Feb. 20, 2008
Jack Russell Stadium
Â• Pitching Matchup
Liberty, Friday (1 p.m.)
RHP David Phelps (8-5, 1.88) vs. LHP Ryan Page (3-3, 4.57) or RHPClarence Nicely (1-1, 4.35 in 2006 at Auburn)
Iowa, Saturday (2:30 p.m.)
LHP Wade Korpi (1-5, 4.02) vs. RHP Steve Turnbull (2-4, 5.26)
Albany, Saturday (7:30 p.m.)
RHP Brian Dupra vs. TBA
Albany, Sunday (1:30 p.m.)
RHP Evan Danieli vs. TBA
Â• Live Game Coverage
Audio: ESPN Radio 1490 AM (Shawn Lewallen, p-b-p); UND.com
Â• Series History
All-Time Series: Notre Dame leads the series with Iowa, 39-25-1, andwill face Liberty and Albany for the first time in program history.
2007 Results: The Irish lost to Iowa last season 8-1 in DeLand, Fla. atthe Stetson Invitational.
Series Notes: Notre Dame and the Hawkeyes played four times during the2006 campaign at Wolff Stadium in San Antonio. The Irish were victoriousin three of those four meetings. IN THE
BATTERS BOX – Notre Dame opens the 2008 season thisweekend at the Clearwater Invitational. The Irish will play Liberty(Fri., 1:00 p.m.), Iowa (Sat., 2:30 p.m.) and Albany (Sat., 7:30 p.m.and Sun., 1:30 p.m.). All four games can be heard on ESPN Radio 1490 andUND.com.
CLEARWATER INVITATIONAL INSIDER – In addition to NotreDame, the rest of the field includes Iowa, Liberty and Albany. Each ofthe four schools will be opening their respective 2008 campaigns due tothe mandated NCAA schedule start date. The Irish are making anappearance in Clearwater, Fla. for the third consecutive year and willreturn for the 2008 BIG EAST Tournament in May.
WARMING UP IN FLORIDA – The Irish baseball team owns a63-49-1 all-time record (.562) in the state of Florida, but found theSunshine State to be an especially welcome home-away-from-home over theprevious eight seasons, racking up a 41-14 record (.732) in Floridaduring that 2000-07 span. Notre Dame is opening the season in Floridafor just the third time over the last 30 years.
NOTRE DAME IN THE SUNSHINE STATE – The Notre Damebaseball team has made regular visits to Florida, totaling a 63-49-1record against various top teams in games played in Boca Raton, Ft.Myers, DeLand, Gainesville, Homestead, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, St.Petersburg, Tallahassee, Winter Park, Tampa and Clearwater … inaddition to this week’s Clearwater Invitational, the Irish will travelto West Palm Beach next week for the Papa John’s Classic beforereturning to Clearwater and Brighthouse Networks Field for the 2008 BIGEAST Tournament in May.
- Last year, Notre Dame participated in the Stetson Invitational(DeLand), Clearwater Classic and Florida Gulf Coast Classic (Ft. Myers).The Irish posted a 6-5 record in those tournaments, including a 16-6victory over #7 Nebraska on March 4.
- The 2006 team swept a series at then-BIG EAST newcomer SouthFlorida (9-6, 10-4, 10-1) and then won the program’s fifth straight BIGEAST Tournament title by going 4-1 in action at Brighthouse NetworksField, in Clearwater.
- The 2005 team opened 3-1 in games played at Central Florida (18-3vs. Florida A&M, 1-2 vs. UCF, 4-3 vs. FAMU, 4-2 vs. UCF) and then endedits season at the NCAA regional played at the University of Florida (1-5vs. North Carolina, 7-4 vs. Stetson, 3-0 vs. UNC and 3-23 vs. UF) …the 2005 trip to Orlando marked just the second time in 27 seasons thatthe Irish have opened in the Sunshine State.
- In addition to participating in the 2000 (7-1 record) and 2003(6-1) Kennel Club Classics, the Irish recently have played three seriesat Miami (1-2 in 1992 and 1995, 0-3 in 1998) while participating in thefirst ACC/Disney Blast in Orlando (1998; 1-2 with win over FSU) andwinning the 2004 Florida Atlantic Classic.
- Notre Dame nearly advanced to the 1992 and 1993 College WorldSeries, after competing in NCAA regionals at Miami and Florida State(the Irish upset the host schools and reached the final day ofcompetition in both 1992 and 1993). The 2002 Irish team won their NCAASuper Regional series at Florida State to earn a College World Seriesspot (Florida native Chris Niesel picked up the decisive win over FSU).
- The program’s first Florida trip came in 1956 (2-5 in games aroundthe Tallahassee area). Other early Notre Dame trips to Florida includeda 5-2 loss at FSU in 1958, three wins at Rollins in 1967, tournaments atMiami in 1970 (1-5) and Rollins in 1978 (3-5-1), seven games around thestate in 1979 (2-5) and six games played at Rollins and Miami in 1989(4-2).
FLORIDA NATIVES – The 2008 Notre Dame baseball rosterincludes three players from Florida. Senior 2B Ross Brezovsky(Naples/Collier H.S.), senior LHP Wade Korpi (Lake Worth/SantalucesH.S.) and junior 3B/1B Eddy Mendiola (Miami/Palmer Trinity H.S.) allhail from the Sunshine State.
- The Irish baseball program’s list of all-time monogram winnersincludes 20 Florida natives, among them Academic All-America firstbaseman and Tampa native Henry Valenzuela (Jesuit H.S.; 1979-82, hit.314 with 15 HR, 123 RBI) … recent pitching ace Chris Niesel(Plantation; 2002-04, 3.21 ERA, 21-4, 2 SV, 233 Ks and just 57 BB in272. IP) joined other noteworthy RHPs such as Mike Pasilla(Windemere/Bishop Moore H.S.; 1987-89), David Sinnes (Miami/PalmettoH.S.; 1990-93, 2.91 career ERA, 32-8 record, 315 Ks in 297.1 IP), closerJohn Corbin (Hollywood Hills H.S.; 1998-00, 20 saves) and Danny Tamayo(Miami/Ransom Everglades H.S.; 1998-01, 3.27 ERA, 141 Ks in 160 IP) …Sinnes held ND record for career win pct. and Ks (best by Aaron Heilmanin 2001) while Corbin is the Irish career saves leader and Tamayo formeda potent 1-2 punch with Heilman … other noteworthy ND players fromFlorida have included: SS Daniel Cunha (St. Petersburg; 1933-35), IF JoeLaRocca (Ft. Lauderdale/Gibbons H.S.; 1970-72), OF Mike Galloway (CocoaBeach H.S.; 1975-77), DH Ken Meyer (Ft. Myers/Verot H.S.; 1999-02),catcher Javi Sanchez (Miami/Columbus H.S.) and RHP Joey Williamson(Lantana/Santaluces H.S.; 2005-07).
PROBABLE POSITION STARTERS –
|Team tri-captain; Missed the entire 2007 seasonwith shoulder injury|
|Indiana State transfer; finished second on theSycamores in home runs|
|Three-year starter that was named All-BIG EASTsecond team in 2006|
|Two-sport standout doubled as Irish startingquarterback for three games in 2007|
|Two-sport standout doubled as Irish startingquarterback for three games in 2007|
|Three-time All-BIG EAST selection; 2007 AcademicAll-American|
|Team tri-captain; Has started 165 of 167 gamesplayed over career|
|Led Irish in hitting in 2007; All-BIG EAST thirdteam and Freshman All-American|
|Two-sport standout doubles as Irish widereceiver and kick returner in 2007|
|Missed most of 2007 season after undergoing kneesurgery|
|Led Irish in hitting in 2007; All-BIG EAST thirdteam and Freshman All-American|
|Was listed by Baseball America as Indiana’seighth best high school prospect|
|Was listed by Baseball America as Wisconsin’sfifth best high school prospect|
* stats are from 2006 season
# stats are from 2007 season at Indiana State
ON DECK – After this weekend’s games in Clearwater,Notre Dame returns to the State of Florida for the Papa John’s Classicin West Palm Beach. The Irish will play Mount St. Mary’s, St.Bonaventure, Boston College, Maine and Lehigh over the week of March1-5.
RANKINGS – Notre Dame is unranked in each of the fourseason-opening polls, but the Irish are receiving votes from CollegiateBaseball. Liberty, Iowa and Albany are also unranked.
RECENT SEASON OPENERS – The Irish have captured nine oftheir last 10 season openers. Notre Dame suffered a tight loss to NewOrleans in the 2001 season opener (7-6 at Mississippi State), but haveopened season with victories in 1998 (10-1 vs. Florida State inOrlando), 1999 (8-4 vs. James Madison at FIU), 2000 (6-0 vs. Air Forcein Millington, Tenn.), 2002 (7-6 vs. Missouri at New Orleans), 2003(10-9 vs. Dayton at Arizona State), 2004 (7-1 vs. San Diego State atUSC), 2005 (19-8 vs. Florida A&M at UCF), 2006 (3-0 vs. Indiana State inMillington, Tenn.) and 2007 (15-8 vs. Prairie View in San Antonio).
- The 2001-03 openers each produced one-run games (the Missouri gamein 2002 went 10 innings), but Notre Dame has won the 2004-07 openinggames by a combined 44-17 margin. The 19-8 rout of Florida A&M in 2005was Notre Dame’s largest margin of victory and most runs in a seasonopener since the 1963 squad won 20-3 at Indiana.season-opening sites – This marks the 75th season and 18th straight thatNotre Dame has opened its season away from home. The 1990 Irish teamplayed a rare Feb. 5 home game against Goshen to open the year.
- Florida (now with eight) is the site of the second-mostseason-opening games in the history of Notre Dame baseball. Tennesseeranks third with seven games and Texas and Georgia are tied for thefourth-most common site for an Irish season-opener. Other states thathave been the site of multiple Irish openers include: Kentucky andLouisiana (five), California (four), Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohioand Oklahoma (all with three), Mississippi, Alabama, Michigan, Missouriand North Carolina (two). Obviously, Indiana leads all states with 13.
- The most common sites for a Notre Dame road season opener haveincluded: Indiana University (six), Purdue (four), Georgia Tech (three)and USA Baseball Stadium in Millington, Tenn. (three).
OPENING-DAY HOME RUNS – Three members of the 2007 team(A.J. Pollock, Michael Wright and Mike Dury) smacked home runs in lastyear’s season opener vs. Prairie View A&M … Pollock (3-run) and Wright(solo) homered two batters apart in the 2nd inning (their first careerABs with the Irish) and are believed to be the first Notre Dame freshmenever to homer in a season opener … Since 1989, Notre Dame players nowhave combined for 16 HRs on opening day … the Prairie View A&M gamewas the first time since 1993 that the Irish have hit three home runs inan opener (Craig DeSensi, Paul Failla and Eric Danapilis all homered inthe 1993 opener, a 11-4 win at Arizona State) … Notre Dame players nowhave homered in each of the past six season openers – also Matt Bok in2002 (vs. Missouri, at UNO), Kris Billmaier in 2003 (vs. Dayton, atASU), Matt Edwards in 2004 (vs. San Diego State, at USC), Steve Andresand Edwards in 2005 (vs. Florida A&M) and Matt Bransfield in 2006 (vs.Indiana State) … Edwards is the only player among those listed belowto hit multiple opening-day HRs in his ND career … of the program’s 16opening-day HRs in the past 19 seasons, seven have come from seniors,five from juniors, two from sophomores (none since 1993, when DeSensiand Failla did it) and two from freshmen … the 16 have also includedthree first basemen (Edwards twice), three DHs and three leftfielders,plus two catchers, two shortstops, a centerfielder, a rightfielder and athird baseman.
Notre Dame Opening-Day Home Runs Since 1989
Ed Lund (Jr., C, ’89) – at Trinity (12-2)
Craig DeSensi (So., DH, ’93) – at Arizona State (11-4)
Paul Failla (So., SS, ’93) – at Arizona State (11-4)
Eric Danapilis (Sr., CF, ’93) – at Arizona State (11-4)
Bob Lisanti (Sr., C, ’96) – at Georgia Tech (4-12)
Dan Leatherman (Jr., 1B, ’98) – vs. Florida State, Orlando (10-1)
Brant Ust (Jr., SS, ’99) – vs. James Madison, Miami (8-4)
Matt Bok (Sr., DH, ’02) – vs. Missouri, New Orleans (7-6)
Kris Billmaier (Sr., RF, ’03) – vs. Dayton, Tempe (10-9)
Matt Edwards (Jr., 1B, ’04) – vs. San Diego State, Los Angeles (7-1)
Steve Andres (Jr., LF, ’05) – vs. Florida A&M, Orlando (18-3)
Matt Edwards (Sr., 1B, ’05) – vs. Florida A&M, Orlando (18-3)
Matt Bransfield (Sr., LF, ’06) – vs. Indiana State, Millington, TN(3-0)
Michael Wright (Fr., LF, ’07) – vs. Prairie View A&M, San Antonio(15-8)
A.J. Pollock (Fr., 3B, ’07) – vs. Prairie View A&M, San Antonio(15-8)
Mike Dury (Sr., DH, ’07) – vs. Prairie View A&M, San Antonio (15-8)
OPENING-WEEK LONG BALLS – Notre Dame players combinedto hit 31 opening-week home runs during the past 14 seasons (1995-07)… four players in that span hit multiple opening-week HRs: infielderBrant Ust (two; 1998 and 1999), RF Kris Billmaier (three, in 2003), 1BMatt Edwards (two; 2004, 2005) and LF/DH Steve Andres (two; 2003, 2005)… Billmaier is the only ND player among those listed below who had amulti-HR game during opening week (vs. Newman, at ASU) … A.J. Pollock(vs. Prairie View A&M, in San Antonio in 2007) is one of six from thislist to homer during the opening week of their freshman season, as didMichael Wright (vs. Prairie View A&M, in San Antonio in 2007), Andres(at Arizona State in 2003), Ed Golom (as a pinch-hitter, at FIU in1999), OF Brian Stavisky (at Memphis, in 2000) and RF Cody Rizzo (in thesecond 2003 game at ASU) … the position breakdown of the opening-weekHR hitters since 1995 is as follows: RF (6), 1B (4), DH (4), LF (4), SS(3), C (3), CF (2), 3B (3), PH (1) and 2B (1).
Irish Players Opening-Week Home Runs Since 1995
Rowan Richards (Jr., CF, ’95) – game 3 vs. Pepperdine, Anaheim (14-5)
Ryan Topham (Jr., RF, ’95) – game 3 vs. Pepperdine, Anaheim (14-5)
Bob Lisanti (Sr., C, ’96) – game 1 at Georgia Tech (4-12)
Justin Scholl (Sr., RF, ’97) – game 2 vs. USC, Long Beach (4-14)
Dan Leatherman (Sr., 1B, ’98) – game 1 vs. Florida State, Orlando(10-1)
Brant Ust (So., 3B, ’98) – game 2 vs. NC State, Orlando (8-10)
Jeff Wagner (Jr., C, ’98) – game 2 vs. NC State, Orlando (8-10)
Brant Ust (Jr., SS, ’99) – game 1 vs. JMU, Miami (8-4)
Ed Golom (Fr., PH, ’99) – game 2 at FIU (1-14)
Alec Porzel (Jr., SS, ’00) – game 3 at Memphis (4-3)
Brian Stavisky (Fr., RF, ’00) – game 3 at Memphis (4-3)
Matt Bok (Sr., DH, ’02) – game 1 vs. Missouri, New Orleans (7-6)
Andrew Bushey (Sr., C/3B, ’02) – game 2 at New Orleans (7-8)
Kris Billmaier (Sr., RF, ’03) – game 1 vs. Dayton, Tempe (10-9)
Kris Billmaier (Sr., RF, ’03) – 2 HRs in game 2 vs. Newman, Tempe(15-5)
Steve Andres (Fr., DH, ’03) – game 3 at Arizona State (3-16)
Matt Macri (So., SS, ’03) – game 4 at Arizona State (8-14)
Cody Rizzo (Fr., CF, ’03) – game 4 at Arizona State (8-14)
Matt Edwards (Jr., 1B, ’04) – game 1 vs. San Diego State, Los Angeles(7-1)
Steve Andres (Jr., LF, ’05) – game 1 vs. Florida A&M, Orlando (18-3)
Matt Edwards (Sr., 1B, ’05) – game 1 vs. Florida A&M, Orlando (18-3)
Matt Bransfield (Sr., LF, ’06) – game 1 vs. Indiana St., Millington, TN(3-0)
Ross Brezovsky (So., 2B, ’06) – game 2 vs. Air Force, Millington, TN(8-2)
Mike Dury (Jr., 1B, ’06) – game 4 vs. Oklahoma, Millington, TN (3-4)
Michael Wright (Fr., LF, ’07) – game 1 vs. Prairie View, San Antonio(15-8)
A.J. Pollock (Fr., 3B, ’07) – game 1vs. Prairie View, San Antonio(15-8)
Mike Dury (Sr., DH, ’07) – game 1 vs. Prairie View, San Antonio (15-8)
PLENTY OF WAYS TO FOLLOW THE IRISH – Notre Damebaseball fans will have several options for tracking the 2008 season ona game-by-game basis, through live streaming video (Notre Dame homegames only), live-audio broadcasts, GameTracker live stats, free IrishAlert text messages and the ND Sports Hotline:
- Live radio broadcasts are available in the South Bend area,primarily on ESPN 1490 AM, with some broadcasts on 1620 (ND baseball ispart of a small percentage of programs in the nation with its entireseason airing live on a commercial station) … all games are streamedlive on und.com, with the links posted on the lower left corner of theund.com main page … the online broadcasts are free of charge, as partof a quick signup with Fighting Irish All-Access (which includesarchives or all audio and video content) … see All-Access signup linkvia the multimedia gold button at the top of each und.com page
- Irish ALERT free text-message updates (three per game) areavailable to your cell phone or other mobile devices … see link on theright side blue sidebar on the baseball page at und.com.
- GameTracker live stats are provided for all home games and mostroad games (based on phone-line availability) … when Notre Dame is onthe road, the home team typically provides the live stats – with bonusGameTracker stats also provided by the Notre Dame SID office for selectroad games.
- The ND Sports Hotline provides a recap of each game and often willinclude special in-game updates for postseason action (or fordoubleheader days) … to access the hotline, call 574-631-3000, chooseoption 4 (for baseball/softball) and then press “1” for the baseballrecap.
- Complete coverage of each and every Irish home game through livestreaming video.
PHELPS COPS TOP PRESEASON HONOR – Notre Dame juniorright-handed pitcher David Phelps – one of two Irish pitchers ever topost 100-plus strikeouts and an ERA under 2.00 during the same season -has been named to the 2008 preseason watch list for the Brooks WallaceAward.
- Phelps earned first team all-BIG EAST Conference honors in 2007,joining former All-Americans Aaron Heilman (in ’99) and Chris Niesel (in’03) as the youngest Notre Dame pitchers ever named to the BIG EAST’stop team (each earned the honor as sophomores). Heilman is the onlyother Notre Dame pitcher ever to reach 100 Ks while also having asub-2.00 ERA in the same season (111 Ks, 1/74 ERA; as a senior in 2001).
- Phelps finished the 2007 season as the league leader in overall ERA(1.87; good for 14th in the nation) and strikeouts (102; sixth in NDhistory) while ranking third among BIG EAST pitchers with 110.1 inningspitched, seventh in low opponent batting average (.236) and eighth inwins (8-5). He was one of only six pitchers in the nation who enteredthe 2007 postseason with an ERA under 2.00, eight or more wins and90-plus strikeouts.
- Phelps posted the 11th-best season ERA in the Notre Dame recordbook and eighth-best of the aluminum-bat era (since the early 1980s). Heled the 2007 Irish staff in ERA, wins, strikeouts, innings, starts (15;sixth in the BIG EAST), Ks looking (42) and groundouts (119), alsoranking third in low opp. batting avg. He had 15 more innings pitchedthan hits allowed (96) and finished with the staff’s second-bestK-to-walk ratio (3.4; 102/30) – while his nine-inning averages includeda team-best 7.1 innings per start, 8.3 Ks (2nd on the team) and 2.5walks (3rd-lowest on the staff), plus 7.8 hits per 9 IP.
- The fifth different Notre Dame pitcher ever to reach 100 strikeoutsin a season, Phelps reached double-digit strikeouts three times duringthe 2007 regular season and then had a 9-K game in the BIG EASTTournament versus Villanova. He totaled five complete games in the 2007season and is is one of only three Notre Dame pitchers to post four ormore nine-inning complete games in a season. The only Notre Damepitchers to total more strikeouts in a season than Phelps are Heilman(118 in ’99 and ’00; 111 in ’01), Jeff Manship (111 in ’06) and Tamayo(106 in ’01).
SCHOLARLY STANDOUT – In addition to his impressiveaccomplishments on the field as a three-time all-BIG EAST performer,senior SS Brett Lilley has reached near-perfection in the classroomduring his first three years at Notre Dame. The College SportsInformation Directors of America recognized Lilley’s excellence as astudent-athlete by naming him a first team ESPN The Magazine AcademicAll-American, in recognition of his 3.81 cumulative grade-point averageas an accounting major. Lilley – whose older sister Tricia was anAcademic All-America shortstop on the 2006 Purdue softball team -quickly returned to campus following the end of Notre Dame’s 2007season, in order to begin taking the first of three summer-schoolcourses that will allow him to graduate one semester early (followingthe 2007 fall semester). He then intends to enroll in the intensiveone-year master’s in accountancy program at Notre Dame, with the planbeing to start those classes in the 2008 spring semester beforeconcluding sometime later that calendar year (pending a possible stintin pro baseball during the summer of ’08).
Lilley has compiled a 3.95 GPA over his past three semesters at NotreDame, despite taking an overworked load of 21 classes and 60 credithours in that three-semester span. His stellar run in the classroombegan in-season during the 2006 spring semester, as Lilley posted a 4.0GPA despite taking an 18-credit load. The following fall, he ramped upto 21 credits but still managed to post a 3.95 (with six A grades and aB-plus) before adding a 3.95 in the recently-completed 2007 spring term(again with 21 credits, with all As except for a B-plus in a 1.5-creditcourse). Lilley’s 21 grades over the span of those three semestersincludes 19 As and the pair of B-plus marks while his 36 total classesat Notre Dame now have included 25 As, five A-minuses, four B-plusgrades, a B and a B-minus. He is the 18th different Notre Dame baseballplayer to be named an Academic All-American (10th to be on the firstteam) and in 2008 could become the seventh ever to repeat that honor.Notre Dame baseball players now have combined to earn AcademicAll-America honors 11 times in the current decade. Lilley was among theyoungest players among the 13 who were named to the elite 2007 firstteam Academic All-America squad that included eight seniors and fivejuniors, meaning that he could be a leading candidate for AcademicAll-American of the Year candidates in 2008. Phelps – who took a 3.36cumulative GPA into the 2007 spring semester (as a double major inpsychology and computer applications) – earlier had joined Lilley inearning first team Academic All-District honors and thus advanced to theAcademic All-America ballot, which produced only three sophomores amongthe 39 final Academic All-Americans.
ACE PRODUCTION – Despite playing a minimal role as afreshman on the 2006 Notre Dame squad, junior RHP David Phelps returnedfor a sophomore surge in 2007 that saw him emerge as the unquestionedleader of the Irish pitching staff. As college baseball headed into NCAATournament play, Phelps held the rare distinction of being one of sixpitchers in the nation with an earned-run average under 2.00 (1.88;10th-best in the nation), eight or more victories (8-5) and 100-plusstrikeouts (102). He ended up leading the BIG EAST in ERA and strikeoutswhile ranking second with 110.1 innings pitched, sixth in wins andseventh in low opponent batting average (.236). Phelps picked up threeof Notre Dame’s top wins of the 2007 season – versus #12 TCU, #7Nebraska and at BIG EAST leader Rutgers (in the series opener) – but heeasily could have totaled 12 or more victories, if not for poor runsupport (the Irish averaged just 5.4 runs in his 15 starts) and untimelydefensive breakdowns that saw 12 of the runs charged to him be unearned(three of his losses were due to unearned runs). His 1.88 ERA rankseighth-best among Irish pitchers during the aluminum-bat era (since theearly 1980s) while his 102 strikeouts rank sixth on the Notre Dameseason record book. Phelps allowed 0-2 earned runs in 11 of his 15starts during the 2007 season and only once yielded more than threeearned runs in a game (4, vs. Pittsburgh). His nine-inning averagesincluded a team-best 7.1 innings per start while he totaled nearly a 3.5strikeout-to-walk ratio (102/30; 3.4), had 15 more innings pitched thanhits allowed (96), averaged nearly a strikeout per inning (8.6 Ks per 9IP) and became one of just four Irish pitchers in the past 12 seasons topost four or more nine-inning complete games in a season (4, plus one inwhich he pitched 8.0 innings). He joined the elite company of formerAll-Americans Aaron Heilman (‘in ’99) and Chris Niesel (’03) as the onlyNotre Dame sophomore pitchers ever named first team all-BIG EAST (noNotre Dame freshman pitchers ever have been first-teamers).
ONE-TWO PUNCH – Notre Dame featured one of the tophitting duos in the BIG EAST during the 2007 season, as sophomore OF/3BA.J. Pollock (.372) and senior SS Brett Lilley (.371) were one of onlytwo pairs of BIG EAST teammates to each hit above .370. The Irish duoactually had the same number of hits (73) but Pollock had one fewerat-bat to narrowly finish atop the team batting charts. The BIG EASTrecognized 41 total players with all-conference honors in 2007 and NotreDame – with Lilley and Pollock – was the only team in the conferencethat featured both of its leftside infielders on the all-BIG EAST teams.
ROOKIE REWARDS – After narrowly edging Lilley atopthe 2007 team batting charts, Pollock became just the fourth freshmanever to lead the Notre Dame baseball team in season batting average (heand Lilley are the only ones to do so since the early 1990s). Pollock’simpressive all-around season – which earned him Freshman All-Americahonors from Collegiate Baseball magazine – saw him finish with thethird-best season batting average ever by a Notre Dame freshman (bestsince 1994), with that .372 mark ranking fourth best among all of theBIG EAST players in 2007 (behind two senior sluggers and Todd Frazier ofRutgers, the BIG EAST player of the year). Pollock was one of twoplayers in the entire BIG EAST to total 70-plus hits (73), 30-plus walks(32), double-digit stolen bases (11) and 10 or more sacrifice bunts (10)while also finishing first (6) or second (4) on the Irish team in 10primary statistical categories, including those listed above plus 39runs scored and 26 multiple-hit games. The right-handed-hitting Pollockalso hit a team-best .406 with runners in scoring position and feastedon left-handed pitching in the 2007 season (.509 batting avg.).
ON-BASE REGULAR – Senior SS Brett Lilley will enterhis final season in 2008 with the chance to etch his name throughout theNotre Dame record book. The feisty infielder has started all 176 gamesof his career (just four shy of becoming the fourth-longest streak inNotre Dame baseball history) while owning a .349 career batting averageand the second-best career on-base percentage (.485) in the Irishbaseball record book. A large chunk of his times on base have come viathe hit-by-pitch (78), placing him fourth in NCAA history and 14 back ofthe record (his former ND teammate Cody Rizzo is second all-time, with84). Lilley became the seventh Notre Dame baseball player ever to benamed all-BIG EAST three or more times, earning third team honors in2007 while leading the Irish in 11 categories and ranking second in fiveothers. His BIG EAST-leading .512 on-base percentage in 2007 ranked 11thin the nation and is seventh in Notre Dame history (second-best sincethe early 1990s) while his 27 HBPs ended up being fourth-most among thenation’s players in 2007. Lilley also ended up with the sixth-bestbatting average among BIG EAST players (.371), also ranking ninth inruns (55) and 11th in walks (31), and he reached base in all but threeof the 56 games in 2007- including a stretch to end the season that sawhim reach in each of the final 20 games.
BIG CROWDS RETURN – One season after setting numerousattendance records at Eck Stadium, the Notre Dame baseball team againplayed in front of a steady stream of fans that featured an average ofnearly 2,000 per game (1,958). The late-April series with West Virginiaattracted a total of 9,011 fans to Eck Stadium, representing thesecond-highest attendance for a three-game series in the facility’s14-year history. The 3,927 who were on hand for the Saturday afternoongame versus the Mountaineers (on April 21) broke the previous EckStadium single-game record – set one year earlier, to the day (3,507 sawthe Friday-night game versus Rutgers on April 21, 2006).
CAPE COD COMPANY – Six Notre Dame players competed inthe nation’s premier wood-bat summer league in 2007, as junior 2B JeremyBarnes and senior RHP Tony Langford headed off to join the Cape CodLeague’s Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox while four Irish pitchers – junior RHPDavid Phelps, junior RHP Kyle Weiland, junior LHP Sam Elam and juniorRHP Brett Graffy – were prepping for a summer together as members of theCCL’s Falmouth Commodores. Notre Dame consistently has produced multipleplayers each summer who compete in “The Cape,” including a 2005 summerthat saw Gaston earn Cape Cod League All-Star honors as a member of theCotuit Kettleers.
IRISH TO FACE SEVERAL TOP OPPOSING PLAYERS – Sevenpitchers from Notre Dame’s 2008 opponents are on the NCBWA Stopper ofthe Year watch list, including the Arizona duo of LHP Daniel Schlerethand Jason Stoffel, Southern Illinois RHP Bryant George, Connecticut LHPMatt Karl, Georgetown RHP Dan Kennedy, St. John’s RHP Colin Lynch andSouth Florida RHP Shawn Sanford … Notre Dame’s 2008 opponents alsoinclude 23 players who are on the Wallace Award watch list, among themare eight players from the BIG EAST: Cincinnati OF Tony Campana,Connecticut INF Matt Karl, Louisville DH Chris Dominguez, RHP JustinMarks, RHP Zack Pitts, South Florida RHP Shawn Sanford, St. John’s OFBrian Kemp and RHP Colin Lynch … others include the Arizona duo of PPreston Guilmet and OF Jon Gaston, Boston College’s trio of 3B EricCampbell, P Terry Doyle and C Tony Sanchez, Central Michigan C TylerStovall, IPFW OF Jared Davis, Michigan’s duo of P/1B Zach Putnam and OFDerek VanBuskirk, Purdue’s P Matt Bischoff and OF Ryne White, SouthernIllinois’ trio of P Cody Adams, P Bryant George and C Mark Kelly andWestern Michigan P Ethan Hollingsworth … six players from ND opponentsalso were named 2008 preseason All-Americans by either Baseball Americaor the National Collegiate Baseball Writers, including Putnam, Arizona’squartet of Ryan Perry, T.J. Steeler, Guilmet and C.J. Ziegler, as wellas Zack Pitts of Louisville.
WEILAND QUICK NOTES – Junior RHP Kyle Weiland returnsto the back end of the bullpen in 2008. Due to injuries and lack ofdepth last year, Weiland was forced to move into the starting rotation.He went 5-3 with a 5.66 ERA over 13 appearances and six starts. As acloser in 2006, Weiland ranked among the nation’s elite freshmen,receiving top Freshman All-America honors from Baseball America (one of14 on the first team), Collegiate Baseball and the The RosenblattReport/Rivals.com while also being invited to the annual USA BaseballNational Team trials. A second team all-BIG EAST selection that year,the lanky 6-foot-4 righthander finished third nationally with aschool-record 16 saves and compiled a 2.37 ERA that ranked fourth-beston the Irish staff. His 30 appearances were one shy of the Irishfreshman record (31) set by current big-leaguer Aaron Heilman in 1998(when he led the nation with a 1.61 ERA). In addition to posting nearlya 2.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk average (48/20) in 2006, Weiland logged 11more innings (49.1) than hits allowed (39, with only one home run) andlimited opponents to a .224 opponent batting average that rankedthird-best ever by a Notre Dame freshman behind Heilman’s .198 in ’98and the .201 allowed by Larry Mohs in ’94. Weiland converted all but oneof his save opportunities en route to nearly doubling Heilman’s freshmansave record (9) while his 16 saves were three better than the previousoverall Irish record (13), set by J.P. Gagne in 2003.
FRESHMAN FORCE – Notre Dame’s 2008 opening-day lineupwill likely include three seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and twofreshmen. It would mark the second straight season the Irish would havefeatured at least two freshman in the starting nine. Notre Dame hadthree freshman in the starting lineup in last year’s season opener (justthe third time in the past 13 seasons that Notre Dame featured three ormore freshman starters:
Notre Dame Freshman Starters
’95 – no freshman starters
’96 – Jeff Wagner (C), Paul Turco (SS)
’97 – Brant Ust (2B), Jeff Felker (1B), Jeff Perconte (RF platoon)
’98 – Alec Porzel (LF)
’99 – Steve Stanley (CF), Paul O’Toole (C), Andrew Bushey (3B)
’00 – Brian Stavisky (RF)
’01 – Steve Sollmann (2B)
’02 – Matt Macri (SS, injured)
’03 – Craig Cooper (LF), Cody Rizzo (RF), Greg Lopez (3B), Steve Andres(DH)
’04 – none
’05 – Brett Lilley (2B/3B), Ross Brezovsky (3B/2B)
’06 – none (Jeremy Barnes later had 55 GS)
’07 – Billy Boockford (RF), A.J. Pollock (3B), Michael Wright (LF)
SUPER SHORTSTOPS – Notre Dame’s baseball traditionspans nearly 120 seasons but the shortstop role was not well-representedby elite players, until an impressive run of talent at the positionduring the past 20 years. Early 1900s player Bobby Lynch andheavy-hitting 1964 All-American Rich Gonski were possibly the mostnoteworthy shortstops in the first 85 years of the program, followed inthe late 1970s by Rick Pullano before an impressive 20-year span thathas produced the likes of Tommy Shields, Pat Pesavento, Craig Counsell,Paul Failla, Brant Ust, Alec Porzel, Matt Macri and Greg Lopez at theshortstop position. Senior Brett Lilley has carried the torch each ofthe last two seasons. Lilley has started 176 games over his career,including 113 straight over the last two seasons at shortstop. He is acareer .349 hitter with 150 runs scored, 214 hits and 74 RBI. Lilley hasa remarkable .485 career on-base percentage over his career.
FREEBIES UPDATE – Over his years as a head coach, NotreDame skipper Dave Schrage has utilized a formula to measure how manyfree bases a team allows during a given year. The formula adds walksallowed, errors, stolen bases allowed, hit batters, wild pitches, passedballs, and balks and divides that total by the number of games played.In 2007, the Irish allowed nearly 8.7 “freebies” per game. Bycomparison, Notre Dame’s 2006 team allowed just 6.2 per game en route tototaling 45 wins while Schrage’s 2006 team at Evansville had just 5.6freebies allowed per game.
|Freebies||ND 2007||ND 2006||Evansville2006|
|TOTAL||485 (8.7/gm)||389 (6.2/gm)||360(5.5/gm)|
HITTING STREAKS – Heading into this weekend’s games,only senior SS Brett Lilley has a hitting streak over a game.
|Player||Statistics During Streak|
|Brett Lilley (2)||4-for-6, BB, RBI, R|
LILLEY LITTERED THROUGHOUT IRISH RECORD BOOKS – NotreDame senior SS Brett Lilley is all over the Irish career record book.Lilley ranks second all-time in career on-base percentage (.485),seventh in sacrifice bunts (28) and eighth in total sacrifices (34). Heis also on pace to finish his career among the top time all-time in thefollowing categories: games played, games started, consecutive gamesstarted, at-bats, hits, runs scored, walks and assists.
MR. DURABLE – Senior SS Brett Lilley takes the term”everyday player” to another level. Lilley has started 176 consecutivegames (every game of his entire Irish career). He has started 113consecutive games at shortstop. Lilley would move into third placepassing Brant Ust on the all-time list for consecutive starts withstarts in Notre Dame’s first four games of 2008 (trails second place PatPesavento by 29 straight starts). Steve Stanley’s school record of 256consecutive starts may never be broken.
NATIONAL FLAVOR – As is usually the case, the NotreDame baseball roster is made up from players across the United States.This year, however, it’s even more apparent as 39 of the 43 players onthe roster are from outside the state of Indiana. In fact, 18 differentstates, including Indiana, are represented. The only Indiana natives onthe team are Ty Adams (Indianapolis/Brebeuf Jesuit H.S.), Sean Gaston(Brownsburg/Brownsburg H.S.), Justin Gingerich (Goshen/Northridge H.S.)and Andrew Wiand (South Bend/Riley H.S.).
IRISH PICKED FIFTH BY BIG EAST COACHES – The Universityof Notre Dame baseball team was picked to finish fifth in the 2008 BIGEAST preseason baseball poll as determined by a vote of the league’s 12head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams. TheIrish received a total of 80 points.
|Team||Points (First PlaceVotes)||2007 Record|
|1.||St. John’s||117 (7)||41-19,20-7|
|5.||Notre Dame||80||28-28, 11-15|
|11.||Seton Hall||31||25-25, 9-15|
Winningest Division I Teams of the Decade
#35 Â• Junior
RHP Â• David Phelps
6-3 Â• 190
Hazelwood, Missouri (Hazelwood H.S.)
Victory: 5.4.07 vs. Seton Hall (3-1)… number of starts since then -3
Complete Game: 5.23.07 vs. Villanova (L, 2-3)
Shutout: Combined with two others for shutout on 4.13.07 againstGeorgetown
Fanning 3 Batters In Inning: last time 5.4.07 vs. Seton Hall (7th)
Fanning 2 Batters In Inning: last time 5.23.07 vs. Villanova (4th)
Low-Hit Complete Game: three-hitter, vs. South Florida on 4.23.07
Most Strikeouts: 11, on two different occasions
Longest Winning Streak: 4 games, 4.06.07 to 5.4.07
#13 Â• Senior
LHP Â• Wade Korpi
5-10 Â• 190
Lake Worth, Florida (Santaluces H.S.)
Victory: 2.17.07 vs. Prairie View A&M (15-8)… number of starts sincethen – 9
Complete Game: 3.29.06 vs. Western Michigan (W, 2-0)
Shutout: 3.29.06 against Western Michigan
Fanning 3 Batters In Inning: last time 2.17.07 vs. Prairie View A&M(3rd)
Fanning 2 Batters In Inning: last time 5.19.07 vs. Connecticut (5th)
Low-Hit Complete Game: three-hitter, vs. Western Michigan on 3.29.06
Most Strikeouts: 11, on three different occasions
Longest Winning Streak: 4 games, 3.29.06 to 5.16.06
Career: 1-1, 4.82 ERA in 2 appearances; 2 starts (5 ER/9.1 IP), 14 H, 3BB, 12 K
2007: 0-1, 6.23 ERA in 1 appearance (3 ER/4.1 IP), 8 H, 2 BB, 5 K
#6 Â• Freshman
RHP Â• Brian Dupra
6-3 Â• 200
Rochester, New York (Greece Athena H.S.)
Complete Game: —
Fanning 3 Batters In Inning: —
Fanning 2 Batters In Inning: —
Low-Hit Complete Game: —
Most Strikeouts: —
Longest Winning Streak: —
#22 Â• Freshman
RHP Â• Evan Danieli
6-7 Â• 230
East Hanover, New Jersey (Seton Hall Prep)
Complete Game: —
Fanning 3 Batters In Inning: —
Fanning 2 Batters In Inning: —
Low-Hit Complete Game: —
Most Strikeouts: —
Longest Winning Streak: —