Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish Face Challenging Weekend

March 24, 1999

  • Irish look to extend eight-game win streak at Villanova, Rutgers
  • Ust pushes season home run total to 10, second all-time at ND (39)
  • Heilman repeats as BIG EAST pitcher of the week


   Sat.  3/27 *vs. Villanova (DH) noon Philadelphia, PA Richie Ashburn Fld.Sun.  3/28 *at Rutgers (DH)    noon Piscataway, NJ   Cl. of 1953 ComplexTues. 3/30  Wisc.-Milwaukee    5:05 Notre Dame, IN   Frank Eck Stadium   Thur. 4/1   Providence (DH)    noon Notre Dame, IN   Frank Eck StadiumSat.  4/3   Connecticut (DH)   noon Notre Dame, IN   Frank Eck StadiumMon.  4/5   Detroit            1:05 Notre Dame, IN   Frank Eck StadiumTues. 4/6   at Northwestern    3:00 Evanston, IN     Rocky Miller ParkWed.  4/7   Bowling Green      5:05 Notre Dame, IN   Frank Eck Stadium

* On WHME radio 103.1 FM, available via realaudio through the Notre Dame website, at

The Notre Dame baseball team (12-6, 2-0 BIG EAST) will look to extend its eight-game unbeaten streak this week with a pair of road doubleheaders versus Villanova and Rutgers … the VU games will be played in Philadelphia at Richie Ashburn Field in Roosevelt Park (VU’s campus field currently is under construction) … each game of the weekend action will be carried live by South Bend-based WHME 103.1 FM, with the broadcast available via the internet (linked through … Notre Dame was picked to win the regular-season title by both the BIG EAST coaches and Baseball America magazine … junior All-America SS Brant Ust has 10 home runs for the season while moving into second on the Irish career list, with 39.

MORE EXCITEMENT: Notre Dame is riding an eight-game winning streak and has won 11 of its last 13 games … 11 of those last 13 games have been decided by 1-3 runs, including one-run losses to Penn State and Yale, one-run wins over Creighton and St. Mary’s (TX), two-run wins over Penn State, Creighton and West Virginia, and three-run wins over New Orleans, Dallas and WVU.

HEILMAN REPEATS AS BIG EAST PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame sophomore RHP Aaron Heilman earned his second straight BIG EAST pitcher-of-the-week award, after tossing a seven-inning complete game in the 4-1 win at West Virginia … Heilman faced just 25 batters (four over the minimum) while posting nine strikeouts, 11 groundouts, no walks and just three hits allowed … Heilman is 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA in six appearances this season (four starts), plus one save, 34 Ks, seven walks and 24 hits allowed in 31.2 innings … he owns a 2.02 career ERA with a 10-5 record and 10 saves, plus 112 Ks in 98.2 innings.

INJURY UPDATE: Freshman 3B Andrew Bushey suffered a knee injury at West Virginia on March 20 and is slated to miss 3-4 weeks … senior C Jeff Wagner has been out since early March with a foot injury but could return next week … senior RHP Alex Shilliday threw one inning in the 12-8 win over Western Michigan on March 23, after being sidelined since early March with a shoulder injury.

Notre Dame’s Probable Starting Lineup *-lefthanded hitter; #-switch hitter

Pos.   Player          Yr. Ht./Wt.   1999 Stats    CF    *Steve Stanley   Fr. 5-7, 150 .275, 11 RBIC      Paul O'Toole    Fr. 6-1/200  .298, 5 RBI2B     Alec Porzel     So. 6-0/185  .301, 16 RBISS     Brant Ust       Jr. 6-1/200  .458, 25 RBIDH     Matt Nussbaum   Jr. 6-1/190  .320, 9 RBI1B    *Jeff Felker     Jr. 6-5/190  .275, 12 RBILF     Matt Strickroth Fr. 6-5/230  .122, 1 RBIRF    #Ben Cooke       So. 5-9/165  .300, 1 R3B    #Jeff Perconte   Jr. 5-10/185 .250, 7 RBI


C      J.P. Drevline   Fr. 5-11/190 .308 (4-13), 2 RBIIF     Ed Golom        Fr. 5-9/165  .333 (3-9), 1 RBIIF/OF  Ken Meyer       Fr. 6-0/205  .167 (1-for-6), 1 HP       

Probable Starters

RHP    Aaron Heilman   So. 6-4/210  2.84, 3-1, 1 SV, 6 GP/31.2 IPLHP    Tim Kalita      Jr. 6-1/220  6.44, 2-1, 5 GP/29.1 IPRHP    Scott Cavey     Jr. 6-5/200  3.98, 1-1, 5 GP/20.1 IPLHP    Mike Naumann    So. 5-11/175 2.84, 1-0, 3 GP/12.2 IPorRHP    Alex Shilliday  Sr. 6-1/200  4.22, 1-1, 3 GP/10.2 IP  


LHP    Chris McKeown   Sr. 6-3/215  1.15, 2-1, 5 GP/15.2 IPRHP    Drew Duff       Fr. 5-11/170 6.75, 1-0, 1 SV, 5 GP/10.2 IPRHP    John Corbin     Jr. 6-2/195  4.15, 1-1, 4 SV, 7 GP/13.0 IP RHP    Mike Carlin     So. 6-4/210 27.00, 0-0, 2 GP/3.0 IPRHP    Jason Rodda     Fr. 5-11/185 -----  RHP    Matt Buchmeier  Fr. 6-0/180 27.00, 0-0, 5 GP/4.2 IPRHP    Matt Arnold     Fr. 5-10/180 -----    

SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame had not played Rutgers of Villanova prior to joining the BIG EAST in ’95-’96 … Rutgers owns a 5-3 series edge over Notre Dame, with those eight games including four one-run games, two two-run games and a three-run game (the only blowout in the series was RU’s 12-0 BIG EAST title-game win last season) … earlier in the ’98 BIG EAST Tournament, the Irish had a 6-0, fifth-inning lead versus Rutgers before seeing the Knights rally for a 7-6 win … Notre Dame lost a home series with RU in ’96 (4-2, 5-3, 10-7) before returning the favor in a hard-fought ’97 series in Piscataway (3-2, 14-15, 6-5) … the Irish lead the series versus Villanova 6-2 (5-0 in the regular season) … Notre Dame and Villanova were rained out in the 1996 regular season (at VU) but the Irish beat the Wildcats in the ’96 BIG EAST Tournament (7-3) … Notre Dame took a late-season home series from VU in ’97 (4-3, 14-3, 10-8) but the Wildcats beat the Irish in the first round of the ’97 BIG EAST Tournament (10-5) before eliminating Notre Dame two days later (5-4 in 11 innings) … the Irish swept VU at Eck Stadium last season (9-4, 14-10) … Brant Ust owns just a .263 career batting avg. vs. Rutgers (5-for-19), with two home runs and six RBI … Jeff Felker leads the current healthy Irish players with a .294 career avg. against RU (5-for-17, 4 R) … Alex Shilliday is 2-1 in three career starts vs. RU, with a 6.00 ERA, 17 hits allowed, 17 Ks and three walks in 18 innings … Ust owns a .385 career avg. vs. VU (10-for-27), with one home run and four RBI … Jeff Perconte has six his in 17 career ABs vs. VU (.353), with two triples and four RBI … Kalita has no record in two career appearances vs. VU (4.91, 11 IP, 7 H, 7 Ks, 10 BB) … Heilman made two relief appearances vs. VU in 19998 (1 SV, 0.00, .2 IP, 4 H, 5 Ks, 0 BB).

WHME TO BROADCAST 43 GAMES: South Bend-based WHME radio (103.1) is scheduled to broadcast 43 of Notre Dame’s 55 regular-season games-including the upcoming series at WVU-and any postseason action during the 1999 campaign … all games are available via the internet, with a link from the Notre Dame website ( … some broadcasts may be delayed due to conflicts with other sports programming … WHME’s television division also may air several simulcasts during the 1999 season (schedule TBA) … WHME is scheduled to broadcast 32 of Notre Dame’s remaining 36 games, except for: March 30 vs. Wisconsin Milwaukee, April 14 vs. Cleveland State, April 27 vs. Illinois Chicago and April 30 vs. Oakland (WHME may broadcast one of the above four games to make up for the WVU rainout on March 21).

IRISH RETURN PAIR OF ALL-AMERICANS: Notre Dame is one of just five schools in Division I baseball that returned multiple All-America players from the 1998 season (based on the teams selected by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball magazine and the American Baseball Coaches Association) … current Irish sophomore RHP Aaron Heilman was named third team All-America by Collegiate Baseball in ’98 while current junior shortstop Brant Ust was a third team ’98 All-America pick (as a third baseman) by both Baseball America and the ABCA … the other schools with multiple returning All-Americans include the University of Miami, Texas Tech, Wake Forest and Wichita State (3).

BIG EAST BESTS: Notre Dame senior C Jeff Wagner and All-America junior SS Brant Ust rank among the top hitters in BIG EAST Conference history … Ust’s career bating average in BIG EAST regular-season games (.432, 70-for-162) is on pace to challenge the existing record of .432, set by Seton Hall’s Marteese Robinson from ’85-’87 … Wagner ranks 10th on that list with a .398 avg. (86-for-216), including 20 HRs in the BIG EAST regular season-third all-time behind former Seton Hall great Mo Vaughn (26, ’87-’89) and Connecticut’s Jason Grabowski (21, ’95-’97) … Wagner also ranks fifth in BIG EAST history with 72 career RBI in conference games, trailing Vaughn (83), former SHU catcher Alex Andreopoulos (83, 1992-95), former Villanova player Gary Scott (74, 1987-89) and Grabowski (73) … two former Irish players-2B/CF Randall Brooks (.418, ’96-’97) and IF J.J. Brock (.399, ’96-’98)-also rank among the all-time BIG EAST batting leaders.

PLAYING FOR YOUR COUNTRY: Current Notre Dame junior SS Brant Ust served as a third baseman on the 22-player roster for USA Baseball during the summer of 1998 … Ust finished third on the team during the 42-game summer season with a .378 batting average .. his travels took him to Nicaragua for the World Championship Qualifier and to Italy for the World Championship, with several stops throughout the United States-highlighted by pregame introductions of the USA team to the crowds at two major-league games.

MAINIERI POSTS 500TH CAREER WIN: Fifth-year Notre Dame head coach Paul Mainieri owns a 510-358 (.588) record in 16-plus seasons as a college head coach, surpassing the 500-win milestone in the Feb. 27 win at New Orleans (14-11) … in addition to his 178-80 (.690) mark with the Irish, Mainieri was 180-121 in six seasons at St. Thomas (Fla.) and 152-158 in six seasons at Air Force … Mainieri has experienced two noteworthy homecomings in ’99, making his third return to the University of New Orleans (where he played) with the Irish baseball program and his third return to his hometown of Miami as the Notre Dame coach … Mainieri coached his 800th career game on Feb. 20, 1998, at the University of Miami, after a Feb. 15 game at UNO was rained out … he notched his 499th career win in the 1999 season opener versus James Madison, in a game played in Miami at Florida International (Feb. 19) … Mainieri’s 175 wins rank third at Notre Dame, behind Pat Murphy (318, ’88-’94) and Jake Kline (558, ’34-’75) … Mainieri has seen 16 of his Irish players go on to pro baseball, with 11 selected in the major-league draft … 15 of Mainieri’s players at St. Thomas went on to pro baseball, including three-Joe Klink, Dane Johnson and Dan Rohrmeier-who have played in the major leagues … Mainieri and his father Demie are the only known father-son combo in college baseball history to each top 400 career coaching wins … Demie won 1,018 games in his 30-year career at Miami-Dade North CC.

UST, HEILMAN AMONG TOP PROSPECTS: Two Notre Dame players are listed among Baseball America’s 1999 list of college baseball’s top professional baseball prospects … junior SS Brant Ust is listed as the No. 38 college prospect and is fifth among middle infielders, behind Miami’s Bobby Hill (8th), Duke’s Vaughn Schill (9th), South Carolina’s Brian Roberts (11th) and Arizona State’s Willie Bloomquist (13th) … Hill and Bloomquist were teammates of Ust’s on Team USA during the summer of ’98, as were USC C Eric Munson (No. 2 prospect), Mississippi State P Matt Ginter (10th), Texas A&M LHP Casey Fossum (11th) and UNLV OF Ryan Ludwick (20th) … Irish sophomore All-America RHP Aaron Heilman is listed by Baseball America as the top prospect in the BIG EAST Conference … the magazine also projects Heilman as the No. 9 prospect for the 2000 season (fourth among pitchers), behind: Clemson OF Patrick Boyd, California 3B Xavier Nady, UCLA 2B Chase Utley, Pepperdine C Dane Sardinha, Stanford RHP Justin Wayne, UCLA 1B Garrett Atkins, Arizona 1B/RHP Ben Diggins and Stanford RHP Jason Young.

SHILLIDAY MOVING UP STRIKEOUT LIST: Notre Dame senior RHP Alex Shilliday owns 220 career strikeouts, ranking fifth on the Irish all-time list … Shilliday could make a run at the top-four Irish strikeout leaders, a formidable group that played together for three seasons: Sinnes (315, ’93), Tom Price (276, ’94), Chris Michalak (263, ’93) and Al Walania (236, ’93) … Shilliday also is tied for eighth in Notre Dame history with 22 career victories.

NEW LOOK LINEUP: Notre Dame’s 1999 lineup includes several players in new positions, with senior C Jeff Wagner representing the only player who opened at the same position he played in 1998 (Wagner has been sidelined for the past week with a foot injury) … junior All-American Brant Ust has made the move from third base to shortstop (where he played part of his freshman season), replacing first team all-BIG EAST selection and two-time team captain J.J. Brock … sophomore Alec Porzel, a high school shortstop, has returned to the infield as the starting second baseman, after playing in left field as a freshman (1998 graduate Todd Frye played at second last season) … junior Jeff Felker is returning to first base (where he played for most of ’97), after spending ’98 as the starting right fielder (the Irish will be looking to replace the strong defense and surprising power of ’98 graduate Dan Leatherman at first base) … three newcomers have stepped into the lineup while junior Jeff Perconte and sophomore Ben Cooke are sharing the starting duties in right field (in addition to serving as DH candidates) … two freshmen opened the season as starters in the outfield-LF Matt Strickroth and CF Steve Stanley-while Andrew Bushey takes over Ust’s vacated spot at third base … freshman Paul O’Toole also is expected to be a regular for the Irish in 1999 while backing up Wagner behind the plate (Strickroth also has played some at first base in recent games) … junior DH Matt Nussbaum (.333, 5 RBI, 2 HR) also has been impressive as a regular contributor for the Irish this season … Perconte currently is starting at third in place of Bushey, who suffered a knee injury last week at West Virginia.

IRISH LOOK TO EXTEND HOT HITTING: Notre Dame lost 13-1 vs. Missouri on Feb. 26 at the New Orleans Invitational (with only five hits) before bouncing back for a pair of big wins, 14-11 over host UNO and 15-5 over Southern Illinois … the Irish hit .363 in the UNO Invitational, boosting the season average from .197 to .275, and have hit .334 during the current 11-2 run (boosting the overall average to .297) the UNO game featured seven Irish home runs (equaling the team record set at Boston College on April 5, 1998), including two each by senior 1B Jeff Wagner and junior DH Matt Nussbaum and one each from freshman 3B Andrew Bushey, junior SS Brant Ust and junior RF Jeff Felker … Ust added a home run vs. Southern Illinois before collecting four HRs on the San Antonio trip, one at West Virginia and two vs. Western Michigan, giving him 39 in his career to rank second all-time at Notre Dame (behind Wagner’s 43) … the Irish had just four runs in their early four-game losing streak before responding with 29 runs and 36 hits in the next two games freshman CF Steve Stanley went 0-for-17 with one RBI and one run scored during the first five games but has boosted his overall average to .275 … the Irish pitching staff again is off to a slow start in terms of team ERA (5.37), with 174 hits and 64 walks allowed in 156 innings, plus 147 strikeouts the Irish have made 29 errors in the first 18 games (just four in the last seven games), for a .959 overall team fielding pct.

WAGNER NEARS RETURN FROM FOOT INJURY: Notre Dame senior All-America candidate and Irish career home run leader Jeff Wagner (43 career HRs) is sidelined indefinitely due to a broken bone in his foot … Wagner-who did not travel to San Antonio for the spring break trip and ahs missed the last 11 games-had played in 181 career games (out of 187, prior to San Antonio), with 179 starts … prior to the injury, he had missed just one game in the previous two-plus seasons while starting every game that he has played since the end of his freshman season … Wagner had an impressive 8-for-10 effort at the New Orleans Invitational, with six RBI and two home runs his 170 career RBI rank sixth in Irish history, just four behind former teammate J.J. Brock (1994-98) for fifth on the Irish all-time list and six behind Joe Binkiewicz (1989-92).

ROAD-TESTED: Notre Dame has been strong at home in its five years in Frank Eck Stadium-going 127-27 (.825)-but the Irish lately have performed well on the road as well, winning 21 of their last 28 games away from home … that streak began with three 1998 wins in San Antonio, Texas, and was extended with a three-game sweep at Boston College and a pair of wing over Pittsburgh at Three Rivers Stadium … the Irish then beat Michigan at Old Kent Park in Grand Rapids before winning two of three at Seton Hall … Notre Dame opened the 1999 season by beating James Madison (8-4, at Florida International) before dropping three games to No. 23 FIU (14-1, 3-2, 12-0), winning two of three at the New Orleans Invitational (1-13 vs. Missouri, 14-11 over UNO and 15-5 over Southern Illinois), going 6-2 during the spring break trip to San Antonio and winning a doubleheader at West Virginia.

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: The Notre Dame baseball team posted a 3.07 team GPA in the ’98 fall semester, led by 10 players who turned in Dean’s List semesters (3.4 or higher) … Irish baseball players have earned GTE Academic All-America honors 11 times since 1982, with current junior rightfielder Jeff Perconte (3.65 cumulative GPA as a double major in economic and government) serving as a leading Academic All-American candidate for 1999.

IRISH OWN TOP RECENT BIG EAST WINNING PERCENTAGE: Over the course of its first three-plus seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame ranks first among the 11 member teams with a .703 overall winning percentage (128-54, West Virginia is second at .630 heading into the ’99 season), a .726 BIG EAST regular-season winning percentage (45-17, Rutgers is second at .671) and a .701 wining percentages in combined BIG EAST regular-season and tournament games (54-23, Rutgers is second at .651) … St. John’s owns the best BIG EAST Tournament winning percentage during the past three seasons (.636, 7-4), followed by Notre Dame at .600 (9-6) … in fact, the double-elimination tournament has been the ultimate bugaboo for Notre Dame, with the same team providing both Irish losses during each of the past three tournaments (West Virginia in ’96, Villanova in ’97 and Rutgers in ’98).

WHAT THE ECK!: Notre Dame baseball is entering its sixth season of play at Frank Eck Stadium, located on the southeast corner of the Notre Dame campus … the Irish have won nearly 85 percent of their games at Eck Stadium during the past five seasons, posting a 127-27 record (.825), highlighted by a 25-2 mark in 1997 and a 92-18 mark (.836) during the four-year tenure of head coach Paul Mainieri … the Irish head into next week’s Wisconsin-Milwaukee game with victories in 55 of their last 63 games at Eck Stadium.

PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: The Notre Dame baseball team received mention in four preseason national polls, checking in at No. 21 in the Inside Baseball coaches poll while ranking among the best of the rest and No. 29 overall according to Baseball America … Collegiate Baseball magazine listed Notre Dame No. 40 in its preseason poll while the Irish received the 35th-most votes in the preseason USA Today/ESPN coaches poll … Collegiate Baseball also listed Irish sophomore RHP Aaron Heilman as a preseason second team All-American while tabbing junior SS Brant Ust as a preseason third team All-American … Baseball America picked Notre Dame to finish first in the BIG EAST Conference, as did the BIG EAST coaches in their annual preseason poll … the BIG EAST coaches picked Ust to repeat as conference player of the year while forecasting Ust and Heilman as first team all-BIG EAST players.

Notre Dame Baseball – Career Record Book

Batting Average1.  Dan Peltier (1987-89)    .4062.  Eric Danapilis (1990-93) .4053.  Brant Ust (1997-  )      .3774.  Scott Sollmann (1994-96) .372    Runs Batted In1.  Eric Danapilis (1990-93)  2212.  Dan Peltier (1987-90)     202    Mike Amrhein (1994-97)    2024.  Joe Binkiewicz (1989-92)  1765.  J.J. Brock (1994-97)      1746.  Jeff Wagner (1996-  )     170    Home Runs1.  Jeff Wagner (1996-  )      43 2.  Brant Ust (1997-  )        393.  Frank Jacobs (1989-91)     37    Mike Amrhein (1994-97)     37    Doubles4.  Craig Counsell (1989-92)   505.  Joe Binkiewicz (1989-92)   48    Jeff Wagner (1996-  )      487.  J.J. Brock (1994-98)       428.  Brant Ust (1997-  )        40 Strikeouts Thrown1.  David Sinnes (1990-93)   3152.  Tom Price (1991-94)      2763.  Chris Michalak (1990-93) 2634.  Al Walania (1990-93)     2365.  Alex Shilliday (1996-  ) 220    Innings Pitched  9. Erik Madsen (1986-89)    239.210. Alex Shilliday (1996-  ) 237.2    Victories7.  Pat Leahy (1990-92)       258.  Herb Kelly (1912-14)      22    Alex Shilliday (1996-  )  22
Saves1. Mike Coffey (1988-90) 12 Chris Michalak (1990-93) 123. Larry Mohs (1994-97) 104. Rich Sauget (1994-96) 9 Aaron Heilman (1998- ) 9 Games Started 8. Keith Chenail (1985-88) 35 9. Erik Madsen (1986-89) 3410. Mike Passilla (1986-89) 33- Alex Shilliday (1996- ) 33