March 2, 2006
TALENTED FIELD HEADED TO THE METRODOME – The Notre Dame baseball team (2-2) returns to the road for week-2, with a challenging three-game slate at the University of Minnesota’s annual Dairy Queen Classic (March 3-5, at the Metrodome) … the four participants – ND, Minnesota, Nebraska and Arizona – combined for a 167-93-1 record in 2005 … the Irish entered 2006 with the nation’s seventh-best winning pct. of the 2000s (now .727; 281-105-2) … ND opened 2-2 at USA Baseball Stadium in Millington, Tenn., topping Indiana State (3-0) before competing in the Service Academiess Classic (8-2 vs. Air Force, 6-7 vs. Memphis in 10 inn., 3-4 vs. Oklahoma) … the Irish led the final two games before being undone by unearned runs … the veteran Irish lineup returns 8-of-9 position starters, with six seniors in the regulat lineup … ND’s pitching staff is fronted by a seasoned three-man rotation that includes senior LHP Tom Thornton and a pair of junior RHPs (Jeff Manship and Jeff Samardzija) who are rated among the nation’s top 100 prospects) … those three pitchers and sophomore LHP Wade Korpi combined for a 1.17 ERA as the opening-eek starters … the Irish re looking to resume their 2005 late-season momentum that included an unprecedented fourth straight BIG EAST tournament title before advancing to the NCAA Regional final for the sixth straight season, en route to a 38-24-1 final record.
** Note – see PDF link for complete pre-tournament notes and check back throughout the weekend for additional notes, including player career stats in the respective series and updated bio. capsules **