April 4, 2001
Notre Dame owns a 40-10 edge in the Dayton series, winning eight straight, 14 of the last 15 and 23 of the last 25 … tonight is the first ND-UD game since ’93 … ND’s 20-4 win over Dayton in the ’89 MCC Tournament was the first of four Irish games in a 23-hour stretch (ND won all four to claim an NCAA bid).
NCAA ERA LEADERS (ALMOST):
ND’s 2.50 team ERA ranks 2nd in the NCAA rankings (released today), behind Baylor’s 2.33 … Aaron Heilman (1.17, 9th in nation) and Danny Tamayo (1.64, 27th) have combined for a 1.39 ERA, plus 101 Ks and just 19 walks in 103.1 IP, with a .183 combined opponent batting avg. … Central Florida (7th, 12th) and Southwest Missouri (11th, 27th) are the only schools with two pitchers ranked higher on the ERA charts than ND’s big duo … Heilman is tied for 7th nationally in wins and is one of four pitchers nationwide who sit atop the winning pct. charts with 7-0 records … ND (now 21-5-1) entered the week with the nation’s 2nd-best winning pct. (Stetson was 25-4) .
The Irish dropped yesterday’s Ball State game (4-3) despite totaling 18 baserunners … BSU’s final two runs were unearned (ND had allowed just 16 unearned runs in the first 26 games).
ND’s most productive inning has been the 7th (26 runs scored, six allowed).
SPRINT TO 20:
ND reached the 20-win plateau (20-4-1) faster than any of the program’s previous 92 teams, dating back to the 20-1 start by the 1908 squad … the 2000 Irish squad tied the ND record for quickest to 30 wins (30-9).
Nearly half of ND’s games this season have come vs. teams that competed in the 2000 NCAAs (9-3 in those games), with a loss to New Orleans, two wins over Mississippi State, wins over Florida Atlantic, Fresno State, Miami and Illinois, the pair of losses at Virginia Tech and the three-game sweep of Seton Hall … ND is set to complete a three-week stretch in which it will face three of the BIG EAST’s top-rated teams (Virginia Tech, Seton Hall and Rutgers).
LOTS OF ZEROES:
The Irish pitchers have combined for 76 shutout innings in the last 11 games (in 92 IP, with a 1.98 ERA in that span).
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE:
Senior SS Alec Porzel set the ND record for career doubles in the SHU series finale (62, including a team-best 12 this season).
ON A TEAR:
Junior 3B Andrew Bushey saw his career-best 13-game hitting streak (longest by an ND player this season) end vs. BSU … Joe Thaman (9, heading into tonight) owns the second-longest hitting streak by an ND player in 2001 while sophomore RF Brian Stavisky and freshman 2B Steve Sollmanm both are riding eight-game streaks … senior SS Alec Porzel is batting 11-for-28 in his current seven-game hitting streak.
BALANCE OF POWER:
Last week’s SHU series showed a glimpse at ND’s strong all-around potential, with a .363 team batting avg. in the series, plus a 1.44 staff ERA and just two errors in the three games (.980).
FIELD(ING) OF DREAMS:
ND’s .969 fielding pct. is four points ahead of the team record and Irish errors have led to just 18 unearned runs in 27 games (opposing teams are averaging just 3.17 runs/9 IP vs. ND-even when including unearned runs).
Notre Dame won three straight games on march 21 and 23 by the same score (3-0), equaling an 85-year-old team record by registering three consecutive shutouts … the last time that happened for a Notre Dame baseball team, two of the opponents were known by different school names (ND’s athletic teams weren’t even known as the Irish until 1930), with that 1916 team blanking Michigan Agriculture (now Michigan State) by a 2-0 score, Purdue 1-0 and Western State (now Western Michigan) 6-0 from April 29-May 6 of that season … the only other seasons to produce three consecutive shutouts came in 1907 (6-0 vs. Indiana, 4-0 vs. Nebraska, 5-0 vs. Oberlin from May 9-15) and in the first three games of 1908 (19-0 vs. Winona, 18-0 vs. Albion and 19-0 vs. Kalamazoo) … 3-0 has been the magic shutout score for ND this season, with all five 2001 shutouts coming by that score (also vs. Florida Atlantic and New Mexico).
A CASE FOR THE DEFENSE:
Notre Dame’s stellar .969 season fielding pct. is on pace to best the team record (.965), including a .975 by the four starting infielders-led by just three errors from senior SS Alec Porzel and one by freshman 1B Joe Thaman … the Irish have totaled just 33 errors (1.22/gm) … ND has posted seven error-free games, nine with one error and just two with more than two Es (a three-error game in the 3-0 win over New Mexico and 3 Es in the 6-1 win over Toledo) … errors have led to just 18 unearned runs for the opponents (seven coming in the first two games), with Irish miscues leading to just seven unearned runs in the last 19 games … ND has allowed just 3.22 runs per nine innings (when including the unearned scores).
KEEP ON CRANKING:
Freshman 2B Steve Sollmann .leads ND with a 429 season batting avg. and is very familiar with the last Irish player to hit .400-plus, as his brother Scott hit .402 in 1994 and .405 in ’95.
ND is 8-0-1 in its last nines extra-inning games, since losing 10-7 to Boston College on April 17, 1999 (7-inning game that ended in the 8th) … that streak includes a rare happening at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic, with the Irish tying Navy (4-4 in 10) before beating Fresno State (5-4 in 10) and Miami of Ohio (3-2 in 11) … in addition to the 11-inning win earlier this season at Mississippi State (4-2), the extra-inning streak includes wins over Oakland (7-6 in 10, 4/30/99), Villanova (7-3 in 10, 3/25/00), West Virginia (3-1 in 7-inn. game extended to 10, 4/15/00), Michigan (5-4 in 11, 4/26/00) and Pittsburgh (11-8 in 10, 5/6/00) … the VU and WVU games were on the road, the Michigan win was on neutral ground at Old Kent Park (Grand Rapids, Mich.).
NAUMANN RECEIVES SCHOLARSHIP FROM BIG EAST:
Notre Dame senior LHP Mike Naumann (Tucson, Ariz.) is one of four BIG EAST baseball players who have been awarded a $2,000 scholarship for use towards postgraduate studies … AEROPOSTALE Stores is the official apparel of BIG EAST Championships and also is the sponsor of the conference’s Post Graduate Student-Athlete Scholarship Program … each BIG EAST school nominated a male and female student-athlete for the scholarship program, with other BIG EAST baseball players that were nominated by their schools including Mike Scott (Connecticut), Matt Irvin (Pittsburgh), (Baseball) and Brian Leighton (Seton Hall) … Naumann earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2000 and carries a 3.92 cumulative grad-point average as a pre-professional science major (he has been accepted to Baylor’s medical school and plans to attend that prestigious institution beginning in the fall of 2001).
Senior LHP Mike Naumann will be looking to extend the impressive performances by Notre Dame starting pitchers during the 2001 season, as the Irish starters have combined for a 1.83 ERA through the first 27 games … the bulk of those starts (14) have come from the lethal senior RHP combination of Aaron Heilman (1.17, 9th in the nation) and Danny Tamayo (1.64, 27th) while sophomore RHP Peter Ogilvie (0.72) has turned in four strong midweek starts … junior RHP Matt Buchmeier (3.81) has logged five starts while sophomore RHP J.P. Gagne (4.88) has turned in solid starts in each of his last three outings … the other combined stats for ND starting pitchers in 2001 include a 17-3 record in 176.2 innings pitched, with 150 Ks, 36 walks and 131 hits allowed (for nine-inning averages of 7.6 Ks, 1.8 BBs and 6.7 hits) … ND’s overall 2.50 team ERA includes a 4.134 ERA by the bullpen-led by sophomore RHP Matt Laird (1.38, 1-0, 3 SV).
By scoring vs. Navy on March 12, Notre Dame set the team record for consecutive games with at least one run scored (134), dating back to a 12-0 loss at Florida International on Feb. 21, 1999 (the streak now stands at 149 games) … ND set the previous record by scoring in the each of the first 133 games of the Paul Mainieri era (Feb. 24, 1995-March 9, 1997) and has scored in of 390 of 395 total games during the Mainieri era (98.7 percent).
Senior SS Alec Porzel is on the verge of becoming the first Notre Dame player ever to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in his career … Porzel has 29 HRs and 29 SBs in 203 GP, leaving him on the doorstep of the 30-30 plateau … junior C Paul O’Toole (18 HR, 33 SB, 139 GP) likewise has a shot at the 30-30 distinction.
With eight Ohio natives on the 2001 Irish baseball squad, Notre Dame could field an all-Ohio squad that also would include second-year assistant coach Dusty Lepper at SS (he is a native of Findlay and played at Toledo) while the team’s student managers-Ken Kleppel and Katie Furman-would split time in left field (both hail from the Cleveland area) … here’s how the rest of the all-Ohio squad would be aligned: junior C Andrew Bushey (Boardman, suburb of Youngstown), junior 1B Paul O’Toole (Lakewood, outside of Cleveland), freshman 2B Steve Sollmann (Cincinnati), senior 3B Ben Cooke (Bay Village, suburb of Cleveland), junior CF Steve Stanley (Upper Arlington, in Columbus area) and junior RF Matt Bok (Akron) … two freshman RHPs would share pitching duties: Mike Morgalis (Cincinnati) and Nick Colagiovanni (Garfield Heights).
Several members of the Notre Dame baseball team bring big frames to the ballpark, including All-America RHP Aaron Heilman (6-5, 225 pounds) and two everyday starters: sophomore RF Brian Stavisky (6-3, 220) and freshman 1B Joe Thaman (6-4, 205) … sophomore 1B Mike Holba (6-7, 225) is the tallest member of the Irish squad and was an all-state quarterback as a prep while junior OF Matt Strickroth (6-5, 230) was an all-state football lineman during his high school days.