NOTRE DAME BASEBALL GAMEDAY NOTES
Saturday, April 7, 2001 … at Rutgers (noon, DH)
FIRST PLACE ON THE LINE: The winner of the ND-Rutgers series will gain a foothold in the BIG EAST standings, with RU owning an 8-2 conference record while ND is 5-2 … the Irish dropped a pair of games at Virginia Tech (RU has yet to face VT) while the Knights have dropped games to Seton Hall (which was swept in three games last week at ND) and UConn (which plays at ND in early May) … the winner of the ND-RU series will own the tiebreaker should the teams finish tied in the BIG EAST standings.
NEARING THE MIDPOINT: The 6th-ranked Irish baseball team (22-5-1)-picked by the conference coaches, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball to win the 2001 BIG EAST Conference title-opened BIG EAST play with a pair of 3-0 wins at Pitt before losing late at VT (3-2, 9-8) … all the weekend action can be heard live on South Bend-based WJVA 1580 AM (also via the internet, at www.und.com) … ND capped its Spring Break trip by winning Fresno State’s eight-team Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic, with three wins over 2000 NCAA tournament teams (Fresno State, Miami of Ohio and Illinois) and a 3-0 shutout of New Mexico (which won the 2000 Mountain West Conference regular-season title) … the title-game victory over Portland t the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic was the 600th victory in the 19-year head coaching career of Paul Mainieri (now in his seventh season at ND, he is 609-395-1/.607 overall and 277-116-1/.704 at ND).
THE SERIES: The Notre Dame-Rutgers rivalry has continued to grow in recent years, with RU holding a narrow 7-6 series edge … the first 13 games of the ND-RU series have yet to produce three consecutive wins by the same team (the Irish own a current two-game streak) … the 1998 series at ND was rained out … the previous four doubleheaders in the series each have been splits (both teams have won two series openers).
LAST YEAR’S GAMES: The Irish and Scarlet Knights met on the final week of the 2000 regular season with first place on the line (ND was 16-6, RU 17-3) … RU clinched the regular-season title with a 16-6 win at Eck Stadium but ND won the next two (4-3, 10-6)-giving ND 10 of 10 series wins for the 2000 season … the first game of the 2000 series halted Aaron Heilman’s 10-game winning streak (which had tied an ND record) and remains his only loss in his last 18 decisions … Brian Stavisky was the hero in Game 2, winning with a game-ending two-run shot in the 9th (J.P. Gagne tossed four shutout innings in relief for the win) … Ken Meyer (3-for-4, 2 RBI, 4 R) and Danny Tamayo (5 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 4 BB, K) combined to help ND win the 2000 series finale.
BIG OR SMALL (MARGINS): 11 of the previous 13 games in the ND-Rutgers series have produced either close finishes (1-2 runs) or blowout (9-plus runs).
IRISH AT THE COMPLEX: Notre Dame has won three of five previous games versus Rutgers at the Class of `53 Complex … each of the 1997 games were decided by one run (3-2, 14-15, 6-5) while the `99 series featured a pair of blowouts (10-1, 1-17).
SERIES STATS: Matt Strickroth (.429, 3-for-7, RBI, 2 R) and Ken Meyer (.385, 5-for-13, 2 RBI, 3B, 2B, BB, 5 R) are the only ND players who are hitting above .333 in career games vs. RU … senior RHP Aaron Heilman is the only ND pitcher with more than five career IP vs. the Knights but his stats from those two outings (one of which came in relief in the `98 BIG EAST Tournament) include an 0-2 record, 7.56 ERA and 11 hits allowed in 8.1 innings … by contrast, Heilman’s career stats vs. the rest of the BIG EAST include an 18-3 record, 2.04 ERA and 6.7 hits allowed per nine innngs pitched … see stats at end of gamenotes for breakdowns of batters-vs.-pitchers in the ND-RU series.
HEILMAN ON VERGE OF BIG EAST RECORDS: A win today would give Aaron Heilman an 18-4 career record in BIG EAST regular-season games, which would best the BIG EAST record held by former Providence hurler Todd Incantaluop (`95-’97), whose 15 complete games also are a BIG EAST record (Heilman is tied for fifth with 12) … Heilman also needs eight strikeouts to break the BIG EAST career regular-season record, set by former Seton Hall ace Jason Grilli (now of the Florida Marlins) … Grilli totaled 164 Ks in 143.2 IP from 1995-97 while Heilman has 157 in 146.1 IP … Heilman’s 2.52 career ERA in BIG EAST regular-season games ranks fifth in the record book among pitchers with 70-plus innings … his ERA is second-best among that group since 1990 and is best since current major leaguer C.J. Nitkowski posted a 1.93 in 102.2 IP with St. John’s in 1993 and `94.
NCAA ERA LEADERS (ALMOST): ND’s 2.45 team ERA ranks 2nd in the NCAA rankings, behind Baylor’s 2.33 … Aaron Heilman (1.17, 9th in nation) and Danny Tamayo (1.64, 27th) have combined for a 1.39 ERA, plus 101 Ks and just 19 walks in 103.1 IP, with a .183 combined opponent batting avg. … Central Florida (7th, 12th) and Southwest Missouri (11th, 27th) are the only schools with two pitchers ranked higher on the ERA charts than ND’s big duo … Heilman is tied for 7th nationally in wins and is one of four pitchers nationwide who sit atop the winning pct. charts with 7-0 records … ND (now 22-5-1) entered the week with the nation’s 2nd-best winning pct. (Stetson was 25-4).
(see PDF version for probable lineup, with notes)
TALE OF THE TAPE
* Despite its early struggles, the ND offense leads the BIG EAST in overall batting avg. (.311) while RU entered the week 6th at .288 … the teams have comparable home run numbers (RU 14, ND 13) but the Irish have 61 doubles and a .432 slugging pct. (RU entered the week with 46, .402) … ND tends to run more, with nearly double the number of stolen bases (41-21) and the Knights entered the week with 178 Ks to 97 walks (ND has 137 and 97).
* ND (2.45) and RU (3.28) entered the week with the top ERAs and opponent batting averages (.231, .238) in the BIG EAST … the Knights have served up more than twice the number of home runs (17-8) while the staff K numbers are comparable (7.19 per 9 IP for RU, 6.84 for ND), with the Knights walking more batters (3.65 to 2.34) … ND also has collected more complete games (7) and shutouts (6) than RU (4, 2).
* ND owns a slight edge in fielding pct. (.968-.965) but RU has turned more double plays (22-20) … Irish errors have produced 18 unearned runs for the opponents (23 for the Knights).
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Game 1 – Aaron Heilman vs. Buddy Gallagher
Game 2 – J.P. Gagne vs. Tom Wheeler
Game 3 – Danny Tamayo vs. Tom Crohan
(note: Gagne is throwing on Saturday so he can return for Thursday’s DH vs. Georgetown
SCOUTING RUTGERS (see www.scarletknights.com for detailed information): Rutgers is 23-7 and riding a nine-game winning streak …. RU was predicted to challenge ND and Rutgers for the BIG EAST title in preseason polls, with the BIG EAST coaches picking the Knights second while Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball tabbed RU third … the Knights return 18 of 25 letterwinners from their 2000 team that posted a 40-18 overall record (18-5 in the BIG EAST) before advancing to the NCAAs … RU must replace five everyday starters from its 2000 lineup, led by SS Darren Fenster (the BE player of the year), 3B Jake Daubert, CF David DeJesus and RF Joe Cirrone.
STRONG STARTS: Senior RHP Aaron Heilman and sophomore RHP J.P. Gagne will be looking to extend the impressive performances by Notre Dame starting pitchers during the 2001 season, as the Irish starters have combined for a 1.85 ERA through the first 28 games … the bulk of those starts (14) have come from the lethal senior RHP combination of Heilman (1.17, 9th in the nation) and Danny Tamayo (1.64, 27th) while sophomore RHP Peter Ogilvie (0.72) has turned in four strong midweek starts … junior RHP Matt Buchmeier (3.81) has logged five starts while sophomore Gagne (4.88) has turned in solid starts in each of his last three outings … senior LHP Mike Naumann then added his own strong start earlier this week in the win over Dayton … the other combined stats for ND starting pitchers in 2001 include an 18-3 record in 182.2 innings pitched, with 151 Ks, 38 walks and 136 hits allowed (for nine-inning averages of 7.4 Ks, 1.9 BBs and 6.7 hits) … ND’s overall 2.45 team ERA includes a 3.84 ERA by the bullpen-led by , sophomore RHPs Matt Laird (1.29, 1-0, 3 SV) and Brandon Viloria (3.86, 3-1, SV).
THE SLUGGER AND THE HUSTLER: Notre Dame players entered the week atop the BIG EAST charts for overall slugging pct. and on-base pct. (while just missing on the batting charts) … sophomore RF Brian Stavisky (.635, now down to .613) is slugging above .600 despite the fact that he has hit just two home runs (he had 14 in 2000), with nine doubles and three triples adding to his 57 total bases in 2001 … freshman 2B Steve Sollmann continues to reach base on roughly half of his plate appearances, as he entered the week with the BIG EAST’s top on-base pct. (.495) before boosting that number to .514 … Sollmann (.420) also entered the week ranked 2nd on the BIG EAST overall batting charts (.420) and could take over the top spot next week (he now is batting .432, with UConn’s Mike Scott entering the week at .427).
THREE S’s BABY!: Notre Dame’s top three batters continue to be sophomore 2B Steve Sollmann (.432), sophomore RF Brian Stavisky (.387) and junior CF Steve Stanley (.378) … those three players (who entered the week ranked 2nd, 6th and 9th on the BIG EAST batting charts) combined to occupy the top spot on the Irish batting charts for most of the seasons.
THE DOMINANT DUO: Senior RHPs Aaron Heilman (1.17) and Danny Tamayo (1.64) rank atop the BIG EAST season ERA leaders while Heilman (7-0 is the runaway leader in wins (Tamayo is tied for third, at 4-1) … Tamayo (52) and Heilman (49) also entered the week ranked 1st and 3rd on the league strikeout list (WVU’s Shane Rhodes has 51) while Heilman (3) and Tamayo (2) are the only BIG EAST players with multiple shutouts in 2001 (Heilman is the only one with four complete games) … Pitt’s Joe Engel owns the top opponent batting avg. (.164) among BIG EAST pitchers, followed by Heilman (.174, 2nd) and Tamayo (.193, 5th).
ALMOST 20-0: Since suffering a 6-1 loss to South Florida on March 2, Notre Dame has posted 16 wins, one tie and three one-run losses (3-2 and 9-9 at Virginia Tech, despite holding late leads, and 4-3 to Ball State despite having 18 baserunners).
DECEIVING: Senior SS Alec Porzel’s current .245 season batting average stands in sharp contrast to his production in recent weeks … Porzel is ND’s third-leading batter in BIG EAST games (.360, 9-for-25, 8 RBI, 6 2B) and is batting .419 (13-for-31) during his current eight-game hitting streak.
ROAD WARRIORS: Following the Rutgers series, Notre Dame will spend consecutive weekends at home for the first time all season … in fact, ND’s 13 games after the RU series include 12 at Eck Stadium and the April 17th Purdue game at nearby Coveleski Stadium … after logging roughly 14,000 miles during a seven-week stretch that included roadtrips to Mississippi, Texas, Florida, California, Pittsburgh/Virginia and New Jersey, the Irish will welcome an 18-day stretch (April 9-26) in which the team’s only trip will be the short drive to downtown South Bend for the Purdue game … despite the travel demands, the Irish players have missed just five class days and are coming off a stellar 2000 fall semester that saw the 33-member squad combine for a 3.19 team GPA.
THE COMBINED STATS: Heilman and Tamayo head into the Rutgers series with an 11-1 combined record, plus a 1.39 combined ERA, 101 Ks, 19 walks and 67 hits allowed in 103.1 innings pitched (with a .183 combined opp. batting avg.).
IT TAKES TWO: Despite seeing a major dropoff in its home run totals (50 in 64 games last season, 13 in 28 games this season), ND’s offense continues to belt out the doubles at a record pace … the Irish have totaled 62 doubles and are on pace for 142 two-baggers over the course of 64 games-which would clear the record total set a year ago (131, in 2000).
BE CAREFUL WITH THOSE BBs: Notre Dame’s pitching staff once again has compiled impressive numbers in the areas of strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.92, 190/65) and walks per nine innings (2.34, in 250 IP) … ND’s top K-to-BB ratios belong to senior RHPs Danny Tamayo (8.7, 52/6) and Aaron Heilman (3.8, 49/13) and sophomore RHP Peter Ogilvie (6.5, 13/2) … Ogilvie also is averaging just 0.7 walks per nine innings while Tamayo owns an average of 1.1 BB per 9 IP (Heilman is 2.2) … Tamayo’s last three outings have produced 30 strikeouts and just one walk … in fact, he carries a “no-walk” streak into the Rutgers series that stretched over his last 19.1 innings and 84 batters faced (his last walk came on March 17 versus Portland, when he walked Matt Allen to lead off the fourth inning.
#22 BY THE NUMBERS: Aaron Heilman’s previous 35 college starts have yielded 27 wins, four losses and a 2.84 ERA-plus nine-inning averages as a starter of 8.8 Ks, 2.6 BBs and 7.3 hits allowed … Heilman’s average start has lasted 7.1 innings, including nine 7-inning complete games (31 of his starts have gone at least six innings) … he has allowed more than four earned runs as a starter just six times while allowing more than eight hits in just five of his starts … Heilman has walked more than four batters in just five of his starts while posting 8-plus Ks in 18 of his starts.
HEILMAN IN THE ND BOOKS: Aaron Heilman become ND’s career strikeout leader with his second K of the 2001 season (he now has 363, including 49 in 2001) and owns the program’s best rcareer atio of Ks per nine IP (9.79) … his other spots in the ND career record book include 2nd in wins (35-7, trailing Tom Price’s 40-10 mark from 1991-94), 4th in winning pct. (.833, best in 77 years), 2nd in appearances (75), 9th in starts (36), 4th in IP (333.2, four behind `90 grad. Brian Piotrowicz), 2nd in saves (12), 4th in ERA (2.54, best among pitcher with 150-plus IP), 8th in complete games (18) and 4th in shutouts (7).
UNCHARTED WATERS: Aaron Heilman continues to go where few previous ND pitchers have gone before him … his six career shutouts are tied for 4th in the ND record book and are 2nd-most at ND since 1909 (lefty Chris Michalak-scheduled to start today for Toronto vs. the Yankees-had seven shutouts from 1990-93) … Heilman’s three shutouts in 2001 are tied for 3rd in the ND single-season record book and no ND pitcher has thrown four-plus shutouts in a season since 1909 (when Billy Burke posted the record five).
WIN STREAKS: Heilman has won 17 of his last 18 decisions, including 10 straight wins (tying an ND record) after a tough-luck loss to Ohio State on the first week of the 2000 season … he also has turned in another rarity by starting 7-0 in 2001 and has a strong chance to join Tom Price (14-5 in `94) as the only Irish pitchers ever to win more than 12 games in a season.
NICE ROUND NUMBERS: With at least eight starts likely remaining in his ND career, Aaron Heilman needs five more wins and 37 strikeouts to reach an impressive pair of career milestones: 40 wins and 400 strikeouts.
IRISH STEADY IN THE POLLS: ND has earned the highest rankings in the program’s history in each of the three major national polls, moving up at least five spots in each … the Irish rose to sixth in the Collegiate Baseball magazine poll while moving up to 7th in the Baseball America poll and rising to 8th in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll … five teams are ranked ahead of ND in each poll: Stanford, Rice, Georgia Tech, LSU and Florida State … Nebraska (6th) sits ahead of ND in the BA poll while Arizona State (6th) and South Carolina (7th) are in front of the Irish in the coaches poll … ND moved past Miami, USC, Tennessee and South Alabama in all three polls while also edging in front of South Carolina, ASU and Clemson in two of the polls (Stetson also dropped behind ND in the CB poll).
PITCHING IN THE CLUTCH: Notre Dame’s pitching staff has allowed 37 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 .183 batting with runners on second or third base (48 points below the opponents overall batting average) … senior RHP Danny Tamayo (26.0%) has been ND’s top pitcher in terms of keeping leadoff batters off base while three others-Peter Ogilvie (.171), Aaron Heilman (.133) and Matt Laird (.143)-have posted impressive opponent batting averages with runners on base.
HAWAII 3-0: Sophomore RHP Brandon Viloria (Wailuku, Hawaii) had a save and won both of his decisions during the Spring Break trip … that productive week out of the bullpen included the save vs. Eastern Michigan (4-3) before posting tightly-contested wins over Fresno State (5-4 in 10 innings) and Portland (7-6 in the title game of the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic), boosting his season record to 3-0 (now 3-1).
NO SPRING CHICKENS: Freshman 2B Steve Sollmann surged to the team batting lead (now at .432), thanks to a .519 average during the eight Spring Break games (14-for-27) while the other Steve S.-junior CF Steve Stanley-hit .441 during the Spring Break games (15-for-34) and is batting .378 overall … those two players earned all-tournament honors at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic, as did senior RHP Aaron Heilman.
CONFERENCE WINNING PCT. : Over the course of its first six BIG EAST seasons (1996-2001), Notre Dame ranks first in the 11-member conference with: a .713 overall winning percentage (237-95-1, Rutgers was second at .634, heading into 2001), a .735 BIG EAST regular-season winning percentage (86-31, Rutgers was second at .713) and a .702 winning percentage in combined BIG EAST regular-season and tournament games (97-41, Rutgers was second at .690 prior to 2001) … St. John’s owns the best BIG EAST Tournament winning pct. during the past five seasons (.600, 10-6), followed by Notre Dame at .524 (11-10) … the double-elimination tournament has been the ultimate bugaboo for Notre Dame, with the same team providing the Irish losses during each of the first three seasons (WVU in ’96, Villanova in ’97, Rutgers in ’98) before the Irish were beaten by complete game-efforts from Seton Hall and Providence in ’99, followed by a pair of losses to Boston College in 2000.
SERIES SUCCESS: In five-plus BIG EAST seasons, Notre Dame owns 36 series wins, six series losses and five series ties. The Irish have won 19 of their last 22 BIG EAST series (’99 series tie at Rutgers, ’99 series loss to St. John’s, `01 DH sweep at Virginia Tech) and 31 of the last 37 (three ties). Notre Dame has played 45 all-time BIG EAST doubleheaders, sweeping 24 (18 splits, just three opponent sweeps). Prior to the late-inning losses at VT (3-2, 9-8), the Irish had played 34 straight BIG EAST doubleheaders without being swept (the previous opponent sweep of a DH came at Seton Hall, March 22, 1997). The only other DH sweep by a BIG EAST team over ND was by West Virginia in ’96 (at Eck Stadium). The Irish have played 24 BIG EAST series at Eck, winning20 (one tie) and have won their last 10 home BIG EAST series, since dropping one to St. John’s in ’98.
TOP-FIVE CONFERENCE: BIG EAST baseball headed into 2001 with a prestigious ranking from Baseball America, which rated the BIG EAST as the nation’s fifth-best Division I baseball conference, behind traditional power conferences (SEC, ACC, Pac-10, Big 12). Four current BIG EAST teams participated in the 2000 NCAAs: Notre Dame, Rutgers, Seton Hall and newcomer Virginia Tech (formerly of the Atlantic-10) … five other current BIG EAST teams advanced to the NCAAs in the 1990s while the league consistently has produced high draft picks and NCAA statistical leaders.
HITTING WHEN IT MATTERS MOST: ND’s team batting average (.311) is 29 points lower with runners in scoring position (.282) … by contrast, the Irish batted .299 overall in the 2000 season but hit 14 points higher (.313) with runners in scoring position … sophomore 2B Steve Sollmann (.414) and sophomore RF Brian Stavisky (.386) owns the team’s top batting averages with RBI chances (.467).
SHUTOUT CITY: ND’s last 30 games have including seven shutout performances by Irish pitchers … Danny Tamayo tossed a three-hit shutout at Mississippi State in the 2000 NCAA Regional (3-0) before duplicating that feat in this season’s 3-0 win over New Mexico … Aaron Heilman blanked Florida Atlantic on five hits to lead ND’s 3-0 win over the Blue Wave on March 2 … Peter Ogilvie and Matt Laird then combined to blank Cleveland State (3-0) and Heilman and Tamayo followed with similar 3-0 wins at Pittsburgh before Heilman added his third shutout of the season, 6-0 vs. Seton Hall.
DOMINO EFFECT: The return of senior RHP Aaron Heilman has done more than just impact the top pitching matchup of a weekend series-in fact, the return of No. 22 could leave a mark on nearly every Irish game during the 2001 season … Heilman’s return transformed classmate Danny Tamayo into arguably the BIG EAST’s top No. 2 pitcher while helping junior Matt Buchmeier ease into the role of weekend starter in the No. 3 or 4 spot (as opposed to breaking in at No. 2) … sophomore J.P. Gagne also now can be used in a swingman role, as a very capable starter and tough long-reliever … finally, Heilman’s return also has impacted the role of sophomore Matt Laird-who may have taken on a role somewhere in the starting rotation without Heilman on the staff but instead has turned in a solid debut as the Irish closer.
MOVING ON: The Irish dropped Tuesday’s Ball State game (4-3) despite totaling 18 baserunners … BSU’s final two runs were unearned (ND had allowed just 16 unearned runs in its other 27 games).
SEVENTH HEAVEN: ND’s most productive inning has been the 7th (30 runs scored, six allowed), followed by the 3rd (33-7) and 4th (21-4) … the Irish are hitting .388 as a team in the 7th inning (compared to .311 overall), led by freshman 1B Joe Thaman (4-for-6), junior CF Steve Stanley (8-for-13) and junior 3B Andrew Bushey (5-for-10).
SPRINT TO 20: ND reached the 20-win plateau (20-4-1) faster than any of the program’s previous 92 teams, dating back to the 20-1 start by the 1908 squad … the 2000 Irish squad tied the ND record for quickest to 30 wins (30-9), with the current squad needing to win eight of its next 10 games to break that record.
SOLID COMPETITION: Nearly half of ND’s games this season (including the Rutgers series) have come vs. teams that competed in the 2000 NCAAs (9-3 in those games, prior to the RU series), with a loss to New Orleans, two wins over Mississippi State, wins over Florida Atlantic, Fresno State, Miami and Illinois, the pair of losses at Virginia Tech and the three-game sweep of Seton Hall … ND is completing a three-week stretch in which it will face three of the BIG EAST’s top-rated teams (Virginia Tech, Seton Hall and Rutgers).
LOTS OF ZEROES: The Irish pitchers have combined for 84 shutout innings in the last 12 games (in 100 IP, with a 1.89 ERA in that span).
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE: Senior SS Alec Porzel set the ND record for career doubles in the SHU series finale (62) and added his 63rd in the win over Dayton (he has a team-best 13 this season).
HE CAN TOUCH ‘EM ALL: Alec Porzel currently stands as the only all-time player in the Notre Dame career top 10 for doubles (1st, 63), triples (8th, 11) and home runs (7th, 29).
ON A TEAR: Junior 3B Andrew Bushey saw his career-best 13-game hitting streak (longest by an ND player this season) end vs. BSU (he is hitting a team-best .440 in BIG EAST games) … Joe Thaman (10, heading into the RU series) owns the second-longest hitting streak by an ND player in 2001 while freshman 2B Steve Sollmann is riding a nine-game streaks (3rd-lonest by an ND player in 2001) … senior SS Alec Porzel is batting 13-for-31 (.419) in his current eight-game hitting streak … sophomore RF Brian Stavisky saw his eight-game hitting streak end vs. Dayton.
BALANCE OF POWER: Last week’s SHU series showed a glimpse at ND’s strong all-around potential, with a .363 team batting avg. in the series, plus a 1.44 staff ERA and just two errors in the three games (.980).
3-0 TRIFECTA: Notre Dame won three straight games on March 21 and 23 by the same score (3-0), equaling an 85-year-old team record by registering three consecutive shutouts … the last time that happened for a Notre Dame baseball team, two of the opponents were known by different school names (ND’s athletic teams weren’t even known as the Irish until 1930), with that 1916 team blanking Michigan Agriculture (now Michigan State) by a 2-0 score, Purdue 1-0 and Western State (now Western Michigan) 6-0 from April 29-May 6 of that season … the only other seasons to produce three consecutive shutouts came in 1907 (6-0 vs. Indiana, 4-0 vs. Nebraska, 5-0 vs. Oberlin from May 9-15) and in the first three games of 1908 (19-0 vs. Winona, 18-0 vs. Albion and 19-0 vs. Kalamazoo) … 3-0 has been the magic shutout score for ND this season, with all five 2001 shutouts coming by that score (also vs. Florida Atlantic and New Mexico).
FIELD(ING) OF DREAMS: Notre Dame’s stellar .968 season fielding pct. includes a .969 by the four starting infielders-led by just four errors from senior SS Alec Porzel, one by freshman 1B Joe Thaman and five from junior 3B Andrew Bushey (he has just one E in the last 12 games and just two in the last 24) … the Irish have totaled just 35 errors (1.25/gm) … ND has posted seven error-free games, nine with one error and just two with more than two Es (a three-error game in the 3-0 win over New Mexico and 3 Es in the 6-1 win over Toledo) … errors have led to just 18 unearned runs for the opponents (seven coming in the first two games), with Irish miscues leading to just seven unearned runs in the last 20 games … ND has allowed just 3.10 runs per nine innings (when including the unearned scores) … ND’s regular starting OFs have combined for just one error, by sophomore RF Brian Stavisky.
KEEP ON CRANKING: Freshman 2B Steve Sollmann .leads ND with a 432 season batting avg. and is very familiar with the last Irish player to hit .400-plus, as his brother Scott hit .402 in 1994 and .406 in ’95.
WORKING OVERTIME: ND is 8-0-1 in its last nines extra-inning games, since losing 10-7 to Boston College on April 17, 1999 (7-inning game that ended in the 8th) … that streak includes a rare happening at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic, with the Irish tying Navy (4-4 in 10) before beating Fresno State (5-4 in 10) and Miami of Ohio (3-2 in 11) … in addition to the 11-inning win earlier this season at Mississippi State (4-2), the extra-inning streak includes wins over Oakland (7-6 in 10, 4/30/99), Villanova (7-3 in 10, 3/25/00), West Virginia (3-1 in 7-inn. game extended to 10, 4/15/00), Michigan (5-4 in 11, 4/26/00) and Pittsburgh (11-8 in 10, 5/6/00) … the VU and WVU games were on the road, the Michigan win was on neutral ground at Old Kent Park (Grand Rapids, Mich.).
NAUMANN RECEIVES SCHOLARSHIP FROM BIG EAST: Notre Dame senior LHP Mike Naumann (Tucson, Ariz.) is one of four BIG EAST baseball players who have been awarded a $2,000 scholarship for use towards postgraduate studies … AEROPOSTALE Stores is the official apparel of BIG EAST Championships and also is the sponsor of the conference’s Post Graduate Student-Athlete Scholarship Program … each BIG EAST school nominated a male and female student-athlete for the scholarship program, with other BIG EAST baseball players that were nominated by their schools including Mike Scott (Connecticut), Matt Irvin (Pittsburgh), (Baseball) and Brian Leighton (Seton Hall) … Naumann earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2000 and carries a 3.92 cumulative grad-point average as a pre-professional science major (he has been accepted to Baylor?s medical school and plans to attend that prestigious institution beginning in the fall of 2001).
SCORING STREAK: By scoring vs. Navy on March 12, Notre Dame set the team record for consecutive games with at least one run scored (134), dating back to a 12-0 loss at Florida International on Feb. 21, 1999 (the streak now stands at 150 games) … ND set the previous record by scoring in the each of the first 133 games of the Paul Mainieri era (Feb. 24, 1995-March 9, 1997) and has scored in of 391 of 396 total games during the Mainieri era (98.7 percent).
30-30: Senior SS Alec Porzel is on the verge of becoming the first Notre Dame player ever to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in his career … Porzel has 29 HRs and 30 SBs in 204 GP, leaving him on the doorstep of the 30-30 plateau … junior C Paul O’Toole (18 HR, 33 SB, 139 GP) likewise has a shot at the 30-30 distinction.
CAREER STAT NOTES: Notre Dame’s top career batting average belongs to junior CF Steve Stanley (.350) … senior SS Alec Porzel needs one home run to become the first “30-30” player in ND baseball history … Porzel already ranks 8th in the ND record book for career games started (199) while his 756 career at-bats rank 5th, his 232 hits rank 12th (one back of `97 grad Randall Brooks and `99 grad Jeff Wagner and three behind `92 grad Craig Counsell), his 167 RBI rank 8th, his 11 triples ranl 8th and his 29 home runs rank 7th … Porzel has pushed his career double total to 63, besting the Irish record (61) set by Eric Danapilis from 1990-93) … Stanley’s 66 career stolen bases already rank 5th all-time among ND basestealers (two behind Dan Mautch’s total from 1990-92).
(see PDF version for career stats)
ALL-STATE TEAM: With eight Ohio natives on the 2001 Irish baseball squad, Notre Dame could field an all-Ohio squad that also would include second-year assistant coach Dusty Lepper at SS (he is a native of Findlay and played at Toledo) while the team’s student managers-Ken Kleppel and Katie Furman-would split time in left field (both hail from the Cleveland area) … here’s how the rest of the all-Ohio squad would be aligned: junior C Andrew Bushey (Boardman, suburb of Youngstown), junior 1B Paul O’Toole (Lakewood, outside of Cleveland), freshman 2B Steve Sollmann (Cincinnati), senior 3B Ben Cooke (Bay Village, suburb of Cleveland), junior CF Steve Stanley (Upper Arlington, in Columbus area) and junior RF Matt Bok (Akron) … two freshman RHPs would share pitching duties: Mike Morgalis (Cincinnati) and Nick Colagiovanni (Garfield Heights).
BIG SHADOWS: Several members of the Notre Dame baseball team bring big frames to the ballpark, including All-America RHP Aaron Heilman (6-5, 225 pounds) and two everyday starters: sophomore RF Brian Stavisky (6-3, 220) and freshman 1B Joe Thaman (6-4, 205) … sophomore 1B Mike Holba (6-7, 225) is the tallest member of the Irish squad and was an all-state quarterback as a prep while junior OF Matt Strickroth (6-5, 230) was an all-state football lineman during his high school days.
Rutgers Batters vs. Heilman (2000)
Speedy 1-for-3, RBI, R
Popowski 0-for-2, BB, 2 K
Wolski 0-for-1, 2 R, HBP, SAC
Rutgers Batters vs. Gagne (2000)
Rutgers Batters vs. Laird (2000)
Speedy 0-for-1, BB, R
Popowski BB, R
Wolski 1-for-1, 2 RBI
Rutgers Batters vs. Tamayo (2000)
Wolski 1-for-2, 2 RBI
Ciemniecki 1-for-2, RBI
Rutgers Batters vs. Naumann (1999)
ND Batters vs. Gallagher (2000)
Meyer 0-for-4, K
Stanley 2-for-3, BB, 2-2 SB … (1999: 1B, 2 RBI, R)
Porzel 1-for-4, K … (1999: HR, 2 RBI)
Billmaier 1-for-3, R, BB
Stavisky 2-for-4, 3 RBI, R, HR, 2B, K
Strickroth 1-for-3, K
(O’Toole `99: 0-for-1, R)
ND Batters vs. Crohan (2000)
O’Toole 0-for-1, HR, RBI
Meyer BB, R
Stanley 1-for-1, SB … (1999: 0-for-1)
(Strickroth `99: HBP)
(Cooke `99: 0-for-1)
ND Batters vs. Brown (2000)
Meyer 3B, R
Porzel 2B, RBI
ND Batters vs. Molchan (2000)
ND Batters vs. Pierce (1999)
O’Toole 0-for-2, BB
Porzel 1-for-3, SB, R
Strickroth 1-for-3, 2 K
Cooke 1-for-2, R