Junior RHP Brian Dupra will start for the Irish in Friday night's series opener.

Irish Baseball Looks To Stay Hot Against Streaking St. John's

April 29, 2010

Notre Dame vs. St. John’s Baseball Notes Get Acrobat Reader

The Matchup
Notre Dame (19-22, 7-8 BIG EAST) vs. St. John’s (27-12, 10-5 BIG EAST)
April 30-May 2
Frank Eck Stadium
Jake Kline Field
Notre Dame, Ind.

Probable Pitchers
Game-1, Friday (6:05 p.m.)
RHP Brian Dupra (3-2, 4.53 ERA) vs. RHP Bruce Kern (5-3, 4.63 ERA)

Game-2, Saturday (1:05 p.m.)
LHP Steve Sabatino (3-5, 5.29 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Hansen (5-1, 4.57 ERA)

Game-3, Sunday (12:05 p.m.)
RHP Eric Maust (0-3, 6.13 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Carasitti (5-2, 5.51 ERA)

Live Game Coverage
Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp); UND.com
Video: UND.com
Live Stats: UND.com

Series History
All-Time Series: Notre Dame leads the all-time series with St. John’s, 25-14, overall, and 13-7 when the contests are played in Notre Dame.

Weather Report
Friday, April 30
P Cldy/Wind
High 79, Low 61

Saturday, May 1
AM Showers
High 77, Low 55

Sunday, May 2
Sct T-Storms
High 69, Low 46

For complete notes, see the PDF listed above.

IN THE BATTERS BOX — Notre Dame returns to BIG EAST action against St. John’s in a three-game series that opens at 6:05 p.m. on Friday at Frank Eck Stadium. The series resumes at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday and concludes at 12:05 p.m. on Sunday. Live stats, live blogs and recaps of each game will be available on UND.com. The live web stream will be available for all three contests. Tickets for all Irish home contests this season are available through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), on-line at the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets), and at the Frank Eck Stadium ticket windows on game day.

SERIES NOTES — Notre Dame leads the all-time series with St. John’s, 25-14, overall, and 13-7 when the contests are played in Notre Dame. The Irish not only took two of three from the RedStorm in Queens to close the regular season last season, but Notre Dame upended St. John’s twice at the BIG EAST tournament.

  • The Irish have taken nine of the last 13 meetings, including the 2006 BIG EAST Tournament title game, but the Red Storm did take two of three from Notre Dame in the last series played in South Bend (2008).
  • Notre Dame swept the Red Storm over a three-game series at Frank Eck Stadium during the 2006 regular season.
  • St. John’s had captured four of the previous five in the series with the Irish (three one-run wins and a two-run margin), including a series sweep in Queens during the 2005 campaign.
  • St. John’s joined Seton Hall (1996), Connecticut (2002), Louisville (2007) and USF (2008, 2009) as the only teams ever to sweep a three-game BIG EAST series from the Irish.
  • The Irish won 9-of-10 in the series from 2000-2004.

ST. JOHN’S INSIDER — The Red Storm come into the series with Notre Dame sporting a 27-12 record, including a 10-5 mark in the BIG EAST and a 20-2 record in home and neutral site games. The squad is led by 15th-year skipper Ed Blankmeyer, who has amassed a 497-297-3 (.625) record with the Red Storm and is looking to lead St. John’s to its seventh consecutive 30-win season.

  • St. John’s is batting .332 on the season, second in the conference behind Pittsburgh, and is plating an average of 8.55 runs per game. The Red Storm is also second in the BIG EAST in doubles (99) and has totaled 49 stolen bases in 62 attempts. Shortstop Joe Panik and freshman left fielder Jeremy Baltz rank fifth and eighth in the conference, respectively, in batting; Panik is hitting .405 with four home runs, 33 RBI, 39 runs scored, a .500 on-base percentage (third in the BIG EAST) and 21 walks to just 11 strikeouts, while Baltz has 46 RBI (fifth in the conference) and nine home runs to go along with a .397 average. Three other starters are hitting .340 or better in Sean O’Hare (.375), right fielder Jimmy Parque (.353), and third baseman Greg Hopkins (.348), while center fielder Scott Ferrara is tied with Ryan Connolly for the BIG EAST lead in HBP (14) and is eighth in the league in steals (18). Hopkins ranks fifth in the BIG EAST in runs scored (45) and sixth in RBI (45).
  • The pitching staff is holding its opponents to a .268 batting clip, but 217 walks in 340.0 innings (5.74 per nine innings) have led to a 5.43 team ERA. Friday starter Bruce Kern is 5-3 with a 4.63 ERA and 56 punchouts (fifth in the BIG EAST) in 56.1 innings, while Kyle Hansen is 5-1 with a 4.57 ERA in 10 outings (seven starts). Leading the team in appearances is Kevin Kilpatrick, who has a 2.86 ERA and just four walks in 17 appearances covering 22.0 frames. While these three have combined to walk 44 batters in 123.2 innings, the rest of the staff is walking an average of 7.20 batters per nine innings. Freshman Matt Carasiti is 5-2 with a 5.51 ERA in 32.2 innings of work, primarily in relief, while Daniel Burawa (1.64 ERA, 6 saves) and Stephen Rivera (3.49 ERA, 15 APP) have posted solid numbers out of the bullpen.
  • St. John’s has committed 46 errors for a .969 fielding percentage, good for second in the conference behind Pittsburgh.
TALE OF THE TAPE (2010 STATS)                                  Notre Dame   St. John'sBatting Average                         .284         .334Runs Per Game                           5.78         8.56Home Runs                                 26           31Slugging Percentage                     .403         .495Batters' BB+HBP-SO Margin                -70           -7On-Base Percentage                      .358         .417Stolen Bases                           25-35        52-66Team ERA                                5.28         5.42Opponent Batting Average                .289         .266Pitchers' SO-BB Ratio                   1.82         1.29Pitchers' SO Per 9 Innings              6.66         7.43Pitchers' BB Per 9 Innings              3.66         5.78Fielding Pct. (Errors)             .962 (61)    .967 (50)Double Plays Turned                       33           39Record at Home                           7-8         17-2Record on Road (including neutral)     12-14        10-10Record in One-Run Games                  5-4          9-0Record in Extra Innings                  2-1          3-1

DeSICO LOVES SOUTHPAWS — Freshman second baseman Frank Desico continues to feast on left-handed pitching. The second baseman is now batting .459 (17-for-37) on the season against southpaws. DeSico made his 34th consecutive start at second base for Notre Dame against Valparaiso on April 28.

MILLS SACRIFICES FOR TEAM — Senior designated hitter David Mills leads the Irish with six sacrifice flies and nine total sacrifices in 2010. Mills, who also owns the single-season school record for sacrifice hits with 19 in 2008, has 44 career sacrifices, including 30 career sacrifice hits. He ranks fourth all-time in career sacrifice hits and tied for fourth all time in total sacrifices.

NOTRE DAME SACRIFICES — The Irish have registered 26 this season, which leads the BIG EAST. Notre Dame’s school record is 41 set during the in 2002 campaign.

CONNOLLY’S STREAK COMES TO AND END — Notre Dame senior left fielder Ryan Connolly saw his streak of consecutive games reaching base safely (via base hit, walk, or hit-by-pitch) end at 47 games after an 0-for-3 day against Michigan on April 21. The fifth-year senior had extended the streak in his last plate appearance on five different occasions, but he could not do so against the Wolverines, grounding out in his third and final at bat before being pinch-hit for in the eighth inning. The streak was the second-longest in NCAA Division I baseball this season, bested only by the current 50-game streak by Michael Choice of UT Arlington. Connolly’s statistics during the streak.

AVG PA  AB  R   H   2B  3B  HR  RBI.347    212 167 43  58  14  2   10  39
SLG BB HBP SO OBP SAC SF.635 20 19 49 .469 3 1
  • Connolly reached base in his first plate appearance (excluding sacrifice bunts) an astounding 25 times during the streak, despite being retired in his first trip the plate in each of the last five games. At one point, Connolly reached in his first plate appearance in five straight games, nine times in a 10-game span, 12 times in a 14-game stretch, and 17 times in a 22-game period.
  • Almost unbelievably, Connolly’s longest streak of consecutive plate appearances reaching base safely during the streak was just three, although he did that nine different times.

BLISTERING HOT — Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly has 12 hits and 21 total bases in his last 17 at bats, good for a .706 batting average and a 1.235 slugging clip; the stretch has raised his season average from .333 to .377. Connolly has 12 home runs and 46 RBI in 53 games since becoming a full-time starter on May 8 of last season.

  • Connolly doubled in the first inning against Toledo on April 27, giving him six hits in his last six at bats, and walked in the second (scoring both times) to extend his streak of consecutive plate appearances reaching base to seven. The last Irish player to have a 6-for-6 stretch was Danny Dressman on March 12 and 14 of 2007 (against Webber International and Dayton); Dressman also mixed in a pair of walks to reach base in eight straight plate appearances. A.J. Pollock also reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances in 2007 (April 21 and 22 versus West Virginia), collecting five hits and three walks.
  • Connolly finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored, four RBI, and his eighth home run of the season, a no-doubt three-run shot to put the Irish up 8-0 in the ninth inning against Valparaiso on April 28. The left fielder was named MVP of the Showdown in an on-field ceremony following the game.
  • Connolly has led off each of the last three Notre Dame games with hits, including consecutive games with doubles. He has registered an on-base percentage of .575 (23-for-40) in his first plate appearance of his 40 games played this season.
  • Senior Casey Martin (Chesterton, Ind.) recorded another multi-hit game, his eighth in his last 11 games.

TWIN KILLINGS — Notre Dame registered four double plays in the victory over Chicago State on April 13. The four double plays were the most for the Irish since they turned four last season against Western Michigan; the feat is so rare, however, that it has now been accomplished by a Notre Dame team just four times in the last 12 seasons. Notre Dame posted three in the series finale at Seton Hall and added three more in the midweek series against Michigan. The Irish registered just 17 double plays over their first 26 games, but have turned 15 in their last 15 outings.

NOT SO RUN OF THE MILLS — Senior designatted hitter/pitcher David Mills did it all for Notre Dame over the week of April 11-18 as the Irish went 4-0, including a three-game series sweep at Seton Hall. Notre Dame had not swept the Pirates in South Orange since 2002. In fact, Seton Hall had not been swept in a BIG EAST series at home by anyone since April of 2007. Mills not only registered two saves, pitched in all four games, but did not allow a run in 5.0 scoreless innings of relief. He also batted .444 (8-for-18) for the week with four runs scored and two RBI. In fact, both RBI came with two outs, including his game-winning RBI single in the top of the ninth inning in Sunday’s series finale with the Pirates to secure the sweep. In the sweep of Seton Hall, Mills hit .500 and tossed 4.2 scoreless innings of relief with a save. Despite his prowess at the plate, Mills most critical service came on the mound. With the Irish clinging to a two-run lead over Chicago State and the tying run at the plate, the southpaw came on and retired the only batter he faced to record his first save of the season. Then, in the series opener at Seton Hall, Mills not only tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless relief to keep the game tied, 5-5, but went 3-for-5 and scored the game-winning run. The senior then went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the 2-1 victory over the Pirates on Saturday. In the victory, Mills also registered his second save of the week. He came on with two on, two out and the tying run in scoring position, but fanned Ryan Sullivan to end the eighth. Mills then retired Seton Hall 1-2-3 in the ninth. He still managed to overshadow those performances in the series finale with the Pirates. Mills went 3-for-5 with the game-winning RBI and two runs scored. He also added 1.2 scoreless innings of relief in his third relief appearance of the weekend. The southpaw struck out two and yielded one hit.

  • Mills has tossed eight straight scoreless outings, covering 10.2 innings. He has also gone 11 consecutive appearances without allowing a walk (current streak of 66 consecutive batters faced without issuing a free pass).

NO ROUND TRIPS — The Irish have not yielded a long ball since April 10 against Rutgers, a span of 12 games and 472 batters. The streak is the longest since the 2006 squad went 24 games in a row without giving up a home run.

  • Senior Eric Maust has now gone 49.1 consecutive innings (228 batters) without allowing a home run. The homer-free stretch for Maust is actually not the longest (in terms of batters) of his career, as the 231st batter he faced to open his career was the first to homer against him.

STARTERS LIGHTS OUT — Notre Dame is 8-3 over its past 11 games, due in large part to stellar starting pitching. In those contests, Irish starters are 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA–over the last six games, the numbers are even more striking, as the starters have combined for a 1.21 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 22.1 innings. Sophomore Steve Sabatino, senior Eric Maust, junior Cole Johnson and junior Todd Miller have combined to give Notre Dame an active streak of 10.2 consecutive scoreless innings from its starters.

BULLPEN JUST AS GOOD — The numbers for the Irish pen are actually even better during the 8-3 run, as the bullpen has compiled a 2.25 ERA over that stretch, giving up just 39 hits in 68.0 innings (.214 opponents’ batting average). Take out the Michigan game on April 21 in which the bullpen yielded nine runs, and the ERA dips to 1.21. The Irish staff as a whole has a 2.38 ERA over the 11 games and is holding opponents to a .238 batting clip.

BULLPEN CARRIES THE IRISH TO PERFECT WEEK — Notre Dame’s depth of pitching, especially in the bullpen has been challenged in 2010 due in part to a number of injuries to key contributors, but sophomore Will Hudgins, senior David Mills, sophomore Joe Spano and senior Steven Mazur have carried the load and the quartet was instrumental in the perfect 4-0 mark and series sweep at Seton Hall over the week of April 11-18. Hudgins, Mills, Spano and Mazur tossed 9.2 scoreless innings of relief in the series against the Pirates. They combined to punch out 11 Seton Hall batters and walked only three. The Pirates managed just five hits and batted only .147 against them all weekend.

  • Michigan’s Coley Crank registered an RBI double in the second inning that ended the Notre Dame bullpen’s scoreless streak at 17.1 innings. The pen combined to strike out 18 over that stretch (covering the last six games) while walking six and allowing just nine hits (.153 opponents’ batting average).

IF ONLY AN INNING ENDED WITH TWO OUTS — Notre Dame has been victimized with two outs the entire season. Irish opponents are hitting .337 (149-for-442) with two outs and have registered 112 two-out RBI this season, which is over three per game. Notre Dame has a mere 65 two-out RBI and hitting only .272.

  • Rutgers plated an amazing 18 runs with two outs in the 25-5 victory over the Irish on April 10. Michigan added all 13 of its runs with two down in a 13-1 triumph over Notre Dame on April 21.
  • The third out of an inning continues to elude sophomore Irish starter Steve Sabatino, who gave up four unearned runs against Michigan on April 21 in the first inning, all of which came with two outs. Opponents are batting .386 (27-for-70) this season against the lefty with two outs and are reaching base at a .506 (44-for-87) clip with two away. Of the 45 runs Sabatino has surrendered this season, 29 have crossed the plate with two outs, including 11 of the 15 unearned runs charged against the hurler.

— ND —