March 17, 2005

Complete Release in PDF Format
spacer.gifDownload Free Acrobat Reader

2005 NOTRE DAME BASEBALL Week 5 – vs. Northern Illinois, Evansville and South Dakota State (in Evansville; March 17-19)

HEADING DOWN STATE – The Notre Dame baseball team (6-7) heads to south Indiana this week for three non-tournament games to be played at Evansville’s Braun Field, vs. Northern Illinois (March 17, 3:00 CST), Evansville (March 18, 6:00 CST) and South Dakota State (March 19, noon CST) … sophomore RHP Jeff Manship is slated to get the start vs. SIU, followed by junior LHP Tom Thornton vs. Evansville and sophomore RHP Jeff Samardzija vs. South Dakota State … ND went 3-1 in Orlando during opening week (18-3, 4-3 vs. Florida A&M; 1-2, 4-2 vs. host Central Florida) before going 1-2 in a series vs. Dayton, played at HoHoKam Park (Chicago Cubs spring training home) in Mesa, Ariz. (10-2, 9-13 in 11 innings, 10-11) and then losing twice at the Round Rock Classic (5-13 vs. Texas A&M, 5-10 vs. Texas State; game vs. Rice called due to rain) before splitting four games at the Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio (4-9 vs. UTSA, 6-4 vs. Southwest Missouri, 8-15 vs. Oral Roberts and 12-11 vs. SMS) … Paul Mainieri, now in his 11th season at ND and 23rd overall as a college head coach, heads to Evansville Antonio with a 787-458-2 career record that include a 456-179-1 record with the Irish … ND holds a 5-2 all-time series edge vs. Northern Illinois, including a 2-2 split in the first season of the Mainieri era (’95) … check back to later in the week for more preview info. on this week’s games.

INJURY UPDATE – Junior DH and Notre Dame’s 2004 RBI leader (58) Matt Bransfield remains out indefinitely with a hand injury suffered in the season opener (he had hand surgery on Feb. 24 but is on the Texas trip) … two pitchers who have returned from reconstructive elbow surgery – senior John Axford and sophomore Jeff Manship – continue to be eased back slowly and each made two appearances on the Spring Break trip in Round Rock.

RADIO, LIVE-STATS & HOTLINE – All of Notre Dame’s 2005 regular-season and postseason games again will be broadcast by South Bend-based WDND 1580 AM (and its sister station, WNDV 1490) … the broadcasts are available via the internet at (College Sports Pass subscription required) … also provides links to livestats on the website’s main page, for all home games and select road games (Evansville will attempt to provide livestats for the ND-EU game) … call the ND Sports Hotline at 574-631-3000 for schedule and result information for all varsity sports currently in season (from the main menu, select “4” and then select “1” for baseball information).

STILL GOING – The Irish have extended the program’s second-longest scoring streak to 161 games, trailing only a 231-game scoring streak from 1999-2002.

ALAMO CITY IRISH BASEBALL CLASSIC 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,

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.


NOTRE DAME BASEBALL 2005 ROSTER (as of Feb. 23) (see PDF)