May 1, 2009
Notre Dame vs. Connecticut
Frank Eck Stadium
Notre Dame, Ind.
Game-1, Friday (6:05 p.m.)
RHP Cole Johnson (4-1, 4.11) vs. RHP John Folino (5-3, 3.75)
Game-2, Saturday (1:05 p.m.)
RHP Brian Dupra (5-4, 5.65) vs. LHP Elliot Glynn (3-4, 5.17)
Game-3, Sunday (1:05 p.m.)
RHP Eric Maust (5-2, 5.16) vs. LHP Greg Nappo (2-4, 6.87)
Live Game Coverage
Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, p-b-p); UND.com
Friday, May 1
High 64, Low 43
Saturday, May 2
High 61, Low 40
Sunday, May 3
High 61, Low 41
IN THE BATTERS BOX — Notre Dame returns to BIG EAST action this weekend with another critical three-game series against Connecticut at Frank Eck Stadium. First pitch for Friday’s opener is scheduled for 6:05 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday’s game will begin at 1:05 p.m. All three games can be heard on WHME 103.1 FM as well as UND.com (which will also provide live webcasts). This weekend’s series continues Notre Dame’s treck through the top four teams in the BIG EAST standings. The Irish already took two of three from both West Virginia and Louisville. After this weekend, Notre Dame hosts first place USF (May 8-10) before closing the regular season at third place St. John’s (May 14-16).
CONNECTICUT INSIDER — The Huskies enter the series riding a modest three-game winning streak, but have also dropped their last four conference games, including a series sweep at the hands of St. John’s last weekend. UConn struggled out of the gate in BIG EAST action, dropping all three games at home to West Virginia, but rebounded the following week against USF. The Huskies took two of three from the league-leading Bulls in Storrs. UConn is the only team to take a series from USF. In fact, two of the Bulls’ three league losses came that weekend. The Huskies then hit the road the next two weekends and took two of three from both Seton Hall and Rutgers before returning to home to win a series against Georgetown. UConn did not carry that momentum into last weekend as St. John’s swept the Huskies. UConn has been tough on the road this season, posting an impressive 12-4 mark. In fact, the Huskies are 4-2 in BIG EAST road games in 2009 and has won both series. Notre Dame and Connecticut have each played Ohio State, Northwestern, Bowling Green, Toledo, West Virginia and Seton Hall. The Irish own a 5-5 mark against those common foes, while the Huskies are 4-6.
Scouting THE HUSKIES — Connecticut, led by sixth year head coach Jim Penders, enters the series with a 25-20 overall record and 8-10 mark in BIG EAST play.
- The Huskies are averaging 7.3 runs per game and hitting .310 with a .386 on-base percentage. UConn has also totaled 54 stolen bases in 79 attempts.
- The Huskies have six everyday players that are hitting .300. Mike Nemeth leads the attack with a team-best .349 batting average. He has added 27 runs scored, 58 hits, 18 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 31 RBI. George Springer is hitting .333 with 50 runs scored, 52 hits, 11 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs and 47 RBI. Nick Ahmed is batting .317 with 26 runs scored, 39 hits, four doubles, one triple, two home runs, 13 RBI and nine stolen bases. Harold Brantley, Jr. is hitting .317 with 25 runs scored, 38 hits, six doubles, one triple, one home run and 17 RBI. Matt Burnett is batting .314 with 34 runs scored, 54 hits, seven doubles, three home runs and 36 RBI. Peter Fatse is hitting .300 with 39 runs scored, 51 hits, 14 doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 43 RBI and 17 stolen bases. UConn has hit 39 home runs this season as a team, but also struck out 268 times.
- The pitching staff has a 4.30 ERA and .272 opponents’ batting average along with 347 strikeouts and 156 walks in 397.2 innings. David Erickson is 0-2 with a 2.20 ERA in team-high 19 appearances over 20.1 innings, while Scott Oberg (2-0, 2.20), David Fischer (1-0, 2.97), Dustin Odenbach (1-2, 3.38), Dennis Accomando (0-1, 4.32) and Dan Mahoney (0-0, 4.43) are other options out of the Huskies’ bullpen. Erickson has registered seven saves. UConn has committed 71 errors in 45 games and is fielding .960.
SERIES NOTES — Notre Dame leads the series with Connecticut, 22-9-1, including a 12-4 mark at Eck Stadium (10-5-1 at UConn). The Irish won 11 straight against the Huskies from 2003-06 and took a 12-game unbeaten streak against the Huskies (11-0-1) into the 2007 series in South Bend (UConn took two of three), matching Notre Dame’s second-longest unbeaten streak ever against a BIG EAST team (the Irish won 12 straight against West Virginia from 2003-06 and beat Georgetown 23 straight times from 1996-05).
- Notre Dame has won eight of the previous 11 season series against UConn (the Huskies have a pair of series wins, plus a split of a two-game series).
- The Irish took two of three from the Huskies in Storrs last year. UConn took the opener, 9-7, but the Irish rebounded to win the next two games, including a 4-3 decision in the finale. Eric Maust went a then career-high 8.2 innings and Kyle Weiland got the final out of the game with the tying run in scoring position.
- The 2007 series was a wild one. After UConn blanked the Irish, 5-0, in the series opener, Ryan Smith lined a first-pitch, opposite-field single over the second baseman’s head to cap Notre Dame’s wild 5-4 victory over Connecticut in game two. The winning sequence came against a pair of relievers, with Ross Brezovsky drawing a five-pitch walk against Ted Garry (2-5) before Jeremy Barnes beat out his sacrifice bunt. Huskies’ closer Matt Karl then took the mound but uncorked a costly wild pitch before losing Mike Dury on another five-pitch walk. Smith then went after the first pitch he saw, driving a fastball over the leaping second baseman Dale Brannon to end the game.
- Wade Korpi was in line for the win in the series finale, after allowing just one run on five hits and two walks in a 6.0-inning outing that included six strikeouts. But the Huskies rallied for six runs against the Irish bullpen. The Irish were one out away from the win before the Huskies rallied into the lead, with that two-out sequence including two hits and two walks. Matt Untiet brought home the tying and go-ahead runs with a single up the middle. Karl (1-2) tossed the final 3.0 innings to pick up his first win of the season, along with 10 saves. Karl allowed one run on three hits and a walk while striking out three – including two in the ninth inning (the final K came with the tying and winning runs on base). Greg Nappo, a former summer-league teammate of Pollock’s, did not factor into the decision, after allowing five run on five hits and two walks, with six strikeouts.
- The 2006 showdown series at UConn saw Notre Dame sweep the doubleheader (7-6, 7-3) before the final ended in a 1-1 tie after 13 innings (the Irish and Huskies went on to finish a close 1-2 in the standings). Jeff Samardzija (7.2 IP, 6 R/5 ER, 9 H, 3 BB, 3 Ks) won the 2006 opener while Tim Norton had a no-decision (8.1 IP, 6 R/5 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 7 Ks). Danny Dressman’s three doubles in that game included the game-tying hit (vs. Ted Garry), as the Irish scored twice in the ninth inning (Mike Dury had the win and Kyle Weiland the save, each pitching 0.2 IP). Craig Cooper (5-for-6, RBI, 3 R) paced Notre Dame in game two, with Jeff Manship collecting the win (7 IP, R, 6 H, BB, 8 Ks) and Dury the save (0.2 IP) while Rich Sirois took the loss (6.2 IP, 6 R, 12 H, BB, 3 Ks). The 2006 series finale saw Wade Korpi (7 IP, R, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 Ks) start for an injured Tom Thornton and Weiland logged the final 5.0 innings in extended relief (5 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 Ks). Notre Dame scored its lone run in the fifth inning (Cody Rizzo and Cooper both were hit-by-pitch, Brett Lilley singled to load the bases and the run scored on a ground ball fielding error). UConn also scored in the fifth, after a single by Dennis Donovan, a Josh Farkes HBP and Austin Wasserman’s 2-out, RBI single. Nick Tucci suffered the game three loss (7.2 IP, R, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 Ks).
- The 2005 series saw Dan Kapala (8 IP, 2 R, 6 H, BB, 2 Ks) and Thornton (9 IP, R, 6 H, 0 BB, 4 KS) become the first Notre Dame pitchers since 2001 (Aaron Heilman and Danny Tamayo) to throw complete-game wins in both ends of a BIG EAST doubleheader. Brian Dupra and Eric Maust accomplished a similar feat earlier this season against West Virginia.
- Notre Dame’s 2002 College World Series season included opening BIG EAST play with three losses at UConn (3-4, 8-9, 6-13), now one of just six times the Irish have ever been swept in a three-game BIG EAST series. That 2002 team ultimately started its season 9-10 and 0-4 in the BIG EAST but rallied to win the BIG EAST regular-season (18-8) and tournament titles.
- Notre Dame’s 2004 trip to UConn’s Christian Field included a 10-hit, 10-run explosion by the Irish in the 1st inning of game three, as Matt Bransfield, Cooper and Matt Edwards all homered (in a span of four ABs), with Steve Sollman and Cooper each adding two-run singles. That win allowed the 2004 Irish team to become the first BIG EAST team ever to sweep a trio of three-game BIG EAST road series in the same season.
TALE OF THE TAPE (2009 STATS)
|Runs Per Game||6.5||7.3|
|Batters’ BB+HBP-K Margin||-24||-58|
|Opponent Batting Average||.273||.272|
|Pitchers’ K-BB Ratio||1.4||2.2|
|Pitchers’ Ks Per 9 Innings||5.9||7.9|
|Pitchers’ BB Per 9 Innings||4.1||3.5|
|Fielding Pct. (Errors)||.968 (53)||.960 (71)|
|Double Plays Turned||35||40|
|Record at Home||12-6||9-9|
|Record on Road (including neutral)||14-11||16-11|
|Record in One-Run Games||6-5||3-5|
|Record in Extra Innings||1-1||0-0|
|Record vs. LHP||11-5||7-5|
|Record vs. RHP||15-12||15-11|
PROBABLE POSITION STARTERSPos. # Player B-T Cl. GP-GS Avg. HR RBIC Cam McConnell R-R So. 39-35 .266 2 22Served as the primary backup catcher last season; 11 of 22 RBI have either tied the game or given the Irish the lead1B Casey Martin R-R Jr. 37-19 .329 1 11Starts predominantly vs. LHP; picked up first career four-hit game against UTPA (3.15)-or- David Casey L-L So. 27-16 .377 3 18Starts predominantly vs. RHP; career-best three hits, four RBI vs. Toledo (4.1); two homers, seven RBI in series at Louisville2B Greg Sherry R-R So. 40-40 .339 0 13Spent most of 2008 in the nine-hole; was first ND player to hit over .300 in that spot of the order since `043B Mick Doyle R-R So. 34-29 .350 2 20First career HR against WVU-1 (3.18); tied for league lead with six SF; currently owns career-high 10-game hitting streakSS Jeremy Barnes R-R Sr. 43-43 .341 8 51Four-year starter (last three at 2B); All-BIG EAST 2nd team in `06; only player in league with five or more 2Bs, 3Bs, HRsLF Golden Tate L-L So. 39-38 .333 1 11Led football team in rec. (58), rec. yds (1,080), rec. TDs (10) and total TDs (11) in `08; gamewinning HR in 9th at Louisville (4.26)CF A.J. Pollock R-R Jr. 43-43 .366 6 37Led ND in hitting in `07 and `08; preseason Baseball America first team All-American in `09; `08 Cape Cod League MVPRF David Mills L-L Jr. 37-36 .323 1 22Two-way player that doubles as situational lefty in Irish bullpen; all-BIG EAST first team in `08-or- Brayden Ashdown R-R Jr. 25-10 .260 0 8Played in 84 career games and started 39; registered clutch pinch-hit 2-run 1B and go-ahead RBI 1B against Purdue (2.22)DH David Mills L-L Jr. 37-36 .323 1 22Two-way player that doubles as situational lefty in Irish bullpen; all-BIG EAST first team in `08-or- Matt Scioscia R-R So. 21-14 .250 1 15Son of former major league catcher and current manager of L.A. Angels Mike Scioscia; RBI in each of last four starts-or- Evan Sharpley L-R Sr. 26-19 .194 2 6Led Irish in home runs last season (20th player in ND history to hit 10+ homers); ranked fourth in the BIG EAST
ON DECK — After Notre Dame hosts BIG EAST rival Connecticut this weekend for a three-game series, the Irish will have all next week off to concentrate on finals before returning to Frank Eck Stadium on May 8-10 to host BIG EAST leader USF.
RANKINGS — Notre Dame and Connecticut are unranked in each of the four polls.
FREEBIES UPDATE — Over his years as a head coach, Notre Dame skipper Dave Schrage has utilized a formula to measure how many free bases a team allows during a given year. The formula adds walks allowed, errors, stolen bases allowed, hit batters, wild pitches, passed balls, and balks and divides that total by the number of games played. In 2007, the Irish allowed nearly 8.7 “freebies” per game. By comparison, Notre Dame’s 2006 team allowed just 6.2 per game en route to totaling 45 wins. The Irish made tremendous strides a year ago, allowing just 7.4 per game.
- Notre Dame took two of three games in the season opening weekend despite a below-par performance in terms of “freebies.” The Irish walked 12 batters and hit four more en route to an average of 8.7 per game.
- Ironically, the Irish dropped two of three games last weekend despite a positive performance in terms of “freebies.” The Irish walked just four batters en route to an average of 5.7 per game.
- Notre Dame captured 10 of 12 games (March 6-20), but the “freebies” formula would not be consistent with the Irish success. Notre Dame averaged 8.1 per game over the stretch.
- Notre Dame has dropped both of its BIG EAST series against Seton Hall and Pittsburgh. The Irish struggled mightily with “freebies.” Notre Dame is averaging 9.7 “freebies” per game, while the Pirates and Panthers averaged just 6.7.
- Notre Dame was just about as good as possible in the “freebie” department in the series sweep of Villanova. The Irish issued only 11 “freebies” over the entire weekend — good for a 3.7 average per game (down almost 5.0 per game from what Notre Dame averaged entering the series).
- Notre Dame issued 14 “freebies” to West Virginia in its 19-3 loss on April 17, but the Irish only surrendered a total of seven in the doubleheader sweep of the Mountaineers the next day.
- Notre Dame totaled just 21 “freebies” alone in the entire series victory over Louisville (three games).
- The Irish set a single-game high with 18 “freebies” in the 10-5 loss to UIC on April 28.
- Here is a breakdown of Notre Dame’s “freebies” in victories, and defeats in games both home and away.
|TOTAL||352 (8.2/gm)||393 (7.4/gm)||485 (8.7/gm)||389 (6.2/gm)|
QUICK HITTERS Â–
- RBI BY COMMITTEE: Notre Dame has 10 players with 10 or more RBI.
- IN THE CLUTCH: The Irish are batting .314 with runners in scoring position (.328 in 2008), led by senior Jeremy Barnes (.439, 29-for-66), sophomore David Casey (.409, 9-for-22), junior A.J. Pollock (.396, 19-for-48), sophomore Mick Doyle (.333, 10-for-30), junior David Mills (.326, 14-for-43), junior Casey Martin (.313, 10-for-32), sophomore Greg Sherry (.286, 12-for-42), sophomore Matt Scioscia (.273, 6-for-22) and sophomore Cameron McConnell (.229, 11-for-48).
- RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME: Notre Dame is hitting .345 (246-for-713) with runners on base, but just .278 (202-for-727) with the bases empty.
- CONTROLLING THE RUNNING GAME: Notre Dame sophomore catcher Cameron McConnell might be the most improved player on the Irish roster this season. Not only does McConnell have two home runs and 22 RBI, tied for third best on the club, but also he has already thrown out 19 base stealers (best in the BIG EAST). In fact, opponents have only recorded 35 stolen bases in 54 attempts (.648) against McConnell. Notre Dame’s catchers last season, Sean Gaston and McConnell, only pegged 10 the entire year.
- TEAM NOTES: Notre Dame is 18-3 this season when scoring six or more runs and 8-14 when scoring five or fewer runs … the Irish are 18-2 when scoring the game’s first run, but 8-15 when the opponent scores first … Notre Dame is 22-0 when taking a lead to the ninth inning despite being outscored 26-14 in the ninth inning … the Irish are 17-5 when holding their opponent to five runs or less, but just 9-12 when the foe scores more than five runs … Notre Dame is 20-3 when out hitting its opponent and 4-11 when out-hit … the Irish are 9-3 when fail to commit an error … Notre Dame is 19-0 when holding a lead after seven innings and 20-1 when holding a lead after six innings.
- INDIVIDUAL NOTES: Senior Jeremy Barnes leads Notre Dame with 51 RBI, which also ranks sixth in the BIG EAST … Barnes is on pace for 66 RBI in the regular season, which would rank just outside the top-10 in single-season Irish history … Junior A.J. Pollock leads the Irish in batting average (.366) … if he were to win the Notre Dame batting title against in 2009, Pollock would be the second Irish player to ever win three straight team batting titles … Pollock’s career .363 batting average ranks ninth in school history … Sophomore Cameron McConnell might be the most improved player on the Notre Dame roster in 2009 … he ranks tied for third on the team with 22 RBI … even more impressive, of McConnell’s 22 RBI, 11 have either tied the game or given the Irish the lead … Sophomore Golden Tate, who had a then career-high nine-game hitting streak snapped against Oakland on March 25, also added a hit in 11 straight games before going hitless against Michigan … Tate has a hit in 23 of his last 26 games … he also opened the year with hits in five consecutive games (so he has a hit in 31 of his 38 starts) … Tate has also reached base in 34 of his 38 starts.
BGSU NOTES — Bowling Green plated three runs in the top of the first inning. It marked the fourth time in the last five games that Notre Dame has surrendered runs in the first inning.
- Notre Dame plated seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to grab a 9-3 lead. The seven runs are the second-most in any inning for the Irish this season. Notre Dame scored eight runs in the bottom of the seventh inning against Illinois on Feb. 21.
- Freshman Steve Sabatino improved to 2-0 on the season in the fourth start of his young career. The southpaw was making his first appearance for Notre Dame since a March 25th start against Oakland. Sabatino went 5.0 innings and allowed three earned runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out four. After the first four Falcons of the game reached on Sabatino (a pair of HBPs and two singles) and three scored, he kept Bowling Green scoreless over his final 4.1 innings of work. Sabatino allowed just a pair of singles after the first four batters of the game.
- Sophomore Matt Scioscia delivered an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning to bring the Irish within two runs, 3-1. The RBI marked the fourth consecutive start in which he drove in at least one run. In fact, he has recorded an RBI in seven of his last eight starts. Scioscia added two more RBI with a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning. He added his career-best fourth RBI with an RBI ground out in the bottom of the seventh inning.
- Senior Ryan Connolly drew walks in each of his first two plate appearances, twice stole second and came around to score both times. He picked up an RBI in the bottom of the fourth inning with a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. Connolly reached base four times on the night and scored three runs.
- Senior Jeremy Barnes drove in his 50th run of the season in the bottom of the third inning, which equaled his output from both the 2006 and 2008 seasons. The RBI also was his 177th of his career that moved him into sole possession of seventh place on the all-time career Irish RBI list (passing Joe Binkiewicz, 1989-92). He surpassed his previous season-high total for RBI in his next at-bat when his singled in another run for his 51st RBI of the year.
- Sophomore Mick Doyle extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games following his single in the bottom of the third inning.
- Junior Brayden Ashdown registered hits in each of his first three at-bats. In fact, he had a pair of singles, both right back up the middle, in the seven-run fourth inning. The three hits were also a career-high for Ashdown.
- Sophomore Todd Miller registered his second career save. The righty tossed 3.1 scoreless innings of relief with a career-high four strikeouts. The outing was Miller’s longest of the season without allowing a run.
UIC NOTES — Junior Sam Elam made his second start of 2009 and ninth of his career against the Flames. He struck out four of the first seven UIC batters, including the side in the top of the second inning. Elam did hit his first batter of the season in the top of the third inning. He had gone 17.1 innings this season without an HBP. Elam had plunked 10 in 45.0 career innings over his first three years in an Irish uniform. Elam fanned six on the night in 3.2 innings of work. It marked the third career appearance for Elam with at least six strikeouts.
- Sophomore Golden Tate recorded his 11th RBI of the season in the bottom of the third inning. Tate, who had just eight RBI over Notre Dame’s first 34 games, has registered an RBI in three consecutive games (he did not see action against Bowling Green).
- Sophomore Evan Danieli made his first appearance for the Irish since leaving the game on Feb. 22 against Purdue after 3.0 innings with tendinitis. The right-handed hurler entered the game with the bases loaded, two outs and struck out Nathan Orf to end the inning. Danieli lasted just 0.1 innings and took the defeat. He was charged with two earned runs on two hits, including a two-run home off the bat of Jake Carr. Danieli walked two and struck out one.
- Sophomore David Casey has now registered a hit in 15 of his last 17 games (one of the two games he failed to register a hit came against Northwestern when he pinch hit).
- Junior Casey Martin drove in his 10th run of the season with a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth inning. Martin entered the at-bat just 3-for-21 with two outs on the season.
- Junior Andrew Scheid tossed 3.0 scoreless innings of relief. The outing was tied for Scheid’s longest of his career. He went 3.0 innings against Toledo on Apr. 17, 2007.
WHO SAYS WINNING THE FIRST IS MOST IMPORTANT — Notre Dame captured its second straight BIG EAST series after dropping the opening game this past weekend at Louisville. The Irish, which took two of three last weekend from then league leader West Virginia despite losing Friday’s game 19-3, did the same this past weekend at second place Louisville. Notre Dame rebounded from Friday night’s 8-7 walk-off Cardinals’ victory with 11-5 and 13-12 wins the next two days. Notre Dame had never dropped a BIG EAST series opener in consecutive weeks only to rebound to take each series since entering the league in 1996.
CARDIAC KIDS — Notre Dame rallied from five runs down in the seventh inning (12-7) to take the rubber game of its series with Louisville, 13-12, this past weekend. It was the largest come back victory for the Irish since they rallied from five runs down against Toledo on April 17, 2007. In fact, Notre Dame rallied from a six-run deficit in Friday night’s series opener to take a 7-6 advantage before ultimately losing in the ninth inning. That would have been the largest comeback since March 6, 2004.
AS BARNES GOES, SO GO THE IRISH — Senior Jeremy Barnes has had a remarkable start to the 2009 season. Barnes is hitting .341 with 12 doubles, five triples, eight home runs and 51 RBI, but his performance in victories is even more impressive. Barnes leads the Irish with a .420 batting average (42-for-100), .710 slugging percentage and .486 on-base percentage in their 26 victories. On the other hand, he is hitting just .219 (14-for-64) with a .484 slugging percentage and .315 on-base percentage in Notre Dame’s 17 losses. In fact, the Irish are 22-9 when Barnes has a hit and 13-3 when he has a multi-hit affair.
- Barnes is the only player in the BIG EAST Conference with five or more double, five or more triples and five or more home runs.
- Barnes is also climbing the career charts in a number of Notre Dame offensive categories.
|Notre Dame Career Runs Batted In||Triples|
|1. Eric Danapilis (1990-93) 221||1. Scott Sollmann (1994-96) 24|
|2. Alec Porzel (1998-2001) 211||2. J.J. Brock (1994-98) 16|
|3. Dan Peltier (1987-89) 202||3. Jeremy Barnes (2006-) 14|
|Mike Amrhein (1994-97) 202||Shaun Fitzmaurice (1963-64) 14|
|5. Matt Edwards (2002-05) 195||George Restovich (1994-96) 14|
|6. Jeff Wagner (1996-99) 189||Randall Brooks (1994-97) 14|
|7. Jeremy Barnes (2006-) 178||Brian Stavisky (2000-02) 14|
|8. Joe Binkiewicz (1989-92) 176|
|9. J.J. Brock (1994-97) 174|
|10. Brant Ust (1997-99) 170|
|Games Played||Games Started|
|1. Steve Stanley (1999-2002) 256||1. Steve Stanley (1999-2002) 256|
|2. Alec Porzel (1998-2001) 239||2. J.J. Brock (1994-98) 238|
|Paul O’Toole (1999-2002) 239||3. Alec Porzel (1998-2001) 234|
|4. J.J. Brock (1994-98) 238||4. Brett Lilley (2005-08) 231|
|5. Craig Counsell (1989-92) 236||5. Paul O’Toole (1999-2002) 229|
|6. Mike Coss (1988-91) 235||6. Craig Counsell (1989-92) 223|
|7. Brett Lilley (2005-08) 231||7. Andrew Bushey (1999-2002) 222|
|8. Greg Lopez (2003-06) 230||8. Ross Brezovsky (2005-08) 220|
|9. Jeff Felker (1997-2000) 228||Jeff Felker (1997-2000) 220|
|10. Cody Rizzo (2003-06) 226||10. Jeremy Barnes (2006-) 205|
|— Jeremy Barnes (2006-) 212|
BULLPEN BABIES — Notre Dame’s three freshman relievers of Will Hudgins, Ryan Richter and Joe Spano had quite a weekend for the Irish in their series victory over Louisville. The trio combined to post a 1-0 record and two saves in 7.0 scoreless innings of relief. Hudgins tossed 3.2 scoreless innings and picked up the first two saves of his career. Richter, who picked up the victory earlier in the week in his start against Michigan, tossed 3.0 hitless innings of relief and registered the win in game two of the series, while Spano retired the only batter he faced (Louisville’s Phil Wunderlich who torched the Irish over the weekend).
SHINING UNDER THE GOLDEN DOME — Sophomore Golden Tate blossomed into one of the most improved wide receivers in the country this past fall. He led the Irish in receptions (58), receiving yards (1,080), receiving touchdowns (10) and total touchdowns (11). Tate ranked tied for 83rd in the NCAA FBS in receptions per game (4.46), 28th in receiving yards per game (83.08), 22nd in total receiving yards (1,080) and tied for 16th in receiving touchdowns (10). He became the fifth Irish wideout (sixth time) to ever eclipse 1,000 yards in a single season. Tate recorded 1,754 all-purpose yards (third-most in Notre Dame history), the most by an Irish player since Tim Brown in 1987.
- Tate has made a similar impact on the diamond this spring. After playing in 18 games, including nine starts, and hitting .262 with three doubles, four RBI and three stolen bases in 2008, Tate is batting .333 with six doubles, two triples, one home run and 11 RBI. Tate also is 7-for-8 in stolen bases. He carried a then career-best nine game hitting streak into the March 25 matchup with Oakland, but went 0-for-3. Tate then recorded a hit in a team-best 11 straight games before going hitless against Michigan on April 22.
- Tate has a hit in 23 of his last 26 games. He also opened the year with hits in five consecutive games (so he has a hit in 31 of his 38 starts). Tate has also reached base in 34 of his 38 starts
- Tate had quite an afternoon on April 18. The wide receiver caught one pass, attempted one rush (a reverse) and returned one punt in the 2009 Blue-Gold spring football game before capping the afternoon with a 4-for-9 effort, two runs scored and one RBI in a doubleheader sweep of West Virginia.
- Tate could not have picked a better time to hit his first career home run. The sophomore, who by his admission has hit only two runs in batting practice all year, lined a 2-2 fast ball from Louisville closer Tony Zych over the left field wall to give the Irish a 13-12 lead in the ninth inning and eventual victory over the Cardinals.
Mick Doyle RULES — Sophomore Mick Doyle has really found his stroke over the last two weeks. After the third baseman batted .667 (6-for-9) with three RBI over the opening weekend of the 2009 season (playing third base), Doyle struggled over his next 14 games for Notre Dame batting just .132 (5-for-38) predominantly playing second base. His season has really taken off since he was moved back to third base. Doyle returned to third base on April 18 against West Virginia. He went 3-for-7 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI in the doubleheader sweep of the Mountaineers. Doyle has since not missed a beat. He is batting .485 (16-for-33) in the nine games since moving back to third base with seven runs scored, three doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI. Doyle has also registered a hit in a career-best 10 consecutive games.
There is joy in SOUTH BEND, mighty Casey IS STARTING TO HIT — Sophomore David Casey has really seemed to find himself offensively since taking over the majority of the at bats against RHP. The first basemen has recorded a hit in 15 of his last 17 games (one of the two games he failed to register a hit came against Northwestern when he pinch hit). Casey is hitting .444 (24-for-54) with 14 runs scored, seven doubles, three home runs and 17 RBI.
- His first career home run came in the opening game of Notre Dame’s doubleheader on April 11 at Cincinnati. The solo bomb not only cleared the scoreboard in right field, but crashed halfway up the facade of Fifth Third Bank Arena that sits some 30-40 feet behind the wall.
- Casey had hit safely in ten consecutive starts, including eight multiple-hit games over the span, before going hitless (0-for-3) against Michigan in the opener of a doubleheader on April 22.
- Casey also had quite a weekend at Louisville. He batted .429 (3-for-7) with two home runs and seven RBI. Casey only made one start over the weekend, but smacked a ninth inning, pinch hit home run to give the Irish a 7-6 lead in Friday’s opener before belting a game-tying, grand slam in Sunday’s 13-12 triumph. All three of his hits went for extra bases as he added a run scoring double.
NOTRE DAME LOVES ITS R & R — Freshman reliever and South Bend native Ryan Richter has not wasted much time in making an impact for his hometown Irish. Richter, who missed most of his senior season with an injury, has made nine appearances for Notre Dame (including two starts) and sports a 5-1 record with a 2.45 earned run average in 25.2 innings of work. He has yielded 22 hits and 14 walks, along with 18 strikeouts, while opponents are batting just .234 against him.
- Richter struck out a career-high six in his first career start against Northwestern on April 15 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
- Richter picked up the victory in the second game of the doubleheader with Michigan on April 22.
- Richter tossed 3.0 hitless innings of relief and registered the win in game three of the series against Louisville.
- He attended St. Joseph’s High School, mere minutes from the Notre Dame campus. Richter could become the 21st South Bend native to monogram with the Irish baseball team and seventh from St. Joe, including the likes of Matt Nussbaum (1999-00), Tony Zappia (1970-71), Marty DeGraff (1993-94), Joe Kernan (1967-68), Nick Mainieri (2004-05) and Michael McNeill (1985).
JOHNSON ON DISPLAY — Sophomore Cole Johnson had a phenomenal fall season that pushed him to the front of the Irish rotation. However, his status at the beginning of the year was in question after a bike accident on campus. Johnson was riding his bike to class when he lost control on a patch of ice. He landed on his throwing shoulder, leaving him out for nearly an entire month (January), but Johnson rehabilitated and has established himself as the one of the top starters in the BIG EAST. He enters this weekend with a 4-1 record and a 4.11 earned run average. Johnson has struck out 40, walked 25 and allowed only 57 hits in 65.2 innings of work (opponents are hitting just .238 against him). Johnson has tossed at least 6.0 innings in seven of his last eight starts, including 6.0 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball against Oral Roberts on March 6 and back-to-back complete game victories over Pittsburgh on March 27 and Villanova on April 3. He could have become the first Irish pitcher to toss three straight CGs since Dan Kapala in 2005, but Notre Dame’s game with Cincinnati on April 9 was tied 2-2 after nine innings.
- Johnson, though, was spectacular once again for the Irish despite not factoring in the decision against the Bearcats. The right-handed hurler went 9.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs on eight hits. Johnson struck out five and walked three. He became the first Notre Dame pitcher to work into the 10th inning since Aaron Heilman tossed 10.0 innings against West Virginia on April 15, 2000. Johnson has now tossed 9.0 or more innings in three consecutive starts. In fact, the righty has worked at least 7.0 innings in five straight starts. Johnson sports a 3-0 mark with a 2.38 ERA in those five starts with a pair of complete games and another outing that last 9.2 innings.
- Johnson allowed just two earned runs in his first career complete game victory to lead the Irish past Pittsburgh, 5-4. He was the first opposing pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game at Trees Field since May 13, 2006. Johnson kept the high powered Pittsburgh attack grounded for much of the afternoon. The Panthers entered the contest hitting .321 as a team and averaging 8.5 runs per game. In fact, Pittsburgh was even more impressive over its first four home games, plating nearly 10 runs a game, but Johnson was in control from the opening pitch. The right-handed hurler scattered seven hits, issued just two walks and struck out four. Johnson became the first Notre Dame pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game since David Phelps went the distance against Villanova on May 23, 2007. With Notre Dame holding a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Panthers took advantage of a pair of Irish errors, plated two unearned runs and had the tying run in scoring position, but Johnson escaped the jam with the Irish still clinging to a one run lead, 5-4, and proceeded to retire the final seven Panthers of the game.
- Johnson threw his second consecutive complete game, and the Irish scored all three of their runs in the first inning to defeat the Villanova Wildcats, 3-1, on April 3. Johnson became the first Irish pitcher since Dan Kapala in 2005 to throw back-to-back complete games. Johnson cruised through the first three innings, retiring the first nine batters on only 35 pitches with three strikeouts. Johnson gave up one run on seven hits, striking out five and walking just one.
- Johnson had his worst outing of the year against West Virginia on April 17. The righty was roughed up for 11 earned runs on 10 hits in 5.0 innings. He fanned three and walked three. His ERA rose from 2.30 to 3.77 and his opponents batting average went up from .189 to .221.
- He struggled mightily over the first two innings against Louisville. Johnson was tagged with five earned runs on seven hits in the first and second inning, but rebounded with an impressive 4.1 scoreless innings the rest of the way to keep the Irish in the game. He allowed just one hit in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth inning.
- Johnson is 0-1 with a 13.09 ERA in his last two starts against West Virginia and Louisville. He has allowed 20 hits and 16 earned runs in 11.0 innings of work.
DUPRA, DOING MORE — Sophomore Brian Dupra had his best outing as a collegiate pitcher against Villanova on April 4. The Rochester, N.Y. native was named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week for his efforts. He tossed a three-hit shutout with no walks and a career-high tying six strikeouts to lead the Irish past Villanova, 4-0. Dupra also became the first Notre Dame pitcher to throw a complete game shutout in over two years (Maust accomplished the feat on April 18 against WVU). Former All-American David Phelps was the last to accomplish the feat, blanking South Florida 1-0 at Eck Stadium on March 23, 2007. Dupra needed just 108 pitches to finish off the Wildcats. The righty retired the first 14 Villanova batters on just 48 pitches before allowing a single with two outs in the fifth inning. Dupra proceeded to retire the next five before allowing a double in the seventh (which was the furthest any Villanova hitter reached on base the entire afternoon). He was so dominant that he worked with a three-ball count just twice the entire afternoon and the first did not come until the fifth inning. He faced just four over the minimum on the afternoon (he also plunked one batter). Dupra’s complete game effort without a walk was the first for an Irish pitcher since Tom Thorton’s complete game no free pass outing against Southern Illinois on March 18, 2006.
- Dupra got a double play grounder with the tying run at the plate in the top of the ninth inning to secure his third consecutive complete game and give the Irish an 8-6 victory over league-leader West Virginia in the first game of a BIG EAST doubleheader on April 18. He scattered six runs on 11 hits in 9.0 innings. The right-handed hurler struck out three and walked just one. Dupra did surrender a two-run home run off the bat of Justin Parks with one out in the top of the ninth inning that cut the Irish lead to 8-6. He then plunked Dan DiBartolomeo to bring the tying run to the plate in Jedd Gyorko, but Dupra got a 6-3 double play to end the game. Dupra became the first Irish pitcher to toss three straight complete games since Dan Kapala in 2005 (West Virginia, Pittsburgh and St. John’s). u Dupra did not have his best stuff against Louisville, but battled through 7.1 innings. The righty allowed five earned runs on 12 hits and improved to 5-4 on the season. Dupra walked just one and struck out a pair. He also benefitted from a pair of double play ground out by Louisville.
QUITE A BUSY AFTERNOON — Junior Eric Maust threw a complete game shutout, the first of his career, as the Irish blanked BIG EAST leader West Virginia, 3-0, to secure a doubleheader sweep at Eck Stadium on April 18. He is the first pitcher to throw a complete game shutout of West Virginia since May 11, 2007. The outing was even more impressive when you consider Maust spent the earlier part of the afternoon playing for the Irish in the Blue-Gold spring football game. He punted five times for 187 yards (including two inside the 20 yard line). Maust allowed just five hits (all singles over the first four innings) and one walk, striking out two in a 114-pitch effort. He did not allow more than one base runner in any inning, and no West Virginia runner advanced past second base in the game. West Virginia, who entered the game batting .368 (third best in the nation) and scoring 10.2 runs per game, was shutout for the first time this season and recorded a season-low five hits. The last team to shutout the Mountaineers was Connecticut on May 13, 2007, a span of 94 games.
- Maust has now tossed 12.1 consecutive scoreless innings against West Virginia. He went 7.0 innings against last season and kept the off the scoreboard over the final 3.1 innings. Ironically, that start came the day after the 2008 Blue-Gold game. Maust punted in that game as well, before catching a flight into Pittsburgh from South Bend in the early morning hours of gameday.
SLINGING Sam Elam — Senior Sam Elam has experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows over his career with the Irish. Elam, considered the top-pitching prospect in the entire BIG EAST conference following the summer of 2007, made just one appearance in 2008 dealing with major control problems. He walked four, uncorked three wild pitches and allowed two earned runs on no hits in 1.0 inning. This from the same pitcher that took a no-hitter into the eighth inning (two outs) against Purdue on April 18, 2007. Elam went the distance that night and blanked the Boilermakers on just one hit with nine strikeouts. He has shown signs of regaining the form of 2006 and 2007.
- Elam fanned a pair in his scoreless inning of work against Dayton on Feb. 28 and tossed 3.0 more effective innings of relief against Central Michigan on March 24. The southpaw allowed just a pair of infield hits and one earned run, but struck out five and walked two.
- Elam was touched up for a pair of earned runs in 2.1 innings on two hits against West Virginia on April 17. He allowed a pair of doubles, one bloop just inside the foul line.
- Elam made his first since May 6, 2007 against Seton Hall when he took the mound against Michigan on April 23. In that start against the Pirates, he lasted just 0.2 innings and was charge with four earned runs on no hits. Elam walked three, uncorked two wild pitches, hit a batter and struck out one. The southpaw allowed just two earned runs on seven hits, three of which never left the infield, in 6.0+ innings of work against the Wolverines. Elam fanned a career-high tying nine and walked four. The nine strikeouts were tied for the most in Elam’s career (he fanned nine in a nine inning, one hitter against Purdue on April 18, 2007). The nine punch-outs also tied freshman Steve Sabatino for Notre Dame’s season-high. The outing for Elam was his longest since that Purdue appearance.
- Elam has allowed only five extra-base hits in 63.2 career innings. In fact, he has only yielded 38 total hits in his career as opponents own just a .174 batting average against the hard-throwing southpaw.
- Elam now ranks as the school’s career leader (minimum of 60 innings pitched) in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (5.25) and fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (10.20).
|Strikeouts Per 9 IP (min. 60 IP)||Fewest Hits Allowed Per 9 IP (min. 60 IP)|
|1. Dan McGinn (1964-65) 12.66 (105/74.2)||1. Sam Elam (2003-05) 5.37 (38/63.2)|
|2. Ryan Doherty (2003-05) 12.17 (134/98.1)||2. Ryan Doherty (2003-05) 6.22 (68/98.1)|
|3. Rick Rusteck (1961-63) 10.75 (131/109.2)||3. Dan McGinn (1964-65) 6.27 (52/74.2)|
|4. Sam Elam (2006-) 10.46 (74/63.2)||4. Ed Lupton (1963-65) 6.29 (113/161.2)|
|5. Jeff Manship (2004-06) 10.11(131/116.2)||5. Larry Mohs (1994-’95, ’97) 6.50 (85/117.2)|
|6. Brad Lidge (1996-98) 9.93 (143/129.2)||6. David Sinnes (1990-93) 6.69 (221/297.1)|
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT — Senior Jeremy Barnes smacked his team-leading seventh home run of the season on Wednesday night against Northwestern at U.S. Cellular Field. Barnes also homered in last season’s game at U.S. Cellular Field. In fact, both were estimated to travel some 370 feet and both landed in the visiting team bullpen (probably within 10 feet of one another).
FRESHMEN ARMS ACTING FAR FROM IT — Notre Dame entered this season with tremendous depth in its pitching staff and much of it was due in part to a large contingent of freshmen. Ryan Richter, Dustin Ispas, Will Hudgins, Steve Sabatino and Joe Spano have each made their respective contributions early in 2009. The quintet owns a combined 9-3 record with a 4.34 ERA in 95.1 innings of work and opponents are batting .244 against the group.
NOTRE DAME NOTES FROM MICHIGAN DOUBLEHEADER — Freshman Ryan Richter registered his second career start in the night cap. The southpaw did allow the first home run of his career, a solo shot off the bat of Michigan freshman Coley Frank in the top of the second inning. Richter allowed three earned runs on five hits in 5.0 innings of work. He registered his fourth victory of the season.
- Sophomore Todd Miller recorded his first career save in the game-two victory. The right-handed hurler fanned three in 2.0 innings of hitless relief. Miller did issue a walk, but the free pass was gunned down on a steal attempt in the top of the seventh inning.
- Senior Jeremy Barnes registered two RBI on the night. Barnes moved past Brant Ust (1997-99) into ninth place on the all-time Irish RBI list. Ironically, Ust was in attendance. He serves as the Wolverines volunteer assistant coach.
- Barnes not only became the 10th different Notre Dame player to ever start 200 career games, but also drew his 100th career free pass.
- Sophomore Cameron McConnell gunned down two more base stealers.
- Sophomore Mick Doyle gave the Irish a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning of the second game with his sixth sacrifice fly of the season. The six sac flies are tied for the most in the BIG EAST.
- Notre Dame continued to struggle with runners in scoring position, more specifically with the bases loaded. The Irish, who went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and 0-for-3 with the bases loaded in the opener, went hitless in their first four at bats with runners in scoring position in the second game. In fact, Notre Dame loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning of game two and failed to plate a single run. The Irish were just 2-for-their-last-13 with the bases loaded following the inning.
- Notre Dame stranded five base runners, four in scoring position, over the first four innings of the nightcap.
- Notre Dame had the leadoff runner reach base in five of the seven innings of the opener and two more times over the first five innings of the second game, but managed to score in just two of those innings.
- The Irish again loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth inning with no outs. Barnes finally came through with a hit with the bases loaded as the shortstop laced a two-run single. It was Notre Dame’s first hit in six at bats with the bases loaded over the two games.
- Ironically, the Irish finally came through with four runs in the fifth inning, but did so on just one base hit. Notre Dame also plated runs on a walk and sacrifice fly.
- The Irish stranded seven runners, including four in scoring position, over the first five innings of the opening game. Notre Dame was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position over the span. In fact, the Irish had 12 at-bats with runners on base and advanced just four times before the two-run sixth inning.
- The Irish had the leadoff batter reach first base to open five of the seven innings.
- Notre Dame again put a pair of runners in scoring position on Mills’ bunt single and Doyle’s double to open the sixth. Junior Casey Martin finally came through with a productive out, driving in Mills from third base with a sacrifice fly. Senior Evan Sharpley also came through with a clutch, two-out RBI single to tie the game, 2-2.
- Notre Dame did plate a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth, but still stranded two more runners on base and both were left in scoring position. The Irish stranded 10 in the game, including six in scoring position. Notre Dame went 2-for-10 in the opener with runners in scoring position. The Irish also went 1-for-5 with a runner on third base and less than two outs.
NOW THAT’S STARTING PITCHING — Notre Dame’s pitching staff entered the Villanova series averaging just a little over 5.1 innings per start, but the weekend rotation of sophomore Cole Johnson, sophomore Brian Dupra and junior Eric Maust all worked into the ninth inning. In fact, Maust nearly followed Johnson and Dupra with a third straight complete game victory. He fell just two outs shy of his first career 9.0 inning complete game. The Irish were forced to use just four pitchers the entire series with Villanova.
- Sophomores Cole Johnson and Brian Dupra become the first Irish pitchers to throw complete games in back-to-back games since Tom Thornton went the distance on April 22, 2005, and Dan Kapala repeated the effort on April 25.
LIGHTS OUT — Notre Dame approached numerous pitching records in the three-game series sweep of Villanova. The Irish posted a 1.33 earned run average and limited the Wildcats to a .172 batting average. Villanova managed just four runs (all earned) the entire weekend. The four runs were tied for the fourth fewest ever allowed by a Notre Dame pitching staff over a three-game BIG EAST series. Even more impressive, all of the previous series marks for fewest runs, with the exception of last season’s sweep of Georgetown, included a seven-inning game (BIG EAST used to play a seven-inning game as the first game of a doubleheader).
- Ironically, three of the top eight series for fewest earned runs allowed have come against Villanova (2006, 2008 and 2009).
Fewest Runs Allowed Over BIG EAST Series (3 games)
|2 at Georgetown 2008||2 vs. Georgetown 1997|
|3 vs. Seton Hall 1996||4 vs. Villanova 2009|
|4 at Villanova 2008||4 vs. Seton Hall 2001|
|4 vs. Rutgers 2004||4 at Villanova 2006|
|5 at St. John’s 2001||5 at West Virginia 2004|
|5 vs. West Virginia 2005|
IF ONLY AN INNING ENDED WITH TWO OUTS — Notre Dame had allowed 37 runs and a .220 batting average (39-for-177) with two outs over its first 17 games, but Seton Hall registered 19 runs, 16 RBI and a .440 batting average (22-for-50) with two outs over the three-game series.
- In fact, 15 of those runs and 13 of those two out RBI came over the last two games of the series. The Pirates also hit .486 (18-for-37) with two down in Saturday and Sunday’s victories.
- It was dÃƒÂ©jÃƒÂ -vu all over again against Central Michigan. After Notre Dame plated three runs in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 3-0 lead, the Chippewas followed with six runs in the top of the second inning. The six runs were not only all unearned, but also all scored with two outs.
- Over those four games, Notre Dame’s opponents plated an astounding 28 runs with two outs. In fact, the Irish had allowed 35 two-out RBI over their first 18 games, but surrendered 23 in those four contests.
Fighting for a Cure — Senior Ryan Connolly has faced adversity over his career at Notre Dame. The outfielder/catcher has seen limited playing time over the past two years due to a reoccurring shoulder injury — an injury that caused him to miss his entire freshman season in 2006. But, this adversity all pails in comparison to what Connolly faced in 2002 as a 15-year old sophomore in high school.
- Connolly’s father, Michael, passed away after a two-year battle with lung cancer despite never smoking a cigarette over his entire life. Connolly, and his mother Penny, along with the assistance of Dr. Leslie Kohman (Michael’s surgeon), began the Michael E. Connolly Endowment for Lung Cancer Research.
- The goal was to raise $500,000. The Connollys and the Board of Directors are responsible for all the groundwork fundraising efforts. After just three years of diligently collecting pledges and hosting golf tournaments and other fundraising events, they reached their goal. The Connolly Endowment issued its first grant of $10,000, which was then matched by the Hendrick’s Fund at Upstate Medical University, to a group of researchers trying to determine if lung cancer patients who had surgery would also benefit from a cancer-inhibiting drug.
NOTRE DAME NOTES FROM SETON HALL SERIES — The Notre Dame baseball team dropped two of three games this past weekend against Seton Hall. The Irish opened the weekend with a 9-4 rout of the Pirates high-potential draft pick Sean Black, but Seton Hall took the next two games, 9-4 and 11-4 to secure the series triumph.
- Notre Dame had allowed 37 runs and a .220 batting average (39-for-177) with two outs entering the weekend (over its first 17 games), but Seton Hall registered 19 runs, 16 RBI and a .440 batting average (22-for-50) with two outs over the three-game series.
- In fact, 15 of those runs and 13 of those two out RBI came over the last two games of the series. The Pirates also hit .486 (18-for-37) with two down in Saturday and Sunday’s victories.
- Junior A.J. Pollock, junior David Mills and senior Jeremy Barnes carried Notre Dame offensively over the weekend. Pollock batted .583 with five runs scored, a double, home run and three RBI. Mills hit .500 with five runs scored and two RBI, while Barnes batted .417 with a run scored, double, home run and six RBI.
NOTRE DAME NOTES FROM RICE CLASSIC — The Notre Dame baseball team took two of three games this past weekend at the Rice Classic. The Irish opened the weekend with a nail biting 2-1 victory over Oral Roberts. After No. 7 Rice blanked Notre Dame, 9-0, the Irish upended Washington State, 7-3, to secure a tie for the tournament championship. The host Owls, Golden Eagles and Irish all finished the weekend with identical 2-1 records.
- Notre Dame finished its weekend at the Rice Invitational with a 2-1 record. The Irish knocked off Oral Roberts, who later being the seventh-ranked Owls, and Washington State. Notre Dame led the tournament in batting average (.202) and fielding percentage (.982).
- The Irish also got stellar individual performances from a number of players. Sophomore Greg Sherry (Mendham, N.J.) led the tournament in hitting with a .444 batting average. Junior A.J. Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) finished third in hitting (.333), third in hits (4) and third in total bases (9), but also led the field in doubles (2) and RBI (5).
- Notre Dame’s bullpen was back to form this weekend. A weekend after the Irish blew a pair of games in the eighth and ninth inning; the Irish pen went 1-0 over the weekend with a 2.70 ERA and one save. The quartet of junior Steven Mazur (Round Rock, Texas), freshman Ryan Richter (South Bend, Ind.), freshman Joe Spano (Verona, N.J.), junior David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.) and junior Todd Miller (Franklin, Tenn.) allowed just five hits in 10.0 innings of work. They struck out seven and walked three, while opponents batted just .161 against them.
- Eric Maust allowed just two earned runs on four hits in 7.0 innings to lead the Irish past Washington State, 7-3, in final day action from the 2009 Academy Sports + Outdoors Rice Classic. HE was sharp from the opening pitch. The right-handed hurler retired the first eight Washington State batters of the ball game before a two-out walk in the bottom of the third inning. Maust then surrendered a two strike, two out double to place a pair of runners in scoring position, but got Shea Vucinich to ground out to end the threat. Maust then retired 10 straight Cougars between the third and sixth inning. Washington State did managed to scratch across two runs in the sixth on Alex Burg’s two-out, two-run triple to cut the Irish lead to 4-2. Maust walked three and struck out just one, but retired the leadoff batter in five of his seven innings.
- A.J. Pollock batted .333 in three games from the 2009 Rice Classic. The centerfielder went 4-for-12 with one run scored, two doubles, five RBI and one stolen base. Pollock also played flawless defense, recording five putouts and made a pair of spectacular diving catches over the weekend. Pollock drove in five of the six runs Notre Dame drove in as a team over the three games. He capped off the weekend with a 2-for-4 effort with a double and four RBI in the 7-3 victory over Washington State.
NOTRE DAME NOTES FROM PHOENIX COLLEGE CLASSIC — Notre Dame dropped two of its three games at the Phoenix College Classic hosted by the University of Dayton. The Irish lost their weekend opener against Gonzaga, 7-3, and weekend finale versus Creighton, 6-3, but routed the host Flyers, 14-5.
- The story of the opening weekend was the Notre Dame bullpen. The bullpen worked 12.2 innings over the three games and allowed just two earned runs – good for a 1.42 ERA. The sextet allowed just six hits as Ohio State, Illinois and Purdue batted just .143 (6-for-42) against the non-starters. The Irish bullpen was at its best in the two come-from-behind victories over Illinois (14-7) and Purdue (9-4, 10 innings). The Irish not only outscored the Illini 9-0 over the final three innings of the game, but Notre Dame’s bullpen retired the final 10 Illinois batters of the evening, including three by strikeout. The Irish were even better against the Boilermakers. They did not allow a hit over the final 4.2 innings of the game.
- However, they were unable to replicate that kind of performance this past weekend. The group was charged with both losses and posted a 6.57 ERA in 12.1 innings of work. In fact, Gonzaga and Creighton combined for eight runs over the 7th, 8th and 9th innings of the two meetings with the Irish.
- In the opener against Gonzaga, the Bulldogs scored two runs in both the eighth and ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie and slip past Notre Dame, 7-3, at Diablo Stadium. The Bulldogs plated the four runs on a pair of RBI groundouts, a sacrifice fly and wild pitch.
- Senior Jeremy Barnes, who finished just a home run short of the cycle, had a RBI triple and a two-run double. Junior Ryne Intlekofer went 1-for-5 with a two-run double. Pollock went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI, while junior Brayden Ashdown and junior Casey Martin each drove in two. Sophomore Greg Sherry went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a RBI.
- The Irish got another great effort from their bullpen as Mills, freshman Will Hudgins and senior Sam Elam combined to throw 3.2 scoreless innings of relief. Elam also fanned a pair in his inning of work.
- In the weekend’s final tilt on March 1, Creighton used a dropped fly ball in the top of the eighth inning with two outs to grab a 4-3 lead and tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth inning to secure a 6-3 victory over Notre Dame.
- With the game tied, 3-3, in the top of the eighth inning and two out, Notre Dame appeared to get out of the inning when junior reliever Steven Mazur got Nick Becker to hit a lazy fly ball to right field. With Ashdown camped under it, the right fielder lost the ball in the sun and it dropped just a step in front of him to allow the go-ahead run.
RECAPPING THE BIG EAST / BIG TEN CHALLENGE — Notre Dame opened the season taking two of three games in the inaugural 2009 BIG EAST / Big Ten Baseball Challenge. The Irish were one of three BIG EAST schools to post a 2-1 record. Notre Dame also was the only school among the 18-team field that ranked among the top five in both batting (third) and ERA (third) over the tournament.
- The story of the weekend was the Notre Dame depth, especially its bench, and the bullpen. Sophomore Mick Doyle, junior Matt Grosso and sophomore Cameron McConnell, all of whom did not play in the season-opening loss to Ohio State, started against Illinois and combined to bat .467 (7-for-15) with four runs scored and seven RBI. Doyle went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, while McConnell went 2-for-3 with a run scored and career-best three RBI. Grosso was 2-for-5 with his first career home run, a game-tying two-run blast in the eight-run seventh inning.
- The Irish defeated Purdue primarily due to its bench. Junior Brayden Ashdown, McConnell and junior Casey Martin all entered the game as pinch hitters in the eighth inning. Ashdown not only scored two runs, but provided a critical two-run, pinch hit single to bring Notre Dame within a run, 4-3, and added a go-ahead RBI single in the 10th. McConnell and Martin each scored a pair of runs and went 1-for-2. For the weekend, the Irish bench went 4-for-8 with three RBI and six runs scored.
- The bullpen worked 12.2 innings over the three games this past weekend and allowed just two earned runs – good for a 1.42 ERA. The sextet allowed just six hits as Ohio State, Illinois and Purdue batted just .143 (6-for-42) against the non-starters. Junior Steven Mazur picked up the victory over the Boilermakers and threw 3.0 hitless innings of relief over two separate relief outings. Junior David Mills (1.1 IP) and the freshman tandem of Will Hudgins (1.1 IP) and Joe Spano (0.2 IP) combined to not allow a run on two hits in 3.1 innings of work. Sophomores Todd Miller (3.1 IP) and Cole Johnson (3.0 IP) were the only two pitchers of the group to allow runs, but each surrendered just one earned run on a pair of hits.
- Notre Dame’s bullpen was at its best in the two come-from-behind victories over Illinois (14-7) and Purdue (9-4, 10 innings). The Irish not only outscored the Illini 9-0 over the final three innings of the game, but Notre Dame’s bullpen retired the final 10 Illinois batters of the evening, including three by strikeout. The Irish were even better against the Boilermakers. They did not allow a hit over the final 4.2 innings of the game.
A.J. Pollock PRESEASON HONOR ROLL — Notre Dame junior OF A.J. Pollock was named first team preseason All-American by Baseball America. He was one of just two players from the BIG EAST Conference to be named to the first, second or third team. Pollock has already been named second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and third team by CollegeBaseballInsider.com. He has also been named to the Wallace Award Watch List and listed as the 39th overall prospect, 16th collegiate prospect and top overall prospect from the BIG EAST Conference for the 2009 MLB Draft by Baseball America. Pollock was also ranked as the seventh-best prospect from the Cape Cod League by Baseball America following his Most Valuable Player season this past summer. He was most recently recognized by Baseball America as the 10th-ranked player from the junior class.
Irish Picked By Baseball America To Return To NCAA Tournament — Notre Dame was well represented in Baseball America’s 2009 season preview. The Irish, picked to finish second in the BIG EAST, was projected to reach the NCAA Tournament’s field of 64. Notre Dame was penciled into the Irvine Regional as the fourth seed. UC Irvine was the host and top-seed, while Stanford (#2 seed) and defending national champion Fresno State (#3 seed) rounded out the regional. The Irish had three players listed among the top 50 in their respective class. LHP Sam Elam was rated the 39th-best senior in the nation, while OF A.J. Pollock was the 10th-ranked junior and RHP Evan Danieli was the 48th-rated sophomore. Pollock not only was named all-BIG EAST, but was also listed by the publication as a first team All-American. He and Louisville third baseman Chris Dominguez were the only two BIG EAST players honored. Sophomore RHP Brian Dupra was also named the first team all-BIG EAST relief pitcher. Danieli and Dupra were ranked as the second and third best prospects in the league heading into the 2010 MLB Draft.
MAUST, POLLOCK AND BARNES NAMED PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM — Notre Dame placed the trio of junior RHP Eric Maust, junior OF A.J. Pollock and senior SS Jeremy Barnes on the preseason All-BIG EAST squad. No other conference school had more players on the 14-man squad than Notre Dame.
IRISH PICKED THIRD BY BIG EAST COACHES — The University of Notre Dame baseball team was picked to finish third in the 2009 BIG EAST preseason baseball poll as determined by a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams. The Irish received a total of 99 points.
|1.||Louisville||121 (11)||41-19, 16-11|
|3.||Notre Dame||99||33-21-1, 16-10|
|4.||St. John’s||93 (1)||41-14, 20-7|
|7.||West Virginia||60||35-21, 13-14|
|9.||Seton Hall||49||31-25, 15-12|