May 8, 2005


A pair of sophomore RHPs – Notre Dame’s Jeff Manship and Anthony Sullivan of St. John’s – are slated to take the mound in Sunday’s series finale … Manship has been brought back slowly from 2004 elbow surgery and also suffered a minor finger injury on April 17, while fielding a ball in the 1st inning vs. UConn … Notre Dame dropped a pair of one-run games to BIG EAST frontunner St. John’s, 3-2 and 6-5, in Saturday’s nationally-televised action at The Ballpark .. the Irish nearly scratched out a win in the first game vs. ace pitcher Anthony Varvaro and then carried a 5-2 lead into the 8th inning of the nightcap, only to see the Red Storm force extra innings before winning in the 10th.

Jeff Manship 2005 Game-by-Game (see PDF)

ND-SJU MAY 7th DOUBLEHEADER Statistics (see PDF)


• Notre Dame (27-17-1, 10-6-1 BIG EAST) saw its 11-game unbeaten streak come to an end and missed out on a chance to make a run at the BIG EAST regular-season title while St. John’s (32-13, 15-4) solidified its spot atop the league standing … the Irish entered the day in control of their own destiny for winning the regular-season title but now must win their final seven BIG EAST games – and have 7th-place Villanova sweep SJU – to finish ahead of the Red Storm … the Irish also would need 2nd-place Boston College (14-5) to lose at least two of its remaining games (series vs. 5th-place Pittsburgh and at 6th-place Connecticut) … BC and Pitt were rained out on Saturday … the above scenarios do not take into account any games that may be lost due to rainouts (in some cases, a game lost to rain would have the same affect on positioning as a win or loss) … ND has series left at Pittsburgh and at home vs. 9th-place West Virginia.

• Rare Doubleheader Sweep – Saturday’s games marked just the 8th time in 10 BIG EAST seasons that an opponent has swept a doubleheader from Notre Dame, spanning 88 league series … other teams to sweep a doubleheader from ND include West Virginia (’96), Seton Hall (’97), Virginia Tech (’01), UConn (’02), Pittsburgh (’04) and Rutgers (’03 and ’05).

• Dan Kapala (4-2) suffered the tough-luck loss in the first game (3 R, 7 H, 3 BB, 3 Ks) while Anthony Varvaro (8-2) picked up the win (7 IP, 2 R/1 ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 6 Ks, HB).

• Notre Dame had tied game-1 in the top of the 4th (2-2), on RBI singles from Matt Bransfield and Cody Rizzo, but SJU’s Anthony Smith struck the decisive blow moments later by pulling his third home run of the season over the rightfield fence to provide Varvaro and closer Craig Hansen with the one-run lead.

• Tom Thornton carried a 5-2 lead into the 8th inning of the nightcap but Chris Joachim stroked a 2-out, 2-run single into the right-center gap … the Red Storm won the game with two outs in the 10th, vs. closer Ryan Doherty – as Greg Thomson was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Joachim’s single to right-center.

• Thornton allowed 5 runs on 10 hits and no walks in 8.0-plus innings (2 Ks) and has just one walk in his last 5 GP (40 IP).

• The Irish had roughed up starter Jim Wladyka, pushing home five runs in the first six innings … Bransfield’s 2-run single gave ND a 3-0 lead in the 4th while a Tony Langford single and passed ball brought home two more in the 6th.

WEB GEMS – The Notre Dame infield turned in several high-level plays during Saturday’s action while extending its strong overall play that dates back to Brett Lilley’s shift to third base … since Lilley’s move to the hot corner, the Irish have totaled just 20 errors in 17 games including 14 games with 0-1 errors (ND had 53 Es in 28 games before the switch).

IRISH DROP BIG EAST SERIES FOR JUST 12th TIME IN 10 SEASONS – Notre Dame now has lost just 12 BIG EAST series all-time (in 10 seasons), including three vs. Rutgers and three vs. SJU … the other six teams that have won series vs. ND include West Virginia (2), UConn, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Virginia Tech.

STREAKY SERIES – Notre Dame had won 9-of-10 vs. St. John’s but SJU now has won 3 of the last 4 vs. the Irish.

SCORING STREAK – The Irish have scored in 192 consecutive games, 423 of the past 424 and 662 of 668 in the 11-year Mainieri era.

MAGIC NUMBERS GO POOF – The 3-2 game vs. SJU was ND’s first loss this season when playing error-free (6-1) … ND also had been 17-1 this season when holding the opponent to 0-3 runs (now 17-2) and 21-1 when leading at the end of the 6th inning (before losing game-2).

LEFTSIDE LOCKDOWN – Leftside infielders Greg Lopez (SS) and Brett Lilley (13 at 3B/23 at 2B) each have posted 36 error-free games this season … Lopez has made just one error in the past 17 games (with an 8-game errorless streak).

HBP HIGHWAY ROLLS ON – ND’s 99 HBPs place the Irish 11th on the NCAA single-season HBP list … the Irish also are on the verge of becoming the second team in Division I history with 100-plus HBPs in back-to-back seasons (also 106 in ’04; Long Beach State had 124 in ’98 and 114 in ’99) … the other top-10 HBP seasons in Div. I history are as follows: Nevada (125, in ’97), College of Charleston (122, in ’04), Cal State Fullerton (117, in ’03; 102, in ’98), Arizona State (115, in ’00), San Jose State (105, in ’00) and Washington (101, in ’98).

PUTTING THE GEAR BACK ON – Cody Rizzo made his first starts at catcher since his freshman season (he started 4 games behind the plate during that ’03 season) … Rizzo was an all-state catcher at Chaparral HS, where he also was a standout soccer player (leading goalscorer for one of state’s top teams) … starting catcher Sean Gaston was scratched due to a sore back and Rizzo was the choice over usual backups Matt Bransfield and Steve Andres.

EDWARDS EAGER FOR IMPACT – Matt Edwards, the BIG EAST leader in home runs and RBI, suffered an 0-for-7 day vs. SJU … it marked the first time since the opening week of the season that Edwards went hitless in back-to-back games (he had just seven hitless games all season heading into the SJU series).

SLUMP BUSTER – Cody Rizzo ended an 0-for-15 slump by getting two hits in game-1 vs. SJU (he also collected just his 2nd RBI in the past 9 GP).

HIT MACHINE – Brett Lilley went hitless in game-1 but bounced back with a pair of singles in the nightcap … Lilley still has gone hitless in back-to-back games just once all season, two months ago (March 9-10)

HIT-BY-PITCH TRULY A PLURAL TERM – Cody Rizzo picked up his 63rd career HBP in Saturday’s action, remaining 5th on that NCAA list but just five behind former Wisconsin-Milwaukee player Clay Schwartz (’94-’97) … the top three spots on that list belong to Tony Hurtado (92; San Francisco, ’97-’00), Gabe Somarriba (81; Florida Atlantic; ’99-’02) and Jeff Ontiveros (74; Texas, ’99-’02).

THE SKIPPER – Paul Mainieri, in his 11th season at ND and 23rd overall as a college head coach, heads into the SJU series finale with an 809-468-3 career record (.633) that includes 478-189-2 (.716) with the Irish.

NO-WALK ZONE – The ND pitchers have allowed just 2.2 walks per 9 IP during the past 17 games (38 in 157.2 IP), after allowing 3.3 Ks per 9 IP in the first 28 games of the season (the Irish were 14-14 in those games).

FRIEND OR FOE? – This weekend’s series will be extra special for ND junior OF/1B Craig Cooper, a Long Island native from Plainview who starred at Chaminade HS and with the Oyster Bay Yellow Jackets … Cooper and SJU’s Chris Joachim were teammates on the Long Island team at the 2001 Empire State Games … ND sophomore LHP/1B could face one of his summer-league teammates this weekend, as Dury and SJU’s Greg Thomson played for the Madison (Wis.) Mallards of the Northwoods League during the summer of ’04 … ND’s game-3 starter Jeff Manship and SJU Chris Anninos were teammates at San Antonio’s Reagan HS.

ROAD HAZARDS – Notre Dame owns an 18-3-1 record at home this season but is just 9-14 on the road, with a .279 tram batting avg. and 5.59 staff ERA in those 23 games … by comparison, ND is batting .317 at Eck Stadium with a 3.46 staff ERA.

BRANSFIELD BOOST – Matt Bransfield, who missed 18 games early in the season due to a broken hand, is batting .394 (13-for-33) with 11 RBI in his past 11 games.

BONUS BASEBALL – ND has played to extra-innings five times in the past 13 games, going unbeaten in those games (3-0-1) before the 6-5 loss to SJU … ND is 3-4-1 in extra-innings this season and 23-9-2 in its past 34 extra-inning games (dating back to 1997).

LUCKY NUMBERS – The Irish are 21-2 this season when leading at the end of the 6th inning (just 4-15 when trailing at the end of the 6th), 15-1-1 when outhitting the opponent, 17-2 when limiting the opponent to 0-3 runs and 6-1 when playing error-free ball.

OLD RELIABLE – Matt Edwards has logged 86 consecutive starts with the Irish and has played in 168 of 172 games during the past three seasons (starting 167), since returning from broken leg that halted his freshman season early in ’02

LANGFORD DELIVERS – Tony Langford entered game-2 as ND’s top road batter this season (.382) but was mired in a 1-for-16 slump (0-for-9 over previous 4 GP) … Langford responded with an RBI single and run scored to held ND build its lead in the nightcap.

LEADING FROM LEADOFF – Alex Nettey has hits in 9 of the past 10 games (17-for-42/.405, 9 R, 2 RBI, HR, 2 2B, 2 BB, 4 HBP, 3 SB) after 1-for-18 slump.

Notre Dame Veterans Career Stats vs. St. John’s (see PDF)