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April 29, 2003

NOTRE DAME BASEBALL GAME NOTES – vs. Michigan (April 29, 2003)

(see PDF link for complete release, with stat tables)

The Notre Dame baseball team (34-9, 13-2 BIG EAST) – ranked as high as 13th in the national polls – is set to play its only game away from home in a 17-game stretch, with Tuesday night’s 8th annual “Baseball Bash” vs. Michigan in Comstock Park, Mich. (just outside of Grand Rapids) at Fifth Third Ballpark (formerly Old Kent Park) … the start time is set for 7:30 EDT (6:30 in South Bend) … senior RHP Peter Ogilvie is slated to start his third straight Baseball Bash while freshman LHP Tom Thornton is the likely starter Wed. vs. Oakland (6:05, at Eck Stadium) … the weekend rotation for the BIG EAST showdown vs. West Virginia includes sophomore RHPs Chris Niesel and John Axford in Saturday’s doubleheader, with senior RHP Ryan Kalita slated to throw the series finale on Sunday … ND entered last week ranked 27th in the nation for both team ERA (3.55; now down to 3.34, with the new rankings yet to be release) and fielding pct. (.970, now up to .972) … all of ND’s 2003 regular-season and postseason games again will be broadcast by South Bend-based WDND 1620 AM (and sister station, WNDV 1490) … the broadcasts are available at (College Sports Pass subscription required) … also provides GameTracker livestats on the website’s main page, for all home games and select road games (including the Michigan game).

(see PDF for Ogilvie game-by-game stats)

TOUGH WITH TWO – Tom Thornton ranks among ND’s top pitchers at slamming the door with two outs, allowing just a .208 opponent 2-out batting average (10-for-48) – good for 4th-best on the staff behind Ryan Kalita (.164), Ryan Doherty (.167) and Brandon Viloria (.200) … Thornton’s other situation pitching includes .271 opponent batting with runners on base and 34% of leadoff batters reaching base.

LOFTY START FOR ROOKIE DUO – Freshman 6-foot-7 LHP Tom Thornton (1.88, 3-1, 18 Ks, 12 bb, 36 H/.257 opp. avg. in 38.1 IP) and his classmate, 7-foor-1 RHP Ryan Doherty (2.76, 2-0, 28 Ks, 6 BB, 11 H/.183 opp. avg. in 16.1 IP), have combined for the following numbers in their rookie season: a 2.14 ERA, 5-1 record, a .239 opponent batting avg., 46 Ks, 18 BB and 47 H in 54.2 IP … Doherty is averaging 15.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched (28 Ks in 16.1 IP) and has been fairly dominant since a rough debut in the opener vs. Dayton, when first-game jitters and a tight strike zone contributed to five runs allowed by the rookie on four hits and two walks while recording just two outs (no Ks) … since that rough debut, Doherty has not allowed an earned run (three unearned) in eight outings and 15.2 innings, with a .135 opponent batting average (7-for-52) and a 7-to-1 K-to-walk ratio (28/4) during that stretch … his overall ERA continues to drop (2.76, compared to 68.16 after the Dayton game), with the best opponent batting average on the staff (.193) and just six total walks, one wild pitch and two hit batters.

30-SOMETHING – Notre Dame (34-9) has reached 30 wins with single-digit losses for just the sixth time in team history, with only two previous ND teams – the 2001 squad (30-5-1, en route to claiming the No. 1 ranking) and the 1989 unit (30-8) – reaching 30 wins quicker than the current Irish squad (the 1990, ’94 and ’99 ND teams also went 30-9) … the Irish program now is on the verge of its 15th consecutive season with 40-plus wins – the fourth-longest active 40-win streak in Division I baseball, behind Florida State (25; with a 38-7-1 record in ’03), Wichita State (25; 31-19 in ’03) and Clemson (17; 31-13 in ’03).

ANOTHER TIGHT RACE FOR BIG EAST POSTSEASON – With three weeks of BIG EAST play remaining, the race for the regular-season title and four tournament spots is fairly wide open … three teams – Notre Dame (13-2, two games cancelled vs. BC), Rutgers (13-3, one game lost vs. WVU) and West Virginia (12-3, games lost vs. RU and SHU) – are bunched atop the standings while five others are looking to battle for the fourth spot: Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech (both 10-7), St. John’s (9-8) and Boston College (7-8) … ND has series left vs. WVU (home) and at RU and VT … Rutgers also is set to play at 9th-place UConn and at 10th-place Villanova … WVU also has series left vs. VU (at home) and at BC … Pittsburgh finishes at BC, at home vs. VT and at UConn … VT’s other series is this week vs. SJU (the Red Storm then play host to BC and close at SHU).

THE ND-UM SERIES – Notre Dame and Michigan are set to meet for the 116th time and for the ninth straight season (including a regular-season game and NCAA meeting in 1999) … Michigan leads the all-time series 74-41 but ND has won six of the last nine (including the last five regular-season meetings) and three straight … the most-common opponents in the ND baseball program include Northwestern (130 games), Michigan State (125), Wisconsin (119), Michigan (115) and Purdue (115, including ND win earlier this season) … ND’s first varsity baseball game was vs. Michigan on April 21, 1892 (6-4 ND win).

IN THE MAINIERI ERA – ND is 6-3 vs. Michigan during the eight previous seasons of the Mainieri era (5-2 at Old Kent/Fifth Third Park) … Michigan won an epic game at OKP in 1996 (7-6, in 16 innings) while the Irish posted an 8-3 home win over the Wolverines late in the 1996 season … Michigan won the 1997 game at OKP (5-3), with all the Michigan runs unearned after ND made three errors in the 7th … ND’s 9-1 win in ’98 featured Tim Kalita’s dominating 7.1 innings (2 H, UER, 3 BB, 5 Ks) … the Irish then won the ’99 game at OKP (14-4) before Michigan beat ND in the 1999 NCAAs (11-5) at Eck Stadium …the Irish then won in 2000, 5-4 in 11 innings, with Matt Nussbaum plating the tying run in the 9th and making the game-ending tag at the plate … Peter Ogilvie’s complete game (5 H, R, BB, 6 Ks) won the 2002 game, 9-1.

RECAPPING THE 2002 ND-UM GAME – The Irish used clutch performances from a number of players to overcome an early 3-0 deficit en route to a 7-4 victory (ND’s 13th straight) … Michigan scored in the 1st and added two more in the 2nd vs. Peter Ogilvie but managed just one run the rest of the way vs. winner Grant Johnson (3 IP, 11 BF, H, 2 BB, Ks) and close J.P. Gagne (4 IP, R, 3 H, 4 Ks), who started the 2000 Baseball Bash … several ND players helped overcome just the third career 0-for-5 game for Steve Stanley and a 1-for-5 night from the Brian Stavisky … 3B Andrew Bushey – who logged his 21st consecutive game without an error – put the Irish on the board in the 4th inning with a 2-run double off the wall in left-center … Matt Bok added the go-ahead single (4-3) in the three-run top of the 6th while Javi Sanchez became the first player from either team to hit a home run in the last three Baseball Bashes, launching a 2-run shot over the leftfield wall (for a 7-3 lead in the 8th) … Kris Billmaier hit 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored … Michigan LHP Rich Hill struck out all six batters he faced in the first two innings but the Wolverines went on to use five more pitchers … RHP Phil Tognetti (3 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 2 BB) was tagged with the loss.


Kris Billmaier: 3-for-10, 2 RBI, 3 R, K, SF

Javi Sanchez: 2-for-3, 3 RBI, R, HR, SAC

Steve Sollmann: 2-for-7, RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 Ks, CS

Joe Thaman: 2-for-8, R, K

J.P.Gagne – 2 GP/1 GS, SV, 4.00 ERA, 9 IP, 5 R/4 ER, 10 H, 2 BB, 10 Ks

vs. Gagne: Fox – 1B-MI, 2B-RC/RBI … Lollio – 3U, 5-3 … Sokol – F7LL, 5-3 (’02) and 4U-3 GDP, 1B-7/R (’00) … Rudden – L6 … Butler – KS … Koman – F8 (’02) … KL, F-8, FC (’00) … Roberts – 2B-RC/R … Cantalemesa – 2B-RC/SB, KS (’00)

Peter Ogilvie – 2 GP/2 GS, 1-0, 11 IP, 4 R, 10 H, 2 BB, 6 Ks (’01, ’02)

vs. Ogilvie: Fox – 1-for-4 (KS, F-8 RC, 6-3, 1B-9) … Lollio – 0-for-4, RBI (F-8-4 DP/SF/RBI, 6-3, KS, KS) … Sokol – 0-for-3, BB (FC/R, 3U, 4-3, BB/R) … Roberts – 1-for-2 (KL, 1B-9/RBI) … Cantalemesa – 0-for-4 (F-9, F-8, 6-3, P-7) … Butler – 0-for-2 (6-3, 4-3/RBI) … Koman – 3-for-4, BB, R, 2 2B (2B-RL, 5-3, BB/CS, 1B-RS, 2B-LL/R) … Wright – 0-for-3 (1-3, KS, F-9)

Brandon Viloria – 1 IP, H (’00)

vs. Viloria Sokol – 3U … Cantalemesa – 1B-LS


Brock Koman: 4-for-11, R, 2 2B, 2 BB, K, CS, E

Jake Fox: 3-for-6, RBI, 2B, BB, K, E

Brandon Roberts: 2-for-5, RBI, R, 2B, 2 Ks

Jordan Cantalemesa: 2-for-10, 3 Ks, E

Mike Sokol: 2-for-11, 3 R, BB, K

Gino Lollio: 0-for-7, RBI, 2 Ks

Matt Butler: 0-for-5, RBI, 2 Ks

Nate Wright: 0-for-3, K, E

Nick Rudden: 0-for-1

Alex Coleman: GP

Phil Tognetti – 1 GP, 0-1, 3.0 IP, 3.0 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 Ks, E

vs. Tognetti: Sanchez 6-3, 1B-5/RBI … Thaman 4-3, F-8 … Sollmann BB/R, F-8 RC … Billmaier – 1B-9/R, L-5

Jim Brauer – 2 GP, 0-1, 6.0 IP, 7 R/5 ER, 8 H, BB, 3 Ks, BK

vs. Brauer: Billmaier 1B-RL/R, E6/R, L-8/SF/RBI, P-5 … Sollmann – KS, L-6, 1B-MI/RBI/CS … Thaman – KL, 1B-6/R

STRONG IN ALL AREAS – Notre Dame is the only team that entered the week ranked among the BIG EAST’s top three in overall team batting avg. (3rd, .312), ERA (1st, 3.34) and fielding pct. (1st, .972) … the only other team that entered the week ranked in the top five of all those categories is Rutgers (5th in batting, 5th in ERA and 2nd in fielding) … in conference games only, ND is ranked in the top four of all three categories (4th with .302 batting, 1st with 2.56 ERA and 1st with .971 fielding), with RU again the only other team in the top five of all three (3rd in batting, 5th in ERA, 4th in fielding).

BIG EAST LEADERS – Here’s a look at where ND’s position players rank among the BIG EAST overall stat leaders:

* Steve Sollmann (Jr., 2B) – 1st in runs (50) and stolen bases (25), 3rd in triples (4) and total bases (93), 4th in hits (65), 6th in on-base pct. (.464), 7th in batting average (.401) and 10th in slugging pct. (.574) … joins WVU’s Jake Serfass (.402 avg., .546 OB, .710 slug) and Jarod Rine (.406, .469, .641) and VT’s Marc Tugwell (.414, .460, .615) as only players ranked among BIG EAST top-10 for batting avg., on-base and slugging.

* Matt Edwards (So., 1B) – 1st in RBI (53), 3rd in total bases (93), 4th in doubles (13), 6th in slugging (.604), 7th in hits (57) and 8th in home runs (7).

* Brennan Grogan (Fr., LF) – 1st in triples (5)

* Matt Macri (So., SS) – 3rd in triples (4)

* Cody Rizzo (Fr., RF) – 5th in runs (40)

* Kris Billmaier (Sr., CF) – 4th in doubles (13)

WEEK IN REVIEW – ND’s 5-1 showing last week including scoring 65 runs (10.8 per game) and batting .344 in the six games, led by Matt Bransfield (.545, 6-for-11, 3 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB), Matt Edwards (.526, 10-for-19, 9 RBI, 2 R, 3 2B, 2 BB, SB) and Steve Sollmann (.462, RBI, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, 2 SB) … the Irish made just four errors during the week in 219 fielding chances, for a .982 fielding pct. … the ND pitchers posted a 2.08 ERA for the week, with a .241 opponent batting average, 55 Ks and 20 BB.

DEFENSIVE-MINDED – Notre Dame’s .972 season fielding pct. remains well on team-record pace (three previous teams posted a .965), with the Irish totaling just 47 errors in 43 games (1.1 Es per game) … ND has posted 16 error-free games, 13 one-error games and just six games with three-plus Es … prior to making two errors in both games of the Pittsburgh doubleheader, the Irish had totaled just three Es in the previous five games … the current eight starting position players have combined to make less than one error per game (35 in 43 GP), with two of freshman RF Cody Rizzo’s errors coming as the backup catcher (sophomore Matt Edwards has made three of his five Es at his new position of 1B) … unearned runs have provided the margin of defeat for the Irish just twice this season, in the 14-8 loss to Arizona State (6 UER) and the 3-1 loss to Ball State (2 UER in the 9th).

CONFERENCE COMMAND – The Irish now own a 91-26 (.778) record in seven-plus seasons of BIG EAST play, with Paul Mainieri owning the best BIG EAST winning pct. in the league’s history … ND’s 70 all-time BIG EAST series now have included 55 series wins, eight even series and just seven series wins by the opponent … the Irish are 57-7 in April during the past three seasons and 39-4 in their last 43 home games … since starting 0-4 in 2002 BIG EAST play, ND has gone 31-6 in its last 37 BIG EAST games … ND is nearing a +100 victory margin over the past three seasons (133-40-1).

HR BINGES – Notre Dame launched six home runs in the season-opening trip to Arizona State (4 total GP, vs. Dayton, Newman and ASU twice) but then totaled just two HRs in the next 19 games (not counting a Steve Sollmann inside-the-park variety) … the home run drought ended in a three-game stretch with multiple HRs vs. Valparaiso (2) and in both games at St. John’s (3 and 2), with the Irish then totaling just four HRs in the last nine games … the ND pitchers gave up home runs in four straight early-season games (six total in that stretch) but then surrendered just six HRs in the next 24 games – with eight more opponent homers in a recent eight-game stretch.

QUICK NOTES ON THE ND HITTERS (in probable batting order; see PDF for career stats)

(1) Steve Sollmann (Jr., 2B; Cincinnati, OH … preseason All-American; all-BIG EAST in ’01, ’02)

* Riding 14-game hit streak (23 of last 24), the longest by an ND player since Steve Stanley’s 16-game tear in 2000 … batting .442 during the hitting streak (23-for-52, 5 RBI, 19 R, 3B, 6 2B, 8 BB, 3 Ks).

* Entered last week ranked 19th in nation with 0.62 stolen bases per game (now 0.61, new rankings TBA) … also ranks 7th among BIG EAST players in batting avg., plus 1st in runs and SBs, 3rd in TBs and 3Bs, 4th in hits, 6th in on-base and 10th in slugging.

* Went 21 games (80 chances) without an error, before Sunday E vs. UConn (just five Es in last 58 GP with ND).

* Has gone hitless in consecutive games just once in ’03 (in Villanova doubleheader), hits in 37 of 43 games.

* Owns 23 multi-hit games in 2003 (five 3-hit games, plus 4-for-4 in game 2 vs. Georgetown).

* Already tied for 6th in ND history with 54 career stolen bases (25 in ’03), 14 behind Dan Bautch (68; ’90-’92).

* Picked up 200th career hit at St. John’s (now 222; ND record for hits by junior is Steve Stanley’s 267).

* Has totaled nearly twice as many walks (20) than Ks (12) in 2003.

* Shifted to leadoff spot on Spring Break trip, after batting in No. 2 spot for most of his ND career.

* Twice BIG EAST player of the week (8-for-17 in week one, then 11-for-23 in first six games of Spring Break trip)

* Hit 3-run inside-the-park HR in 3-2 win over Eastern Illinois

* Rated BIG EAST’s top defensive 2B for 2003 (per Baseball America)

(2) Brennan Grogan (Fr., CF; Tequesta, FL)

* Batting 5-for-11 in last four games (7 R, 2 RBI), after 2-for-19 slump.

* Leads BIG EAST in overall triples … entered last week 19th in nation for triples (0.15 per game, now 0.14).

* Made switch to CF and 2-hole (30 starts batting 2nd) on Spring Break trip, shifted to LF in last 14 games

(3) Matt Edwards (So., 3B/1B; Mechanicsville, VA)

* Carries 7-game hitting streak (11-for-22, four 2-hit games, 11 RBI), after 0-for-12 drought.

* Leads BIG EAST in overall RBI, plus 3rd in TBs, 4th in 2Bs, 6th in slugging, 7th in hits and 8th in HRs.

* Nearly has surpassed ND’s 2002 leading RBI total (59, by Andrew Bushey).

* Already has totaled 17 multi-RBI games, including five 3-RBI games, 4 RBI in second game vs. Georgetown and 5 RBI in third game vs. Creighton

* Also owns 17 multi-hit games (five 3-hit games, plus 4-for-5 in nightcap at St. John’s)

* Saw 9-game hitting streak end in doubleheader vs. Chicago State and Bowling Green (0-for-4)

* BIG EAST player of the week (3/31-4/6) after leading ND during 4-0 week in hits and batting average (9-for-14, .643), RBI (10) home runs (3), total bases (21) and slugging pct. (1.500), plus 7 R, 2 BB, 3B, SB and just one K … hit 6-for-9 in the doubleheader sweep at St. John’s, with five RBI and a pair of booming HRs to dead-center field.

* Has made 23 starts at 1B, with the first coming on Spring Break trip, with 32 total starts batting in the 3-hole

* Missed most of 2002 season due to broken leg (vs. USC in Round Rock, ninth game of ’02)

(4) Kris Billmaier (Sr., RF; Woodinville, WA … team tri-captain with Steve Sollmann and J.P. Gagne)

* Hit just 2-for-8 in UConn series (2 RBI), after batting 7-for-18 (.389) with 8 RBI in previous five games.

* Ranks fourth in BIG EAST with 13 doubles.

* Owns 14 multi-hit and eight multi-RBI games (2nd-most on team).

* Made switch from right to CF in last 11 games … has hit cleanup in 28 games this season (5-hole in seven).

* Home run vs. Seton Hall (4/19) was his first HR since second game of ’03 vs. Newman.

(5) Javi Sanchez (Jr., C; Miami, FL)

* Saw 8-game hitting streak end in Seton Hall opener (included four games before missing four with back spasms).

* Batting 6-for-16 in last five games (2 RBI, 5 R).

* Has gone hitless in consecutive games just twice all season (vs. Detroit and Valparaiso, then in SHU doubleheader).

* Owns 14 multi-hit games in 2003 (3rd-most on team), with four multi-RBI games

* Has hit five of his six career home runs with the Irish away from home, including blast in the 2002 Baseball Bash vs. Michigan (first at that event since 1999) and 3-run shot to tie 2002 CWS opener vs. Stanford (3-3, 4-3 loss).

* Owns walks (12) than Ks (11) in 2003.

* Prep 2B who started at SS in 2002 after injuries to Matt Macri and Matt Edwards

(6) Matt Macri (So., SS; Clive, IA … preseason All-American)

* Tied for third among BIG EAST players with four triples.

* Hit just 2-for-11 in UConn series, after batting .447 (17-for-38) in previous 12 games played.

* Fifth on team with 13 multi-hit games, plus four multi-RBI games.

* Has made most of his starts batting in the 6-hole (17, also 13 in 7-hole), after opening season as leadoff hitter.

* Missed most of 2002 season due to “Tommy John” reconstructive elbow surgery.

* Nation’s No. 2-rated college SS prospect for 2003 draft (per Baseball America).

(7) Cody Rizzo (Fr., DH/LF; Temecula, CA)

* Ranks fifth among BIG EAST players with 40 runs scored.

* Hit 2-for-3 vs. IPFW (then just 2-for-9 in UConn series), after batting 3-for-16 in the previous five games.

* Classic utility player who has made starts at CF (4), LF (13), DH (6)and C (3) and now RF (11), also batting in leadoff spot early in season (his most common lineup spot has been 14 games in the 7-hole)

* Third on team with seven multi-RBI games, plus 13 multi-hit efforts.

* Excellent baserunner and rare 2-sport star in soccer/baseball as a prep (California HS soccer is played in the fall)

(8) Steve Andres (Fr., DH; Napa, CA)

* Has totaled just two hits in team’s last 15 games (14 ABs), after batting 5-for-10 in previous three-game stretch

* Owns four multi-hit and two multi-RBI games.

* Sparked offense in first three games of 2003 vs. Dayton, Newman and ASU (6-for-11, 2 RBI, 7 RBI, HR, 3B, 2B).

or Matt Bransfield (Fr., IF/DH; Englewood, CO)

* Batting 9-for-18 in his last eight games played, after 2-for-14 start to his ND career.

or Craig Cooper (Fr., LF/DH; Plainview, NY)

* Owns seven multi-hit and four multi-RBI games … just 2-for-7 in team’s last 11 games (4 GP).

(9) Greg Lopez (Fr., 3B; Upper Arlington, OH)

* Effective situational hitter who has 24 RBI, despite totaling just 28 hits.

* Has made 26 starts at third base, with seven multi-hit and six multi-RBI games (5th-best on team).

Inside The Notre Dame Bullpen (stats for relief appearances only; see PDF for chart)

BULLPEN BOUNCES BACK – The Notre Dame relief pitchers had some rocky outings in the first few weeks of the season but have lowered the overall bullpen ERA to 3.96 with some strong performances in recent weeks … the bullpen has allowed just 4-of-23 inherited runners to score (including one in the 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh) while the first batters facing the ND relievers have combined to hit just .179 (12-for-67) with six walks and 23 Ks … senior closer J.P. Gagne has converted all 10 of his traditional save opportunities this season, with one potential save lost in the 14-8 game at Arizona State (he would have needed to log four innings, taking the mound in the 6th with an 8-4 lead before the Irish lost 14-8).

THE FIREMAN – Senior setup man Brandon Viloria logged a scoreless 8th inning in Sunday’s win over UConn to lower his career ERA to 2.45, good for 2nd-best in Notre Dame history among pitchers with 60-plus innings (behind Nick Palihnich’s 2.36 from 1959-61) … Viloria also owns the ND record for lower career walk average (1.40 BB per 9 UP) … his classmate, closer J.P. Gagne, made his 84th and 85th career appearances in the UConn series, pacing him 2nd in ND history for games pitched and seven back of Chris Michalak’s record total (92, ’90-’93) … Gagne needs three more Ks to crack that ND career top-10 list (with 189) … his 10 saves are one shy of John Corbin’s ND-record total from the 2000 season (Gagne’s 16 career saves rank 2nd only to Corbin’s 20 in the ND record book).

Top Veteran Relievers Career Stats (see PDF)

ND ALUMS EMBARK ON PRO SEASONS – Three former Notre Dame baseball players were on 40-man rosters for MLB Spring Training: IF Craig Counsell (Arizona), RHP Brad Lidge (Houston) and LHP Tim Kalita (Detroit) … Counsell and Lidge both made the big-league rosters (Kalita is with the double-A Erie Sea Wolves) … three others were non-roster invitees to Big-League Camp: RHPs Aaron Heilman (rated by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in the New York Mets organization; with triple-A Norfolk Tides) and Christian Parker (Yankees; triple-A Columbus Clippers) and LHP Chris Michalak (Colorado Springs Sky Sox) … several other former ND players have embarked on their minor-league seasons: catcher Paul O’Toole (Cubs; single-A Daytona), 3B/C Andrew Bushey (Colorado, single-A Ashville Tourists), Oakland A’s OFs Steve Stanley (double-A Midland, Rockhounds) and Brian Stavisky (single-A Cane County Cougars), IF Brant Ust (Detroit; double-A Erie), RHP Danny Tamayo (Kansas City; double-A Wichita Wranglers) and OF Matt Bok (Los Angeles, single-A Ogden Raptors) … Tamayo and Stanley both are competing in the Texas League while Heilman and Parker both are pitchers in the International League … here’s a look at ND’s alums currently in pro ball (stats as of April 28):

Matt Bok, C (Ogden Raptors, Dodgers single-A, Pioneer League) … yet to play a game in ’03

Andrew Bushey, C/IF (Ashville Tourists, Rockies single-A, South Atlantic League): 0-for-8, 4 GP, RBI, 3 BB, K, three starts at C, one at 1B

Craig Counsell, IF (Arizona Diamondbacks, has split time at 2B, SS and 3B): .282 (24-for-85), 23 GP, 3B, 4 2B, 12 R, 8 RBI, 13 BB, 13 Ks, 3-5 SB, .353 slug, .378 OB, .988 fielding pct. (1 E)

Aaron Heilman, RHP (Norfolk Tides, Mets AAA, International League): 3-1, 3.77 ERA, 5 GS, 28.2 IP, .262 opp. batting avg. (27-for-103), 12 R, 4 HR, 13 BB, 24 Ks

Tim Kalita. LHP (Erie Sea Wolves, Tigers AA, Eastern League): 0-1, 9.99 ERA, 6 GP/2 GS, 12.0 IP, .351 opp. avg. (20-for-57), 13 R/12 ER, 6 BB, 8 Ks, 4 WP

Brad Lidge, RHP (Houston Astros): 2-0, SV, 2 hld, 1.02 ERA, 12 GP, 17.2 IP, .172 opp.avg. (10-58), 2 R, 7 BB, 18 Ks, 4 HB, .244 opp. slug, .300 opp. OB

Chris Michalak, LHP (Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Rockies AAA, Pacific Coast League) : 2-2, 3.38 ERA, 5 GS, 29.1 IP, .266 opp.avg. (30-for-113), 19 R/11 ER, 17 BB, 22 Ks … also has hit 2-for-7 (2 RBI, R)

Paul O’Toole, C/IF/OF (Daytona Cubs, Cubs single-A, Florida State League): .308 (8-for-26), 8 GP, 2 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SAC, 4 BB, 5 Ks, .385 slug, .400 on-base, 2 E … 4 starts at C, 1 at 3B

Christian Parker, RHP (Columbus Clippers, Yankees AAA, International League): 0-1, 7.20 ERA, 1 GS, 5.0 IP, .409 opp. avg. (9-for-22), 6 R/4 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, WP, HR

Steve Stanley, OF (Midland Rockhounds, Athletics AA, Texas League): .292 (20-for-72), 20 GP, 7 R, 2B, 7 RBI, 2 SAC, 8 BB, 11 Ks, 0-1 SB, E, .306 slug, .363 on-base, 19 starts (all in OF)

Brian Stavisky, OF (Kane County Cougars, Oakland single-A, Midwest League): .282 (20-for-71), 20 GP, 13 R, 9 RBI, 3B, 4 2B, SAC, 2 HBP, 13 BB, 16 Ks, .366 slug, .407 on-base, E, 6 starts in OF

Danny Tamayo, RHP (Wichita Wranglers, Royals AA, Texas League): 0-4, 5.59 ERA, 4 GS, 19.1 IP, .324 opp. avg. (24-for-74), 14 R/12 ER, 10 BB, 11 Ks, HR, 2 WP

Brant Ust, IF (Erie Sea Wolves, Tigers AA, Eastern League): .283 (13-46), 14 GP, 5 R, 9 RBI, 2 HR, 6 2B, 2 BB, 10 Ks, SB, .543 slug, .313 OB, 4 E, starts: SS (7), 2B (6), 3B (1)

EXPECTING ECK’S-ELLENCE – The 11-0 loss to Rutgers on May 5, 2002, ended ND’s team-record scoring streak at 231 games … the Irish then went unbeaten in 19 consecutive games at Eck Stadium after that loss to Rutgers, outscoring the opponents 218-88 in those games (average score of 12-5) … ND now is 39-4 in its last 43 home games, dating back to the 7-5 loss to Pittsburgh on April 11, 2002 … now celebrating its 10th year of play at Eck Stadium, the Irish own an all-time record of 238-52 in the facility (.821) … ND had defeated 21 consecutive non-conference teams that visited The Eck before the recent loss to Eastern Michigan.

MAINIERI HITS WIN NO. 700 – Ninth-year ND head coach Paul Mainieri – now in his 21st overall season – picked up his 700th career coaching victory in the 6-2 series-opening win over Georgetown on Sat., March 29, just 135 games removed from his 600th win (ND’s 99 combined wins in ’01 and ’02 were third-most in nation, behind Florida State’s 107 and South Carolina’s 106) … Mainieri’s 720-430-1 career record (.626) includes 180-121 at St. Thomas (’83-’88), 152-158 at Air Force (’89-’94) and 388-151-1 (.719) at ND (’95-’03), with his 400th win at ND suddenly 12 Ws away … his ND career includes five BIG EAST titles and five NCAA trips with the Irish (’96, ’99-’02), the program’s first No. 1 ranking in 2001 and first CWS trip since ’57 (in ’02) … he was the nation’s only coach to repeat as ABCA regional coach of the year (Mideast), in 2002, and his squads have extended ND’s streak of seasons with 40-plus wins to 14 (nation’s 4th-longest active streak) … 31 of his ND players have moved on to pro ball, including 12 drafted in the first 10 rounds and pair of first-round pitchers (Brad Lidge in ’98, Aaron Heilman in ’01) … every ND player in the Mainieri era who has completed his eligibility with the Irish has graduated from Notre Dame (46 of 46) while the eight who were signed after their junior seasons have returned to complete or near completion of their graduation requirements (including two-time Academic All-American Brian Stavisky) … Mainieri owns the best BIG EAST winning pct. in the conference’s history (.757, 134-43) … in 70 BIG EAST series spanning eight seasons, the Irish have won 55 with eight splits and just seven series wins by the opponent (just two of them being 3-game sweeps) … the Irish have been swept just four times in 68 all-time BIG EAST doubleheaders (42 ND sweeps, 22 splits).

BIG-INNING BOPPERS – Notre Dame opened the season by posting three “big innings” (5-plus runs) in the first four games but then went 16 games without 5-plus runs in any inning … that drought ended with a vengeance in games 21-29, when the Irish erupted for 10 big innings (in all but one of those games, the finale of the Georgetown series) … the team’s big inning total now strands at 17, including four in the last seven games … by comparison, the 2002 team totaled just one more big inning (18) in 68 games played, with seven of those coming in the final week of the regular season (4) and the NCAA Regional (3) … the big innings in 2003 have included two 9-run eruptions (vs. Georgetown and Detroit), three 7-run innings (at ASU, and then last week vs. Cleveland State and UConn) and 6-run innings vs. Newman, St. John’s and IPFW … the 6th inning has produced five “big innings”, with four in the 2nd, two in the 3rd and 4th one each in the 1st, 5th, 7th and 8th – with the Irish failing to post 5-plus runs in only the 9th inning this season … the big innings in the three midweek games on April 8-9 accounted for 18 of ND’s 23 total runs (78%) in those games … here’s a look at ND’s big innings in 2003 (see PDF):

MIDSEASON CHECKUP With 43 games in the books, here’s a look at how Notre Dame has answered 10 major preseason questions (see PDF):

(also see PDF for additional season notes and stat charts)

EVEN STEVEN – Notre Dame’s scoring dominance in the 2nd inning this season (55-8) has nearly been matched by the team’s scoring edge two innings later in the 4th (43-15) … the Irish now have been outscored in only one inning, the 7th (22-33).

WINNING BIG & SMALL – Notre Dame is 8-1 this season in one-run games while already posting 19 “big wins” (margin of five-plus runs) … by comparison, the 2002 ND team was 9-8 in one-run games and totaled 21 wins by 5-plus runs.

APRIL SHOWERS OF WINS – Notre Dame has dominated in April during the nine-year Paul Maineiri era (177-39, .819), including 57-7 (.891) in April during the past three seasons (20-2 in ’01, 19-2 in ’02, 18-3 in ’03) … ND’s only April losses in that stretch: vs. Ball State (3-4) and Valparaiso (3-7) in ’01, vs. St. John’s (3-4) and Pittsburgh (5-7) in ’02, and vs. Eastern Michigan, Pittsburgh and BSU in ’03.

FAVORITE MONTH – Several ND players have posted strong numbers during the month of April … freshman IF/DH Matt Bransfield (.429, 9-for-21, 6 RBI, 7 R, 2 2B, BB, 4 Ks) has bounced back from a 1-for-10 start to his Irish career while sophomore 1B Matt Edwards owns a .403 batting avg. (29-for-72) and .764 slugging pct. (6 HR, 3B, 6 2B) during April, with 31 RBI in 21 April games played and more walks (9) than Ks (6) … sophomore SS Matt Macri headed into April with just a .253 batting average but he has hit nearly 100 points higher this month (.349, 22-for-63, 14 RBI, 17 R, .651 slugging, 2 HR, 3 3B, 7 2B, 11 BB, 15 Ks, 3 SB) … junior 2B Steve Sollmann’s steady season includes a .408 April batting avg. (29-for-71, 15 RBI, 24 R, 2 HR, 2 3B, 6 2B, 8 BB, 5 Ks, 9 SB) … on the pitching mound, freshman RHP Ryan Doherty (9 IP, UER, 3 H, BB, 15 Ks) has allowed no earned runs, just .111 opp. batting and owns a 15-to-1 K-to-walk ratio in five April relief outings … the bullpen leader, senior closer J.P. Gagne, has dominated in 11 April appearances with a 1.96 ERA, 1-1 record and six saves in 18.1 IP (12 H, 8 BB, 12 Ks, .179) … as a team, ND is 18-3 during the month with a .325 batting average (9.6 runs scored per 9 innings), a 2.95 staff ERA and a .978 team fielding pct. (just 17 errors, two of them by pitchers) … ND’s five players in the infield (including junior C Javi Sanchez) have combined for just nine Es all month: Sanchez (0), Sollmann (1; 81 chances), Edwards (2), Macri (4) and freshman 3B Greg Lopez (2).

See PDF for ND April stat sheets