Irish Head to NJ for Big East Matchup with Pirates

April 15, 2010

Notre Dame vs. Rutgers
April 16-18
Owen T. Carroll Stadium
South Orange, New Jersey

Complete Notes in PDF Format icon-acrosmall.gif

Game-1, Friday (6:00 p.m.)
RHP Brian Dupra (2-2, 5.56 ERA) vs. RHP Joe DiRocco (4-3, 4.40 ERA)

Game-2, Saturday (1:00 p.m.)
LHP Steve Sabatino (2-4, 6.57 ERA) vs. RHP Frank Morris (1-2, 1.71 ERA)

Game-3, Sunday (12:00 p.m.)
RHP Eric Maust (0-3, 6.82 ERA) vs. RHP Jon Prosinski (1-2, 3.68 ERA)

Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp); UND.com
Video: SHUPirates.com
Gametracker: UND.com

All-Time Series: Notre Dame owns a 26-12 series edge over Seton Hall and won eight straight from the Pirates (2000-03),but the Irish own just a 7-6 series edge since that win streak. Notre Dame took two of three from Seton Hall at Eck Stadium in 2007, but the Pirates returned the favor in Notre Dame last season. The Irish dropped two of three in their last trip to Seton Hall in 2006.

IN THE BATTERS BOX – Notre Dame will travel to Seton Hall for a three-game BIG EAST series this weekend at Owen T. Carroll Field. The Irish last visited the Pirates during the 2006 season. First pitch for Friday’s series opener at is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Saturday’s contest will get underway at 1:00 p.m., while Sunday’s series finale is slated to begin at 12:00 p.m. All three contests will be broadcast on WHME 103.1 FM and UND.com. Saturday and Sunday’s games will also be streamed live on SHUPirates.com.

SETON HALL INSIDER – The Pirates, led by sixth year head coach Rob Sheppard, enter the series with a 13-17 overall record and 3-6 mark in BIG EAST action, but took two of three from Cincinnati last weekend.

  • Seton Hall is averaging 4.8 runs per game and hitting .244 with a .337 on-base percentage. The Pirates have also totaled 30 stolen bases in 45 attempts.
  • Seton Hall has just one player that is hitting over .300. Michael Rogers leads the team, batting at a .308 clip with three doubles, three triples and 10 RBI. He has also swiped a team-best 10 bases. The Pirates have only hit five home runs this season. Sean Gusrang leads Seton Hall with two long balls. Gusang also leads the team with 17 RBI, but is only batting .214.
    A.J. Rusbarsky leads the team with 15 doubles and has also added one triple, one home run and 16 RBI.
  • The pitching staff has a 4.12 ERA and .253 opponents’ batting average along with 211 strikeouts and 111 walks in 266.1 innings. The weekend rotation for the Scarlet Knights will be made up of Joe DiRocco (4-3, eight starts), Frank Morris (1-2, three starts) and Jon Prosinski (1-2, seven starts). Benny Meija leads the team in ERA (among pitchers who have qualified with 1 IP/game), with a 3.50 mark to go along with 11 walks and 32 strikeouts in 36.0 innings. Prosinski is right behind Meija with a 3.68 ERA, 15 walks and 25 strikeouts in 36.2 innings. DiRocco comes in sporting a 4.40 ERA. In 43.0 innings, he has walked 21 and notched 35 strikeouts. Matt Singer is the Seton Hall closer. The stopper has made 18 appearances and recorded two saves, while recording a 3.70 ERA, striking out 20 and walking two in 24.1 innings.
  • Seton Hall has committed 30 errors in 30 games and is fielding .974.

SETON HALL-NOTRE DAME ALL-TIME SERIES – Notre Dame owns a 26-12 series edge over Seton Hall and won eight straight from the Pirates (2000-03),but the Irish own just a 7-6 series edge since that win streak. Notre Dame took two of three from Seton Hall at Eck Stadium in 2007, but the Pirates returned the favor in Notre Dame last season. The Irish dropped two of three in their last trip to Seton Hall in 2006. Notre Dame has won nine of the previous 13 season series against Seton Hall (plus one split of a two-game series).

  • The home teams have combined to go 24-12 in the series (Notre Dame 17-4, Seton Hall 7-8). The Pirates swept the 1997 series from Notre Dame (at home) and then took two-of-three from the visiting Irish in 2006 (7-6, 12-14, 2-1).


  • LOTS-O-LINEUPS: Notre Dame’s first 31 games have featured 29 different batting orders.
  • YOUR UP: 12 different Irish players have already started at least 10 games this season.
  • IT’S ALL ABOUT HITS: Notre Dame is 10-2 when it out-hits its opponent, but 2-15 when out-hit.
  • DeSICO LOVES SOUTHPAWS: Freshman second baseman Frank Desico continues to feast on left-handed pitching. The second baseman is now batting .517 (15-for-29) on the season against southpawks.
  • MILLS SACRIFICES FOR TEAM: Senior outfielder David Mills had two sacrifice flies in the victory over Oakland on April 6, which moved him into fifth place in Notre Dame history for total sacrifices in a career with 39 (28 sacrifice flies, 11 sacrifice bunts).
  • ND SACRIFICES: The Irish finished with four sac flies against Oakland and now have registered 21 this season, which leads the BIG EAST. Notre Dame’s school record is 41 set during the in 2002 campaign.
  • CONNOLLY REACHES FOR A MILESTONE: Senior outfielder Ryan Connolly extended his streak of reaching base to 43 consecutive games on Tuesday against Chicago State. Connolly has now driven in 37 runs during the streak to go along with 10 home runs, 14 doubles, and averages of .353 (batting average), .660 (slugging), and .479 (on-base).

Active NCAA Streaks for Reaching Base Safely (via base hit/walk/hit by pitch)
46 games Michael Choice (UT Arlington) Jr./CF (5/1/09-Present)
43 games Ryan Connolly (Notre Dame) Sr./OF (5/3/09-Present)

  • TWIN KILLINGS: Notre Dame registered four double plays in the victory over Chicago State on April 13. The four double plays were the most for the Irish since they turned four last season against Western Michigan; the feat is so rare, however, that it has now been accomplished by a Notre Dame team just four times in the last 12 seasons.

NEW JERSEY NATIVES – The 2010 Notre Dame baseball roster includes three players from New Jersey. Junior infielder Greg Sherry (Mendham/Delbarton H.S.), junior right-handed pitcher Evan Danieli (East Hanover/Seton Hall Prep) and sophomore southpaw Joe Spano (Verona/Seton Hall Prep) all hail from the Garden State.

  • The Irish baseball program’s list of all-time monogram winners has 48 New Jersey natives, fifth-most of any state.

ON DECK – After Notre Dame travels to Seton Hall this weekend for three games, the Irish face rival Michigan in a home-and-home series that opens at 6:35 p.m. in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, April 20. The Irish and Wolverines will return to South Bend and conclude the midweek series at 6:05 p.m. in Notre Dame on Wednesday, April 21.

RANKINGS – Notre Dame, as well as Seton Hall, are each unranked in all four polls.

RECAPPING THE RUTGERS SERIES ­ The Notre Dame baseball team went 1-2 against BIG EAST foe Rutgers. The Irish captured the opener of the Scarlet Knights series, 9-8. However, Notre Dame was defeated, 25-5, on Saturday afternoon and dropped a close contest, 8-6, in 11 innings.

  • After waiting through a lengthy delay for an illegal Rutgers substitution in the eighth inning, pinch-hitter David Casey delivered a two-out, game-tying single and freshman Adam Norton followed with an RBI triple over the head of a diving Jarred Jimenez in center field to give the Irish a 9-8, come-from-behind victory over Rutgers Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium.

Junior Brian Dupra made the start for Notre Dame but struggled, throwing 101 pitches in 4.0+ innings. He yielded six runs (five earned) on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts, failing to extend his streak of 6.0+-inning outings to six. Mills worked a career-high 4.0 innings for the victory (1-1) in relief of Dupra, giving up two runs on a Jaren Matthews bomb. Mills also drove in a pair of runs, giving him nine RBI in his last four games.

  • In the second contest, Pat Biserta and Michael Lang each collected two of Rutgers’ seven home runs as the Scarlet Knights took advantage of fierce winds blowing out to power past the Irish, 25-5, in baseball action from Frank Eck Stadium Saturday afternoon. Biserta upped his conference-leading home run total to 12 and drove in four, while Lang finished with seven RBI and Ryan Kapp added five RBI. The loss snapped Notre Dame’s 10-game home winning streak over Rutgers.
  • The finale saw Rutgers tally a pair of runs in the top of the 11th inning to grab an 8-6 come-from-behind victory over Notre Dame and secure a series victory at Frank Eck Stadium Sunday afternoon. Senior right-handed pitcher Eric Maust did not factor in the decision, but he put together his best outing of the season. Maust entered the contest on the heels of his two worst starting outings in an Irish uniform. He lasted just 1.2 and 1.1 innings (the shortest two starts of his career) in his last two outings against USF and Georgetown, respectively. Maust allowed five earned runs in 8.0 innings and scattered 12 hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. Senior outfielder Billy Boockford paced the Irish attack with three hits. Boockford, who was making his first start in the outfield in 2010 and first since April 22, 2009, went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. DeSico, senior first baseman Casey Martin, Ashdown and junior catcher Cameron McConnell all chipped in with two hits apiece. Connolly went 1-for-3 with two walks and a three-run home run. Ashdown and McConnell each also added solo home runs.
  • Notre Dame hit .311 as a team last week. Leading the way at the plate was DeSico, who hit .474 (9-for-19) with three runs scored, a double, home run and five RBI. DeSico also smacked his first career home run over the centerfield wall against Oakland en route to a career-best four hits. He registered three multi-hit games last week. The right-handed hitter registered an on-base percentage of .450 and slugging percentage of .684. DeSico also played errorless free baseball. He failed to commit an error in 18 fielding chances. DeSico registered 10 assists and eight putouts. He has not committed an error over his last 34 fielding chances. Norton hit .417 in four games with a double, triple, three RBI and two runs scored

RECAPPING THE GEORGETOWN SERIES ­ The Notre Dame baseball team finished last week with a 1-2 record after its BIG EAST weekend series at Georgetown. The Irish rallied from a five-run deficit in the top of the ninth inning to tie the score, 9-9, only to have the Hoyas answer with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to secure a 10-9 victory in the opener. Notre Dame responded with a 12-8 triumph on Friday to even the series. The Irish battled back from an early 7-0 deficit, drew within two runs, 9-7, and brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning, but four errors and three unearned runs proved to be too much to overcome as Georgetown held on for a 11-7 victory in the series finale.

  • Notre Dame hit .287 as a team over the weekend. Leading the way at the plate was junior shortstop Mick Doyle, who hit .400 (6-for-15) with four runs scored, two home runs and seven RBI. Doyle hit three-run bombs on consecutive games against the Hoyas. Senior outfielder Ryan Connolly went 5-for-13 on the week, hitting .385 with four RBI, two home runs, a double and six runs scored. Connolly registered his second leadoff home run of the season. Freshman third baseman Adam Norton hit .308 in three games with a home run, three doubles, four RBI and two runs scored.
  • The Notre Dame pitching staff posted an 8.17 earned run average over the weekend. Senior RHP Billy Boockford retired the only batter he faced over the weekend. Sophomore RHP Will Hudgins allowed an earned run on three hits in 2.1 innings of work. Sophomore LHP Ryan Richter yielded two earned runs on five hits in 4.2 innings of relief

RECAPPING THE SPRING BREAK TRIP ­ Notre Dame finished last week with a 2-4 record after dropping both games at Texas-Pan American before splitting its four games at the 2010 Irish Baseball Classic. The Irish lost 9-7 and 10-4 to the Broncos. In San Antonio, Notre Dame opened the tournament with a 10-6 victory over Bradley, then lost to Pacific, 8-4, but rebounded with a 6-3 triumph over Gonzaga. The Irish closed the weekend with a 3-2 defeat in the title game against Pacific.

  • As a team, Notre Dame hit .299 over the spring trip. Senior David Mills hit .471 (8-for-17) in five starts over the trip. He added three runs scored, a double, four RBI and two stolen bases. Senior Ryan Connolly posted a .421 (8-for-19) batting average with a home run, five RBI, four runs scored, four walks and a stolen base. He extended his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games. Freshman Adam Norton hit .391 (9-for-23) on the week with three runs scored, two doubles and two RBI. Senior Casey Martin hit .368 (7-for-19) with five runs scored, two doubles, a home run and eight RBI.
  • For the season, Martin leads the team with a .434 batting average, three home runs and 16 RBI. He is also tied for the team-lead in runs scored and doubles. Mills is hitting .370 on the season with four doubles and nine RBIs. He also has registered a team-leading eight stolen bases.
  • The Notre Dame pitching staff compiled a 5.11 earned run average on the week. Notre Dame’s junior Brian Dupra and senior Eric Maust each turned in solid outings. Dupra, who improved to 2-1, tossed 7.0+ innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits. He struck out a career-high eight and did not issue a walk. In fact, Dupra went to a three-ball count on just three occasions. He did not allow a Gonzaga batter to advance into scoring position until the sixth inning.
  • Maust scattered nine hits and yielded two earned runs in 6.1 innings of work, but did not factor in the decision against Pacific. He struck out three and walked a pair u Notre Dame placed four players on the 2010 Irish Baseball Classic All-Tournament team. Dupra, Martin, Connolly and Mills earned the honor

RECAPPING THE BIG TEN/BIG EAST CHALLENGE ­ Notre Dame struggled mightily in all three major facets of the game during its weekend trip to Clearwater, Fla. The Irish dropped its first two games of the 2010 Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge to Illinois and #13 Ohio State. The Irish did rebound with a 10-inning, 9-8 victory over Penn State.

  • In the victory over the Nittany Lions, Notre Dame not only overcame a pair of three-run deficits (3-0 and 4-1) in the game, but also six errors and 14 runners left on base. The six errors were the most by an Irish squad since April 28, 2004 when they had six in a 12-5 loss to Cleveland State. They had six errors in a game earlier that season on March 7 against Texas-San Antonio (losing 17-9). In fact, no Notre Dame club has committed more errors since May 5, 2002 when the Irish had seven in an 11-0 loss at Rutgers.
  • Notre Dame had not won a game with six or more errors since April 27, 1997. The Irish had six errors in the first game of a doubleheader at Pittsburgh. Notre Dame eventually won, 11-8, in eight innings (game was scheduled for seven).
  • The Irish finished the weekend with 13 errors and 36 runners left on base – at least 10 in all three contests. The 13 errors were the most by Notre Dame in any three-game span since April 4-6 (the Irish had 13 in games against Rutgers, Toledo and Ball State).
  • Notre Dame averaged just over 3.8 walks per nine innings in 2009, the highest by an Irish staff since 1999, but Irish pitchers walked just seven batters in 27.0 innings of work in the three-game series against Mississippi Valley State ­ good for just 2.3 walks per nine innings. The Irish slipped back into 2009 form last weekend. Notre Dame issued 20 free passes in its games against Illinois, Ohio State and Penn State ­ good for an average of 6.7 per contest.

RECAPPING THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE SERIES ­ The Notre Dame baseball team opened its season with a three-game series sweep of Mississippi Valley State this past weekend. The Irish outscored the Delta Devils, 39-10, along the way and secured their first 3-0 start to a season since 2004. In fact, it is the first ever three-game series sweep away from home to open a season in the 118-year history of Irish baseball.

Notre Dame came into the season with the mantra, “898 committed to win S one team rock solid.” The coaching staff generated the number 898 by adding up every player’s jersey number on the roster. The message being pushed by the coaches and players since the opening of practice has been it will take contributions from every player to have a winning season. Well, the Irish mantra was in full effect this weekend.

Notre Dame used 32 players this weekend in the series sweep, including 12 pitchers. The Irish had seven different players with at least one hit in each of the first two victories and then topped that total in the series finale when 11 different players had base hits in the 19-3 rout of Mississippi Valley State. In fact, Notre Dame also had 15 separate players account for its 19 runs scored. The team effort was also evident with the Irish pitching staff. Those 12 pitchers combined to make 14 appearances and nine of which were scoreless outings.

The Irish pitching staff also displayed significant improvement in control. Notre Dame averaged just over 3.8 walks per nine innings in 2009, the highest by an Irish staff since 1999. Notre Dame¹s pitchers walked just seven batters in 27.0 innings of work over the weekend ­ good for just 2.3 walks per nine innings.

JOHNSON NAMED PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM – Notre Dame placed junior RHP Cole Johnson on the preseason All-BIG EAST squad. Johnson, who earned second-team all-BIG EAST in 2009, went 7-3 with a 4.56 ERA last season. He struck out 64 in 94.2 innings of work and opponents batted just .252 against him.

PLENTY OF WAYS TO FOLLOW THE IRISH – Notre Dame baseball fans will have several options for tracking the 2010 season on a game-by-game basis, through live streaming video (Notre Dame home games only), live-audio broadcasts, GameTracker live stats, free Irish Alert text messages and the Notre Dame Twitter page.

  • Live radio broadcasts are available in the South Bend area on WHME 103.1 FM (Notre Dame baseball is part of a small percentage of programs in the nation with its entire season airing live on a commercial station). All games are streamed live on und.com, with the links posted on the lower left corner of the und.com main page. The online broadcasts are free of charge, as part of a quick signup with Fighting Irish All-Access (which includes archives or all audio and video content). See All-Access signup link via the multimedia gold button at the top of each und.com page u Irish ALERT free text-message updates (three per game) are available to your cell phone or other mobile devices. See link on the right side blue sidebar on the baseball page at und.com.
  • GameTracker live stats are provided for all home games and most road games (based on phone-line availability). When Notre Dame is on the road, the home team typically provides the live stats ­ with bonus GameTracker stats also provided by the Notre Dame SID office for select road games.
  • Complete coverage of each and every Irish home game through live streaming video.