March 30, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame junior shortstop Brant Ust (Redmond, Wash.) has been named the BIG EAST Conference baseball player of the week, after hitting .474 with four home runs in five games during the week of March 22-28.
The Irish posted a 4-1 record during the week (including three BIG EAST road wins), with Ust leading the team in average (.474, 9-for-19), home runs (4) and RBI (10), plus two doubles, six runs scored, three walks, one stolen base and just one error while making several tough plays at shortstop.
Ust’s strong showing helped the Irish pick up the slack caused by the absence of No. 2 hitter, freshman 3B Andrew Bushey, who is out with a knee injury suffered at West Virginia on March 20. The Irish also continued to play without senior DH/first baseman Jeff Wagner, who missed all of March with a foot injury.
Ust led the Irish to a midweek 12-8 win over Western Michigan, batting 3-for-5 with two home runs, five RBI, a double and three runs scored. He hit 3-for-6 in a sweep at Villanova, including going 2-for-4 with two RBI, two runs, a home run, a walk and a stolen base in the second win (10-8). He also was a key factor in the 10-1 win at defending BIG EAST champion Rutgers, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a double. His leadoff home run ignited the decisive seven-run, sixth inning in that game.
Ust has five home runs in his last six games, 12 for the season (the rest of the team has 10) and 41 for his career (two behind all-time leader Wagner). His 12 home runs already are one shy of ninth on the Irish single-season list and stand just eight behind the all-time record of 20, set by Frank Jacobs in 1991.
In addition to his 12 home runs, Ust’s other 1999 statistics include: 33 hits in 80 at-bats, a .412 batting avg. (which would rank seventh all-time at Notre Dame), six doubles, one triple, a .962 slugging pct. (well ahead of the Irish record of .783, set by Dan Peltier in 1989), 30 RBI, 16 walks, 16 strikeouts, four stolen bases (in six tries) and just eight errors in 72 chances (for a .913 fielding pct.).
Ust currently leads the BIG EAST in home runs (12 ) while ranking third in RBI (30), seventh in runs scored (23) and eighth in hits (33). His solid fielding has helped the Irish post a BIG EAST-best .963 team fielding pct.
Over the course of a 60-game season, Ust is on pace for 32 home runs and 82 RBI, which would rank third all-time at Notre Dame behind Peltier’s 93 in 1989 and Eric Danapilis’ 85 in 1993.
Ust is averaging 1.5 hits and 1.36 RBI per game this season. His averages based on 100 plate appearances include 83 at-bats, 23 runs, 34 hits, 31 RBI, 16 walks, 80 total bases, 13 flyouts and 15 groundouts. He is batting .444 with runners on base, .483 with two outs (15 two-out RBI) and .400 with runners in scoring position while reaching base on nine of his 18 leadoff at-bats (.500).
Ust has boosted his career batting average to .379 (197-for-520), which ranks third all-time at Notre Dame behind Peltier (.406, 1987-89) and Danapilis (.405, 1990-93). He is 27 hits shy of cracking the Irish career hits list in three seasons while his 141 career RBI are 23 shy of the Irish top 10. Ust also has scored 143 runs in his Irish career (six shy of 10th place all-time at Notre Dame) while his 41 career doubles rank eighth in the Irish record book, one behind former teammate J.J. Brock.