May 27, 2005

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NOTRE DAME BASEBALL GAMEDAY NOTES – vs. Pittsburgh (May 27, 2005)

TODAY’S GAME – 3rd-seeded Notre Dame and #4 seed Pittsburgh meet in the BIG EAST winners-bracket game (3:30 EDT), with the winner moving on to Saturday’s championship round (3:30 and 7:00, if necessary) … the probable starting pitchers include a pair of sophomore RHPs who had strong games in the recent series between the teams: ND’s Jeff Samardzija (6 IP, 2 H, R, 3 BB, 4 Ks; 21-1 win in game-1) and Pitt’s Brian Muldowney (7 IP, CG, 8 H, R, 2 BB, 5 Ks; 4-1 win in game-1) … Samardzija lost as the game-1 starter the previous season at Pittsburgh (stats below), but that game was a day after he had played in the ND football Blue-Gold intrasquad scrimmage back on campus (he flew to Pittsburgh that night, meeting up with his teammates who had played at Seton Hall the day before).

(Note: Release is best viewed in PDF format … BIG EAST Tournament photos are forthcoming on, for Thursday’s game vs. BC and today’s game vs. Pitt, time permitting.)

SERIES NOTES – Notre Dame owns a 21-8 series edge vs. Pittsburgh, including 16-8 in the Paul Mainieri era … ND holds a narrow 7-5 edge in games outside of Eck Stadium during the Mainieri era, including a 15-7 win at the 2000 BIG EAST Tournament (in Bridgewater) … Pitt posted a pair of three-run wins earlier this season (4-1, 8-5) but the Irish came back to win 21-1 on Monday, May 16, in the series finale … the Panthers have won 5 of the past 6 games vs. ND … the teams have split four previous one-run games … all five shutouts in the series have been posted by ND (which owns an avg. scoring margin of 8.8 to 4.6 in the series).

Jeff Samardzija CAREER STATS (RHP, So., 6-5/215; Valparaiso, IN … 2004 Freshman All-American; see PDF)

SAMARDZIJA’S SITUATIONAL PITCHING – Has allowed 40% of leadoff batters to reach (avg. of 3.6 per 9 IP) while holding opponents to .267 batting with runners but .316 with 2 outs … has totaled 21 more groundouts (83) than flyouts (62) … his 9-inning averages include 6.5 Ks, 3.2 walks, 10.1 hits allowed and 11.2 groundouts (average of 17.7 outs via Ks or GOs) … LH batters are hitting .278 vs. him in ’05 (.282 by RH batters).



BONUS PACKAGE – Two-sport standout Jeff Samardzija has been a key member of a 2005 ND pitching staff that has coped with the departure of three key regulars (Grant Johnson, Chris Niesel and Joe Thaman) and the injury limitations of three current pitchers (Jeff Manship, John Axford and Jess Stewart).

AMONG THE BIG EAST’S BEST – Samardzija entered the postseason tied for 4th among BIG EAST pitchers in victories (7-1) while also ranking 4th in conference wins (5-1).

JUST THE STATS – Samardzija entered the postseason as the ND staff’s leader in wins (7-1) and Ks (48), also ranking 2nd with 66.2 IP, 4th in ERA (4.18) and 5th in opp. batting avg. (.281) … situationally, he leads the staff in groundouts (83) and groundout/flyout ratio (1.34) … he has limited opponents to .267 batting with runners on base (3rd-best on the staff), has allowed 40% of leadoff batters to reach (4th on staff) and ranks 4th among ND pitchers in batting by both LH (.278) and RH hitters (.282)

HOME BOY – Samardzija posted a 3-0 record, 3.23 ERA and 4-to-1 K-to-walk ratio (24/6) n 2005 home games at Eck Stadium (31 H/.261 opp. avg. in 30.2 IP) but is 4-1 with a 5.00 ERA on the road (24 Ks, 18 BB, 44 H/.297 in 36 IP)

“SHARK” HONES IN ON TWO-HITTERS – Sophomore RHP Jeff Samardzija showed his competitiveness by delivering in two pressure-packed situations last week, including a 21-1 win at Pittsburgh (6 IP, R, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 89 pitches) in which he combined with two relievers on a 2-hitter … the two-sport standout allowed three leadoff batters to reach but kept the Panthers hitless with runners on base (0-for-11; 0-for-4 in scoring position) and did not allow a 2-out hit (0-for-7) … former Notre Dame pitcher Chris Niesel tossed a 1-hitter/near-no-hitter vs. West Virginia on May 3, 2003, and since that game the Irish staffs have totaled four 2-hit games (with no 1-hitters or no-hitters) … Samardzija now has been a part of three of those 2-hitters, with the others coming in 2004 vs. Penn State in Round Rock, Texas (4-2; 4 IP, BB to save game for starter Derik Olvey) and Central Florida (4-0; 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB) … the other 2-hitter since Niesel’s 1-hitter was vs. Butler late in the ’03 season (4-1, 7-inning game; Peter Ogilvie 6 IP, R, 2H, 3 B, 6 Ks; Ryan Doherty retired final three batters) … five days after the big win at Pitt, Samardzija and the Irish closed out the West Virginia series to clinch a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament (7-3; 7 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 4 Ks) … his combined stats in those two starts during the final week of the season: 2.77 ERA, 2-0, 8 Ks, 3 BB, 11 H in 13 IP.


Pittsburgh Stats vs. Jeff Samardzija (’05 … ’04)

Copeland – 1-for-5, BB, SB, 2 Ks (BB/WP, 1B-RS/SB, F-8 … KL, KL, 4-3)
Mayer – 0-for-2, R, SAC (1-4/SAC, 4-3, 6-3 … pinch-runner/R)
Negrych – 0-for-4, 2 BB (BB, P-8 MI, BB … 1-4, 4-3 MI, 3-1)
Parise – 2-for-6, 2 RBI, R (FC/RBI, F-8, P-5 … 5-3, 1B-7/RBI/R, 1B-RS)
Conley – 0-for-3 (F-8, 1-3, F-8)
Stevens – 0-for-3, 2 Ks (P-5, KS, KS)
Ford – 0-for-2 (KS, F-7)
Cline – 1-for-4, RBI, K (E6T, KS … 3-1, 1B-8/RBI)
Williams – 1-for-2 (F-8 RC, 1B-LS/BK)
TOTALS – 5-for-31 (.161), 3 RBI, 2 R, 3 BB, SB, SAC, 5 Ks

Notre Dame Stats vs. Brian Muldowney
Cooper – 1-for-3, K (1B-MI, F-8,KS)
Lilley – 0-for-3 (F-8 RC, 6-3, 4-3)
Edwards – 1-for-3, BB, K (1B-MI, KS, BB)
Bransfield – 1-for-3, R, K (KS, 1B-8/R, 643 GDP)
Nettey – 2-for-3, RBI (F-7, 2B-LC/RBI, 1B-7
Rizzo – 1-for-2, HBP (F-7 HBP, 1B-7)
Gaston – 0-for-2, K (6-3, KS)
Lopez – 1-for-1, HBP, BB (1B-MI/PO, HBP/CS, BB)
Brezovsky – 1-for-3, K (1B-9, KS, 463 GDP)
Andres – 0-for-1 (F-8)
TOTALS – 8-for-23 (.348), RBI, R, 2B, 2 HBP


IRISH ERUPT FOR BIG WIN AT PITT – Just one day after bringing home only 6 of 30 baserunners in a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Pittsburgh on May 15 (1-4, 5-8), the Notre Dame offense responded in stunning fashion by plating 21 of its 28 baserunners in a 21-1 win over the Panthers … for the second straight day, the teams flipped spots in the BIG EAST standings, with the Irish returning to 3rd and maintaining control of their own postseason fate … ND hit 11-for-16 with runners in scoring position and launched a season-high 4 home runs in the 18-hit attack … Jeff Samardzija (6 IP, R, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 Ks) combined with Mike Dury and Joey Williamson for a 2-hitter … ND held Pittsburgh hitless with runners on base (0-for-11) and with 2-outs (0-for-10) … the 21 runs are the 3rd-most by and ND team in the 11-year Paul Mainieri era, trailing only two games during the 2002 College World Series season (23-1 vs. Detroit and 25-1 vs. South Alabama in the NCAA Regional) … it marked the first time the Irish have reached 20 runs in a BIG EAST game (the ’98 team had a 19-7 win over Georgetown) and first time they have won a BIG EAST game by more than 15 runs (the ’03 team won 18-3 at St. John’s) … top hitters included Ross Brezovsky (4-for-4, RBI, 4 R, HR, BB), Craig Cooper (3-for-5, 5 RBI, 4 R, 2 HR) and Greg Lopez (3-for-5, 3 RBI, R) … Cody Rizzo homered for the second time in the series (3-run shot) and reached base nine times in the series (5-for-8, BB, 3 HBP, 2 HR) … the 1-5 hitters combined to bat 10-for-22 (.455) with 15 RBI, 5 extra-base hits, 4 walks and 2 HBP … the Irish also received strong production from the bottom of the order, as Lopez and Brezovsky combined to hit 7-for-9 with 4 RBI and a walk … the game marked Craig Cooper’s move into the 3-hole and Matt Edwards dropping back to cleanup (Edwards was the 3-hole hitter in the first 50 games of the season).


NOTRE DAME BASEBALL 2005 ROSTER (as of May 25; see PDF)