Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Baseball Prepares To Battle Rutgers For Big East Regular-Season Title

May 10, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – As finals week nears its end on the Notre Dame campus, the Irish baseball team will begin to focus on its upcoming three-game series versus BIG EAST Conference leader Rutgers, with a noon doubleheader on Saturday, May 13, and a single game the next day (also starting at noon). The BIG EAST regular season title will be on the line, with Notre Dame (40-13, 16-6 BIG EAST) needing to sweep all three games from Rutgers (34-13, 17-3) in order to secure the third regular-season title for the Irish in the last four seasons (also ’97 and ’99) and the top seed in the May 17-20 BIG EAST Championship, to be held at Somerset Ballpark in Bridgewater, N.J.

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 series is scheduled to open with a marquee pitching matchup, as the Irish plan to send junior righthander 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 righthander Bob Brownlie (6-0, 2.39), who has racked up five BIG EAST rookie-of-the-week honors.

Based on each team’s announced rotations, the game two pitchers will include Irish senior righthander Scott Cavey and Rutgers junior lefty Buddy Gallagher while the series finale is slated to include Rutgers senior righthander Jim Wilson and a to-be-announced Irish pitcher, with Notre Dame’s possible game three starters including freshman righthanders J.P. Gagne and Matt Laird, sophomore righthander Drew Duff and junior righty Danny Tamayo.

Rutgers heads to Eck Stadium as one of the nation’s most balanced teams, ranking second among all Division I teams for team batting average (.354) and third in team ERA (3.23)-making the Scarlet Knights the nation’s only team ranked among the top nine in both batting avg. and team ERA. Notre Dame has dropped to 17th on the national ERA charts (2.63) and ranks eighth in the nation for winning pct. (.755 ).

Rutgers is in the midst of a nine-day layoff, after posting a 15-6 non-conference win over Lafayette on May 3 (RU had a bye from BIG EAST play last weekend).

Notre Dame (11) and Rutgers (11) have combined to earn half of the BIG EAST weekly awards (for top player, pitcher and rookie) during the 2000 season 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 (see a complete list of ND and RU’s players among the BIG EAST leaders below).

SERIES NOTES: 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).

SERIES STATS: 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) … 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).

RECENT ND-RU MEETINGS: 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 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) … 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.


1999 Records 37-21, 19-7 43-18, 20-5
Lettermen Returning/Lost 24/2 16/6
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
Slugging Percentage (2).496 (6).453
Batters BB/K Ratio (2) 0.74 (7) 0.68
On-Base Percentage (1) .423 (9) .359
Stolen Bases/Game (4) 1.36 (8) 1.06
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

THE RUTGERS OFFENSE is led by senior SS Darren Fenster, who ranks third in the nation with a .455 season batting avg. and is RU’s career hits leader with 299 … other top offensive threats include senior OF Joe B. Cirone (.419, 6 HR, 33 RBI), who is tied with Fenster for the top conference batting avg. (.449) in the BIG EAST … junior CF David DeJesus (.367, team-best 57 runs scored) and junior 3B Jake Daubert (.368, 6 HR, 48 RBI) boost an RU offense that includes five players who rank among the BIG EAST’s top-10 batting average leaders … sophomore 2B Matt Wolski is batting .390 from the No. 9 spot while sophomore C/DH Mike Popowski is batting .368.

The NOTRE DAME offense-despite owning just a .299 team batting average-includes eight veteran starters and heavy-hitting freshman RF Brian Stavisky … ND enters the Rutgers series with 20 home runs in its last 13 games, including HRs in each of the last five games … the Irish are led by their top three players in the batting order … sophomore DH Ken Meyer (.354, 16 RBI, 23 R, 2 HR) has sparked the team as a starter at the leadoff position during the second half of the season, with his team-best .615 slugging pct. including a nine-game active hitting streak in BIG EAST games (.457/16-for-35, 7 RBI, 10 R, 2 HR, 2 3B, 7 2B) … sophomore CF Steve Stanley 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 … the series will feature arguably the top two shortstops in the BIG EAST, as Irish junior Alec Porzel will look to match Fenster’s production … Porzel has spent most of the season batting in the No. 3 spot and has surged to a .358 season batting avg., including a 14-for-27 effort (.519) in six games last week … Porzel 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) … 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 … senior 1B Jeff Felker (.309, 41 RBI, 6 HR, 16 2B) will be looking to return to the lineup after missing most of the Pitt series with a foot injury.

The GAME 1 PITCHERS 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 with a 2.21 season ERA and is one of just three pitchers in the nation who are ranked among the top-25 ERA leaders and have totaled 10-plus wins (the other two are former teammates of Heilman’s from the 1999 USA Baseball national team: Stetson’s Lenny Dinardo, at 13-1 and 2.13, and Houston’s Kyle Crowell, at 11-2 and 1.98) … Heilman heads into the RU series with a 2.44 career ERA that ranks second in ND history, just shy of the record (2.36, by Nick Pahlinich, ’59-’61) … he leads all BIG EAST players in overall wins (10-1), strikeouts (102) and complete games (8) while ranking 2nd in low opponent batting avg. (.213) and shutouts (2) and 3rd in ERA (2.21) and innings pitched (85.2) … in conference games only, Heilman leads all BIG EAST players in wins (7-0), Ks (60) and CGs (7) while 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 IP)-but also ranks 6th among those with 60-plus IP and 2nd among those with 100-plus (former St. John’s pitcher and current Major Leaguer C.J. Nitkowski posted a 1.93 from ’93-’94, in 102.2 IP) … Heilman ranks 3rd on the BIG EAST career K list, with 137, trailing only former Boston College 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 Providence pitcher Todd Incantalupo (’95-’97) … Heilman also is tied for 4th in BIG EAST history with 12 career CGs (in conference play) while he 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 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 batting avg. (.224), 5th in Ks (44), 8th in IP (49) and 1st in shutouts (3).


Overall Batting Average

1. Darren Fenster, RU .455
2. Joe B. Cirone, RU .419
6. Matt Wolski, RU .390
10. Mike Popowski, RU .368
Jake Daubert, RU .368

BIG EAST Batting Average

1. Joe B. Cirone, RU .449
Darren Fenster, RU .449
6. Alec Porzel, ND .384
Jake Daubert, RU .384

Overall Hits

1. Darren Fenster, RU .85
3. Alec Porzel, ND 70
Steve Stanley, ND 70
6. Jake Daubert, RU .67
7. Joe B. Cirone, RU .65


1. Darren Fenster, RU .35
2. Alec Porzel, ND 33
4. Joe B. Cirone, RU .31

Overall RBI

1. Alfie Critelli, SHU 52
2. Darren Fenster, RU 50
4. Jeff Felker, ND 48
Jake Daubert, RU 48
6. Alec Porzel, ND 40


1. Alec Porzel, ND 25
2. Darren Fenster, RU 21

Overall Home Runs

1. Joe Lydic, PU 16
2. Brian Stavisky, ND 13
7. Mike O’Brien, RU 8
Alec Porzel, ND 8

BIG EAST Home Runs

1. Chris Fallon, SJ 7
Joe Lydic, Pitt 7
3. Brian Stavisky, ND 6
4. Alec Porzel, ND 5

Overall Triples

1. Brian Stavisky, ND 5
3. Ken Meyer, ND 4
Alec Porzel, ND 4
David DeJesus, RU 4

BIG EAST Triples

1. Brian Stavisky, ND 3
Ken Meyer, ND 3
3. David DeJesus, RU 2

Overall Doubles

2. Darren Fenster, RU 29
3. Alec Porzel, ND 19
4. Jeff Felker, ND 16
David DeJesus, RU 16

BIG EAST Doubles

1. Alec Porzel, ND 10
2. Darren Fenster, RU 10
4. Ken Meyer, ND 8
6. Jeff Felker, ND 7

Overall Slugging Percentage

3. Darren Fenster, RU .636
5. Joe B. Cirrone, RU .626
8. Alec Porzel, ND .611
10. Brian Staviksy, ND .583

BIG EAST Slugging Pct.

1. Alec Porzel, ND .698
2. Darren Fenster, RU .679
3. Brian Staviksy, ND .667
Joe B. Cirrone, RU .667

Overall Total Bases

2. Alec Porzel, ND 121
3. Brian Staviksy, ND 119
Darren Fenster, RU 119
8. Jake Daubert, RU 101

BIG EAST Total Bases

1. Alec Porzel, ND 60
2. Brian Staviksy, ND 54
3. Darren Fenster, RU 53
7. Joe B. Cirrone, RU .46

Overall Walks

7. Steve Stanley, ND 28
9. Jake Daubert, RU 27


4. Todd Speedy, RU 12

Overall On-Base Pct.

1. Darren Fenster, RU .511
8. Joe B. Cirrone, RU .466
9. David DeJesus, RU .465

BIG EAST On-Base Pct.

1. Darren Fenster, RU .505
4. Joe B. Cirrone, RU .474
10. Jake Daubert, RU .448

Overall Stolen Bases

3. Steve Stanley, ND 24
7. David DeJesus, RU 15

BIG EAST Stolen Bases

3. David DeJesus, RU 9
4. Steve Stanley, ND 7
Jake Daubert, RU 7

Overall Runs Scored

1. David DeJesus, RU 57
3. Darren Fenster, RU 53

BIG EAST Runs Scored

2. David DeJesus, RU 23
3. Darren Fenster, RU 22
5. Brian Stavisky, ND 21
Jake Daubert, RU 21

Overall Wins

1. Aaron Heilman, ND 10-1


1. Aaron Heilman, ND 7-0
2. Bob Brownlie, RU 6-0
5. J.P. Gagne, ND 4-1

Overall ERA

1. Steve Langone, BC 1.48
3. Aaron Heilman, ND 2.21
4. Bob Brownlie, RU 2.39
6. Buddy Gallagher, RU 2.89


1. Steve Langone, BC 1.60
2. Bob Brownlie, RU 1.93
4. Aaron Heilman, ND 2.52
5. Jim Wilson, RU 2.57
8. Buddy Gallagher, RU 2.74

Overall Strikeouts Thrown

1. Aaron Heilman, ND 102
6. Bob Brownlie, RU 66

BIG EAST Strikeouts Thrown

1. Aaron Heilman, ND 60
5. Bob Brownlie, RU 44
7. Scott Cavey, ND 39

Overall Saves

1. John Corbin, ND 11
2. Eric Brown, RU 6


1. Eric Brown, RU 4
2. John Corbin, ND 3

Overall Appearances

1. John Cobin, ND 25
2. Mike Naumann, ND 23
6. Eric Brown, RU 20

BIG EAST Appearances

2. John Corbin, ND 9

Overall Innings Pitched

3. Aaron Heilman, ND 85.2
9. Bob Brownlie, RU 71.2

BIG EAST Innings Pitched

6. Aaron Heilman, ND 50.0
8. Bob Brownlie, RU 49.0

Overall Opp. Batting Average

2. Aaron Heilman, ND .213
10. Scott Cavey, ND .238

BIG EAST Opp. Batting Avg.

2. Aaron Heilman, ND .215
4. Bob Brownlie, RU .224
6. Jim Wilson, RU .229

Overall Complete Games

1. Aaron Heilman, ND 8
2. Bob Brownlie, Ru 6
8. Jim Wilson, RU 4

BIG EAST Complete Games

1. Aaron Heilman, ND 6
Bob Brownlie, RU 6

Overall Shutouts

1. Bob Brownlie, RU 3
2. Aaron Heilman, ND 2

BIG EAST Shutouts

1. Brownlie, RU/Heilman, ND 3