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Edwards Again Named MVP As Irish Improve To 9-1 With 13-5 Win Over UTSA

March 9, 2004

Box Score

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – SAN ANTONIO, Texas (3/9/04) – The Notre Dame baseball team had struggled with its early-game offense for most of the 2004 season but – for the second straight game – the Irish bats were hot from the start, as the nation’s eighth-ranked squad jumped out to an 8-1 lead after three innings en route to a 13-5 win over Texas-San Antonio to win the Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic at Wolff Stadium.

Notre Dame (9-1) – which again racked up a high number of total baserunners (24) – has equaled the program’s best 10-game start in the last 96 seasons. Only two of the previous teams in the program’s 112-year history have opened 10-0 (the last doing so in 1908) while eight others have started 9-1, with the 1960 team and now the 2004 squad representing the only Irish teams since 1936 to start 9-1.

Junior first baseman Matt Edwards (Mechanicsville, Va.) fittingly was named the tournament’s MVP, exactly two years removed from the devastating broken leg that cut short his freshman season in 2002 (that injury occurred just hours away in Round Rock, where Notre Dame will play four games on March 11-14). Edwards had an RBI single, run scored and three walks in the title game while batting 7-for-15 with seven RBI in the four-day tournament (plus four walks, a home run and a double). The 6-2, 195-pound righthanded hitter also was named MVP at last week’s FAU Classic and is batting .417 for the season, with 15 RBI and four home runs.

Freshman righthander Jess Stewart joined Edwards as two of six Notre Dame players named to the 15-player all-tournament team. Stewart (2-0) struck out three batters and did not issue a walk while scattering eight hits in 5.2 innings of work. He allowed four runs (one unearned), with the final two runs coming at the end of his 95-pitch outing.

Four Irish players – senior second baseman Steve Sollmann (3 RBI, R), sophomore rightfielder Cody Rizzo (3 R), junior third baseman Matt Macri (2 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B) and sophomore leftfielder Craig Cooper (3 RBI, R) – contributed two hits to the Irish 12-hit attack.

Notre Dame’s other all-tournament selections included sophomore DH Steve Andres (.462/6-for-13, BB, 4 RBI, 3 R, HR, 2B), senior catcher/third baseman Javi Sanchez (.412/7-for-17, 3 BB, HBP, 3 RBI, 4 R, 3 2B), junior third baseman Matt Macri (.400/6-for-15, BB, 3 RBI, 6 R, 2 2B) and senior lefthander Joe Thaman (1.93 ERA, 1-0, 2 GP, 9.1 IP, 5 H, BB, 7 Ks).

The first eight games of the 2004 season saw the Irish bat just .214 (19-for-89) with only 12 runs scored in the 1st-3rd innings of those eight games. Monday’s 8-2 win over Penn State and Tuesday’s 13-5 game with UTSA featured a turnaround with Notre Dame’s early-game offense, as the Irish hit .455 (15-for-43) and totaled 15 runs in the 1st-3rd innings of those games.

The Irish snatched a 3-0 lead in the top of the second, with Rizzo reaching when he was hit by the first pitch of the inning from sophomore righthander Jason Vecchio (the 34th HBP of Rizzo’s young ND career, already just four shy of the Irish record). Macri sent the next pitch down the leftfield line for a double and Greg Lopez plated Rizzo with a single through the left side. Sollmann added a one-out groundout (scoring Macri) and Danny Dressman capped the inning with an RBI double to center field (on a 2-2 count).

Notre Dame’s big inning came moments later in the five-run 3rd, with 10 batters coming to the plate. Sanchez led off with a full-count walk and nearly added the sixth hit of the inning, on a linedrive up the middle that was snared by the shortstop for the third out. The inning also included a wild pitch, Andres’ RBI single up the middle, Rizzo’s single through the left side and another Macri double down the leftfield line (RBI) that ended Vecchio’s night. Righthanded reliever Blake Brannon then walked Lopez on four pitches, Craig Cooper stroked a two-run double to left-center and Edwards added a two-out single to the shortstop’s backhand side for the early 8-0 cushion.

2004 Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic All-Tournament Team

C – Javi Sanchez, ND, Sr. (.412 batting avg., 7-for-14, 3 BB, HBP, 3 RBI, 4 R, 3 2B)

C – Aaron Greenfield, PSU, So. (.438, 7-for-16, BB, 2 HBP, 4 RBI, 2 R, 2 2B)

1B (MVP) – Matt Edwards, ND, Jr. (.438, 7-for-16, 4 BB, 7 RBI, 4 R, HR, 2B)

2B – J.R. Voyles, UTSA, So. (.538, 7-for-13, BB, HBP, 5 RBI, 4 R, HR, 2B)

SS – Mike Milliron, PSU, Jr. (.450, 9-for-20, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 5 R, HR, 2 2B, SB)

3B – Matt Macri, ND, Jr. (.400, 6-for-15, BB, 3 RBI, 6 R, 2 2B)

LF – Kevin Koski, SIU, Fr. (.368, 7-for-19, BB, HBP, 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 SB)

CF – Sam Mitchell, UTSA, Sr. (.400, 6-for-15, 3 BB, 4 RBI, 3 R, 3 2B, 2 SB)

CF – Cory Newman, SIU, Sr. (.375, 6-for-16, 2 BB, 8 RBI, 2 R, 3B, 2 2B)

DH – Steve Andres, ND (.462, 6-for-13, BB, 4 RBI, 3 R, HR, 2B)

DH/RHP – Lucas Stewart, UTSA, Sr. (.500, 7-for-14, HBP, 2 RBI, 4 R, 3B … 3.86 ERA, SV, 2.1 IP, 4 H, .364 opp. avg., HBP)

RHP – Klae Boehme, UTSA, Sr. (0.00, 1-0, 9 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 6 Ks, .250)

RHP – Sean Stidfole, PSU, So. (0.00, 1-0, 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 Ks, .188)

LHP – Eric Haberer, SIU, Jr. (1.59, 2 GP/1 GS, 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 Ks, .273, 2 WP, 2 HB)

LHP – Joe Thaman, ND, Sr. (1.93, 1-0, 2 GP, 9.1 IP, 5 H, BB, 7 Ks, .152, WP)

RHP – Jess Stewart, ND, Fr. (5.40, 1-0 in title game, 2 GP/1 GS, 6.2 IP, 10 H, 3 Ks, .357, 2 HBP)

2004 Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic Results

March 6 – Notre Dame 12, Southern Illinois 11 (11) … Penn State 6, Texas-San Antonio 5

March 7 – Texas-San Antonio 17, Notre Dame 9 … Penn State 8, Southern Illinois 7 (10)

March 8 – Notre Dame 8, Penn State 2 … Texas-San Antonio 5, Southern Illinois 0

March 9 – Southern Illinois 12, Penn State 9 (consolation) … Notre Dame 13, Texas-San Antonio 5 (championship)

NOTES: Notre Dame hit .340 in the Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic, scoring 42 runs in four games with two home runs, 12 doubles and a +3 ratio of walks plus hit-by-pitch (14+10) minus strikeouts (21) … the other teams had similar offensive numbers: Penn State (.313, 25 R), UTSA (.303, 32 R), and SIU (.293, 30 R) … the Irish totaled eight errors with a .952 tournament fielding pct. … the Irish pitchers combined for a 7.15 staff ERA and .296 opponent batting avg. (48 H, 13 BB, 22 Ks in 39 IP, 1 WP, 4 HB) … the Irish are 15-1 in their last 16 San Antonio tournament games … Rizzo extended his career-best hitting streak to nine games and was hit-by-pitch four times in the tournament, pushing his career total (34) past Ed Lund (’90) and Eric Danapilis (’93) into 4th on the ND career HBP list (behind Craig Desensi’s 38 and the 36 by Dan Bautch and Greg Layson) … Sollmann’s career hit total now stands at 264, still 7th in the ND record book behind two of his brother Scott’s former classmates (Mike Amrhein with 269 and J.J. Brock with 272) … Sollmann scored his 184th career run, passing former middle-infielder partner Alec Porzel for 9th in the record book … in addition to the all-tournament picks, two other ND players hit .400-plus in the ACIBC: Cooper (.500, 4-for-8, 4 RBI, 4 R, BB, 2 2B, SB) and Rizzo (.400, 6-for-15, 4 HBP, 2 RBI, 6 R) … ND’s team stats now include a .347 batting average, a 4.95 staff ERA and a .972 team fielding pct. … top hitters among regulars include Edwards (.417, 7 BB, HBP, 15 RBI, 10 R, 4 HR, 3 2B) and Macri (.385, 4 BB, 11 RBI, 14 R, HR, 3B, 3 2B, SB), with Lopez, Andres and Cooper each batting .375 (Cooper has hits in his last seven games played).

#8 Notre Dame (9-1) 0-3-5 0-1-3 1-0-0 – 13 12 3

Texas-San Antonio (8-6) 0-0-1 1-0-2 0-1-0 – 5 10 3

Jess Stewart (W, 2-0), Dan Kapala (6), Mike Dury (7), Ryan Doherty (8), Chris Niesel (9) and Javi Sanchez.

Jason Vecchio, Blake Brannon (3), Jacob Sansom (5), Josh Ruffin (7), Chad Kuck (9) and Zach Etheredge.

Doubles: Danny Dressman (ND), Matt Macri 2 (ND), Craig Cooper (ND), Ryan Crew (UTSA), Michael McKennon (UTSA).