March 12, 2005
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A four-run first inning propelled Notre Dame to an early 11-1 lead but the Irish had to hold off Southwest Missouri State’s upset bid before winning the consolation game of the Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic, 12-11, in Saturday afternoon action at Wolff Stadium.
(Note that this recap now includes updated team notes and gameday photos.)
Notre Dame (6-7) claimed its big lead after adding three runs in the 3rd and four more in the 4th but SMS (4-10) stormed back, doing most of its damage in the six-run top of the 5th.
Sophomore righthander Jeff Manship, who is returning from reconstructive elbow surgery, was slated to throw just the 1st inning and the prep All-American had a solid outing in front of his hometown fans. Manship faced just three batters, walking one and striking out one while seeing another thrown out attempting to steal second base.
Five relievers followed Manship to the mound, with sophomore Dan Kapala (1-0) awarded the victory. Kapala yielded just one run (a solo home run by Jake Manning) in 1.2 innings of work, allowing three total hits while striking out one. Junior All-American Ryan Doherty then worked out of a 9th-inning jam to pick up his third save of the season and 16th of his career.
Notre Dame’s first error-free game of the season helped the Irish hold on for the one-run win, with five SMS errors leading to five unearned runs in Saturday’s game.
Steve Andres digs in during the win over SMS, en route to repeating as an Irish Baseball Classic all-tournament selections (all photos by Pete LaFleur).
All-tournament pick Steve Andres had a bases-loaded walk and homered for the second straight day and third time this season as part of his 2-for-3 effort from the cleanup spot (2 R, 2 BB; hit 5-for-10 in the tournament). Junior centerfielder Alex Nettey (2-for-4, RBI, HBP; hit .385 in tournament) and freshman third baseman Ross Brezovsky (1-for-5; hit .357 in the ACIBC) also were named to the all-tournament squad.
Other top hitters for the Irish in Saturday’s win included sophomore catcher Sean Gaston (3-for-4, RBI, 3 R) and freshman DH Tony Langford, a Fort Worth native who responded to his first start of the season by batting 3-for-4 with 3 RBI and a run scored.
Oral Roberts held off the local team Texas-San Antonio to win the championship game, 5-4. ORU’s Dennis Bigley – who hit .380 in the tournament with 15 RBI while also tossing six shutout innings to win game-1 – took home the tournament MVP honor.
All-tournament pick Ross Brezovsky gets ready at third base during the win over SMS, bearing a striking similarity to former ND player Ben Cooke (now a San Antonio lawyer who was on hand to support the Irish).
Other all-tournament selections included SMS’s Manning and C Zach Harris, plus five players from UTSA (2B J.R. Voyles, 3B/SS Ryan Saltzgaber, DH Eric Moreno and pitchers Josh Ruffin and Caleb Barton) and five more from ORU: Bigley, 2B Brian Hanson, 3B Jon Tackett, DH/OF Kevin Lamb and pitcher Daniel Greenwalt. See full list of all-tournament team, including four-game stats, listed below (also all eight ACIBC final scores).
Notre Dame – which extended the program’s second-longest scoring streak to 161 games – added to its 1st-inning success by plating four runs for the early lead on Saturday. Brezovsky led off with a single into center field (on a 1-2 pitch) and Lilley sent the next pitch into left field for an opposite-field single. A fielding error on the third baseman Tony Lewis then loaded the bases and Andres earned his full-count walk. Gaston delivered with two outs on an RBI single into right-center and Langford capped the big inning by pulling a 1-1 pitch into left field for a 2-run single.
The Irish stretched to a 7-1 lead in the 3rd, with Andres pulling the first pitch down the leftfield line for his 15th career home run with the Irish. Gaston added a one-out single through the right side, moved up on a wild pitch and Langford’s full-count single into right-center, and scored on Nettey’s first-pitch single up the middle (Langford then scored on a wild pitch).
Matt Edwards – standing on second after his early double – scored what proved to be the decisive 12th run vs. SMS.
Notre Dame added four more in the 4th, with Lilley drawing a full-count walk and motoring to third when senior first baseman ripped a 1-0 pitch through the left side for a double that ended the day for freshman righthander Jake Bunten. Junior Craig Cooper, who made his first start of the season in right field, greeted junior LHP Jake Habsieger with a two-run single that dropped into right field. Gaston then reached on a swinging bunt, Langford added another RBI single (to right-center), Nettey reached on a hit-by-pitch and Greg Lopez lifted a sacrifice fly to center field.
SMS quickly answered in the 5th, using five hits and three walks to push home six runs. Junior righthander D.J. Roshone then took the mound for the Bears and the Irish added a run for a 12-7 lead, with Edwards walking on four pitches and Andres pulling the next pitch through the right side. The runners advanced on a dropped infield-fly popup in shallow center field (E4) and Edwards then scored on a wild pitch.
The Bears continued to chip away with two runs in the 6th and another run in the 7th (12-10). Harris hit a one-out single in the 8th but Kapala induced a foulout and flyout to leave the tying run at the plate.
Manning’s 9th-inning home run (his second vs. the Irish in the tournament) and Scott Nasby’s single brought Doherty out of the bullpen. Curtis Epperly flew out to right field for the first out and pinch-runner Chris Playter then appeared to steal second but pinch-hitter Jerrod White was called for batters interference, sending the runner back to second and making White the second out.
Doherty hit leadoff batter Jacob Hilgendorf with the next pitch, moving the tying run to second base, but he blew a 2-2 pitch by Kirk McConnell to end the game with a dramatic strikeout.
(See updated team notes and more gameday photos below linescore.)
Southwest Missouri State (4-10) 0-0-1 0-6-2 1-0-1 – 11 16 5
Notre Dame (6-7) 4-0-3 4-1-0 0-0-X – 12 15 0
Jake Bunten (2-1; L, 2-1), Jake Habsieger (4), D.J. Roshone (5) and Zach Harris.
Jeff Manship, Wade Korpi (2), Mike Dury (5), David Gruener (6), Dan Kapala (7; W, 1-0), Ryan Doherty (9; SV, 3) and Sean Gaston.
Home Runs: Steve Andres, ND (solo in 3rd; 3rd of season); Jake Manning, SMS (solo in 9th; 2nd of season).
Doubles: Zach Harris (SMS), Scott Nasby (SMS), Matt Lawson (SMS), Matt Edwards (ND).
Sophomore catcher Sean Gaston and his Irish teammates debuted their new blue jerseys in the win over SMS.
ALL-TOURNAMENT PICKS – ND’s three all-tournament picks at the Alamo City Irish baseball classic included: junior LF/DH Steve Andres (.500, 5-for-10, 4 RBI, 4 R, 2 HR, 3 BB, 2 Ks), junior CF Alex Nettey (.385, 5-for-13, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B, 3 BB, HBP, 1-2 SB) and freshman 3B Ross Brezovsky (.357, 5-for-14, 3 R, 3B, 2 Ks, E) … the only other ND player who hit above .290 in the tournament was sophomore C Sean Gaston (.333, 5-for-15, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2B, HBP, K, SAC) … the Irish hit .288 in the four games (30 R, .439 slugging pct., 5 HR, 3B, 3 2B, 18 BB, 4 HBP, 20 Ks, .385 on-base pct., 3-4 SB, .974 fielding, 4 Es, 26 LOB) while the ND staff had an 8.00 ERA in the ACIBC (36 IP, 55 H/.367, 17 BB, 21 Ks, 3 WP, 7 HB) … the Irish now are 2-3 in the all-time series vs. Texas-San Antonio, 3-1 vs. Southwest Missouri State and 3-10 vs. Oral Roberts.
GREAT ALAMO MEMORIES – Junior LF/DH Steve Andres, who headed to San Antonio earlier this week mired in a 1-for-21 slump, has been an all-tournament pick at the past two Alamo City Irish Baseball Classics, batting a combined .478 (11-for-23) in the ’04 and ’05 ABIBCs, plus 8 RBI, 7 runs, a .913 slugging pct. (3 HR, 2B), a .556 on-base pct. (4 BB), a 1.469 OPS (combined OB and slugging) and just 2 strikeouts … Andres has left the park on 3 of his 7 hits this season.
SPRING BREAK HISTORY – The Irish have won 71% of their Spring Break games in the Paul Mainieri era (57-23-1, since 1995), including 18-6 in the past 24 Spring Break games and 12-5 in the past 17 games played in Texas during that span … during the span of the ’02-`04 Spring Break trips, ND is 4-5 in Round Rock, 9-3 in San Antonio and 6-1 in Jacksonville … ND’s 73-51 all-time record in Texas includes 38-20 (.655) in nine Texas swings during the Mainieri era,
Freshman second baseman Brett Lilley continued to get on base with regularity in the SMS game.
TOURNEY NOTES – ND has played 33 regular-season tournaments in the 11-year Paul Mainieri era and has posted a losing record in just 7 of those tournaments (winning record in 23, even record in 3) … despite the 2-4 trip, the Irish are 20-6 in their past 26 regular-season tournament games … ND’s 25-7 all-time record as the host of tournaments in San Antonio during the Mainieri era includes a 16-3 mark in the past 19 Alamo City tournament games.
SPRING BREAK STATS – The Irish hit .296 in the six games over the break, scoring 40 runs (6.7/gm) with a .409 slugging pct. (5 HR, 3B, 6 2B), .402 on-base (29 BB, 9 HBP), 31 Ks, 3 sac. bunts, 3-of-5 SBs and .969 fielding (7 Es) … top hitters on the Texas swing included senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards (.391, 9-for-23, 10 RBI, 6 R, 2 HR, 2 2B, .739 slug, 4 BB, K, .464 OB, 1.203 OPS, SF, 3 Es), freshman 2B Brett Lilley (.368, 7-for-19, 2 RBI, 6 R, 4 BB, 5 HBP, 4 Ks, SAC, .571 OB), junior CF Alex Nettey (.353, 6-for-17, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B, 3 BB, HBP, K, 1-2 SB), junior OF Craig Cooper (.333, 8-for-24, 5 RBI, 4 R, 2B, 4 BB, 2 Ks, SB) and junior LF/DH Steve Andres (.333, 6-for-18, 5 RBI, 6 R, 2 HR, .667 slug, 5 BB, 3 Ks, .478 OB, 1.145 OPS) … the ND pitchers posted a 9.00 staff ERA over the break, with 86 hits allowed (.368 opp. avg.), 28 BB, 30 Ks, 10 HB and 4 WP in 54 IP (plus 8 unearned runs)
Sean Gaston – shown making a play in Friday’s slugfest with Oral Roberts – is one of four new starters in the current offensive lineup.
NEW-LOOK LINEUP – ND has played most of the season without junior DH and 2004 RBI leader Matt Bransfield (broken hand in ’05 opener), meaning that the typical 2005 batting order has included just five returning starters (junior OFs Steve Andres, Craig Cooper and Cody Rizzo, senior 1B Matt Edwards and junior SS Greg Lopez) … newcomers to the everyday lineup have more than held their own, as freshman 2B Brett Lilley (.357), junior CF Alex Nettey (.355) and freshman 3B Ross Brezovsky (.353) rank 2-4 on the team batting charts while sophomore C Sean Gaston is 6th on the team with a .298 batting avg.
SPRING IN HIS STEP – Senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards owns a .343 career batting avg. with the Irish but he now has hit a combined .415 (34-for-82) during 22 career Spring Break games, with 28 RBI and 52 total bases (4 HR, 6 2B, 16 R, 12 Ks, SAC, 13 BB, 4 HBP, 7 Es, 2-3 SB).
SEASON STATS – ND owns a .306 team batting avg. with 96 runs (7.4/gm), a .411 on-base pct. that would rank 4th in ND history and best of the 11-year Paul Mainieri era, 54 walks, 32 hit-by-pitch, 68 Ks, 9-of-19 stolen bases and a .422 slugging pct. (9 HR, 3 3B, 19 2B) … the Irish are -18 in the margin of runs minus runners left on base (114) … ND’s .962 team fielding pct. includes 20 errors but just one from the middle infielders (junior SS Greg Lopez has 0, freshman 2B Brett Lilley 1) … four ND players are hitting above .310: senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards (.370, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 5 2B, 685 slugging, .444 on-base, 6 BB); Lilley (.357, 6 RBI, 12 R, 2B, 8 BB, 11 HBP, 5 Ks, team-best .548 OB), junior CF Alex Nettey (.355, 4 RBI, 5 R, 3B, 2 2B, .484 slugging, 3 BB, .459 OB) and freshman 3B Ross Brezovsky (.353, 6 RBI, 8 R, 2 3B, 3 2B, BB) … Edwards has an impressive 1.129 OPS (combined on-base and slugging), followed by Nettey (.943), Lilley (.929), Brezovsky (.883) and junior LF/DH Steve Andres (.880) … the ND pitching staff carries a 6.18 ERA, with a .337 opp. batting avg., 65 Ks, 62 BB and 21 HB in 118 IP.
Junior shortstop Greg Lopez – shown snapping off a charging throw vs. SMS – has yet to make an error in 61 fielding chances this season.
FIRST-INNING FOCUS – Recent seasons have seen the Irish struggle with 1st-inning run production in the early games but ND now has totaled 14 runs in the 1st inning of 13 games this season … the Irish have scored more runs in only one innings this season (17, in the 6th).
HIT MASTERS – Senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards has hits in 10-of-13 games this season (9 of past 10, including team-best 8-game hitting streak) and leads the team in multi-hit games (7) and multi-RBI games (4) … others of note include freshman 3B Ross Brezovsky (hits in 10 of 12, 5 multi-hit games), junior CF Alex Nettey (hits in 7 of 10) and freshman 2B Brett Lilley (5 multi-hit).
MIDDLE-INNING MIGRANES – More than half of the runs allowed by the ND pitching staff (51 of 98) have come in the 5th (14), 6th (23) and 7th (14) innings … the Irish are averaging 3.9 runs allowed per game in the 5th-7th innings, compared to an average of just 1.9 in the first four innings (25) and only 1.7 (22) from the 8th inning on … the final two games in San Antonio saw ORU and SMS combine for 21 runs in the 5th-7th innings … improved bullpen outings will be a key for the Irish the rest of the season, with the ’05 relievers currently owning a 6.75 combined ERA (.346 opp. avg., 25 BB, 25 Ks, 13 HB, 3 WP in 49 IP, with 2-3 record, 4 saves and 9 UER) … the ’04 bullpen posted a 2.97 ERA and 19-3 record with a .225 opp. avg. (196 Ks, 76 BB, 20 HB, 15 WP, 191 H in 554.2 IP, 2.6 K-BB ratio) … the ’05 relievers also have allowed 41% (14 of 34) of inherited baserunners to score.
Junior Craig Cooper, shown with assistant coach David Grewe in the SMS game, is one of three Irish players to start every game (at four different positions) and rates as one of the team’s top situational hitters.
FREE PASSES – Nearly 30% of the opponent runs this season (27 of 98) have reached via errors (7), walks (15) or hit-by-pitch (5), plus seven others that also were unearned runs (17 total UERs) … on the Texas trip, 20 of the 62 opponent runs reached base via Es (4), BB (12) or HBP (4), with 3 other UERs (8 total).
STENCIL THEM IN – Three ND players have started every game this season, with freshman 2B Brett Lilley the only one to do so at the same position … the others include senior Matt Edwards (11 at 1B, 2 at 3B) and junior Craig Cooper (5 at LF, 4 at CF, 2 at 1B, 1 at RF) … Edwards is the only player to hit in the same spot (3-hole) in all 13 games.
RED RATIO UPDATE – ND assistant coach David “Red” Grewe tracks a special ratio to gauge the Irish batters plate discipline: walks plus hit-by-pitch minus strikeouts … the ’04 ND squad was +23 in the “Red Ratio,” easily the best mark of the Paul Mainieri era (dating back to ’95; avg. ratio of -31 from ’95-’03) … freshman 2B Brett Lilley is +14 (8 BB, 11 HBP, 5 Ks) in the Red Ratio while the rest of the team is just +4 (Matt Edwards and Craig Cooper are next, both at +5).
HBP HIGHWAY ROLLS ON – Notre Dame remains on pace for a record team hit-by-pitch total, with 32 HBPs in the first 13 game (that would factor out to 138 in the 56-game regular season, well ahead of the team record of 106/5th in NCAA history set in ’04) … freshman 2B Brett Lilley has racked up 11 HBPs, just five shy of joining teammate Cody Rizzo (28 in ’03, 21 in ’04) as the only ND players with more than 15 HBPs in a season … eight other ND players have 2-3 HBPs.
Freshman Wade Korpi allowed just one run in his first 3.0 innings vs. SMS (pictured) before running into trouble in the middle innings.
THROWN TO THE FIRE – The Notre Dame pitching staff will be looking to put the first month of the season quickly behind it, with several veterans and newcomers expected to play key roles the rest of the way … the Irish lost three key pitchers from the ’04 staff that finished 5th in the nation with a 3.36 team ERA (ace junior starters Grant Johnson and Chris Niesel signed with the Cubs and Indians, respectively, while top lefthanded reliever Joe Thaman moved on due to graduation) … two pitchers who have been highly-rated prospects, senior John Axford and Jeff Manship, would have been natural replacements for Johnson and Niesel but each is being eased back slowly after undergoing 2004 reconstructive elbow surgery (they have combined to throw just 2.1 innings this season) … one result of Axford and Manship’s limited production has been the quick use of four freshman pitchers – LHPs Wade Korpi and David Gruener and RHPs Joey Williamson and Tony Langford – who have combined to log 37.1 innings (32% of the team’s 118 IP) with mixed results.
SITUATIONALLY SPEAKING – The ND offense is batting .306 but 32 points higher (.338) with runners in scoring position (well above the ’04 team’s .303 batting with RISP) … top hitters with runners in scoring position include junior CF Alex Nettey (.444), junior OF/1B Craig Cooper (.400), freshman 2B Brett Lilley (.385), freshman 3B Ross Bresovsky (.381), senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards (.364) and junior SS Greg Lopez (.357) … on the flip side, ND is batting just .266 with 2 outs (40 points below the overall avg.), compared to .309 batting with 2 outs in ’04 … top 2-out batters include Lilley (.636) and Cooper (.462) … the Irish have reached base on 43% of their leadoff plate appearances (up from 39% in ’04), led by Lilley’s 67% leadoff OB (14-of-21) … the ND pitchers will be looking to improve two key situational pitching areas, as the Irish have allowed 52% of leadoff batters to reach (nearly 5 per 9 IP) while the opponents are hitting .293 with 2 outs (the ’04 staff allowed just a 33% leadoff on-base pct. and .228 opponent 2-out batting).
DOHERTY REMAINS ON RECORD PACE – Junior All-America closer Ryan Doherty’s career stats have him in position to set ND record for career Ks per 9 IP (12.67), low hits per 9 IP (6.02) and K-to-walk ratio (4.50) … two of those standing records – 12.66 Ks/9 IP and 6.27 H/9 IP – were set 40 years ago by Dan McGinn (’64-’65) … Doherty’s former teammate Chris Niesel ended his career in ’04 with the K-to-BB record (4.09) … Doherty’s career ERA has risen a bit this season (from 2.30 to 2.56) but it would rank 5th in ND history and 3rd-best since 1961 … Doherty’s 16 career saves trail only John Corbin (20; ’97-’00) and J.P. Gagne (19; ’00-’03) in the ND record book … his next strikeout will be the 100th of his ND career … Doherty has converted 15-of-17 save chances the past two seasons and has allowed just 1-of-22 inherited baserunners to score in the ’04 and ’05 (0-of-5) seasons.
Freshman DH Tony Lanfgord – shown congratulating classmate Brett Lilley during the 12-11 win over SMS – hit 3-for-4 with 3 RBI vs. the Bears in his first start of the season.
2005 Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic All-Tournament Team
* Catcher/DH – Zach Harris (Southwest Missouri State; Jr., Shawnee, KS), hit .294 (5-for-17) with 3 RBI, 2 2B, BB, 4 Ks
* First Baseman/Pitcher – Dennis Bigley (Oral Roberts; Sr., Lancaster, TX), hit .381 (8-for-21) with 15 RBI, 5 R, 5 2B, 2 Ks, SF … also threw 6.0 shutout innings to win game-1 (5 H, 2 BB, HB, 2 Ks, .227 opp. batting avg.)
* Second Base – Brian Hanson (Oral Roberts; Sr., Kelseyville, CA), hit .400 (6-for-15) with 2 RBI, 7 R, 3 2B, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 2 SAC, 2 Es
* Second Base – J.R. Voyles (Texas-San Antonio; Jr., Tomball, TX), hit .400 (4-for-10) with 8 RBI, 5 R, HR, 2 2B, 6 BB, 2 Ks, SF, SB, 2 Es
* Third Base – Ross Brezovsky (Notre Dame; Fr., Naples, FL), hit .357 (5-for-14) with 3 R, 3B, 2 Ks, E
* Third Base/Shortstop – Ryan Saltzgaber (Texas-San Antonio; So., Abilene, TX), hit .467 (7-for-15) with 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 2B, BB, K, SF, CS, E
* Third Base – Jon Tackett (Oral Roberts; Sr., Tulsa, OK), hit .412 (7-for-17) with 3 RBI, 4 R, HR, 2B, 2 BB, 3 HBP, 2 Ks, SB, E
* Outfield – Steve Andres (Notre Dame; Jr., Napa, CA), hit .500 (5-for-10) with 4 RBI, 4 R, 2 HR, 3 BB, 2 Ks
* Outfield – Alex Nettey (Notre Dame; Jr., Dolton, IL), hit .385 (5-for-13) with 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B, 3 BB, HBP, 1-2 SB
* Outfield – Jake Manning (Southwest Missouri State; Sr., Arnold, MO), hit .417 with 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 HR, BB, 3 Ks, SB
* Designated Hitter/Outfielder – Kevin Lamb (Oral Roberts; Sr., Owasso, OK), hit .357 (5-for-14) with 5 RBI, 3 R, HR, 2 BB, 2 Ks, SF, SAC, 3 SB, E
* Designated Hitter – Eric Moreno (Texas-San Antonio; Sr., Portland, TX), hit .429 (6-for-14) with 2 RBI, R, 2B, 3 BB, 3 Ks, SB
* Pitcher – Caleb Barton (Texas-San Antonio; Jr., Navarro, TX) – beat SMS with 1.29 ERA in 7 IP, 8 H/.267 opp. avg., 2 R/ER, BB, 4 Ks, WP
* Pitcher – Daniel Greenwalt (Oral Roberts; Jr., LaHabra, CA) – 1.29, win, 7 IP, 6 H, R, BB, 3 Ks, 2 GP, .250 opp . avg., HB
* Pitcher – Josh Ruffin (Texas-San Antonio; So., Humble, TX) – beat ND with 3.68 ERA in 7.1 IP, 2 H/.083 opp. avg., 3 R, 5 BB, 4 Ks
2005 Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic Results
Oral Roberts 11, Southwest Missouri State 0
Texas-San Antonio 9, Notre Dame 4
Notre Dame 6, Southwest Missouri State 4
Texas-San Antonio 6, Oral Roberts 4
Oral Roberts 15, Notre Dame 8
Texas-San Antonio 7, Southwest Missouri State 2
Consolation Game – Notre Dame 12, Southwest Missouri State 11
Championship Game – Oral Roberts 5, Texas-San Antonio 4