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Baseball Takes On Seton Hall This Weekend

April 19, 2002

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame baseball team (24-12, 8-6 BIG EAST) returns to the road after a 17-day, 14-game homestand, with the Irish heading to Seton Hall for a three-game weekend BIG EAST series (noon doubleheader on Sat., April 20, and single game at noon on Sun., April 21) .. ND has won 15 of its last 17 and sits in a five-way tie for fifth in the BIG EAST standings (after starting 0-4), behind 10-4 Boston College … the Irish entered the week ranked 13th nationally in team ERA (3.38, now 3.47) … ND, Rice and Texas are the only teams currently in the top 20 for team ERA who also finished among the final top-20 ERA leaders in both 2000 and ’01 (ND was 16th and 5th) .

South Bend’s ESPN Radio 1620 AM (WDND) and its sister station WHLY 1580 AM are slated to broadcast every Notre Dame game in 2002 … a real-audio link to internet broadcasts may be accessed at while real-time stats for home games – including updated play-by-play – likewise can be accessed at … all remaining ND baseball games in 2002 are slated to air on WDND 1620.

Freshman John Axford (3.00, 3-2) and junior Peter Ogilvie (3.06, 4-1) are the likely starters for Saturday’s doubleheader at SHU … junior J.P. Gagne (2.63, 5-3) or freshman Grant Johnson (3.94, 2-4) then likely would start on Sunday, pending the relief needs in the first two games of the series … another regular member of Notre Dame’s group of righthanded starters, freshman Chris Niesel, is sidelined indefinitely after being diagnosed with mononucleosis (he last pitched on April 7) … SHU has yet to decide on its rotation (see p. 2).

John Axford, Fr., RHP (last six games are starts)
(9 GP/6 GS, 3.00, 3-2, 39.0 IP, 35 H, 35 K/23 BB, .235 opp. avg., 4 WP, 1 HB, 49 GO)

at New Orleans (2/23, 7-8) 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 6 BB, K, WP, 5 GO
vs. Florida Int’l, in Homestead (3/2, 4-13) loss, 2.1 IP, 5 H, 8 R/2 ER, 3 BB, K, WP, 3 GO
vs. Texas-Pan American, in Round Rock (3/10, 5-6) 1.1 IP, 2 H, R/UER, 2 K
vs. Creighton, in San Antonio (3/13, 6-2) win, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R/UER, 6 K, WP, 9 GO
at Connecticut (3/24, 6-13) loss, 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 K, HB, 11 GO
vs. Georgetown (3/30, 12-3) win, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R/UER, 3 BB, 9 K, BK, 7 GO
St. John’s (4/6, 4-1) win, 6.1 IP, 3 H, R, 6 BB, 5 K, 9 GO
Pittsburgh (4/11, 12-2) 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K, WP, 3 GO
Ball State (4/16, 10-1 2.0 IP (planned rotation), 3 H, R, 2 K, 2 GO

Situationally: 51.2% leadoff batters reached, .255 opp. batting with 2 outs, .235 with runners on
Nine-Inning Averages: 8.1 H, 5.3 BB, 8.1 K, 11.3 GO, 40.6 BF

Peter Ogilvie, Jr., RHP (first three and last two are starts)
(8 GP/5 GS, CG, 3.06, 4-1, 32.1 IP, 41 H, 23 K/4 BB, .318 opp. avg., 3 WP, 43 GO)

vs. Missouri (2/22, 7-6) GS, 3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 /3 ER, BB, 3 K
vs. Sacred Heart (3/3, 4-1) win, GS, 5.0 IP, 6 H, R, 4 K
vs. Texas-Pan American (3/10, 5-6) loss, GS, 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R/2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 WP
vs. Southern Illinois (3/16, 3-2) win, 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 K
at Connecticut (3/24, 6-13) 0.2 IP, 2 H, R
vs. Georgetown (3/30, 12-3) 2.0 IP, 3 H, R, K
Valparaiso (4/3, 12-1) win, 4.0 IP, 2 H, R, 5 K
Virginia Tech (4/12 4-2) win, 9.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 6 K/BB, WP

Situationally: 46.9% leadoff batters reached, .262 opp. batting with 2 outs, .262 with runners on
Nine-Inning Averages: 11.4 H, 1.1 BB, 6.4 K, 12.0 GO, 38.7 BF

Seton Hall (19-17, 8-6) joins Notre Dame in a five-way tie for second place in the BIG EAST standings, with Rutgers, Virginia Tech and St. John’s also owning 8-6 marks (ND already won series vs. SJU and VT, with series left vs. RU and 10-4 Boston College) … Connecticut (7-6), Pittsburgh (5-6) and Villanova (6-7) also still are in the running for one of the four BIG EAST Tournament spots (final standings are based on winning pct., not “games back,” due to rainouts and the possibility of ties).

Seton Hall bares little resemblance to the 2001 Pirates team that won the BIG EAST Tournament, as the top four pitchers and all but two position players (including two who are injured) are gone from the squad … SHU entered the week ranked 10th among BIG EAST teams for overall batting avg. (now .278), 6th in staff ERA (now 5.14) and 7th in fielding pct. (now .955) … in league play, the Pirates rank 3rd in batting (.303), 6th in ERA (4.75) and 3rd in fielding (.966) … SHU’s BIG EAST results have included winning 2-of-3 at Georgetown and BC while splitting doubleheaders vs. VT, UConn, RU and Pitt … SHU’s only returning regulars are OF Casey Grimm (.336, 6 HR, 32 RBI) and 3B Joey Scott (.299, HR, 10 RBI), with OF Mike Bascom and 2B Josh Schuck sidelined due to injuries … possible starting pitchers for SHU include junior RHP Matt Skrypack (4.62, 3-2, 31 Ks), sophomore LHP Chris Noonan (4.97, 3-3, 30 Ks/19 BB), freshman RHP Jake Hagerty (2.93, 2-1, 21 Ks) and junior RHP Elvis Quezado (5.16, 0-3, 28 Ks) … senior LHP Isaac Pavlik (3.19, 2-4, 6 SV, 56 Ks) has returned to the bullpen and making five starts earlier this season.

Several Notre Dame and Seton Hall players are former teammates, including: ND sophomore 2B Steve Sollmann and SHU senior LHP Isaac Pavlik (Yarmouth Dennis Red Sox, 2001 Cape Cod League), and ND junior RHP Ryan Kalita and DH Mike Holba and SHU junior OF Casey Grimm (Waynesboro, Va., Generals, 2001 Shenendoah League) … freshman RHP Martin Vergara (Paterson/DePaul Catholic HS) is the fourth New Jersey native to play for Notre Dame baseball during the eight-year Paul Mainieri era, following recent righthander Larry Mohs (Nutley) and outfielder Rowan Richards (Bloomfield), with the ND all-time baseball monogram winners list including 43 New Jersey natives.

Notre Dame has won better than 81% of its games in April during the eight-year Paul Mainieri era (since ’95), with that 152-36 April record including a 32-4 mark during the past two seasons (20-2 in ’01, 12-2 in ’02).

Eighth-year ND head coach Paul Mainieri owns a 660-415-1 (.614) record in 19-plus college seasons … in addition to his 328-136-1 (.707) mark at ND, Mainieri’s teams were 180-121 in six seasons at St. Thomas (Fla.) and 152-158 in six seasons at Air Force … his 328 wins now rank 2nd all-time at ND, behind Jake Kline (558, ’34-’75), with Pat Murphy posting a 318-116-1 record from 1988-94 … Mainieri has seen 27 of his Irish players go on to pro baseball (19 via the draft), with RHP Christian Parker being the first to reach the Majors (as the N.Y. Yankees No. 5 starter, making his debut vs. Toronto on April 6 at Yankees Stadium – with Mainieri and others from ND on hand) … 15 of his players at St. Thomas went on to pro ball, including three – Joe Klink, Dane Johnson and Dan Rohrmeier – who have played in the Majors … Mainieri and his father Demie are the only known father-son combo in college baseball history to top 500 wins … Demie won 1,018 in 30 years at Miami-Dade North CC.


  • Junior Javier Sanchez – in his first year of playing SS – shored up his defense in the 14-game homestand (10 error-free games) while scoring 12 runs in that span (2nd-most on team).
  • Senior C Paul O’Toole (27 HR/10 3B) recently joined junior LF Brian Stavisky (28/12), Alec Porzel (37/12, ’98-’01) and Ryan Topham (34/13, ’93-’95) as the only ND players ever to record 25-plus home runs and 10-plus triples.
  • ND hit .341 in the 12-2 homestand, led by Steve Stanley (.563), Stavisky (.414), Matt Bok (.375), Joe Thaman (.350) and Andrew Bushey (.347) – with a 2.47 team ERA and .970 fielding (15 Es).
  • ND owns a 35-5 scoring edge in the 5th inning but has been outscored 25-9 in the 8th … the Irish are 13-2-1 in their last 16 games that have extended to extra innings (including Friday’s 2-1, 11-inning win over Virginia Tech).
  • Freshman SS Matt Macri (Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, 4/10) and Matt Edwards (broken leg, 3/9) are out for the year … freshman RHP Chris Niesel is sidelined indefinitely with mononucleosis (last outing April 7).

ND’s ERA charts have featured several new leaders in recent weeks, with various pitchers turning in strong outings to take over the top spot … 10 different pitchers have combined for the teams 19 wins, including five-time winner J.P. Gagne, 4-1 Peter Ogilvie, two with three Ws and three two-time winners, plus junior Ryan Kalita (who posted his first win last week vs. WMU) and freshman Tyler Jones (vs. Toledo) … ND’s 3.47 team ERA – impressively close to ND’s 3.22 mark that ranked 6th in the nation last season – includes six of nine “regulars” (10-plus innings) with ERAs under 3.10.

Notre Dame heads to Seton Hall riding the school record for consecutive games with at least one run scored (221) … the Irish scored in the final 58 games of 1999 and in every game of 2000 (64), ’01 (63) and ’02 (36), for a streak that stretches back to a 12-0 loss at Florida International on Feb. 21, 1999 … the previous record 133-game scoring streak began with the first game of the Paul Mainieri era, a 10-6 loss to Texas at the Anaheim Classic, on Feb. 24, 1995 (the Irish were shut out by Auburn, 8-0, in the 1994 NCAA East Regional at Clemson) … the previous record streak ended vs. another Texas team, 2-0 vs. Texas Pan-American in a seven-inning game on March 10, 1997 (at Wolff Stadium in San Antonio) … ND has scored in 98.9 pct. of its games in the Mainieri era (457 of 462), with other shutouts at Seton Hall (16-0, 3/22/97), vs. St. John’s (3-0, 5/9/98) and vs. Rutgers in the BIG EAST Tournament (12-0, 5/16/98) … prior to the Mainieri era, the longest ND scoring streaks were: 121 (April 23, 1930-May 26, 1937) and 103 games (May 25, 1907-May 17, 1912).

One of just five shutout losses in the eight-year Paul Mainieri era came at Seton Hall on March 22, 1997 (16-0), completing a three-game sweep for SHU that remained the only time ND had been swept in a three-gam BIG EAST series until the Irish dropped three at UConn earlier this season … ND’s five shutout losses under Mainieri have included just two on the opponent’s field (also at FIU in 1999), plus one at Eck Stadium and two on neutral fields.

Junior LF Brian Stavisky returned to action in the 5-4 win over Western Michigan on April 9, after missing nine games due to a facial fracture (he was hit by a pitch early in the March 28 doubleheader at West Virginia, suffering two broken bones on the left side of his face) … the WMU game marked just the third game this season that ND’s three preseason All-Americans – Stavisky, senior CF Steve Stanley and sophomore 2B Steve Sollmann – had started in the same game (also the opener vs. Missouri, when Sollmann left with a 4th-inning quad injury, and March 13 vs. Creighton).

7 DOWN, 3 TO GO:
Senior Paul O’Toole’s seven home runs this season are one shy of his career-best season total (8, in both 1999 and 2000, plus 4 in ’01) and give him 27 for his career (12th in ND history, one shy of 9th) … O’Toole – who ranks 6th in ND history with 49 career stolen bases – needs three more HRs to join former teammate Alec Porzel (37 HRs, 32 SBs) as the only “30-30” players in Notre Dame baseball history … 10 of O’Toole’s first 20 home runs came during lateseason games played in May (his seven HRs this season nearly match his previous pre-May three-year total of 10, from 1999-2001).

Notre Dame’s six freshman pitchers have combined for a 12-7 record in 41 appearances and 23 starts, plus a 3.99 combined ERA in 164.2 innings (73 earned runs), with 148 strikeouts, just 72 walks and 165 hits allowed.

The ND pitching staff once again owns an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.31, 252/109), which would rank 4th in team history … the low walk total (3.15/9 IP) would rank 6th in ND history … ND starting pitchers have posted a 2.65 K-to-walk ratio (170/64) in 2002 starts, led by juniors J.P. Gagne (27/8) and Peter Ogilvie (20/4) and freshmen Chris Niesel (35/10), John Axford (31/14), Grant Johnson (42/17) and Martin Vergara (9/7).

Several Irish players have recovered from early-season slumps to post solid offensive numbers during the last 19 games, most notably: senior C Paul O’Toole (.360, 24 RBI), sophomore 2B Steve Sollmann (.327, 8 RBI), junior RF Kris Billmaier (.319, 12 RBI) and sophomore 1B Joe Thaman (.317, 11 RBI) … in the first 15 games, those players’ stats were as follows: Sollmann (.188, 2 RBI), O’Toole (.216, 7 RBI), Billmaier (.184, 4 RBI) and Thaman (.200, 5 RBI).

Notre Dame junior LF Brian Stavisky is listed 25th on Baseball America’s annual list of top pro prospects in college baseball … Stavisky is the 8th position player and 2nd OF on the list, behind Stanford’s Jason Cooper (12) … ND was the only school with multiple outfielders on BA’s list of the top 100 college prospects, with senior CF Steve Stanley listed 80th (he’s the 34th position player and 14th OF on the list) … only seven teams had more than two players listed among the top 80 on that list … ND (7) joined Stanford (10) as the schools with the most players among BA’s top-40 prospects by college class: Stanley (9th among seniors), C/3B Paul O’Toole (31st senior), Stavisky (25th junior), 2B Steve Sollmann (37th sophomore), SS Matt Macri (2nd freshman) and freshman RHPs Chris Niesel (11th) and Martin Vergara (15th).

Notre Dame senior CF Steve Stanley was one of nine position players named by Baseball America to its midseason list of senior All-Americans … BA also recognized the 5-7 Stanley as being the nation’s top player under 5-10. Here’s the other members of BA’s midseason senior All-America team and their stats (as of mid-April):
C-Adam Shorsher, San Jose St. (.350-11-36).
1B-Yaron Peters, South Carolina (.414-12-51).
2B-Eric Arnold, Rice (.379-6-47).
3B-Ryan Barthelemy, Florida St. (.409-10-61).
SS-Khalil Greene, Clemson (.479-10-42). OF-L.J. Biernbaum, Florida Atlantic (.405-7-45, 11 SB), Steve Stanley, Notre Dame (.447-0-14, 19 SB), Chris Maples, North Carolina (.324-14-42).
DH-Ryan Kenning, New Mexico St. (.385-20-84).
UT-Whit Bryant, Elon (.467-6-36, 6-0, 3.35).
SP-Lance Cormier, Alabama (8-0, 1.36, 3 CG), Trevor Hutchinson, California (7-3, 3.03), Shane Komine, Nebraska (5-0, 2.10, 71 Ks in 56 IP), Steve Reba, Clemson (8-0, 3.25).
RP-David Bush, Wake Forest (4-1, 2.10, 7 SV, 3 BB in 26 IP).

Stanley entered the week ranked 11th in the nation for batting average (.459), with only six players entering the week higher than his current avg. (.476) … he also entered the week ranked 19th nationally in stolen bases (23) … Stanley is batting .605 (26-for-43) in his current 11-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in nine straight (before going 1-for-1 with four walks vs. Toledo) … this marks his third double-digit hitting streak of the season (also 13 and 10) and the seventh of his career … Stanley’s 48.3 at-bats per K this season (145/3) would rank first in the ND record book (since ’69), with no Ks in the last 14 games (48 ABs) … he has made 170 toal plate appearances (56.6 per K) … his ever-growing career hit total (336) leaves Stanley on the verge of becoming the eighth Division I player ever to reach 350 hits (he also holds ND records for career stolen bases, with 107, and consecutive starts, with 224) … Stanley has hits in 34 of 36 games this season and in 41 of his last 43 with the Irish (he also has gone 48 games without an error and has just seven career Es).

Two major BIG EAST career records are within the grasp of senior CF Steve Stanley, as he ranks 2rd in conference hits (137) and is tied for 1st in runs (93) – needing one hit to tie the record … former Rutgers players Darren Fenster (138 hits) and David DeJesus (93 runs) currently hold those BIG EAST records … Stanley’s six career triples in BIG EAST play rank 9th in the league record book, four shy of the shared record.

Stanley opened the season with a 13-game hitting streak (the 5th double-digit streak of his career, 2nd-longest overall) before adding a 10-game streak that ended in a short stint vs. Valparaiso (0-for-2), followed by the current 11-game streak … Stanley – who closed 2001 by batting 14-for-23 in the NCAAs – has four 4-hit games this season, vs. Fairfield, Sacred Heart, Creighton and Ball State (bringing his career total to 11 four-hit games, plus 5-for-5 vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the ’01 NCAAs) … his career-best hitting streak lasted 16 games in 2000 (he had a 12-game hitting streak in ’99 and 10-game streaks in ’00 and ’01) … Stanley’s team-best .476 season batting average includes 19 walks, five sacrifice bunts and just three Ks … he has hits in 34 of 36 games in 2002 (41 of the last 43, including the final seven of 2001).

Stanley – a leading contender for national player-of-the-year honors – already has claimed three ND career records, for consecutive starts (now 224), hits (325) and stolen bases (103) … he also has moved into 2nd on the ND career at-bats list (877), ranks 3rd in runs scored (214) and has pushed his career batting average to .382, which ranks 3rd in ND history.

Stanley has struck out just three times in 145 at-bats and 170 plate appearances this season (with 19 walks), for a ratio of 48.3 ABs and 56.7 plate appearnces per K … that would rank as the best ratio in the ND record book (since ’69, min. 90 ABs), with Rick Pullano holding the record with 3 Ks in 132 ABs (44.0) … the top 10 on that list include just one player since 1982 – as current senior 3B Andrew Bushey averaged 17.58 ABs per K in 2000 (211/12, good for 10th on the list) … Stanley owns a career average of 15.4 ABs per K (877/57, with 101 walks), with near-identical strikeouts totals (18, 19, 17) in his previous three seasons.

Stanley has swiped 23 stolen bases this season and could challenge the ND season record set by Scott Sollmann in 1996 (52, in 62 GP) … ironically, Sollmann’s brother Steve typically bats with Stanley on base (as the Irish No. 2 hitter) … Stanley’s 107 career SBs rank first in ND history, besting Sollmann’s record total of 101 (from ’94-’96).

Stanley has started all 224 games of his ND career (all in CF) while logging all but 20 innings in CF since ’99 (he played every inning of 60 straight games, before yielding to George Howard late in the 6th inning of both 7-inning Valparaiso games) … the familiar #2 has just seven career errors, with none in the last 48 games … in addition to Howard, only four other players have briefly replaced Stanley in CF: Paul O’Toole (’99), Ben Cooke (’00, ’01), Mike Naumann (’01) and John Heintz (’01).

Notre Dame signed six high school seniors to national letters of intent in the 2001 fall period: C Cody Rizzo (Temecula, Calif.), SS Greg Lopez (Upper Arlington, Ohio), OFs Craig Cooper (Plainview, N.Y.) and Brennan Grogan (Tequesta, Fla.), RHP Ryan Doherty (Toms River, N.J.) and 3B/RHP Matt Bransfield (Englewood, Colo.) … Cooper, Doherty and Grogan have been listed among Team One Baseball’s top 200 high school prospects while Cooper, Doherty and Rizzo are ranked among Baseball America’s list of the nation’s top prospects … Grogan and Cooper are accomplished OFs who should add speed to the lineup while Lopez has been rated as the best infield prospect to come out of talent-rich Ohio in five years (according to The Buckeye Scout) … Rizzo is a talented all-around catcher who could make the biggest contributions as a freshman while Bransfield’s versatility could prove valuable to the 2002 squad … Doherty provides an added dimension to the class, due to his 7-1, 235-pound frame that produced plenty of interest from Division I basketball programs.

Notre Dame won its consecutive BIG EAST series at Eck Stadium (before splitting vs. Pittsburgh and sweeping Virginia Tech), since dropping 2-of-3 to St. John’s late in the 1998 season … in seven seasons of BIG EAST play, the Irish own a 123-51 overall record in BIG EAST games (.669), winning 46 of 60 BIG EAST series (with eight splits and just six series losses) … ND has played 58 all-time BIG EAST doubleheaders, sweeping 33 (with 21 splits and just four sweeps by the opponent) … Seton Hall (’97) and UConn (’02) are the only BIG EAST teams ever to sweep a three-game series from the Irish.