May 18, 2005
Note: see PDF for full gamenotes, including updated bio. capsules 2005 NOTRE DAME BASEBALL – vs. #20 USC (May 18)
IRISH-TROJANS PART-2 – The Notre Dame baseball team, in the midst of playing eight games in seven days, will look to maintain its momentum in Wednesday night’s rematch vs. #20 USC, with the game to be telecast live by Comcast Local throughout Michigan (also live in South Bend on Comcast Cable channel 3 and in northern California on CSN-West; tape-delayed on Comcast-Chicago) … ND – which won Tuesday’s game vs. USC 13-6 (just 24 hours after the 21-1 win at Pittsburgh – will send freshman LHP Wade Korpi to the mound while USC will counter with senior RHP Brett Bannister … Paul Mainieri, in his 11th season at ND and 23rd overall as a college head coach, heads into the game with an 812-472-3 career record that includes 481-193-2 with the Irish … he recently became the 27th active Div. 1 coach with 800-plus career wins as a college head baseball coach … in addition to the many noteworthy accomplishments on the field by Mainieri’s players, the Irish baseball program also owns a 100% graduation rate during the Mainieri era (63-of-63, among 4-year players, with 11 others who signed professionally as juniors returning to complete/near completion of their degree).
Wade Korpi’s 2005 GAME-BY-GAME STATISTICS (see PDF)
Korpi’s 2005 Situational Stats – has allowed RH hitters a .323 batting avg. (.395 by LH hitters) … has allowed just 40% of leadoff batters to reach base (3.6 per 9 IP) … .339 opp. batting with runners on, .355 with 2 outs … his 9-inning averages: 12.5 hits, 5.4 walks, 5.4 Ks, 9.4 groundouts.
TV, RADIO, LIVE-STATS & HOTLINE – The USC game will be telecast live in Michigan (Comcast Local), South Bend (Comcast Cable, channel 3) and northern California (CSN-West), plus tape-delayed on Comcast in Chicago (check listings) … all of Notre Dame’s 2005 games again will be broadcast by South Bend-based WDND 1580 AM (and its sister station, WNDV 1490) … the broadcasts are available via the internet at www.und.com (College Sports Pass subscription required) … und.com also provides links to livestats on the website’s main page, for all home games and most road games … call the ND Sports Hotline at 574-631-3000 for schedule and result information for all varsity sports currently in season (from the main menu, select “4” and then select “1” for baseball information).
TUESDAY-NIGHT RECAP (ND 13, USC 6) – The Irish used another big inning and a 17-hit attack to slug their way past #20 USC, improving to 20-3-1 at home this season … ND has won its past three games versus the Trojans, including a 15-8 game in Round Rock, Texas, during the 2002 season and last year’s 3-1 win at the USC Classic … USC was held to single-digit hits and lost by one if its largest margins this season, as just four of the Trojans’ previous 47 games had seen them lose by more than seven runs … the visitors scored a run in the first but left the bases loaded, setting up ND for its pivotal five-run 2nd inning … USC then closed to 5-4 on a Blake Sharpe home run in the 3rd, but the Irish went on to score eight of the game’s final 10 runs … Craig Cooper hit 3-for-5 (2 RBI, R) from the leadoff spot for the second straight game while Tony Langford’s 3-for-5 game included a 2-run home run that yielded a 10-5 lead in the bottom of the 4th … four other Irish players chipped in with two-hit games, with Notre Dame’s big offensive night including five doubles, three walks and two hit batters (all nine starters had hits) … Derik Olvey and four relievers avoided the big inning to help maintain the ND margin … Olvey came two outs shy of qualifying for the win (4.2 IP), allowing five earned runs (one unearned) on eight hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts … Scott Bickford (2-1) came on in the 5th to record the final two outs en route to picking up the victory (1.0 IP, K, HB, 4 BF) … Ryan Doherty (1.2 IP, BB, 2 Ks), Langford (1.0 IP) and Jeff Manship (1.0 IP) combined with Bickford in allowing just three USC baserunners over the final four innings … LHP Michael Friedman suffered the loss (2 IP, 5 R/4 ER, 6 H, BB) … Jeff Clement (3-for-3) was the only USC player with multiple hits … the only teams to post larger victory margins vs. USC this season are Rice (12-1), Arizona State (17-1), California (9-1) and Arizona (18-4).
Southern California (32-16) 1-0-3 1-1-0 0-0-0 – 6 9 4
Notre Dame (30-21-1) 0-5-3 2-0-0 1-2-X – 13 17 2
Michael Friedman (L, 2-3), Jon Williams (3), Steve Martlaro (4), Nate Smith (7), Andy Guy (8) and Jeff Clement.
Derik Olvey, Scott Bickford (5; W, 2-1), Ryan Doherty (6), Tony Langford (8), Jeff Manship (9) and Cody Rizzo, Sean Gaston (9).
Home Runs: Tony Langford, ND (1 on in 4th; 3rd of season); Blake Sharpe, USC (2 on in 3rd; 4th of season).
Doubles: Craig Cooper (ND), Brett Lilley (ND), Rizzo (ND), Alex Nettey (ND), Greg Lopez (ND), Matt Cusick (USC), Billy Hart (USC), Jeff Clement (USC), Baron Frost (USC).
MIDWEEK MAY MADNESS – Midweek games in May vs. top national teams have become a recent tradition at Eck Stadium, as USC becomes the fourth national power in the past seven seasons to take on the homestanding Irish in lateseason action … ND nearly swept eventual national champ Miami in 1999 (3-5, 1-0 in near-no-hitter for the Irish) and beat Arizona State in ’02 (9-4; second game rained out) before sweeping Central Florida last season in a pair of mid-May games (4-0, 3-2) … the first year of the Mainieri era (’95) also saw the Irish split vs. Alabama at Eck Stadium (5-3, 1-9).
THE SERIES (ND 3, USC 2) – The Trojans won the first two vs. the Irish, with the first game played on the campus of another USC Classic participant (5-4, at Louisville, in 1961) … the football rivals went 36 years before the next meeting, a 14-4 USC win at the 1997 Long Beach State Classic … the Irish rallied to beat USC at the 2002 Round Rock (Texas) Classic (15-8) … that game featured the freak broken leg suffered by current ND senior 1B Matt Edwards (after a collision with the leftfielder, while chasing a windblown popup) … USC led that game 8-4 before the Irish rallied to score the final seven runs … Chris Niesel yielded 8 runs (5 earned) in the first 3.1 innings (5 H, 2 BB, 2 Ks), with half of the USC’s runs coming on Travis McAndrews’ wind-blown grand slam inside the RF foul pole … Martin Vergara (3.2 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 Ks) then combined with junior Brandon Viloria (2 IP, 5 BF, save) to keep the Trojans off the scoreboard the rest of the way … ND held a 14-8 hit edge while the teams combined for nine errors (six by USC) … five Irish players registered multiple hits, including 3-hit games from Steve Stanley (2 R, RBI, 2B) and Andrew Bushey (3 R, 2 RBI, 2B) … Brett Bannister started for the Trojans (4 IP, 4 R/2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 Ks) … the Irish beat the Trojans again last season at the USC Classic, 3-1 (halted after 7 innings due to rain) … Tom Thornton (6 IP, 4 H, 2 BB) turned in his first of many primetime performances while the ND offense cashed in three errors by USC (ND was ranked 10th and USC 20th) … Cody Rizzo’s throw to the plate preserved a 2-1 lead in the 6th … Ryan Doherty picked up the save (3 Ks, 5 BF) … Cody Rizzo, Matt Macri (RBI double) and Matt Bransfield each hit 2-for-3 while Greg Lopez had the team’s other hit … Bobby Paschal allowed a pair of unearned runs on 7 hits (4.2 IP, 3 Ks) … Blake Sharpe had an RBI single for USC … Rizzo is a former teammate of USC’s Baron Frost (U.S. U-16 National Team) and Ryan Broderick (club team) … ND’s Jeff Manship and USC’s Daniel Pereles were teammates on the U.S. Youth National Team.
IRISH ERUPT FOR BIG WIN AT PITTSBURGH – Just one day after bringing home only six of 30 baserunners in a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Pittsburgh, the Notre Dame offense responded in stunning fashion by plating 21 of its 28 baserunners in Monday’s 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).
MORE THAN JUST STUDENTS OF THE GAME – Tom Thornton – now 4-1 in his last 5 decisions with the Irish – and junior SS Greg Lopez (3.36 GPA; anthropology and pre-professional science) currently are under consideration for 2005 Academic All-America honors .. .Thornton took a 3.46 cumulative GPA into the ’05 spring semester as a double major in anthropology and film, television and theater (he earned Academic All-District honors in 2004 and advanced to the Academic All-America ballot).
IT’S ALL THEIR FAULT – Notre Dame would be riding an NCAA-record 431-game scoring streak if not for one game, an 11-0 loss to Rutgers, late in the 2002 season …that game ended ND’s team-record scoring streak at 231 (stretching from 2/26/99-5/4/02) but the Irish have scored in every game since that loss (199) for the 2nd-longest scoring streak in the program’s history … ND has scored in virtually every game (all but six) of the 11-year Paul Mainieri era (99.11%; 669 of 675).
MILESTONE MARKERS – The following players are approaching (or recently reached) statistical milestones in their ND careers:
Steve Andres – 100 hits, 89 runs
Craig Cooper – 102 runs
Greg Lopez – 94 RBI, 89 runs
Matt Edwards – 188 RBI, 47 doubles, 98 walks
Cody Rizzo – 86 RBI
STENCIL THEM IN – Two ND players have started all 52 games this season: freshman 2B/3B Brett Lilley and senior Matt Edwards (1B/3B/DH) … Edwards was the only player to hit in the same spot (3-hole) during the first 50 games before dropping down to cleanup the past two games (with Steve Andres in the 3-hole).
ROAD HAZARDS – Notre Dame now owns a 20-3-1 mark in all 2005 home games but is just 10-18 on the road, with a .278 team batting avg., 5.50 staff ERA and .959 fielding pct. … Ross Brezovsky (.284 batting avg. on the road, .246 at ND’s Eck Stadium) and fellow freshman Tony Langford (.378 road; .265 Eck) actually have hit higher away from home this season while their classmate Brett Lilley is a .440 batter at The Eck but just .316 on the road (senior 1B Matt Edwards is hitting at a .427 clip at Eck Stadium this season but just .305 on the road) … ND is batting .316 at Eck Stadium – 45 points above its road batting avg. – with a 3.35 staff ERA and .961 fielding pct. at The Eck (34 Es in 22 games) … junior LHP Tom Thornton (2.40 home ERA, .267 opp. avg.) and sophomore RHP Dan Kapala (2.76, .246) both are 3-0 at Eck Stadium in their 2005 decisions.
See PDF for statistical comparison of ND’s 2005 home-and-away stats (team and individual)
HOT CORNER SWITCH PROVIDES SPARK – After starting the season 14-14 (18 Es at 3B), the Irish are 16-7-1 since shifting freshman Brett Lilley to 3B and inserting his classmate Ross Brezovsky at 2B, with that 24-game stretch including a .973 team fielding pct. (0-1 Es in 20 games; 26 total Es) … Lilley is batting .374 since shifting to the hot corner while his fellow leftside infielder, junior SS Greg Lopez, has made just five errors in those 24 games (.959 fielding pct.). … Lilley played error-free in his first 9 games at 3B and now has totaled just 7 Es in 24 games at the position (four of his teammates combined for 18 Es at 3B in the first 28 games).
CONFERENCE COMMAND – Through 10 seasons of play in the BIG EAST, Notre Dame has remained a consistent presence atop the league standings:
â€¢ Paul Mainieri owns the top winning pct. in BIG EAST history (.726; 168-63-1, in BIG EAST regular-season games)
â€¢ ND’s .718 overall win pct. (440-172-2) during the past 10 seasons (’96-’05) is best among any BIG EAST team
â€¢ St. John’s owns the best BIG EAST Tournament winning pct. during the past 10 seasons (.579; 11-8) but the Irish are next at .563 (21-14)
â€¢ ND has totaled 65 BIG EAST series wins, 14 series ties and just 13 series losses
â€¢ The Irish have been swept just eight times in 88 all-time BIG EAST doubleheaders (with ND sweeping 50 of them, plus 30 splits)
FAR AND WIDE – Notre Dame’s 2005 roster includes players from 15 states and Canada, with no more than four players from any state … the breakdown includes 4 from Indiana, 3 each from California, Florida and Texas, and a pair each from Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and Washington, plus one player each from Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Ontario … the 11-year Paul Mainieri era has featured players from 35 states (plus Canada), those listed above plus: Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oregon … the list of all-time ND baseball monogram winners includes players from 44 states (all but Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Vermont), plus Canada and Panama.
OUTFIELD MERRY-GO-ROUND – Notre Dame entered the 2005 season with a trio of juniors returning as starters in the outfield (LF Steve Andres, CF Craig Cooper and RF Cody Rizzo) but there has been a steady variety of lineups in the OF this season as the Irish look for consistency from that group … another junior, Alex Nettey, actually has emerged as the starter in CF and is doing a solid job as well batting from the leadoff spot … freshman Tony Langford, a prep infielder, even has been used significantly as a starter in LF … here’s a breakdown of the OF starting assignments so far in 2005:
Notre Dame’s 2005 Starting Outfielders
Left Field: Tony Langford (17 starts), Craig Cooper (15), Steve Andres (15), Danny Dressman (4), Ross Brezovsky (1)
Center Field: Alex Nettey (48), Craig Cooper (4)
Right Field: Cody Rizzo (32), Craig Cooper (17), Tony Langford (2), Danny Dressman (1)
LEFTSIDE LOCKDOWN – Notre Dame’s strong defense on the leftside of the diamond includes a pair of players, junior SS Greg Lopez (39) and freshman 3B Brett Lilley (42), who each have played error-free a combined 81 games this season, with Lilley playing at 2B for the first 28 games … Lopez opened the ’05 season without an error in the first 15 games and saw a 10-game errorless streak end last week vs. Michigan (he actually now has 4 Es in the past 5 games) … Lopez has only four multi-E games in ’05 (none with 3-plus Es) and had 42 E-free games in ’04 (for 81 total in ’04 and ’05) … Lilley logged an impressive 21-game span without an error (96 fielding chances) from March 24-April 21 (spanning time at 2B and 3B) … four of Lilley’s teammates combined for 18 errors at 3B in the first 28 games of the season but he then turned in nine error-free games to open his stint at the hot corner (in 40 chances) … Lilley now has totaled 19 error-free games in 24 GP at 3B (7 Es).
ND SUMMER-BALL PLANS INCLUDE LARGE CAPE-COD CONTINGENT – Notre Dame’s current players again are slated to scatter to some of the top wood-bat leagues during the summer of ’05, including five who are set to join the prestigious Cape Cod League (several other ND players also could end up in the ’05 CCL, pending the outcome of the MLB draft) … here’s a look at the summer plans for some of the Notre Dame players:
Notre Dame Baseball 2005 Summer Teams (as of May 1; see PDF for full list)
DYNAMIC DUOS – Notre Dame freshman 3B Brett Lilley (.363, 11th) and senior 1B Matt Edwards (.359, 15th) rank as one of the top hitting combos in the BIG EAST … Lilley is the only BIG EAST freshman with an overall batting avg. above .360 … upcoming opponent West Virginia is the only team with three players among the BIG EAST’s top-15 hitters … here’s a look at the teams with multiple players among the BIG EAST’s top-15 batting avg. leaders:
St. John’s Greg Thomson (.384, 3rd) and Joe Burke (.367, 6th)
Pittsburgh Ben Copeland (.391, 2nd) and Jim Negrych (.366, 7th)
Rutgers Johnny DeFendis (.382, 4th) and Cory Rodriguez (.365, 8th)
West Virginia Lee Fritz (.380, 5th), Doug Nelms (.364, 9th) and Justin Jenkins (.357, 14th)
Connecticut Tony Mallozzi (.423, 10th) and Jeff Hourigan (.359, 12th)
Notre Dame Brett Lilley (.363, 11th) and Matt Edwards (.359, 15th)
SEEING RED – ND assistant coach David “Red” Grewe charts plate discipline with a ratio of BB+HBP-Ks and freshman 3B Brett Lilley now is +29 (31+23-25) while junior OF Craig Cooper is +23 (28+13-18) and senior 1B Matt Edwards has surged to +20 (38+6-24) in that “Red Ratio” … ND as a team is +39 (161 BB, 97 HBPs, 219 Ks):
2005 “RED RATIO” CHART (see PDF)
GREAT GLOVES GALORE – ND head coach Paul Mainieri traditionally has recruited prep shortstops who then have starred for the Irish at other positions and a quick look at the current ND infield reveals four different HS shortstops manning the positions: senior 1B Matt Edwards, freshman 2B Ross Brezovsky, junior SS Greg Lopez and freshman 3B Brett Lilley … the ’04 team had a similar setup with Edwards, Lopez and 3B Matt Macri, plus a catcher (Javi Sanchez) who had started at SS for most of the ’02 College World Series season … interestingly, the other infielder on the ’04 team (2B Steve Sollmann) had completed the rare switch of going from outfield (he was standout prep CF) to middle infield.
EDWARDS RANKS AMONG BIG EAST’S ALL-AROUND TOP HITTERS – When looking at the OPS stat that combines on-base and slugging percentages, ND senior 1B Matt Edwards ranks among the BIG EAST leaders at 1.127 (.471+.656) … see PDF for the OPS leaders in the BIG EAST
HOME-RUN HERO – Craig Cooper’s 12th-inning HR beat Purdue at Coveleski Stadium (9-7) as he became the first ND player to hit a game-ending HR since the 2002 CWS game vs. Rice (when Brian Staviksy won that 5-3 game) … Cooper’s next at-bat produced a 1st-inning grand slam that sparked the 9-8 win over Valparaiso.
HOMESTAND SECURITY – Notre Dame’s recent 13-1-1 streak included a productive homestand (11-1-1) that saw the Irish sweep UConn and go 2-0-1 vs. Villanova, plus wins over Bowling Green, Purdue (at Coveleski Stadium), Valparaiso, Manchester and Cleveland State (2) and a loss to Central Michigan … the Irish hit .322 in the homestand – led by freshman 3B Brett Lilley (.449) and junior DH Matt Bransfield (.448) – with a 3.61 staff ERA and .976 fielding pct. (18 Es)
MAJOR-LEAGUE MAULER – To put Matt Edwards’ 2005 run-producing numbers in perspective (61 RBI, in 52 games), he would be on pace to total 190 RBI in a 162-game Major League season.
EDWARDS LAUNCHES THREE – Matt Edwards joined an elite group of ND players with a 3-HR game (6 RBI, 2 IBB) in the 9-5 in over Western Michigan (March 29) … Edwards became the first ND player to hit 3 HRs in a game since All-America 3B Brant Ust homered vs. three different pitchers in a 1998 game at Seton Hall … sophomore RHP Derek Schlecker served up two Edwards home runs, the first with 2 outs in the 1st when he left a 1-0 slider up and over (Edwards drove the ball into the wind and over the leftfield fence) … two innings later, Edwards delivered on another 1-0 pitch, turning on a high fastball and driving it over the leftfield fence for a 2-run shot … Edwards then greeted senior RHP Tim Bebber in the 7th, working ahead in the count (2-0) before pulling a belt-high fastball down the leftfield line and out of the park for a booming 3-run shot …Ust had been the program’s only player with three home runs in a game since the early 1990s, when 1B Jon Binkiewicz had 3-HR games vs. Evansville and Michigan in a 12-day stretch of the ’91 season … the 113-year history of Notre Dame baseball now has seen just seven players hit three home runs in a game (total of eight times) – with Edwards, Ust and Binkiewicz the only players to do so in nearly 50 years … one of the top players for ND’s first College World Series team, Jim Morris, had 3 HRs in a game vs. Naval Air Station during that 1957 season … one must go back 23 seasons before that to find another 3-HR game, by Andy Pilney vs. Chicago in 1934 … Jake Kline – the Hall of Fame coach who was honored at Eck Stadium in late April (when a bust of the former Irish coach will be unveiled in the stadium concourse area) – was the second ND player ever to hit three home runs in a game, doing so in a 1916 vs. Michigan (Jerry Sheehan is the first known to have a 3-HR game, vs. Hillsdale in 1906).
THAT WAS NOTHING … – The previous time Matt Edwards hit three home runs in a game was when he had a 4-HR game as a 14-year-old at a Virginia AAU state tournament … in fact, he hit nine home runs and a double in his first 11 at-bats of that tournament, while playing with the Richmond Virginians.
FIVE-HIT HOME DEBUT – Brett Lilley turned in a 5-for-5 game vs. Cincinnati on March 22, the first ND freshman ever to produce five hits in a home opener … Lilley is one of 29 all-time ND players with 5-plus hits in a game (done 31 total times) and just the second to do so in a home opener … LF Allen Greene needed extra innings to complete the feat during the home opener of his sophomore season in 1997, batting 5-for-6 in an 8-7, 12-inning win over IUPUI … the 5-foot-7 Lilley joins another short list as one of four ND freshmen ever to post a 5-hit game at any time in their debut season … current sophomore C Sean Gaston went 5-for-6 early in the 2004 season vs. Florida Memorial (at FAU) while CF Scott Sollmann hit 5-for-6 at Purdue in his freshman season (5/10/94) and 1B Joe Binkiewicz had a 5-for-5 game vs. Dayton as a rookie (5/20/89) … each of the above four players is a lefthanded hitter – in fact, 10 of the past 17 Irish players to get five-plus hits in a game have been lefthanded or switch-hitters … starting with Steve Stanley late in the ’01 season, five of the past seven to do so have hit from the left side (also Brian Stavisky and Paul O’Toole in ’02 and Gaston in ’04, plus righthanders Steve Sollmann in ’02 and Matt Macri in ’04) … Sollmann (6-for-7 vs. South Alabama, ’02 NCAA regionals) and his former teammate Alec Porzel (6-for-6 vs. Pittsburgh, ’01) share the ND record for hits in a game.
BREZOVSKY BREAKS OUT – Freshman 2B Ross Brezovsky (Naples, Fla.) ended a recent slump by batting 4-for-4 with 5 RBI in the 13-3 win over Cleveland State (BB, 2 R, HR, 2 2B) on April 30 … Brezovsky entered that game with a sagging .252 season batting average that included just a .160 mark at Eck Stadium … he had 2 RBI in the season-opening win over Florida A&M but had registered just one other multi-RBI game before knocking in five runs in the final game of the homestand … Brezovsky also went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored on March 19 vs. Oakland (he had been hitless in six of the previous seven games).
ALL HE DOES IS GET EXTRA-BASE HITS – Junior LF/DH Steve Andres remains the master of the extra-base hit, as he has totaled two more extra-base hits (10; 4 HR, 3B, 4 2B) than singles (8) in ’05 … Andres hit just one single from April 6-May 16 before his rare single vs. USC … four of his previous five hits had gone for extra bases (doubles vs. Cleveland State, Purdue and Pitt, and a triple vs. Bowling Green) … since hitting a single vs. Northern Illinois on March 18, Andres has totaled seven extra-base hits (also 2Bs vs. Seton Hall and Rutgers and a HR vs. Toledo) and just three singles … he is batting only .202 this season but ranks 3rd on the team in slugging pct. (.416) and home runs (4) while also owning a .368 on-base pct., thanks to 19 walks and 5 HBPs.
QUICK STARTERS – Notre Dame has produced consistent first-inning offense, totaling 49 first-inning runs in 52 games while scoring at least one first-inning run in 25 games (11 with multiple 1st-inning runs) … the Irish struggled with first-inning scoring for much of ’04 before a surge in the final month, en route to totaling 75 first-inning runs in 63 games.
ON A ROLL – Notre Dame recently compiled the 12th double-digit unbeaten streak (10-0-1; from April 16-30) of the 11-year Paul Mainieri era, with five previous teams posting longer unbeaten streaks: 17 from March 24-April 14, 2003; 16 from April 4-25, 2001, and April 11-May 4, 2002; 13 from April 8-23, 1998; and 12 from April 29-May 21, 2004 … the Irish have posted a double-digit unbeaten streak every season under Mainieri except 1997 (two in ’98, ’01 and ’04).
THE DRIVE FOR 30 … AND 40 – Notre Dame has posted its 18th consecutive season with 30-plus victories but the program’s standard has been higher than that for nearly two decades, as the Irish also are riding a 16-year streak of seasons with 40-plus wins … Florida State and Wichita State are the only Division I teams with longer active streaks of 40-win seasons (each with 27, prior to ’05) but the Shockers streak includes several seasons in which they were allowed to play more than 56 games (for exempted games in Hawaii, including the current season) … the Irish would need to win all of their remaining regular-season games and then add six in the postseason to reach 40 victories … the previous 10 seasons of the Paul Mainieri era saw the 30th win come, on average, in the 41st game (the 1997 team posted its 30th win in the 45th game of that season).
HBP HIGHWAY ROLLS ON – Notre Dame batters were hit-by-pitch nine times in the season opener vs. Florida A&M and the Irish have remained on a record HBP pace all season, as ND has collected at least one HBP in 47 of 52 games this season (including an active streak of 18 games with an HBP) … the Irish currently have a team-record 113 HBPs in 52 games played … ND recently became the second team in Division I history to post 100-plus HBPs in back-to-back seasons (also 106 in 2004), with Long Beach State totaling 124 in ’98 and 114 in ’99 … ND’s current HBP total ranks 7th in the NCAA record book, just one shy of 6th place … the Irish are averaging 2.17 HBPs per game and are on pace for 122 in the 56-game regular season, which would be just shy of the NCAA record of 125 set by Nevada in 1997 … of the 18 teams that have totaled 86-plus HBPs in a season, ND owns the highest avg. of HBPs per game … no previous ND team had more than three players with 12-plus HBPs but the ’05 team already has five with 12-plus HBPs: freshman 3B Brett Lilley (23; 2nd in ND history), junior RF Cody Rizzo (18), junior SS Greg Lopez (16), junior OF Craig Cooper (13), and junior CF Alex Nettey (13) … Lilley, Rizzo (28 in ’03, 21 in ’04) and Lopez are the only ND players ever to total more than 15 HBPs in a season … Rizzo has moved into 5th place on the NCAA career HBP list with 67, trailing only Clay Schwartz (68; Wisconsin-Milwaukee, ’94-’97), Jeff Ontiveros (74; Texas, ’99-’02), Gabe Somarriba (81; Florida Atlantic, ’99-’02) and Tony Hurtado (92; San Francisco, ’97-’00) … seven ND players combined for 18 HBPs during the final five games of the recent big homestand – including seven in the Villanova doubleheader and six vs. Manchester – led by six from Cooper (he totaled 6 HBPs in the ’03 and ’04 seasons combined) … the first weekend of the season in Orlando included Steve Andres being HBP three times in the opener vs. FAMU and Lilley’s 4 HBPs (one shy of the NCAA record) in the 4-2 win over Central Florida … one previous ND team had three players with 12-plus HBPs (1993): Eric Danapilis (15, record until Rizzo’s 28 in ’03), Greg Layson (14) and Craig DeSensi (12) … the past three ND teams have combined for 284 HBPs in 173 games (from ’02-’04).
NCAA RECORD BOOK – TEAM SEASON HIT-BY-PITCH (see PDF)
* The 2005 Notre Dame team owns the best HBP per game among teams on the above list
* The Irish now are on pace for 122 HBPs in the 56-game regular season
* ND has totaled 219 HBPs in the past two seasons, in 114 games (1.92 per game)
* Teams on the above list more than once include: Long Beach State (124 in ’98, 114 in ’99),Cal State Fullerton (117 in ’03; 102 in ’98) and Notre Dame (106 in ’04; 113 in ’05)
NCAA DIVISION I CAREER HIT-BY-PITCH LEADERS (see PDF) * At his career avg. pace, Rizzo would need to play in 63 more games to break the NCAA career HBP record
APRIL AWAKENINGS – Notre Dame closed the book on yet another successful April, as Paul Mainieri’s 11 ND teams now have combined to win 80.3% of their games in the month of April (+158; 209-51-1) compared to winning just 67% of the Feb./March games in the Mainieri era (+75; 167-82-1) … the Irish were only three games over .500 in Feb./March this season (13-10) before rallying for a 14-5-1 mark (+9) in April, sparked by a 3.18 staff ERA during the month’s 20 games … ND hit just .293 during the month of April, averaging 7.0 runs per 9 innings … five ND players hit above .275 in April: freshman 3B Brett Lilley (.361, 7 RBI, 19 R, 3 2B, 12 BB, 6 HBP, 8 Ks, SAC, 5-6 SB, 6 Es), senior 1B Matt Edwards (.350, 19 RBI, 17 R, 3 HR, 3B, 7 2B, 10 BB, HBP, 9 Ks, 3-3 SB, 7 Es), junior DH Matt Bransfield (.348, 9 RBI, 8 R, 4 2B, 6 BB, 2 HBP, 7 Ks, E), junior OF Craig Cooper (.321, 20 RBI, 14 R, 2 HR, 3B, 5 2B, 7 BB, 9 HBP, 7 Ks, SAC, 6-6 SB) and sophomore C Sean Gaston (.321, 11 RBI, 6 R, HR, 2 2B, 3 BB, HBP, 7 Ks, 2 SAC, 3-3 SB, 3 Es) … the Irish pitchers bounced back from a rocky first month to post a 3.81 staff ERA, .281 opp. batting avg. and 2.3 K-to-walk ratio (106/47) in April – compared to a 5.11 ERA, .314 opp. avg. and 1.3 K/BB ratio in Feb./March … junior LHP Tom Thornton led the staff in April with his 2.68 ERA (3-1. 5 GS, 37 IP, 38 H/.268, 15 Ks/3 BB) while freshman LHP Wade Korpi (3.32 April ERA) and sophomore RHP Jeff Samardzija (3.81) also made key improvements from the first month of the season.
BONUS BASEBALL – ND has played to extra-innings five times in the past 20 games, going unbeaten in the first four (before the 6-5 loss, in 10, at St. John’s) with wins over UConn (3-2, in 8), Purdue (9-7, in 12) and Cleveland State (7-6, in 13), plus the 7-7 tie vs. Villanova … the Irish had a rare 0-3 start in extra-innings this season but ND now is 23-9-2 in its past 34 extra-inning games (dating back to 1997), including 3-4-1 in 2005 … the Irish have suffered nearly as many extra-inning losses this season (4) as in the previous eight seasons (5, from ’97-’04).
GOING THE DISTANCE – The 13-inning win over Cleveland State (7-6; 3:52 game time) on April 29 ranks as the 3rd-longest in the 11-year history of Eck Stadium, both in terms of innings and time … the only games at The Eck to see more innings both stretched to the 15th frame: a 5-3 win over West Virginia on May 3, 1998, and the 7-6 win over Ball State on March 23, 2004 … the two games that have lasted longer in game time were the 1998 WVU game (4:20) and the wild 22-18 loss to Pittsburgh on May 7, 2000 (4:06).
CLUTCH HITTING KEY COMPONENT – ND’s 2004 team racked up its record-setting 51 wins behind an explosive offense that totaled 69 home runs, 19 triples and 120 doubles for a .479 slugging pct. … the ’05 team has seen that slugging pct. drop 55 points (.424), with just 39 HRs, 10 triples and 84 doubles … three stats that measure clutch offensive production – leadoff on-base pct., batting with runners in scoring position and 2-out batting – show that clutch hitting can overcome such a dropoff in power numbers, with freshman 3B Brett Lilley proving to be a valuable addition to the 2005 team … using a formula that combines those three situational hitting numbers, Lilley is the runaway team leader with a “clutch hitting” score of 1.376 … that number can be skewed a bit by the on-base pct. (which has the benefit of including walks and HBPs and thus is higher than the batting avg. stats) … using an adjustment whereby the leadoff on-base pct. is multiplied by 75% (based on the fact that the ’04 ND team hit .309 but had a .409 on-base; also mirrored by the ’05 team’s .298 batting and .400 OB), Lilley still checks in as ND’s all-around leader in clutch hitting with a 1.258 score (.509 leadoff on-base/.382 adjusted, .407 RISP, .469 with 2-outs) … Lilley leads the team in batting with RISP and with 2 outs while his leadoff OB ranks 3rd … as a team, the most consistent part of ND’s clutch offense has been leadoff on-base pct. (.424/.318 adjusted), followed by batting with RISP (.312) while the 2-out batting lags behind at .292.
CLUTCH-HITTING CHART (team rank listed before each stat; see PDF)
BIG BOPPER – Senior 1B Matt Edwards has hit 13 of ND’s 39 home runs in the 2005 season (33%) while his 61 RBI are 12 more than the next-highest run producer on the team (Craig Cooper, who has surged to 49) … Edwards, who started the first 50 games this season batting in the 3-hole (last two as cleanup), has made 93 straight starts with the Irish while missing a total of just three games in the past three seasons … he remains 6th in ND history for career RBI (now 188, in 185 games) and suddenly is only 33 shy of the record held by ’93 grad. Eric Danapilis (221) … others on that list include Alec Porzel (211; ’98-’01), Dan Peltier (202; ’87-’89), Mike Amrhein (202; ’94-’97) and Jeff Wagner (189; ’96-’99) … Edwards also ranks 7th in ND history with 13 career home runs and 17th with a .346 career batting avg.
LUCKY NUMBERS – The Irish are 24-2 this season when leading at the end of the 6th inning (just 4-17 when trailing at the end of the 6th), with one of the late losses coming recently at St. John’s (led 5-2 after 6; lost 6-5 in 10) … ND also is 18-3-1 when outhitting the opponent (recent losses to Michigan and in game-1 at Pitt), 19-3 when limiting the opponent to 0-3 runs (3-2, 3-1 losses at SJU) and 6-3 when playing error-free ball (both losses at SJU, loss at Pitt).
MOUND MANEUVERING – Notre Dame’s 2005 pitching staff has been slowed by injuries to several key veterans, as senior RHP John Axford and sophomore RHP Jeff Manship both are returning from 2004 reconstructive elbow surgery while sophomore RHP Jess Stewart was sidelined for most of April with a knee injury … Manship and Axford also have suffered midseason setbacks, as Manship injured a finger on his throwing hand in the first inning of the April 17 game vs. UConn while Axford has been sidelined with a recent shoulder injury that could hold him out until mid-May … Manship returned to throw one inning out of the bullpen vs. Cleveland State (April 30) and then logged 4.0 as the game-3 starter at St. John’s before throwing the final inning in the 13-6 win over USC … Manship (15.0), Axford (1.2) and Stewart (13.2) have combined to throw only 30.1 innings this season, representing just 6.5% of the staff’s workload in the 2005 season … their absence has been magnified due to the fact that the Irish lost three key pitchers – top starters Grant Johnson and Chris Niesel (respectively 2nd- and 9th-round MLB draft picks) and lefthander setup man Joe Thaman – from the 2004 staff that finished 9th in the nation with a 3.36 season ERA.
FIT TO BE TIED – The 7-7 game vs. Villanova is just the second tie in Paul Mainieri’s 11 seasons at Notre Dame and his third in 23 seasons as a college head coach … ND’s 2001 team played to a tie with Navy at the Fresno State Classic, with time limits set on those games to keep that eight-team tournament schedule on pace.
See PDF for updated bio. capsules on the ND position players (including stats, bullet notes, etc.)