (1994-97)||213|
|5.||Eric Danapilis (1990-93)||209|
|Jeff Felker (1997- )||209|
|1.||J.J. Brock (1994-98)||860|
|2.||Pat Pesavento (1986-89)||806|
|2.||Craig Counsell (1989-92)||795|
|4.||Jeff Felker (1997- )||752|
Runs Batted In
|10.||Ryan Topham (1993-95)||165|
|–||Alec Porzel (1998- )||147|
|–||Jeff Felker (1997- )||145|
|5.||Dan Peltier (1987-89)||257|
|6.||Brant Ust (1997-99)||243|
|7.||Scott Sollmann (1994-96)||239|
|8.||Craig Counsell (1989-92)||235|
|9.||Jeff Felker (1997- )||234|
|1.||Jeff Wagner (1996-99)||49|
|2.||Brant Ust (1997-99)||46|
|3.||Frank Jacobs (1989-91)||37|
|Mike Amrhein (1994-97)||37|
|5.||Ryan Topham (1993-95)||34|
|6.||Joe Binkiewicz (1989-92)||33|
|7.||Eric Danapilis (1990-93)||29|
|8.||Tim Hutson (1985-88)||28|
|Dan Peltier (1987-89)||28|
|Alec Porzel (1998- )||28|
|–||Jeff Felker (1997- )||22|
|8.||Gene Duffy (1957-59)||11|
|9.||Alec Porzel (1998- )||10|
|10.||Dan Voellinger (1977-80)||9|
|Greg Layson (1991-94)||9|
|Robbie Kent (1993-94)||9|
|Mike Amrhein (1994-97)||9|
|Jeff Felker (1997- )||9|
|1.||Eric Danapilis (1990-93)||61|
|2.||Dan Peltier (1987-89)||60|
|3.||Mike Amrhein (1994-97)||58|
|4.||Jeff Felker (1997- )||54|
|5.||Brant Ust (1997-99)||50|
|6.||Craig Counsell (1989-92)||50|
|Jeff Wagner (1996-99)||50|
|8.||Joe Binkiewicz (1989-92)||48|
|9.||Alec Porzel (1998- )||45|
|10.||Jeff Wagner (1996-99)||158|
|–||Jeff Felker (1997- )||140|
|4.||Dan Bautch (1990-92)||68|
|5.||Steve Stanley (1999- )||48|
Hit By Pitch
|8.||Rowan Richards (1993-96)||17|
|Allen Greene (1996-98)||17|
|10.||Jeff Felker (1997- )||16|
Notre Dame Baseball Season Record Book
|10.||Pat Pesavento (1988)||226|
|James Sass (1989)||226|
|Cory Mee (1992)||226|
|–||Brian Stavisky (2000)||204|
|–||Steve Stanley (2000)||196|
|–||Alec Porzel (2000)||196|
|–||Jeff Felker (2000)||188|
|10.||Pat Pesavento (1988)||87|
|–||Steve Stanley (2000)||70|
|–||Alec Porzel (2000)||70|
|10.||Mike Amrhein (1995)||69|
|Jeff Wagner (1997)||69|
|–||Alec Porzel (2000)||48|
|–||Jeff Felker (2000)||41|
|1.||Frank Jacobs (1991)||20|
|7.||Dan Peltier (1989)||15|
|Joe Binkiewicz (1991)||15|
|Alec Porzel (1999)||15|
|10.||Mike Amrhein (1997)||14|
|11.||Edwin Hartwell (1993)||13|
|Eric Danapilis (1993)||13|
|Mike Amrhein (1996)||13|
|Jeff Wagner (1998)||13|
|Brian Stavisky (2000)||13|
|1.||Dan Peltier (1989)||32|
|4.||Craig Counsell (1992)||22|
|5.||Dan Peltier (1988)||21|
|Jeff Watnger (1997)||21|
|7.||Craig DeSensi (1995)||20|
|Allen Greene (1997)||20|
|Brant Ust (1998)||20|
|10.||George Restovich (1996)||19|
|Alec Porzel (2000)||19|
|–||Jeff Felker (2000)||16|
|10.||Ed Lund (1989)||10|
|–||Dan Bautch (1991)||10|
|–||Paul O’Toole (2000)||7|
|–||Ken Meyer (2000)||.7|
|6.||Matt Haas (1993)||28|
|7.||Scott Sollmann (1994)||26|
|8.||Steve Stanley (2000)||24|
|Steve Stanley (1999)||24|
Stolen Base Percentage (min. 10 att.)
|1.||Greg Layson (’94)||.969 (31-32)|
|2.||Paul O’Toole (’00)||.929 (13-14)|
|1.||Robbie Kent (1994)||9|
|2.||Alec Porzel (2000)||7|
|George Restovich (1996)||7|
|Steve Stanley (1999)||7|
|Alec Porzel (1999)||7|
|8.||Mike Coss (’91)||11|
|Randall Brooks (’95)||11|
|10.||Craig Counsell (’91)||10|
|Dan Bautch (’92)||10|
|Steve Stanley (2000)||10|
Hardest to Strike Out (ABs per K, since ’69)
|6.||Pete Schmidt (’71)||24.00|
|7.||Dave Bartish (1980)||20.40|
|8.||Andrew Bushey (2000)||19.33|
Notre Dame Baseball Season Record Book
(Pitching & Fielding)
|6.||Rich Sauget (1996)||25|
|John Corbin (2000)||25|
|8.||Al Walania (1991)||24|
|9.||Chris Michalak (1991)||23|
|Mike Naumann (2000)||23|
|10.||Tom Price (1993)||94.1|
|–||Aaron Heilman (2000)||85.2|
|1.||Tom Price (1994)||14|
|2.||Tom Price (1993)||12|
|3.||Brian Piotrowicz (1989)||11|
|Al Walania (1991)||11|
|Chris Michalak (1993)||11|
|Aaron Heilman (2000)||11|
|7.||Frank Scanlan (1908)||10-0|
|Hugh Mageveney (1924)||10|
|Erik Madsen (1989)||10|
|Chris Michalak (1992)||10|
|David Sinnes (1993)||10|
|Aaron Heilman (1999)||10-1|
Winning Pct. (min. 8 decisions)
|1.||Frank Scanlan (’08)||1.000 (10-0)|
|Tim Kraus (’94)||1.000 (9-0)|
|Sam O’Gorman (’06)||1.000 (8-0)|
|Herb Kelly (’12)||1.000 (8-0)|
|5.||Aaron Heilman (’00)||.909 (10-1)|
|1.||John Corbin (2000)||11|
|2.||Mike Coffey (1989)||10|
Opponent Average (since ’91)
|1.||David Sinnes (1992)||.163|
|2.||David Sinnes (1993)||.198|
|Aaron Heilman (1998)||.198|
|4.||Larry Mohs (19940||.201|
|5.||Chris Michalak (1992)||.205|
|6.||Aaron Heilman (2000)||.213|
|7.||Aaron Heilman (1999)||.217|
|6.||Bill Fleet (’01), Ed Reulbach (’03)|
|Jean Dubuc (’08), Bill Heyl (’10),|
|Mickey Karkut (’70), Bob Bartlett (’81),|
|Chris Michalak (’92),|
|Aaron Heilman (’00)||8|
|1.||Aaron Heilman (1999)||118|
|2.||Frank Carpin (1958)||102|
|Aaron Heilman (2000)||102|
Putouts (since ’82)
|5.||Dan Leatherman, 1B (’98)||461|
|6.||Jeff Felker, 1B (’00)||423|
Assists (since ’82)
|9.||Cory Mee (’90)||166|
|Greg Layson (’94)||166|
|–||Alec Porzel (’00)||145|
Notre Dame Baseball Season Record Book
At-Bats Per Strikeout
Team Winning Percentage (since ’36)
Earned Run Average (since ’71)
Opponent Batting Average (since ’82)
Team Strikeouts Thrown
Team K-to-Walk Ratio
Fewest Walks Allowed Per 9 IP
Team Fielding Percentage (since ’82)
Double Plays (since ’69)