March 10, 2000
OFF TO FLORIDA: The Notre Dame baseball team (5-2) will spend Spring Break in Jacksonville, Fla., participating in the Kennel Club Classic-which features 20 rotating team that play games during a three-week stretch … the Irish last week tied for first at the challenging four-team Hormel Foods Classic, with wins over Wake Forest and Georgia and a loss to host Minnesota … ND is close to being an unbeaten team, as both of its losses have seen the opponent pull off a late-inning rally (Ohio State, Minnesota) … ND’s planned rotation for the first week of spring break includes junior RHP Aaron Heilman vs. Duquesne, senior RHP Scott Cavey vs. Central Michigan and freshman RHP Matt Laird vs. Illinois (the starter on Monday vs. host North Florida is TBA), with the Irish having an off-day on Tuesday before ending the week with games on Wed.-Sat.
IRISH BASEBALL ON THE AIR AND TV: South Bend-based WJVA radio (1580 AM) is scheduled to broadcast 46 of Notre Dame’s regular-season during the 2000 season, including ND’s first five games at the Kennel Club Classic … most games also are available via the internet, with a link from the Notre Dame website (www.und.com) … FoxSportsNet Florida will broadcast the March 13th ND-North Florida game, with a tentative tape-delayed air date of March 15 (7:00 p.m. EST).
AROUND THE HORN: ND’s No. 3 and No. 4 hitters-junior SS Alec Porzel (HR, 3B, four 2B, two 1B) and freshman FR Brian Stavisky (HR, 3B, two 2B, two 1B)-have combined for four singles and 10 extra-base hits (they have 30 total bases between them) … ND’s returners accounted for 87% of the team’s SBs in 1999 (73 of 84), plus 81% of the hits (501 of 617), 76% of the RBI (278 of 366) and 64% of the HRs (73 of 84) … the season-opening starting lineup includes three seniors, junior SS Alec Porzel, four sophomores and freshman RF Brian Stavisky … the starting lineup includes five lefthanded hitters: senior 1B Jeff Felker, sophomores 3B Andrew Bushey, sophomore C Paul O’Toole, sophomore Steve Stanley and Stavisky … the veteran infield includes seniors Felker and injured 2B Jeff Perconte, plus junior Porzel and sophomore Bushey … the ’99 ND baseball team reached 30 wins in the 39th game of the season, tying the team record for quickest season to the 30-win plateau.
QUICK INDIVIDUAL NOTES: Sophomore C Paul O’Toole (Lakewood, Ohio) in ’99 became the first ND player ever to hit a home run in four straight postseason games (in ND’s final game of the ’99 BIG EAST Championship and in all three games of the ’99 NCAAs) … senior Scott Cavey has averaged just 2.0 BBs/9 IP in his ND career, including a six-game, 26-inning stretch in ’99 that saw him total 20 Ks and just one BB … senior 1B Jeff Felker failed to crack the 1999 all-BIG EAST teams, despite ranking eighth in the league with a .414 conference batting avg. (each of the top seven earned BIG EAST honors) … the current Irish baseball coaching staff has been a part of 2,026 games in 41 combined NCAA seasons (including 2000) as players and coaches, with an average of 33 wins/season and 14 with 40-plus wins.
ALUMNI CLUB EVENTS: The Notre Dame Club of Northern Florida-which includes 165 active members-will be sponsoring several events and activities during ND’s stay in Jacksonville … in addition to helping coordinate the player home-stays, the alumni club will conduct a raffle of 20 autographed baseball from the ND team, during ND’s doubleheader at minor-league Wolfson Park on Sat., March 11 … the following Saturday (March 18), the club will sponsor a mass and cookout following ND’s game vs. Illinois (at UNF’s Harmon Stadium).
ND in Florida: The Irish baseball team has made regular visits to the state of Florida during its history, including games played in DeLand, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee and Winter Park. In addition to participating in the 2000 Kennel Club Classic, the Irish recently have played a pair of three-game series at the University of Miami (in 1995 and ’98) while participating in the first ACC/Disney Blast-held at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. Notre Dame nearly advanced to the College World Series in the 1992 and ’93 seasons, competing in Florida-based NCAA regionals during both those seasons. The ’92 Atlantic Regional saw the Irish upset host Miami in its second game (6-3) before losing to the Hurricanes two days later in the regional final (5-1). One year later, the Irish eliminated host Florida State from the East Regional but were eliminated by Long Beach State on the final day, 13-3 (the Irish also nearly upset FSU earlier in the regional, losing 7-3 in 11 innings).
Notre Dame’s Probable Starting Lineup
|C/DH||*Paul O’Toole||So.||6-2/210||Lakewood, OH||.346, 4 RBI, 4 R, HR, 3B, 3 BB, 3K, HBP, SF, 2-2 SB, 2 PB||HRs in four straight home games|
|CF||*Steve Stanley||So.||5-9/150||Upper Arlington, OH||.435, 3 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB, 2 K, SAC, 4-5 SB, E||Hormel Foods Classic All-Tour. Team|
|SS||Alec Porzel||Jr.||6-0/190||Lisle, IL||.286, 8 RBI, 4 R, HR, 3B, 4 2B, BB, 6 K, 1-1 SB, E||6 RBI in Hormel Foods Classic|
|RF||*Brian Stavisky||Fr.||6-3/230||Port Allegany, PA||.240, 4 RBI, 4 R, HR, 3B, 2 2B, 2 BB, 5 K, 0-1 SB||Nation’s #5-rated freshman prospect|
|1B||*Jeff Felker||Sr.||6-5/190||Ellicott City, MD||.200, RBI, 2 R, 3B, 2 2B, 2 BB, 3 K, 0-1 SB, E||Team-best .414 in ’99 BIG EAST gms|
|LF/C||Matt Nussbaum||Sr.||6-0/180||South Bend, IN||.261, 2 RBI, 4 R, 2B, 2 BB, 2 K, SF, 1-1 SB||Led ’99 team with 33 runners advanced|
|3B||*Andrew Bushey||So.||6-0/200||Boardman, OH||.308, 3 RBI, 4 R, 2B, BB, 3 K, E||Hampered by knee injury in ’99|
|2B||#Ben Cooke||Jr.||5-9/170||Bay Village, OH||.250, 2 R, K, 1-1 SB||Two 1Bs, 2 runs in win over Georgia|
|or||Kris Billmaier||Fr.||5-11/185||Woodinvale, WA||.143, R, BB, K|
|DH/LF||Matt Strickroth||So.||6-5/230||Mission Viejo, CA||.200, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1-1 SB||’99 BIG EAST gms: .318, 12 RBI|
|or||#Matt Bok (C)||So.||5-11/185||Akron, Ohio||.500, 2 RBI, 4 R, 2B, K, 1-1 SB||Switch-hitting transfer from G’town|
|OTHER TOP RESERVES|
|1B||Ken Meyer||So||6-0/210||Fort Myers, FL||Pinch-ran vs. Memphis||Hit first career HR vs. Miami (’99)|
|IF||Jesse Delcamp||Fr.||6-2/165||Tierra Verde, FL||Made season-opening trip to Millington, TN||Attended Lakewood HS|
|IF||Elliot Pope||Fr.||5-10/175||Memphis, TN||Made season-opening trip to Millington, TN|
|Probable ROTATION (fourth game TBA)|
|RHP||Aaron Heilman||Jr.||6-5/210||Logansport, IN||3.00, 1-1, 3 GP/2 GS, 15 IP, 18 K/2 BB, .3259 opp. avg.||ND-record 118 Ks in 1999|
|RHP||Scott Cavey||Sr.||6-5/200||Omaha, NE||1.50, 2-0, 2 GS, 12 IP, 13 K/5 BB, .128 opp. avg.||Last 12 GP: 7-0, 2.54, 9 BB, 51 Ks|
|RHP||Matt Laird||Fr.||6-1/190||Bellaire, TX||2.08, 0-0, 2 GP/0 GS, 4.1 IP, 3 K/1 BB, .313 opp. avg.||Played for nation’s No. 1-ranked HS tm|
|RHP||Drew Duff||So.||6-0/175||Sevierville, TN||11.25, 0-0, 3 GP/1 GS, 4 IP, 5 K/2 BB, .350 opp. avg.||Win in ’98 fall exhibition vs. MSU|
|RHP||Mike Carlin||Jr.||6-5/210||Manhattan, KS||4.50, 0-0, 1 GP, 2 IP, 3 K/4 BB, .167 opp. avg.||15.1 innings with 1.76 ERA in 1998|
|RHP||J.P. Gagne||Fr.||6-0/190||Bloomington, MN||7.20, 0-0, 2 GP/1 GS, 5.0 IP, 5 K/2 BB, .350 opp. avg.||Starting pitcher in loss to Minnesota|
|LHP||Mike Naumann||Jr.||6-0/180||Tucson, AZ||4.50, 0-1, 4 GP/4 IP, 3 K/1 BB, .214 opp. avg.||’99 win over UConn (3.2 IP, 0 R, 3 H)|
|RHP||John Corbin||Sr.||6-3/200||Hollywood, FL||2.45, 1-0, 1 SV, 3 GP/3.2 IP, 6 K/2 BB, .231 opp. avg.||Converted 9-of-12 save chances in ’99|
|RHP||Tom O’Hagan||Sr.||6-3/180||Crystal Lake, IL||DNP in ’99 (med. school prep)|
|RHP||Danny Tamayo||Jr.||6-2/225||Miami, FL||vs. Manchester: 1 IP, 1 K/1 BB, 4 BF||“Tommy John” surgery (March ’99)|
|RHP||Matt Buchmeier||So.||6-0/190||Greenwood, IN||vs. Manchester (win): 3 IP, 1 H, 2 K/1 BB||at SJU ’99: 3.1 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 4 BB, 2 Ks|
|RHP||Brandon Viloria||Fr.||5-11/215||Wailuku, HI||vs. Machester: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 K||Could be ND’s 1st letterwinner from HI|
|RHP||Ryan Kalita||Fr.||6-2/200||Oak Park, IL||Brother of former Irish LHP Tim Kalita|
* – lefthanded hitter, # – switch hitter
THE DUQUESNE SERIES: ND has won all seven of its previous games vs. Duquesne, including a four-game road series in 1993 (5-0, 11-0, 12-8, 11-0) and an 18-4 win in the first game of the 1993 MCC Tournament (at South Bend’s Coveleski Stadium) … the Irish played host to the Dukes in a 1995 MCC two-game series, with ND winning 11-1, 16-1 (in the first year of the Paul Mainieri era) … ND has won its previous seven games vs. Duquesne by an average score of 12-2 (84-14 combined score).
THE CENTRAL MICHIGAN SERIES: The Irish and Chippewas have met 16 times previously, with ND holding a 10-6 series edge … the first meeting came in 1957, with ND posting a 3-2 home win en route to a College World Series season … the teams also played a pair in ’58 and ’59 with the series not resuming until ’77 and ’78 (two games each season) … the series then included single games in ’93 and ’94, a pair of games at CMU in ’95 and games at ND each of the past three seasons … the Irish are 3-2 vs. CMU during the Paul Mainieri era (1995- ), dropping both ’95 games (3-8, 7-8) and winning the last three (14-9, 7-5, 3-1) … the teams played on Feb. 25, 1998, at Eck Stadium-the second-earliest home game in ND baseball history.
THE ILLINOIS SERIES: The Illini have won two-thirds of the previous meetings with ND (37-19) … ND played Illinois in the seventh varsity baseball game in ND history, an 8-7 home win for ND on May 9, 1895 … ND travelled to Illinois for the 1963 NCAA district playoffs, with the Illini eliminating the Irish (4-0) … ND is 1-1 vs. Illinois during the Paul Mainieri era (1995- ), with the most recent games coming in 1995 (a 15-4 home win for the Irish) and ’96 (a 13-3 home win for Illinois).
THE NORTH FLORIDA SERIES: UNF is slated to become the 266th different opponent faced by Notre Dame baseball in its 108-year history.
THE BUTLER SERIES: ND and Butler are old MCC rivals, with the Irish holding a 64-15 lead in the all-time series … the teams first met in 1910, a 17-1 win at home for ND … the last game of the series came on April 1, 1996, with the Irish posting a 3-0 win at Eck Stadium … ND and Butler both were participants in the 1997 Diamond Classic (at Bosse Field in Evansville) but the Irish and Bulldogs did not meet in that three-day event (which featured all eight Division I teams from the state, including Indiana, Indiana State, Purdue, Ball State, Evansville and Valparaiso).
THE IOWA SERIES: The Irish and Hawkeyes are slated to play the 60th game in their series, with ND holding a 35-23-1 edge … the series is in the midst of a 44-year hiatus, with the last games coming at Iowa in 1956 (the Irish posted a 5-4 win before losing the second game, 6-1).
THE AKRON SERIES: Despite the close proximity of the schools, Akron is slated to become the 267th different opponent faced by Notre Dame baseball in its 108-year history (with UNF the 266th).
OLD PALS: Notre Dame pitching coach Brian O’Connor (a native of Council Bluffs, Iowa) and Iowa assistant coach Elvis Dominguez were on the same coaching staff at Creighton (O’Connor’s alma mater) in 1994 and have remained close friends within the baseball coaching fraternity … Dominguez played his prep ball at Columbus High School in Miami, with current Irish head coach Paul Mainieri serving as an assistant coach with the Columbus baseball team during those seasons.
SCHEDULE NOTE: ND has seven different Big-10 teams on its 2000 schedule: Ohio State, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Purdue, Michigan and Northwestern … the Irish have played several games versus Penn State during the past few years (in San Antonio) and faced Michigan State in a 1998 fall exhibition game … ND last faced Indiana at the 1998 Diamond Classic in Evansville (Wisconsin no longer sponsors varsity baseball).
HEILMAN EARNS BIG EAST WEEKLY AWARD: ND junior RHP Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) was named BIG EAST pitcher of the week, after turning in one of the more dominating performances by an Irish pitcher in recent memory … Heilman rolled up a career-high 12 Ks over IP in a 6-4 win over Georgia on March 4 … his 120-pitch outing included four hits allowed, an unearned run and no walks to go along with his 12 Ks-11 of them on called third strikes … Heilman equaled the mark for most strikeouts in a game by an Irish pitcher since 1980 and is one of just three to reach 12 Ks during that 20-year span, joining Darin Schmalz (12 in nine innings, at Georgetown in ’96) and Brad Lidge (12 in seven innings vs. Pittsburgh, at Three Rivers Stadium in ’98) in that distinction … He also served as the closer in an 8-5 win over No. 24 Wake Forest two days earlier, allowing three hits and two runs in the ninth inning of that game (with one K). … his totals for the week included 9 IP, 13 Ks, three runs (two earned), six hits and no walks.
MORE ON HEILMAN’S 12-K GAME: Heilman faced just four batters over the eight-inning minimum (28), with a hit-batter, a dropped fly ball, a runner thrown out stealing and a double-play ball … just three Georgia batters reached three balls in their counts (they all struck out) … his 120-pitch outing included five groundouts, five flyouts and a per-inning pitch range of 11-25: 14-14-11-25-14-17-11-14 … his 12 Ks included one on an 0-2 count, five on 1-2 counts, three on 2-2 counts and three on 3-2 counts … he had Ks in every inning but the seventh (two in the second, three in both the fourth and eighth) … Heilman’s first seven Ks were “looking” … eight different Georgia batters were K’d by Heilman … his first 12 outs included seven Ks, with three in the fourth inning … he closed by striking out each batter he faced in the eighth (on 14 pitches) … the last Notre Dame pitcher to post 13-plus Ks in a game was Bob Bartlett (13 at Bethel in 1980) … the last to do so versus a Division I team was Frank Carpin, who set a still-standing Irish record with 19 Ks in 10 innings vs. Indiana in 1958.
HEILMAN CAREER NOTES: Heilman boosted his career record to 19-6 while lowering his career ERA to 2.59 … Heilman has moved up on the Irish career strikeout list (214, in 191 IP), passing Brian Piotrowicz (201, ’87-’90) and Tom Bujnowski (201, ’52, ’56-’57) while settling into a tie with former teammate Tim Kalita (’97-’99) for sixth on that list, 22 behind Al Walania (’90-’93) … Sunday marked Heilman’s fourth career outing of eight-plus innings (he threw several seven-inning complete games in ’99) … it marked his third career outing with no walks (min. 5 IP) and his seventh with 0-1 walks … Heilman’s previous career-high strikeout total was 11, vs. Creighton on May 11, 1999 (in San Antonio) … his 17 career starts have yielded 10 games with eight-plus Ks, five with nine-plus and three with double-digit Ks … his season totals include a 1-1 record in three outings (one in relief), with a 3.00 ERA, 18 Ks, 2 BB and 15 hits allowed in 15 innings (.259 opp. batting avg.).
CAVEY EARNS BIG EAST AWARD: ND senior RHP Scott Cavey (Omaha, Neb.) was named co-BIG EAST Conference pitcher of the week, after allowing just one hit in 6 IP of the 6-0 win over Air Force on Feb. 24 … Cavey-who shared the award with Rutgers junior Jim Wilson-turned in a 78-pitch outing that included six Ks, eight groundouts, one hit and one walk over 20 batters faced (the game was seven innings) … he retired the final 10 batters he faced, after yielding a two-out double to leadoff hitter Brian LaBasco in the third … with his win last week over 24th-ranked Wake Forest, Cavey has boosted his career record to 11-1, with a 3.61 career ERA, 90 Ks and 24 walks in 107.1 IP … he has averaged just 2.01 walks/9 IP during his career, with a 3.75 career K-to-walk ratio … Cavey’s last 12 appearances include an 8-0 record, a 2.54 ERA, 51 Ks and just nine walks in 60.1 IP … in that span, he owns an 5.7 K-to-walk ratio and has averaged just 1.34 walks/9 IP.
ND BASEBALL’S ALL-TIME FLORIDA NATIVES
- Notre Dame’s list of 786 all-time letterwinners includes 13 who hailed from the state of Florida, including three current players: senior righthanded closer John Corbin (Hollywood/Hollywood Hills HS), junior RHP Danny Tamayo (Miami/Ransom Everglades HS) and sophomore 1B/DH Ken Meyer (Fort Myers/Bishop Verot) … freshman IF Jesse Delcamp (Tierra Verde/Lakewood HS) rounds out ND’s current contingent of four Florida natives.
- Two of ND’s more noteworthy all-time players from Florida include 1B Henry Valenzuela (Tampa/Jesuit HS, 1979-82) and RHP David Sinnes (Miami/Palmetto Senior HS, 1990-93) … Valenzuela was a .314 career batter with the Irish, with 15 home runs and 123 RBI in 494 at-bats … Sinnes posted a 32-8 record and a 2.91 ERA in 297.1 career IP with the Irish, with 315 career strikeouts.
- Other recent ND baseball players from Florida include: SS Paul Turco (Sarasota/Sarasota HS, ’96-’97), RHP Justin Gleichowski (Clearwater/Countryside HS, ’95), RHP Mike Passilla (Windermere/Bishop Moore HS, ’87-’89) and C/OF Phillip Dingle (Tampa/Jesuit HS, ’82-’83)
- The remainder of ND baseball’s all-time letterwinners from Florida include: SS Daniel Cunha (St. Petersburg, ’33-’35), SS/2B Frederick Gore (Ft. Lauderdale, ’42), OF Mike Galloway (Cocoa Beach/Cocoa Beach HS, ’75-’77) and IF Joseph LaRocca (Ft. Lauderdale, ’70-’72).
RECAPPING THE HORMEL FOODS CLASSIC
ND 6, WAKE FOREST 0 (3/3/00) – ND scored runs in bunches and held off a late rally to haned 24th-ranked WFU its first loss in nine games … senior RHP Scott Cavey turned in six solid innings for the win (2 R, 4 H, 4 BB, 7 Ks) … ND belted out 16 hits-including at least one from nine of the 10 players who had ABs-but the Irish stranded 11 two sophomores-CF Steve Stanley and 3B Andrew Bushey-led the Irish with three hits each while Cavey and three relievers-including No. 1 starter Aaron Heilman-combined on the eight-hitter … ND stretched to a 6-2 lead in the eighth inning, behind junior SS Alec Porzel’s two-run double to deep right-center field … the Irish tacked on what proved to be two valuable insurance runs in the ninth, as Bushey sparked the two-out rally with a 3-2 hit up the middle, sophomore pinch hitter Matt Bok followed with a single to the alley in left and senior 2B Jeff Perconte sent the ball just out of reach of the lunging second baseman.
MINNESOTA 9, ND 7 (3/4/00) – The Gophers saw their early 5-0 lead disappear before rallying past ND-in front of 8,000-plus Saturday afternoon spectators at the HHH Metrodome … senior LHP Bob DeWitt (1-1) earned the win (2.1 shutout IP, 2 H, 1 K) … Stanley batted 2-3 with two BBs and three SBs to lead ND, which surged to a 7-5 lead after scoring twice in the fourth and four times in the fifth … both teams then scored single runs in their next at-bats before Minnesota (5-6) retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the seventh … junior LHP Mike Naumann (0-1) was credited with the loss, being tagged with both runs in the seventh (one of them unearned), on two hits while recording just one out … Minnesota struck for five early runs versus Irish freshman RHP J.P. Gagne, a native of nearby Bloomington, Minn. … Porzel tied the game in the seventh, with a single to center, and the Irish claimed the lead when freshman RF Brian Stavisky doubled into right field
ND 5, GEORGIA 1 (3/5/00) – Heilman rolled up a career-high 12 Ks over the first 8 IP and ND again received balanced contributions up and down the lineup … Heilman’s dominating 120-pitch outing included four hits allowed, an unearned run and no walks to go along with his 12 Ks-11 of them on called third strikes … four ND batters shared the team lead with two hits each while five combined on the six RBI … Porzel completed a strong showing in the three-day tournament, with his two-run double to deep left-center field giving the Irish a 3-1 lead … ND pushed across what proved to be three crucial insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh, with an RBI single from Bok ending the day for senior RHP Chris Clark-who had entered the game with a 2-0 record and an 0.50 ERA … sophomore C Paul O’Toole then greeted RHP Joey Friedman with an RBI single to right … four batters later, senior 1B Jeff Felker-who had tripled and scored in the second inning-doubled home O’Toole for a 6-1 cushion … sophomore RHP Drew Duff struggled in the top of the ninth but still was one out away from helping the Irish secure the tournament championship, before uncorking a wild pitch that allowed Georgia’s second run to score … with a runner on first and the winning run at the plate, senior righthanded closer John Corbin took the mound and induced Tony Buchett into a game-ending popup to Felker … junior 2B Ben Cooke-filling in for the injured Perconte-sparked the Irish with a pair of leadoff singles and two runs scored.
NOTES FROM THE HORMEL CLASSIC: ND finished tied with Wake Forest and Minnesota for first in the tournament, as each team held a 2-1 record … run differential was used to break the tie, with Sunday’s rocky three-run inning in the top of the ninth causing the team trophy to slip from ND’s hands (WFU finished +6 in run differential while the Irish were +3, Minnesota +1) … junior LHP Mike Naumann (5-1) suffered the first loss of his career, in 29 appearances … Stavisky has opened his career with his first four hits all going for extra-bases (double-triple-home run-double) … senior RHP John Corbin moved into a tie with Larry Mohs (’94-’97) for fourth in career saves at Notre Dame (10), just two behind the record shared by Heilman, Mike Coffey (’88-’90) and current Major League hopeful LHP Chris Michalak (’90-’93) … ND’s 11 hits in the win over Georgia included seven on the first pitch, plus a first-pitch RBI groundout and sacrifice bunt … the other four hits in that game came with two strikes (one 1-2, two 2-2 and one full-count, plus a full-count walk) … junior RHP Aaron Heilman was joined on the all-tournament team by sophomore CF Steve Stanley, who posted the second-best batting average in the tournament (.600, 6-for-10, 4 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 4-4 SB) … Porzel’s .429 average (6-for-14) ranked sixth in the tournament among players with 10-plus at-bats while his six RBI tied for second-most … he also had two runs, a stolen base, three doubles and a triple, ranking fourth in the tournament with 11 total bases … ND led the tournament in eight different categories: team batting average (.343, 37-for-108),on-base pct. (.403), stolen bases (7-for-8), low opponent batting average (.273), team ERA (5.19), fewest hits allowed (27), fewest walks allowed (8) and most strikeouts thrown (28) … the ND offense also totaled 21 R, six 2B, two 3B, 47 total bases, 10 BB, 14 Ks and .435 slugging … the Irish pitchers logged 26 innings, with 18 runs allowed (15 earned) … the Irish also owned the tournament’s second-best fielding pct. (.973, 3 errors).
EARLY HOME OPENER: ND cashed in on the unseasonably-warm weather by adding a March 7 home opener vs. Manchester, at Eck Stadium (a 5-1 Irish win) … sophomore RHP Matt Buchmeier (1-0) was credited with the first win of his Irish career, after opening the game with three scoreless IP in a planned rotation (1 H, 1 BB, 2 Ks) … the highlight of the day came in the top of the ninth, as junior RHP Danny Tamayo made his first appearance in more than two years … Tamayo-who last pitched on March 1, 1998, before suffering an elbow injury that ultimately required “Tommy John” reconstructive surgery-retired Tony Hardiman on a bunt attempt before serving up a flyout from Bill Johnson … pinch hitter Nick Chaney then walked on four pitches but Tamayo closed out the game by catching Craig Hersey looking at a full-count, called third strike … ND failed to generate any sustained offense, just days after amassing 37 hits in three games in the Hormel Foods Classic … sophomore DH Paul O’Toole hit a solo home run in the third (his fourth straight game at Ech Stadium with a home run) while freshman RF Brian Stavisky ended his early slump with two hits in four at-bats … senior Matt Nussbaum started at catcher for the first time in his Irish career … sophomore CF Steve Stanley had an early bunt single to the left side, extending his hitting streak to six games … freshman RHP Brandon Viloria had an impressive debut (3 IP, 2 H) … the game ranks as the third-earliest home game in the history of Notre Dame baseball … the 1990 Irish team posted a 3-0 win over Goshen College on Feb. 5 (at old Jake Kline Field) while the ’98 Irish team defeated Central Michigan, 7-5, in a Feb. 25 home opener (at Eck Stadium) … the Manchester game was the 2,990th officially-recorded game in the 108-year history of Notre Dame varsity baseball program, with the Irish next scheduled to play eight games during spring break at the Kennel Club Classic in Jacksonville, Fla. … the program’s 2,999th game currently is scheduled for March 22 at Eck Stadium (versus Detroit), with the 3,000-game milestone set for the first game of a March 25th doubleheader at Villanova.
SEVEN-GAME UPDATE: Notre Dame’s team ERA rests at 3.25, led by senior RHP Scott Cavey’s 1.50 (2-0, 12 IP, 13 Ks, 5 BB, 5 H) … the ND staff totals include 59 Ks in 57 innings, with just 21 BBs and 50 hits allowed (.242 opp. avg.) … the Irish offense owns a seven-game batting average of .300, with 40 runs, 12 doubles, four triples, three HRs, .430 slugging, .352 on-base, 18 BBs, 31 Ks and 11-of-14 SBs … ND owns a .976 season fielding pct. (6 errors)-well above the team record set in 1982 (.965).
NUSSBAUM SEIZES THE MOMENT: Senior Matt Nussbaum-a South Bend native and former walk-on who was 0-for-16 his first two seasons-was named a tri-captain for the 2000 season, alongside senior 2B Jeff Perconte and junior RHP Aaron Heilman … Nussbaum, who started 57 games in 1999 at mostly DH and LF, posted a .314 season average in ’99 (sixth on the team), while also ranking first on the team in runners advanced (35) and fifth in RBI (33), two-out batting average (.371) and home runs (5) … a steady contact hitter (team-high 11 double plays), Nussbaum struck out just 13 times in ’99 (only three Ks in the final 25 games) … he averaged a team-best 15.7 plate appearances per strikeout in ’99.
TRAVEL: Notre Dame’s schedule regularly takes the baseball team to several top-notch facilities and noteworthy cities throughout the country … in Paul Mainieri’s six seasons, the cities that the Irish have visited include: Fullerton, Calif., Seattle, Wash. (Kingdome), San Antonio, Texas, Miami, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., New Orleans, La., Boston, Mass., Washington, D.C., Long Beach, Calif., New York City, N.Y., Orlando, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla., and Minneapolis, Minn. (Metrodome).
IRISH AMONG NUMEROUS PRESEASON PICKS: The Notre Dame baseball team embarked on its 2000 season with a national ranking in two of the three major polls-the only school from the Midwest or Northeast in either poll-while several Irish players received preseason honors from various publications and organizations:
- Notre Dame was ranked 20th in the Baseball America preseason poll -marking the highest preseason ranking for the Irish since 1994 … Notre Dame occupied the 23rd spot in the Feb. 21 BA poll, heading into the 2000 season-opening game versus Air Force.
- The Irish were ranked 25th in the Collegiate Baseball magazine preseason poll and maintained that spot prior to the season opener.
- Notre Dame received the 26th-most votes in the preseason USA Today Baseball Weekly Coaches Poll and received the 30th-most votes heading into the season opener.
- Junior RHP Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) was named a first team preseason All-American by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. Heilman and Stanford’s Jason Young were the only pitchers named first team by both publications (each listed five).
- BA lists Heilman as the No. 9 professional prospect among draft-eligible college players (15th overall, including high school seniors). Heilman ranks fourth on that list among draft-eligible college pitchers.
- Heilman also was tabbed by both BA and the BIG EAST Conference coaches as the preseason BIG EAST pitcher of the year.
- BA lists Heilman and Young among the three prospects with the best breaking ball (both throw sliders). The magazine also singled out Heilman and Young as the pitchers who are “closest to the major leagues.”
- BA lists ND freshman RF Brian Stavisky (Port Allegany, Pa.) as the top newcomer in the BIG EAST Conference and the preseason BIG EAST freshman of the year. The magazine also projects Stavisky as the nation’s No. 5-rated prospect among current college freshmen, behind Clemson shortstop Jeff Baker, Florida third baseman Pat Osborne, Texas A&M first baseman Travis Wong and Stanford outfielder Jason Cooper.
- BA’s list of the “best tools” among BIG EAST players includes four from Notre Dame: Stavisky (“best raw power”), Heilman (“best fastball”), sophomore centerfielder Steve Stanley (“fastest runner”) and senior Jeff Felker (“best defensive first baseman”).
- BA picked ND to win the 2000 BIG EAST regular-season title, followed by Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. The BIG EAST coaches preseason poll forecasted Rutgers as the 2000 champion (76 voting points, five 1st-place votes), narrowly edging ND (74, 3), followed by St. John’s (69, 2), Seton Hall, WVU and Pittsburgh.
PROSPECTS: Notre Dame junior Aaron Heilman is listed ninth on Baseball America’s annual list of the top professional prospects in college baseball (15th among all players, including high schoolers) … Heilman ranks fourth on that list among draft-eligible pitchers, behind Arizona sophomore Ben Diggins (3rd), Auburn’s Chris Bootcheck (4th) and Stanford’s Jason Young (7th) … others on that list include California third baseman Xavier Nady (1st), Clemson outfielder Patrick Boyd (2nd), North Carolina outfielder Tyrell Godwin (5th), Texas A&M outfielder Daylon Holt (6th) and Pepperdine catcher Dane Sardinha (8th) … Heilman’s teammates on the USA national team during the summer of 1999 included all of the above players, except for Bootcheck and Boyd … Heilman and Young were the only pitchers that were tabbed as preseason first team All-Americans by both BA (which also included Bootcheck, Diggins and UCLA’s Josh Karp) and Collegiate Baseball (which also included Miami’s David Gil, Florida State’s Jon McDonald, Oklahoma State’s Matt Smith and Cal State Fullerton’s Adam Johnson).
PROSPECTS, PART II: The BIG EAST placed two players in the top 25 of Baseball America’s list of class of 2000 prospects, with St. John’s RHP Kevin McGerry checking in at No. 21 … only three conferences had more players among the top 25 prospects while the BIG EAST’s three players among the top 35 was tied for the second-most by any conference in the nation (Rutgers OF David DeJesus is rated 32nd) .. . eight BIG EAST players are listed among the top 150 prospects-ranking the BIG EAST behind just four conferences for most players in the top 150.
PORZEL KEEPS MOVING: Junior Alec Porzel (Lisle, Ill.) opened the season at a different starting position for the third straight year (LF in ’98, 2B in ’99, SS in 2000) … ND’s season-opening starting infield included three HS shortstops (senior 2B Jeff Perconte, Porzel and sophomore 3B Andrew Bushey) while senior 1B Jeff Felker played 3B as a prep.
ACADEMICS: ND baseball posted a 3.10 team GPA in the ’99 fall semester-the program’s best semester in the six-year tenure of head coach Paul Mainieri … 11 players turned in a Dean’s List semester (3.4 or higher) in the fall of ’99, with 19 at 3.0 or higher … Irish baseball players have earned GTE Academic All-America honors 11 times since ’82, with top candidates in 2000 including senior 2B Jeff Perconte (3.73 cumulative GPA, double major in economics and government) and junior LHP Mike Naumann (3.95, pre-professional science, three 4.0 semesters).
ALL-AMERICANS: ND baseball players have combined for 13 major All-America awards (11 since ’89, five in the last two seasons) … junior RHP Aaron Heilman was named a third team All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine as a freshman and sophomore while also earning 1999 third-team honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association … IF Brant Ust was tabbed by the ABCA and Baseball America as a third team All-American following his sophomore season (’98).
BIG EAST RECORD BOOK: In four seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, ND already has made its mark in the league’s baseball record book … Notre Dame in ’99 became the first BIG EAST team ever to win more than 18 conference games (20-5) while the ’99 Irish pitching staff set a BIG EAST record with 199 Ks in conference play … four former ND players rank among the top 16 players on the BIG EAST list for career batting average in conference games (min. 150 ABs): 2B/CF Randall Brooks (3rd, .418, 69-for-165, 1996-97), IF Brant Ust (5th, .413, 100-for-242, ’97-’99), IF J.J. Brock (11th, .399, 89-for-223, ’96-’98) and C/DH Jeff Wagner (16th, .390, 98-for-251, ’96-’99) … Ust is the only player ranked in the BIG EAST career top 10 for conference batting avg., home runs (5th, 19), RBI (7th, 71) and hits (9th, 100), plus 11th in runs scored (70) … Wagner’s 24 home runs in BIG EAST regular-season play trail only former Seton Hall great Mo Vaughn (26) in BIG EAST history while he is tied for first with 83 career RBI in BIG EAST play.
BE RECORD BOOK, PART II: Current Irish junior Aaron Heilman ranks seventh in BIG EAST history with a 2.67 ERA in BIG EAST regular-season play (min. 70 innings) … former Irish pitcher Darin Schmalz (’96-’97, 2.74) ranks ninth on that list and ninth with 10 career BIG EAST complete games, while Alex Shilliday (’96-’99) ranks third in conference wins (14), fourth in starts (22) and seventh in strikeouts (119).
THE COMMISH: Former Notre Dame baseball player Rick Chryst was named commissioner of the Mid-American Conference on May 11, 1999 … Chryst spent the previous seven years at the ACC, last serving as assistant commissioner in charge of marketing, television, corporate programs, legal affairs, special events and outreach programs … he earlier spent three years as an assistant commissioner with the Southwest Conference … Chryst-a native of Plateville, Wis.-was an all-conference OF for the ’83 Irish baseball team before graduating magna cum laude in economics … he received his law degree from Duke in 1989.
CONFERENCE WINNING PCT.: Over the course of its first four seasons in the BIG EAST Conference (1996-99), Notre Dame ranks first in the 10-member conference with: a .701 overall winning percentage (169-72, Rutgers is second at .618), a .741 BIG EAST regular-season winning pct. (63-22, Rutgers is second at .692) and a .709 winning pct. in combined BIG EAST regular-season and tournament games (73-30, Rutgers is second at .665) … St. John’s owns the best BIG EAST Tournament winning pct. during the past four seasons (.625, 9-6), followed by Notre Dame at .556 (10-8) … in fact, the double-elimination tournament has been the ultimate bugaboo for Notre Dame, with the same team providing the Irish losses during each of the first three seasons (WVU in ’96, Villanova in ’97, RU in ’98) before the Irish were beaten by complete game-efforts from Seton Hall and Providence in ’99.
THE ECK: Notre Dame has enjoyed great success at Frank Eck Stadium (see pp. 54-55), located on the southeast corner of campus … the Irish have won nearly 85 percent of their games at “The Eck” during the facility’s first six-plus seasons (150-33, .820, since ’94), highlighted by a 25-2 mark in ’97 and a 121-26 home record (.823) during the first five-plus years under head coach Paul Mainieri … ND has posted victories in 77 of their last 92 games (.837) at Eck (since late in the ’96 season), including a 35-5 mark in home BIG EAST games during that stretch.
(ALMOST) FIFTY STATES: The Notre Dame list of all-time monogram winners includes players that have hailed from 42 different home states … current freshman pitcher Brandon Viloria (Wailuku, Hawaii) could became the first Irish baseball letterwinner from the island state, with the other states that have not produced Notre Dame baseball letterwinners including: Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina and Vermont. Freshman pitcher Brandon Viloria
500 WINS: ND head coach Paul Mainieri reached the 500-win milestone early in the ’99 season, when ND posted a 14-11 win at the University of New Orleans (209 of his wins have come with the Irish) … the milestone held special significance for Mainieri, who played on two Sun Belt Conference championship teams during his playing career at UNO.
FORTY-WIN SEASONS: Notre Dame has posted 11 straight seasons with 40-plus wins, including 48 wins in 1989 and ’92, 46 victories in three seasons (’90, ’93 and ’94), 45 wins in ’91 and 44 in ’95 … Notre Dame’s active streak of seasons with 40-plus wins ranks fifth in Division I baseball, trailing only Florida State (22), Wichita State (22), Oklahoma State (20) and Clemson (14).
FRESHMEN PHENOMS: Notre Dame has produced two of the last four BIG EAST rookies of the year-DH Jeff Wagner (’96) and infielder Brant Ust (’97)-while current freshman Brian Stavisky has been tabbed by Baseball America as the 2000 preseason BIG EAST rookie of the year … Wagner set the Irish freshman home run record (10) only to see Ust best that mark with 11 shots over the fence in 1997 … Ust became the first freshman middle infielder ever named first team all-BIG EAST and was a consensus Freshman All-America pick by BA and Collegiate Baseball magazine … despite not winning the ’98 BIG EAST rookie award, righthander Aaron Heilman was a second team all-conference selection, a consensus Freshman All-American and was one of three players named co-national freshman of the year by CB … centerfielder Steve Stanley was named second team all-BIG EAST in 1999, the only freshman on the BIG EAST first or second team … his classmate, catcher Paul O’Toole, became the seventh Notre Dame player ever to earn first team Freshman All-America honors in the 1990s, as one of three catchers named to the Collegiate Baseball team.
K CREW: The Notre Dame pitching staff has posted the team strikeout record each of the past three seasons: 399 in 1997, 456 in ’98 and 478 in ’99 … the Irish have averaged 444 Ks in the past three seasons (1,333 total), with the ’99 staff averaging 8.38 strikeouts per nine innings-best by an Irish staff since 1963 … the top contributors have included current junior Aaron Heilman (201 Ks in 182 IP, with a team-record 118 in ’99), first-round draft pick Brad Lidge (’96-’98, 143 Ks in 129.2 IP, 93 in ’98), ’99 graduate Alex Shilliday (third in Irish history with 265 career Ks) and lefty Tim Kalita (214 Ks in 214 IP, ’97-’99).
THE NINETIES: Notre Dame posted the seventh-highest winning percentage among Division I baseball teams during the 1990s (.724, 440-168), behind Wichita State (.790), Miami, Fla. (.765), Florida State (.751), LSU (.737), Delaware (.734) and Clemson (.728).
OPPONENTS: Notre Dame has faced 265 different opponents entering its 108th year of varsity baseball … James Madison, Florida International, Missouri and Oakland were first-time opponents in ’99 while the Irish are scheduled to face North Florida and Akron for the first time in 2000 (at the Kennel Club Classic) … ND’s most common opponents include Northwestern (129 games), Michigan State (125), Wisconsin (118), Purdue (113) and Michigan (108) … noteworthy teams that Notre Dame has yet to face: Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and UC Santa Barbara.
THREE THOUSAND GAMES: The Notre Dame baseball program has amassed 2,990 official games in 108 seasons as a varsity sport and is on pace to reach the 3,000-game milestone on Saturday, March 26, in the first game of a doubleheader at Villanova.
HOME RUNS: Notre Dame has flirted with the team home run record each of the past three seasons, including a record 66 long balls in 1997 … the Irish then posted a new record of 73 home runs in ’98 before surging late in ’99 for a season total of 70, with 12 different players leaving the yard in that near-record season … Notre Dame totaled 209 home runs in the past three seasons and averaged 66 during the first five seasons of the Paul Mainieri era (’95- ) … Mainieri’s first five Irish teams have posted a combined .315 batting average (high of .334 in ’97, tying the team record) and a .498 combined slugging percentage (high of .529 in ’97) … Notre Dame enters 2000 looking to replace a pair of players who rank atop the Irish career home run charts: catcher/DH Jeff Wagner (’96-’99, 49) and infielder Brant Ust (’97-’99, 46) … both of those players made a run at Frank Jacobs’ season record (20, 1991) but came up short, with Wagner hitting 17 in ’97 while Ust hit 18 in ’98 and 17 in ’99.
TESTED BY FIRE: ND’s wild ’99 season prepared the Irish for the pressure cooker that was the NCAA double-elimination tournament … ND’s last-minute magic in ’99 included 19 come-from-behind wins and 13 wins in Notre Dame’s final turn at bat (seven when the Irish scored the winning run in the final inning, six in the second-to-last inning) … the 43 Irish wins included only 11 by five-plus runs (32 by 1-4 runs), with 10 wins by one run, seven by two runs, 10 by three runs and five by four runs … ND played in a pair of one-run games at last week’s Service Academies Classic, losing 5-4 to Ohio State before edging Memphis, 4-3.
THE X FACTOR: Based on his comparative batting averages, junior 1B Jeff Felker played one of the biggest roles in determining Notre Dame’s wins and losses during the 1999 season … prior to the NCAAs, Felker owned a .406 batting average during the team’s 42 wins (second to Brant Ust’s .413) but hit just .216 in the 16 losses-a difference of 190 batting points (the largest discrepancy among the Irish hitters).
RARE DOUBLE FOR IRISH BASEBALL, SOFTBALL: Notre Dame posted an .878 (36-5) combined BIG EAST regular-season winning pct. in 1999 in baseball (20-5) and softball (16-0, first unbeaten season in BIG EAST history) … that .878 combined winning pct. ranks first in BIG EAST history, since the conference started sponsoring softball in 1992 (Notre Dame held the previous record of .800, set by the baseball and softball teams of 1996 and ’98) … Notre Dame also became the first BIG EAST school ever to post the top conference regular-season winning percentages in baseball and softball during the same season.
HEAD COACH PAUL MAINIERI: Sixth-year Notre Dame head coach Paul Mainieri owns a 545-374 (.593) record in 17-plus seasons as a college head coach, surpassing the 500-win milestone in the Feb. 27, 1999, win at New Orleans (14-11) … in addition to his 213-95 (.692) mark with the Irish, Mainieri teams were 180-121 in his six seasons at St. Thomas (Fla.) and 152-158 in six seasons at Air Force … Mainieri 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 210 wins rank third at ND, behind Pat Murphy (318, ’88-’94) and Jake Kline (558, ’34-’75) … Mainieri has seen 20 of his Irish players go on to pro baseball, with 14 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 500 career coaching wins … Demie won 1,018 games in his 30-year career at Miami-Dade North CC … Mainieri picked up his 200th win at Notre Dame in the 7-6 win over Oakland on April 30 ,1999 … he coached his 900th college game in the opener at Georgetown on May 8, 1999.