March 17, 2001


vs. Portland … March 17, 2001

Pepsi/Johnny Quik Championship Game

WEARING O’ THE GREEN: Blue and gold rank as Notre Dame’s official colors, but green remains a popular addition every so often in the jerseys of several teams … today’s game marks the first time that the ND baseball team is known to have worn green jerseys, with the Irish donning green caps for a St. Patrick’s day game with Akron last year in Jacksonville, Fla. … ND won that game 10-3, lost to Rutgers later in the season with the green caps (16-6) and beat Illinois yesterday with the green caps (9-5) … the most well-known change to green in Irish football history came in the 1977 Notre Dame-USC game, held at Notre Dame Stadium … the Irish warmed up in their usual navy blue and then switched to green jerseys prior to kickoff … the resulting 49-19 triumph catapulted the Irish toward the national championship. Gerry Faust copied Dan Devine’s play by switching to green in a 27-6 Irish win over USC in `83 and also changed to green at halftime of the 37-3 triumph over the Trojans in `85. Lou Holtz waited nearly six years before unveiling the green in a move kept secret from the players until gameday at the 1992 Sugar Bowl. Holtz outfitted the squad in road white uniforms with green numbers … the Irish came from behind to post a stunning 39-28 win over third-ranked Florida … former Notre Dame women’s soccer coach Chris Petrucelli took a page from this book when his team wore green jerseys in the semi-final and final games of the 1995 NCAA Championship … the Irish defeated 12-time national champion North Carolina (1-0) and went on to beat Portland (1-0) for the 1995 national championship (the 2000 ND women’s soccer team cracked out the green jerseys for an NCAA semifinal matchup with top-ranked Santa Clara, winning that game 1-0) … last year’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend saw the Notre Dame hockey team don green jerseys for a Central Collegiate Hockey Association matchup with Michigan State at Joe Louis Arena (the Spartans won 4-0) while the Irish women’s basketball team wore green while beating San Diego (87-61) and George Washington (95-60) … the Irish women also wore the green earlier today in a 98-49 win over Alcorn State.

PLAYING ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY: The Notre Dame baseball team will be looking to improve its all-time record on St. Patrick’s Day (7-13-1), with the program’s first game on the holiday resulting in a 1971 win at Christian Brothers (8-0) … tonight’s game actually is just the second St. Patrick’s Day game of the Paul Mainieri era (since 1995), the third since 1991 and the fifth since 1988 (ND did not play on St. Patrick’s Day in 1989, `92 or `93) … ND has won three of its last four games on St. Patrick’s Day, winning a pair of games at the Seattle Kingdome (4-3 over Air Force in 1990, 4-2 over Washington in `91) before losing to Tennessee at the Kingdome in 1994 (5-8) and beating Akron last season in Jacksonville, Fla. (10-3) … ND’s only home games on St. Patrick’s Day came in 1986 (when the Irish swept a pair from St. Joseph’s of Indiana, 4-1 and 8-0).

MEET YOU IN FRESNO: The only previous meeting between the Notre Dame and Portland baseball teams also came at Fresno State’s Beiden Field, when the Irish beat the Pilots in 1989 NCAA regional action (8-6) … Notre Dame and Portland both were founded by the Holy Cross order of the Catholic Church and the team’s have developed an intense rivalry in women’s soccer during recent years.

READY TO ROAR: Notre Dame won eight of its first 10 games for the second consecutive season and is in the midst of a three-year stretch that has seen the Irish win 30 more games than it has lost during the months of February and March (44-24-1), including 16-7 in 1999, 16-5 in 2000 and the current 12-2-1 mark … that early success stands in stark contrast to the starts of the 1995 (11-10) and 1997 (12-11) seasons that saw the Irish forced to rally with strong play in April and May … the current 12-2-1 record is ND’s best after 15 games since the 1958 team started 13-2 (that team improved to 14-2 before suffering its third loss).

TOURNAMENT TOUGH: ND is 53-18-1 (.743) in regular-season tournaments during the Paul Mainieri era, including a 1998 win over Florida State, wins in 2000 over Wake Forest, Georgia and Illinois (2) and this season’s wins over Mississippi State (2), Fresno State and Illinois … the Irish are 18-3-1 in their last 22 regular-season tournament games, dating back to a 9-7 loss to Minnesota on March 4 of last season.

1995 Anaheim Classic 1-2

1995 College Baseball Classic (Seattle) 3-0

1995 Irish Baseball Classic (San Antonio) 2-2

1996 Service Academies Classic (Millington, TN) 3-1

1996 Husky Classic (Seattle) 2-1

1996 Irish Baseball Classic (San Antonio) 4-0

1997 Long Beach State Classic 0-3

1997 Service Academies Classic (Millington, TN) 2-0

1997 Irish Baseball Classic (San Antonio) 3-1

1998 ACC Disney Blast (Orlando) 1-2

1998 Diamond Classic (Evansville, IN) 3-0

1998 Irish Baseball Classic (San Antonio) 1-0

1999 New Orleans Invitational 2-1

1999 Irish Baseball Classic 4-0

2000 Service Academies Classic (Millington, TN) 2-1

2000 Minnesota Hormel Foods Classic 2-1

2000 Kennel Clubs Classic 7-1

2001 Mississippi State Classic 2-1

2001 Alamo Invitational (San Antonio) 3-0

2001 Devil Rays Invitational (St. Petersburg, FL) 2-1

2001 Fresno State Classic 4-0-1

PITCHING IN THE CLUTCH: Notre Dame’s pitching staff has allowed 38 percent of leadoff batters to reach base while allowing just a .231 overall batting average by the opponents … more impressively, the Irish pitchers have beared down with runners in scoring position-holding opposing hittters to just .176 batting with runners on second or third base (55 points below the opponents overall batting average).

NO SPRING CHICKENS: Freshman 2B Steve Sollmann has surged to the team batting lead (.415), thanks to a .478 average during the seven Spring Break games (8-for-17/.471 in Fresno) while the other Steve S.-junior CF Steve Stanley-is hitting .400 during the past week and 11-for-23 during the PJQ Classic (.478) … those two players are ND’s leading candidates for the all-tournament team (among position players), plus junior 3B Andrew Bushey (.368, 7-for-18).

ANOTHER MILESTONE: Notre Dame head coach Paul Mainieri heads into tonight’s game one win shy of his 600th career victory as a college head baseball coach … Mainieri’s 19-year college coaching record (599-392-1) includes a 267-113-1 mark in seven seasons at Notre Dame … if the Irish win tonight, Mainieri’s 600th win would come just two years and 19 days after his 500th, a 14-1 win over New Orleans on Feb. 26, 1999 … the Irish skipper also is nearing his 1,000th career game (he has 992 heading into tonight’s action).

STRONG STARTERS: Notre Dame’s starting pitchers have combined for a 1.90 ERA through the first 15 games (21 earned runs in 99.1 innings) … the bulk of those starts (13 of 15) have come from the regular three-man rotation-seniors Aaron Heilman and Danny Tamayo and junior Matt Buchmeier-who have combined for a 1.76 ERA in 87 innings … sophomores Peter Ogilvie (5 IP, UER) and J.P. Gagne (7.1 IP, 4 ER) have turned in the other solid starts … the other combined stats for ND starting pitchers in 2001 include an 8-1 record, 79 Ks, 21 walks and 73 hits allowed (for nine-inning averages of 7.2 Ks, 1.9 BBs and 8.3 hits) … Tamayo’s shutout of UNM gives him a 1.00 season ERA, plus 22 Ks, five walks and 16 hits allowed in 27 innings … Heilman has a 1.66 ERA and 5-0 record, plus 35 Ks, 7 BB and 27 H allowed in 38 IP … Buchmeier is 1-0, 2.86, with 15 Ks/5 BB/22 H in 22 IP … ND’s overall 2.68 team ERA includes a 4.54 ERA by the bullpen.

HITTING WHEN IT MATTERS MOST: ND’s team batting average has dipped to .299 but is 19 points lower with runners in scoring position (.280), including .278 in the first five tournament games … by contrast, the Irish batted .299 overall in the 2000 season but hit 14 points higher (.313) with runners in scoring position … the lack of clutch hitting saw the Irish total just 28 runs an eight-game stretch before the 9-5 win over Illinois, with no more than five runs in any game before the win over the Illini … sophomores Brian Stavisky and Kris Bilmaier have been ND’s top hitters with runners in scoring position, both at .444 (Steve Stanley is batting .429 with RBI chances).

CLEARING THE COBWEBS: ND had totaled just six runs in the first two innings this season before scoring three early runs vs. Illinois … the Irish typically have warmed up in the third (nine runs) and fourth (15-1 scoring edge) innings … the 7th inning continues to be ND’s most dominant (18-3, including 4-0 in Fresno) while ND’s second-most productive inning has been the 8th (10) … the Irish have yielded 15 runs in the 9th inning, compared to just 41 in the first eight innings combined, with the 8th inning (12 runs allowed) also being trouble for the ND pitchers.

SHUTOUT CITY: ND’s last 17 games have including three shutout performances by Irish pitchers … tossed a three-hit shutout at Mississippi State in the 2000 NCAA Regional (3-0) before duplicating that feat in Monday’s 3-0 win over New Mexico … blanked Florida Atlantic on five hits to lead ND’s 3-0 win over the Blue Wave on March 2.

TAMAYO MUFFLES LOBOS: Senior RHP (Miami, Fla.)-who missed the ’99 season before undergoing “Tommy John” reconstructive elbow surgery-continued his stellar start to 2001 with a three-hit shutout of New Mexico (3-0) in Monday’s opening action … Tamayo (2-1) reprised the three-hit shutout that he turned in at Mississippi State in the 2000 NCAA Starkville Regional, allowing two other baserunners to reach via walks while striking out five UNM batters … his 122-pitch outing included eight groundouts and 13 flyouts, with a single through the left side in the first inning, a single to right in the third and an infield single in the seventh … Tamayo retired nine straight batters from the third through sixth innings, highlighted by four straight strikeouts of the No. 5-8 batters.

ONE RUN PER NINE: The shutout of New Mexico dropped season ERA to 1.00, with 22 Ks, five walks and 16 hits allowed in 27 innings … Tamayo has allowed just one earned run in his last 22 innings (by South Florida), after allowing two fifth-inning earned runs in the opener vs. New Orleans.