Oct. 8, 2001

The Notre Dame baseball team will close its fall practice by holding the annual “Blue-vs.-Gold Baseball World Series,” a three-day slate of intrasquad scrimmages scheduled for Oct. 9-11 (Tues.-Thurs.) at Eck Stadium. The seven-inning games (one per day) are open to the public, with start times of 4:30 p.m.

Notre Dame associate head coach Brian O’Connor will serve as manager of the blue team while assistant coach Dusty Lepper is the skipper for the gold team.

O’Connor’s 15-man roster includes four starting position players from the 2001 team: senior catcher/third baseman Paul O’Toole, junior leftfielder Brian Stavisky, sophomore second basemam Steve Sollmann and sophomore first baseman Joe Thaman. The more noteworthy pitchers on the blue squad include senior Matt Buchmeier and juniors Matt Buchmeier and Brandon Viloria.

Lepper’s gold team will counter with just one starter from the 2001 campaign-senior centerfielder Steve Stanley-to go along with highly-touted freshman shortstop/pitcher Matt Macri and five other members of the promising freshman pitcher contingent: John Axford, Grant Johnson, Chris Niesel, Martin Vergara and lefthander Scott Bickford.

In addition to Stanley, other veterans on the gold team include senior outfielder/DH Matt Bok (who started 30 games in 2001), junior first baseman Mike Holba, sophomore infielder Zach Sisko and sophomore righthanders Mike Morgalis and Aaron Edwards. Freshman infielders Matt Edwards and Geoff Milsom combine with freshman catcher Mike Milligan (a recent addition via walk-on tryouts) to round out the 15-player gold team.

Other veteran players on the blue team include senior outfielder/DH Matt Strickroth, sophomore infielder Javier Sanchez, sophomore catcher Soran Leahy (who likely also will play some third base during the series), senior righthander Drew Duff, junior righthander Ryan Kalita and sophomore lefthander Cody Wilkins. A pair of freshmen round out the blue squad: outfielder/catcher Brent Weiss and walk-on outfielder George Howard.

Several players will not compete in the Blue-Gold series due to injuries, including: senior 3B/C Andrew Bushey, senior DH Ken Meyer, junior OF Kris Billmaier, junior RHPs Peter Ogilvie and Matt Laird, freshman C Jay Molina and freshman RHP Tyler Jones.

The game-one starters are slated to be Gagne and Niesel, with pitchers limited to five innings or 100 pitches. The gold team will be limited to a batting order of eight players while the blue squad will bat with its eight position players and a DH.

Here are the 15-man rosters for both teams:

(manager Brian O’Connor) (manager Dusty Lepper)
Paul O’Toole (Sr., C/3B) Matt Bok (Sr., RF)
Matt Strickroth (Sr., DH) Steve Stanley (Sr., CF)
Brian Stavisky (Jr., LF) Mike Holba (Jr., 1B)
Soran Leahy (So., 3B/C) Zach Sisko (So., 2B)
Javier Sanchez (So., SS) Matt Edwards (Fr., LF)
Steve Sollmann (So., 2B) Matt Macri (Fr., SS)
Joe Thaman (So., 1B) Mike Milligan (Fr., C)
George Howard (Fr., CF) Geoff Milsom (Fr., 3B)
Brent Weiss (Fr., RF) Martin Vergara (Fr., RHP)
Matt Buchmeier (Sr., RHP) Aaron Edwards (So., RHP)
Drew Duff (Sr., RHP) Mike Morgalis (So., RHP)
J.P. Gagne (Jr., RHP) John Axford (Fr., RHP)
Ryan Kalita (Jr., RHP) Scott Bickford (Fr., LHP)
Brandon Viloria (Jr., RHP) Grant Johnson (Fr., RHP)
Cody Wilkins (So., LHP) Chris Niesel (Fr., RHP)