March 2, 2004
Notre Dame freshman catcher Sean Gaston (Brownsburg, Ind.) has been named the national co-hitter of the week, as selected by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Gaston – who also was the second Notre Dame freshman position player ever named BIG EAST player of the week – shared the award with Stanford sophomore infielder Jed Lowrie.
Gaston opened his college career last weekend in Boca Raton, Fla., by batting 10-for-11 before flying out for a 10-for-12 weekend (.833), plus six RBI, seven runs scored, three doubles, a 1.083 slugging pct. and two stolen bases. He played a lead role in the game that clinched the Florida Atlantic Classic title, batting 5-for-6 in the 19-7 win over #25 Minnesota (3 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B, SB). The third ND freshman ever to collect five-plus hits in a game (and first since Scott Sollmann went 5-for-6 at Purdue in 1994), Gaston helped spark several big innings vs. the Gophers by batting 3-for-3 with two outs (including a pair of 2-out RBI). The 6-0, 170-pound lefthander hit 4-for-5 earlier in the weekend vs. Florida Memorial (that 12-3 game was not part of the FAU Classic), marking the first game with four-plus hits in his competitive baseball career.
Gaston does not currently meet the at-bat minimums (2.5 AB per team game) for certain BIG EAST statistical categories (such as batting avg. and slugging and on-base pct.) but he does rank 5th among the league’s players in stolen bases (2), 8th in doubles (3) and 9th in runs scored (7).
Four recent Notre Dame players have received national weekly honors. Righthander Aaron Heilman was named the Collegiate Baseball magazine national pitcher of the week twice during his junior season in 2000, after posting a 12-strikeout game in a 6-4 win over Georgia (March 9, at the Minnesota Metrodome) and an 18-K game in a 3-1, 10-inning win at West Virginia (April 15). Then-sophomore rightfielder Brian Stavisky opened the 2001 season by batting .692 (9-for-13) and reaching base 10 consecutive times at the Mississippi State Classic, earning the weekly hitter honor from the NCBWA and CB’s national player-of-the-week award. The 25-1 win over South Alabama in the 2002 NCAAs resulted in current senior second baseman Steve Sollmann (6-for-7, 7 RBI, 6 R, HR, 2 3B) and current junior RHP Grant Johnson (1-hitter, 8 Ks, BB, HBP, 30 BF) earning the respective player/hitter and pitcher-of-the-week awards from the NCBWA and CB.
Stavisky also was the Notre Dame program’s only previous freshman to be named BIG EAST player of the week, in the 2000 season.