Tom Thornton is set to open the spring break trip as the starter vs. Texas A&M (photo by Pete LaFleur).

Irish Make Familiar Spring Break Trip To Texas For Seven-Game Stretch (updated data and photos)

Updated March 4, 2005

Complete Release in PDF Format
spacer.gifDownload Free Acrobat Reader

2005 NOTRE DAME BASEBALL (**updated info., night of March 4**)
Week 3 – Round Rock College Classic (March 5-7; Dell Diamond; Round Rock, Texas)

BACK TO THE LONE STAR STATE – The Notre Dame baseball team (4-3) again will be spending Spring Break in the state of Texas next week, competing at Dell Diamond in the Round Rock Classic (schedule below) before serving as the host team for the Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio (at double-A Wolff Stadium) … the Nolan Ryan-owned Round Rock Express have moved to triple-A this season (former ND standout and current Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge remains one of the most popular players ever to play for the Express) … this marks the 9th time in the 11-year Paul Mainieri era that Notre Dame has played in Texas … ND will be facing #15 Texas A&M (10-4, after Friday’s 3-1 win over #18 USC) and #7 Rice (11-3, after losing Friday to Nebraska, 4-3) before closing the Round Rock tournament vs. Texas State (ND does not face USC or Nebraska in the elite six-team field) … Friday’s ND starter Tom Thornton is a former teammate of several top A&M players (see Friend or Foe note later in release) … the Irish 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 last week 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).


Game 1 (Sat., March 5, 7:00 CST)
ND – Tom Thornton, LHP, Jr. (’05: 2.45, 1-0, 11 IP, 11 H, 6 BB, 4 Ks … ’04: 3.88, 9-2, 99.2 IP, 95 H/.251, 24 BB, 77 Ks)
Texas A&M – Robert Ray, RHP, Jr. (’05: 4.70, 1-2, 3 GS, 15.1 IP, 14 H/.241, 17 Ks, 2 BB; ’04 summer teammate of Thornton)

Game 2 (Sun., March 6, 6:00 CST)
ND – Jeff Samardzija, RHP, So. (’05: 6.00, 1-0, 9 IP, 12 H, 4 BB, 4 Ks; ’05: 2.95, 5-3, 64 IP, 50 H/.209, 17 BB, 42 Ks)
Rice – TBA (possibilities include junior RHPs Ryne Tacker and Eddie Degerman)

Game 3 (Mon., March 7, 3:30 CST)
ND – Jeff Manship, RHP, So. (’04 Tommy John surgery) or Wade Korpi, LHP, Fr. (2.89, 7.1 IP, 3 GP/1 GS, 10 H/.323, 8 BB, 5 Ks, HB)
Texas State – TBA (possibilities include junior RHP Ryan Bennett)

Notes: Friday’s games included Nebraska beating Rice (4-3) and A&M beating USC (3-1); Saturday’s other games are Nebraska vs. Texas State (11:00) and Rice vs. USC (3:00); Sunday’s non-ND games include USC vs. Nebraska (10:00) and Texas A&M vs. Texas State (2:00) … A&M’s other probable starters (for non-ND games) are Jason Meyer and Chance Corgan, Rice’s are Joe Savery and Josh Geer and Texas State’s are Chris Jean and Bobby Sawicki.

NOTRE DAME PROBABLE LINEUP (vs. RHP) * indicates lefthander hitter, ** indicates switch hitter

Pos. – Player … Yr./Ht./Wt. … Hometown … 2005 Statistics and Notes
2B – #2 Brett Lilley* … Fr./5-7/165 … North Canton, OH … .348, 4 RBI, 6 R, 2B, 4 BB, 6 HBP, 1-4 SB, SF, E … ’04 Hoover HS (SS): .375, 5 RBI, 16 ABs (hand injury) … ’03 Canton Central Catholic HS: .469, 45 R, 15 2B


Danny Dressman has laid down four sacrifice bunts this season while batting mostly in the 2-hole (all photos by Pete LaFleur).



LF – #6 Danny Dressman* … So./5-9/180 … San Jose, CA … .222, 5 RBI, 5 R, 2B, 3 BB, 4 SAC … ’04: .264, 18 RBI, 25 R, 7 2B, 18 BB, 2-4 SB, 5 SAC

1B – #14 Matt Edwards … Sr./6-2/195 … Mechanicsville, VA … .355, 6 RBI, 2 HR, 9 R, 3 2B, 2 BB, 2 HBP … ’04: .310, 10 HR, 54 RBI, 13 2B, 32 BB, 3B, 48 R … career: .337, 22 HR, 133 RBI, 33 2B, 62 BB … ’03: 1st team all-BIG EAST, 2nd team all-region

CF – #9 Craig Cooper … Jr./6-2/220 … Plainview, NY … .222, 4 RBI, 2 2B, 2-4 SB, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 HBP … ’04: .360, 10 HR, 48 RBI, 12-17 SB,42 R,13 2B, 25 BB … career: .337, 10 HR, 67 RBI, 24-34 SB, 21 2B, 68 R … 1st player ever to lead BE in avg. (.470), OB, slug. (’04)

C – #11 Sean Gaston* … So./6-0/185 … Brownsburg, IN … .318, 5 RBI, 7 R, 2 BB, HBP, SF, SAC, E … ’04: .316, 11 RBI … 11 R, 3 2B, 5 BB, 23 GP/12 GS … Missed 17 games in ’04 due to mononucleosis … National player of the year in ’04 (started 10-for-12)

RF – #17 Cody Rizzo … Jr./6-1/200 … Temecula, CA … .348, 7 RBI, HR, 2 2B, 6 R, 6 BB, HBP, SB, SAC, E … ’04: .263, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 5 2B, 39 R, 21 HBP, 5-6 SB … career: .289, 9 HR, 74 RBI, 18 2B, 98 R, 17 BB, 7-9 SB … owns top HBP seasons in ND history (28 in ’03)


Cody Rizzo homered in the Dayton series.



DH – #36 Steve Andres* … Jr./5-10/200 … Napa, CA … .067, 2 RBI, HR, 6 R, 2 BB, 3 HBP … ’04: .320, 8 HR, 39 RBI, 44 BB, 13 2B, 4 3B … career: .293, 13 HR, 63 RBI, 68 R, 15 2B, 64 BB

SS – #4 Greg Lopez … Jr./6-0/185 … Upper Arlington, OH … .421, 7 RBI, 3 R, HBP, 2 SAC, 2 SF, 0-1 SB … ’04: .332, 2 HR, 34 RBI, 39 R, 14 2B, 10 SAC, 4-5 SB … career: .300, 2 HR, 61 RBI, 58 R, 15 2B, 20 SAC … 3rd team all-BIG EAST (’04)

3B – #7 Ross Brezovsky* … Fr./5-10/170 … Naples, FL … .414, 6 RBI, 5 R, 3B, 3 2B, BB, 3 HBP, SF, SB, 5 E … ’04 Collier HS: .390, 21 RBI, 10 SB (2nd team all-state)

OFF THE BENCH, 2005 Statistics and Notes
OF – #16 Alex Nettey … Jr./6-1/200 … Dolton, IL … .357, 2 RBI, 3 R, 3B, 2 2B, 2 HBP, 3 SAC,1-2 SB,2 K … career: .242, 9 RBI, 22 R, 6 2B, 7 BB, 4 SB

IF – #5 Eddie Smith* … Jr./5-11/165 … Olympia, WA … .286 (2-for-7), RBI, R, HBP, E, 3 GP/1 GS … ’04 Centralia CC: .307, 38 R, 8 2B, 11 SB, 18 HBP


Alex Nettey collected the first triple of his Notre Dame career in the Dayton series.



1B – #44 Mike Dury** … So./6-5/230 … Indianapolis, IN … 0-for-1, K … ’04: .250, HR, 2 RBI, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 HBP

IF – #3 Tony Langford … Fr./5-11/175 … Fort Worth, TX … 1-for-2 … ’04 FWCDHS: .413, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 8 2B

C – #25 Nick Mainieri … Jr./5-11/180 … South Bend, IN … 1 GP (0-for-1, RBI, 2 BB) … ’04: 4 GP, 3 R, 2 BB

ROUND ROCK BULLPEN, 2005 Statistics and Notes
RHP – #37 Dan Kapala … So./6-5/225 … Royal Oak, MI … 6.00, 3.0 IP, 3 GP, 6 H, BB, HB … ’04: 2.70, 2-1, SV, 28 GP, 40 IP, 37 H/.248, 16 BB,40 K

RH – #47 Ryan Doherty … Jr./7-1/255 … Toms River, NJ … 4.50, 1-0, SV, 4.0 IP, 4 GP, 4 H (.250), 4 Ks, 4 HB … ’04: 2.38, 5-1, 34 IP, 46 K, 11 BB, 19 H, .160 opp. avg., converted 12-of-13 saves (’04), 1-of-17 IBR scored … car.: 2.44, 8-1, 14 SV, 66.2 IP, 94 K, 22 BB, 44 H

RHP – #51 Joey Williamson … Fr./6-1/190 … Lantana, FL … 1.69, 0-1, 5.1 IP, 2 GP, 7 H (.304), 5 BB, 6 Ks, WP … ’04 Santaluces HS: 0.57, 9-1, 68 IP, 90 Ks, 22 BB, 43 H

LHP – #44 Mike Dury … So./6-5/230 … Indianapolis, IN … 0.1 IP, H … ’04: 1.88, 2-0, 14.1 IP, 11 GP, 13 H/.255, 4 BB, 10 K

RHP – #20 Derik Olvey … So./6-2/205 … Pelham, AL … 5.40, 0-1, 6.2 IP, 2 GP, 4 H (.393), 4 BB, 5 Ks … ’04: 3.52, 1-0, 4 GP/2 GS, 15.1 IP, 14 H/.241, 3 BB, 7 K


David Gruener is one of three freshmen who have logged key innings this season.



LHP – #24 David Gruener … Fr./6-2/210 … Gig Harbor, WA … 4.70, 0-1, 11.2 IP, 3 GP, 9 H (.290), 2 BB, 5 Ks, BK … ’04 Life Christian Acad.: 1.90, 4-1, 30 IP, 65 Ks, 5 BB

RHP – #3 Tony Langford … Fr./5-11/175 … Fort Worth, TX … ’04 FW Country Day: 1.11, 5-3, 50 IP, 81 Ks, 18 BB

RHP – #38 Tyler Jones … 6-4/210 … Arlington, TX … ’04: 9 GP, 14 R/13 ER, 3 K/4 BB, 17 H … car.: 3-1, SV, 29 ER, 25 GP/2 GS, 32 IP, 24 Ks/15 BB

LHP – #33 Scott Bickford … Sr./6-5/170 … Owings, MD … ’04: 0.00, 2 GP, 2 IP, 3 BB, K, H … career: 5.65, 1-0, SV, 14.1 IP, 15 K/7 BB, 15 H

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 are returning from reconstructive elbow surgery – senior John Axford and sophomore Jeff Manship – continue to be eased back slowly, with Manship a potential starter for the March 7 game vs. Texas State.

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 (including all three of the Spring Break games in Texas) … 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).


Matt Edwards – MVP at the 2004 Alamo City and FAU Classics – has played a lead role in Notre Dame’s recent 18-2 run in regular-season tournaments.



TOURNEY TERRORS – Since opening 0-2 at the 2003 Minnesota DQ Classic (ND’s only 0-2 start in the past 25 regular-season-tournaments), the Irish have gone 18-2 in their past 20 games at regular-season tournaments … that run includes a win over Wake Forest to close the ’02 DQ Classic, a 6-1 showing at the ’03 Kennel Clubs Classic (in Jacksonville, Fla.), unbeaten ’04 efforts at the USC (2-0) and FAU (3-0) Classics, and a 6-1 swing through Texas during 2004 Spring Break (3-1 at Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic, 3-0 at Round Rock Classic) … the only losses in that stretch came in 2003 vs. homestanding Jacksonville (extra innings) and vs. the local team Texas San-Antonio at the ’04 ACIBC.

ND IN TEXAS – Notre Dame has made 18 trips to Texas in the previous 27 seasons (see pp. 93-94 of media guide for full list), with a 71-47 all-time record in Texas during those games (.602) … the Irish posted a 36-16 combined record (.692) in eight previous Texas swings during the Mainieri era, with all of those games in San Antonio except for the 2002 and ’04 Round Rock Classics (4-3 combined record).

SERIES NOTES – Notre Dame has played its three Round Rock opponents a combined seven times previously … ND lost a 7-4 game at Texas A&M way back in 1929 and then won in College Station in 1969 (5-2) … the only ND-Rice meeting was the 2002 College World Series game, when Steve Stanley’s triple, Steve Sollmann’s single up the middle and Brian Stavisky’s game-ending home run completed a stirring 1-out rally for the 5-3 Irish comeback … none of the ND and Rice players who played in that game remain on either team’s roster … ND’s four previous games vs. Texas State (then known as Southwest Texas) all were played in San Antonio, including a 10-5 win in 1987 (at St. Mary’s) and three games at Wolff Stadium (9-5 win in ’97 and a 4-9, 8-0 split in ’98).

vs. THE BIG-12 – Notre Dame owns a 19-14-1 all-time record (.574) vs. the current Big-12 Conference teams, including 3-5 during the Mainieri era … this marks the 4th straight season that ND has faced a Big-12 team, beating Missouri in the ’02 opener (7-6 in 10 innings, at UNO), losing to Nebraska in ’03 (1-7, at Metrodome Classic) and beating Texas Tech at the ’04 Round Rock Classic (6-1; led by Tom Thornton’s 8 shutout innings of 1-hit ball) … ND has split its past four games vs. Big-12 teams, also losing to Missouri at the ’99 UNO Classic … other Mainieri-era games vs. Big-12 teams include four in his first season with the Irish (’95), losing to Texas in the ’95 opener (6-10, at Fullerton) before a 5-3 win over Nebraska and a pair of losses to Baylor at the Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio (1-2, 4-10) … ND’s series records vs. Big-12 teams are as follows: 10-2 vs. Nebraska, 3-3 vs. Texas, 2-3 vs. Baylor, 1-1-1 vs. Iowa State, 1-1 vs. Texas A&M and Missouri, 0-2 vs. Kansas State, 1-0 vs. Texas Tech and 0-1 vs. Oklahoma … Oklahoma State is the most noteworthy team ND never has faced in its 113-year history (284 all-time opponents).


Tony Langford picked up his first career hit with the Irish in the Dayton series.



TEXAS NATIVES – The 2004 Notre Dame baseball roster includes players from 16 states/provinces, with three from Texas: senior RHP Tyler Jones (Arlington/Martin HS), sophomore RHP Jeff Manship (San Antonio/Reagan HS) and freshman RBP/IF Tony Langford (Fort Worth Country Day HS) … 13 other former players join Jones among the program’s 826 all-time monogram winners (from 44 different states) … two of the program’s first all-time monogram winners were Texas natives: LF Joseph Combe (Brownsville; 1892) and 1B Angus McDonald (Houston; 1897-1900) …. brothers Samuel (SS; ’13) and Harry (3B; ’13-’14) Newning then made the journey to ND from their native Houston … other early ND baseball players who hailed from Texas include C/OF William Allison (Georgetown, ’17) and pitcher George Murphy (Oaklawn; ’16-’17), who tossed a no-hitter vs. St. Viator in 1917 … just two Texans lettered with ND baseball in the 72-year stretch from 1918-1989: RHP Leo Linbeck (Houston/St. Thomas HS; ’54) and LH and P John Ebert (Dallas/Marion OH Catholic HS; ’82) … three early-90s players were Texas natives: C Matt Krall (Bedford/Trinity HS; ’90-’91), OF Dan Bautch (Houston/Stanford HS; ’90-’92; 68 career SB) and OF Edwin Hartwell (Forth Worth/Country Day HS; ’90-’93; .354 career hitter, 18 HR, 100 RBI) … recent players from Texas include LHP Pat Davis (San Antonio/Texas Military Inst.; ’96, ’98) and RHP Matt Laird (Bellaire HS; ’00-’03) … Davis – whose father Ben serves as tournament coordinator for the Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic – now serves as the baseball coach and athletic director at TMI.


Sean Gaston’s .538 batting led the Irish during the Dayton series.



SIX-PACK – The strong showing by the ND offense vs. Dayton included six batters who hit .400 or higher, led by sophomore C Sean Gaston’s .538 (7-for-13, 3 RBI, 4 R, BB) and junior SS Greg Lopez’s .500 (5-for-10, 6 RBI, R, 2 SF, SAC) … others included senior 1B Matt Edwards (.471, 8-for-17, 5 RBI, 4 R, HR, 2B), freshman 3B Ross Brezovsky (.462, 6-for-13, RBI, 3 R, 3B, HBP, SF, SB), junior RF Cody Rizzo (.417, 5-for-12, 4 RBI, 5 R, HR, 2 2B, 2 BB, HBP, SB) and freshman 2B Brett Lilley (.400, 4-for-10, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2B, 3 BB, 2 HBP, SF, SB) … Lopez led the team with 6 RBI in the series, followed by Edwards (5) and Rizzo (4), who scored a team-best 5 runs (Gaston and Edwards had 4 R each) … Gaston paced the team with a .571 on-base pct., followed by Lilley (.563) and Rizzo (.533), while Rizzo turned in a team-best .833 slugging pct. (Edwards had .706 slugging, Brezovsky .615) … Rizzo was the leader with a 1.366 OPS (combined on-base and slugging), followed by Edwards (1.177) and Gaston (1.109) … ND hit .356 as a team in the series, with .955 fielding (6 errors), a 6.21 ERA and .333 opp. bating avg. … other batting from ND regulars in the series: Danny Dressman (.167, 2-for-12), Alex Nettey (.143, 1-for-7), Craig Cooper (.133, 2-for-12) and Steve Andres (0-for-5).


Brett Lilley has produced some impressive results as the Irish leadoff hitter.



LILLEY LEADS FROM LEADOFF – Freshman 2B Brett Lilley and his classmate Ross Brezovsky (3B) made a big impact in the first two weeks of the season … Lilley leads the team with a .529 on-base pct. (team-high 6 hit-by-pitch) and the recent leadoff batter owns a team-best .818 on-base pct. (9-for-11) when leading off an inning … he ranks 2nd on the team in walks (4), 2-out batting avg. (.625) and 2-out RBI (3), plus 3rd in runs (6) and hits (8), 4th in total bases (9) and batting with runners in scoring position (.444) and 5th in overall batting (.348) … Lilley has made just one error and owns a team-best +9 ratio in walks plus HBPs minus Ks (1), with the rest of the team at just +2 (no other player better than +3).

1st – .314 batting avg., 419 on-base pct., 56 runs (8.0/gm)
2nd – 3.80 ERA
3rd – 4 home runs, 35 Ks thrown
4th – .434 slugging pct., 6 stolen bases
5th – 4.78 walks allowed per 9 IP
9th – .310 opp. batting avg.
10th – 4.92 Ks thrown per 9 IP

Greg Lopez – 5th in batting avg. (.421), 4th in RBI (7)
Ross Brezovsky – 7th in batting (.414), 1st in hits (12), 3rd in doubles (3), 2nd in total bases (17), 10th in on-base (.471)
Matt Edwards – 2nd in hits (11), 1st in home runs (2), 1st in runs (9), 1st in total bases (20), 7th in slugging (.645)
Sean Gaston – 3rd in runs (7)
Cody Rizzo – 4th in RBI (7), 1st in walks (6), 7th in on-base pct. (.484)
Brett Lilley – 3rd in walks (4), 5th in on-base pct. (.529)
Jess Stewart – 13th in ERA (2.34)
Tom Thornton – 14th in ERA (2.45), 4th in innings (11.0)
Wade Korpi – 10th in innings (9.1)
Ryan Doherty – 1st in games pitched (4)


Shortstop Greg Lopez has yet to make an error this season and ranks 5th among BIG EAST hitters with a .421 batting average.



• TEXAS A&M (also see – Texas A&M is ranked as high as 15th in the national polls (per Baseball America) and carries a 10-4 record after the 3-1 win over USC, with other wins over Tennessee (10-1), Sam Houston State (2-1), Jacksonville (10-2), South Alabama (4-3), Wake Forest (12-2), Texas-San Antonio (4-1), Washington (10-4) and Evansville (3-0) and losses vs. Rice (1-3, in 12), Houston (1-6), San Diego (0-3) and Washington (0-1) … the Aggies returned 19 of 28 letterwinners from the 2004 team that went 42-22, finished 5th in the Big 12 Conference (14-12) and upset Rice in the NCAA Regionals before losing at LSU in the Super Regional.

• RICE ( – The Owls are ranked as high as 7th in the nation (per Collegiate Baseball magazine and the USA Today coaches poll) thanks to an 11-3 record (after the 4-3 loss to Nebraska) that includes wins over Central Missouri (5-2), Oklahoma State (8-4), Texas A&M (3-1), Houston (7-6, in 10; 4-3, in 10), Southwest Missouri (8-2), Mississippi (5-4), Lamar (8-2, 10-0) and Western Carolina (9-1, 8-4) and losses to Baylor (1-6) and Nebraska (3-6, in 8) … the 2003 NCAA champs were upset by Texas Southern and Texas A&M in the ’04 Regionals, ending their season 46-14 after winning the Western Athletic Conference title (24-6) … Rice returned 16 of 24 letterwinners from the ’04 squad.

• TEXAS STATE ( – The Bobcats are off to a 10-4 start, posting wins over Texas-Pan American (9-0, 5-0, 6-1), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (13-5), Angelo State (9-5, 11-5), New Mexico (10-6, 9-2), Miami, Ohio (7-5), Marist (6-1, in 11) while losing to Texas Arlington (0-3), New Mexico (5-19), Louisiana-Lafayette (1-10), Dallas Baptist (2-5, in 8) … Texas State returned just 14 of 30 letterwinners from its 2004 team that went 32-26 and finished 3rd in the Southland Conference (16-10).


Craig Cooper (pictured) and Tom Thornton played alongside and against several players from Texas A&M and Rice in the 2004 Cape Cod League.



FRIEND OR FOE? – Friday’s starters Tom Thornton (ND) and Robert Ray were among the top pitchers for the Wareham Gatemen in the 2004 Cape Cod League (A&M closer Kevin Whelan, Rice LHP Josh Forester and 1B Adam Rodgers also played for the Gatemen) … Thornton and A&M junior catcher Craig Stinson were AAU battery mates with the New England Mariners (’97) and South Shore Seadogs (’00) teams … ND junior OF Craig Cooper and Rice RHP Colin Matheny were teammates during the summer of ’04 with the Cape Cod League’s Brewster Whitecaps … ND sophomore RHP Jeff Manship is a former teammate of two Rice players: OF Adam Hale (All-America game, state all-stars) and C/IF Travis Reagan (Team Texas) … Manship also played with Texas A&M SS Cliff Pennington (Ohio Thunder), IF Ryan Hill (Reagan HS), 3B Austin Boggs and RHP/IF Kyle Nicholason (both with Team Texas and Jr. Sunbelt Classic) … ND senior RHP Tyler Jones played alongside Rice C Lyndon Deplessis and 3B Clay Reichenbach with the Highland Park Blue Sox in the Texas Collegiate League during the summer of ’04.

SPRING-BREAK PARTIES– Notre Dame has won 74% of its Spring Break games in the Paul Mainieri era (55-19-1, since 1995), including 16-2 in the past 18 Spring Break games and 10-1 in the past 11 games played in Texas during that span … here’s a look at the previous 10 Spring Break records:

1995 (4-4) – San Antonio
1996 (6-1) – Seattle and San Antonio
1997 (5-5) – San Antonio
1998 (3-1) – San Antonio
1999 (6-2) – San Antonio
2000 (7-1) – Jacksonville, Fla.
2001 (7-0-1) – Stockton and Fresno, Calif.
2002 (5-3) – Round Rock and San Antonio (4-0)
2003 (6-1) – Jacksonville, Fla.
2004 (6-1) – San Antonio and Round Rock

WEEK-TO-WEEK – The ND offense hit just .274 during the four opening-week games in Orlando before batting 82 points higher in the Dayton series (.356) and scoring 9-10 runs in all three games (ND scored more than four runs in just one of the first four games) … unearned runs (5 in 13-9 loss; 1 in 11-10 loss) played key roles in the pair of losses to the Flyers.


Jess Stewart beat UCF for the second straight season during the 2005 opening weekend.



YOUR TURN – Seven different Irish pitchers have accounted for the seven different decisions this season, with sophomore RHP Jeff Samardzija, junior RHP Ryan Doherty, sophomore RHP Jess Stewart and junior LHP Tom Thornton picking up victories while sophomore RHP Derik Olvey, freshman RHP Joey Williamson and freshman LHP David Gruener have suffered losses.

LOSING STREAKS A RARITY – Notre Dame heads to Texas looking to avoid a rare 3-game losing streak … the first 10 seasons of the Paul Mainieri (’95-’04) included five 3-game losing streaks and four 4-game losing streaks (no team in the Mainieri era has lost five straight) … since losing four straight early in the 2003 season (Feb. 22-March 1), the Irish have not lost three straight in the past 127 games and have dropped back-to-back games just four times during that ’03-’05 span (twice in ’03, once in ’04, once in ’05) … most of the 3- and 4-game losing streaks came in the first five seasons of the Mainieri era … in fact, since early in the 1999 season (Feb. 22-March 1), ND has lost 3-plus games in a row just twice during the past 385 games: at UConn (3) and West Virginia in the 2002 College World Series season (March 23-28) and the aforementioned 4-game stretch early in ’03 (2 at ASU, plus games vs. Nebraska and Minnesota at the Metrodome).

Tom Thornton NOTES (LHP, Jr., 6-6/220; Middleboro, MA … 2005 Preseason All-BIG EAST)

Tom Thornton carries a 3.10 career ERA, 15-3 record and 2.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio (110/44) in 33 career appearances with the Irish … he has limited opponents to a .257 batting avg. in 165.1 career innings while allowing 8.7 hits per 9 IP.

Thornton’s Career Stats (see PDF)

THORNTON’S 2005 GAME-BY-GAME(see PDF) Date Opponent (Score) IP H R ER BB SO 2B 3B

2005 SITUATIONAL PITCHING – Has allowed 5-of-11 leadoff batters to reach (46%; avg. of 4.1 per 9 IP) but then has limited opponents to .222 batting with runner on (6-of-27) and just .091 with 2 outs (1-for-11) … has totaled the same number of groundouts and flyouts (14) … averaging 5.2 IP per start … his 9-inning averages include 3.3 Ks, 4.9 walks, 9.0 hits allowed and 11.5 groundouts.

TAKE TWO – Tom Thornton is the only pitcher in the Paul Mainieri era (’95-’05) to post an opening-week ERA of 1.80 or better in multiple seasons, with a minimum of 5.0 innings pitched per opening week (he won at USC in 2004, allowing a single run in 4 hits and 2 walks in 6 IP, with 4 Ks) … his career opening-week stats now include a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 IP (1-0, 3 GP/2 GS, 4 R/3 ER, 9 H, .231 opp. avg., 6 BB, 7 Ks, HB).

TALL TOM NOT THE TALLEST – The 6-foot-6 Thornton always had been the tallest player on his baseball teams until he joined an ND program where he is a full seven inches shorter than his classmate, 7-foot-1 closer Ryan Doherty.


Tom Thornton will be gunning for another primetime outing in the Round Rock matchup vs. Texas A&M.



LEADER OF THE STAFF – Top returning starter from 2004 staff that finished 9th in the nation with a 3.36 team ERA

PRESEASON HONORS – Received 2005 preseason all-BIG EAST honors from both the league coaches and Baseball America … was overlooked for 2004 BIG EAST honors, despite stellar sophomore season that saw him finish atop the BIG EAST charts for wins (9-2), also ranking 2nd among BIG EAST pitchers in starts (15) and innings (99.2), 5th in strikeouts (77), 6th in low opponent batting avg. (.251) and 11th in ERA (3.88).

PRIMETIME PERFORMER – Filled primarily midweek starter role as freshman before stepping up to big-game challenge in ’04, after injuries sidelined several fellow starters … his primetime ’04 efforts included rare 9-inning shutout (5-3 at West Virginia; 6 H, 2 BB) plus win at #20 USC (6 IP, UER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 Ks/3 looking; 3-1) and 8.0 innings of 1-hit shutout ball vs. hot-hitting Texas Tech, in Round Rock (3 BB, HB, 7 Ks; 801) … also battled Florida Atlantic All-America LHP Randy Beam to 2-2 standoff (7 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 2 HB, 7 Ks) in game won by the Irish, 3-2 … capped ’04 season with impressive 7-1 win over Kent State in NCAA elimination game (29 BF in 8.1 IP, career-best 12 Ks, 3 H, 2 BB, took no-hitter into 5th).

MORE THAN JUST A STUDENT OF THE GAME – Strong candidate for Academic All-America honors, taking 3.46 cumulative GPA into ’05 spring semester as double major in anthropology and film, television and theater (he earned Academic All-District honors in 2004 and advanced to the Academic All-America ballot).

BY THE NUMBERS – Led regulars on ’04 staff in wins (9-2) and starts (15), 2nd in Ks (77) and innings (99.2) … averaged team-best 6.1 IP per outing in ’04, also leading staff with 119 groundouts and 2 pickoffs …was 2nd on ’04 staff with 27 strikeouts “looking” plus 3rd in K-to-walk ratio (3.2), low walk avg. (2.17 BB/9 IP), groundout-to-flyout ratio (1.37) and groundout avg. (10.75 GO/9 IP) … 5th on staff in strikeout avg. (6.95 Ks/9 IP), opp. batting by righthanded hitters (.243) and opp. leadoff on-base pct. (.308) … averaged 17.7 outs via Ks or GOs … his other situational stats in ’04: .280 batting by LH hitters, .282 batting with runners on, .238 opp. batting with 2 outs, 8.58 hits allowed per 9 IP.

TWO-TIME P.O.W. – Joined former standouts Aaron Heilman, Scott Cavey, Danny Tamayo and Chris Niesel as fifth Notre Dame pitcher ever to collect multiple BIG EAST pitcher-of-the-week awards in the same season (he’s the only LHP on that list) – with stellar effort vs. USC in 2004 opener (see stats above) before shutting down potent Texas Tech offense that was hitting at a .350 clip and averaging 13 runs per game … retired 14 straight Red Raiders at one point in that game (13 balls stayed in infield).

CAPE COD COMRADES – Shared for team victory lead (3-5) as member of Wareham Gatemen in the wood-bat Cape Cod League, during summer of ’04 (3.81, 9 GP/ 8 GS, 52.0 IP, 56 H, 14 BB, 35 Ks, 3 WP, 5 HB) … four of his Wareham teammates – Rice 1B Adam Rodgers and LHP Josh Forester, Texas A&M pitcher Robert Ray pitcher/catcher Kevin Whelan – play for teams that are competing at the 2005 Round Rock Classic.

Jeff Samardzija NOTES (RHP, So., 6-5/215; Valparaiso, IN … 2004 Freshman All-American)


Jeff Samardzija is slated to get the start vs. Rice.



Sophomore RHP Jeff Samardzija allowed just one earned run in 5.0 IP vs. Florida A&M in the 2005 season opener … his resulting 1.80 ERA is 4th-best by an ND opening-day starter in the past 10 seasons and is 2nd-best since 2000 (trailing only the 1.59 ERA posted by Chris Niesel in the ’04 opener vs. San Diego State) … he became first walk-on pitcher ever to start a season opener in the 11-year Paul Mainieri era and was fourth sophomore in Mainieri era to draw season-opening start, joining Darin Schmalz (’95 win over Texas, at Fullerton), Alex Shilliday (5 shutout innings to help beat Florida State, 10-1, in ’99 at the Disney Sports Center) and Niesel (allowed 4 runs in 5 IP vs. Dayton in ’03 no-decision).

Samardzija’s Career Stats (see PDF)

2005 Situational: .438 opp. batting with runners on, .500 with 2 outs, 30% of leadoff batters reached (2.7 per 9 IP)
2005 Nine-Inning Averages: 12.0 hits, 4.0 walks, 4.0 Ks, 14.0 groundouts (avg. 18 outs via Ks or GOs)

2004 Situational: .261 opp. batting with runners on, .228 with 2 outs, 29% of leadoff batters reached (2.7 per 9 IP)
2004 Nine-Inning Averages: 7.0 hits, 2.4 walks, 5.9 Ks, 12.0 groundouts (avg. nearly 18 outs via Ks or GOs)

SAMARDZIJA’S 2005 GAME-BY-GAME(see PDF) Date Opponent (Score) IP H R ER BB SO 2B 3B

SITUATIONALLY SPEAKING – Ranked among ND’s top pitchers with runners on base (.261 opp. batting avg.) and with 2 outs (.228) during 2004 season but has seen those numbers rise significantly in ’05 (.438 with runners, .500 with 2 outs)

’05 OPENER – Shook off the rust (he did not participate in ’04 summer or fall ball) while limiting Florida A&M to a single run in the ’05 season opener (played at UCF) …his totals in that game included 9 groundouts, 4 hits allowed (.235 opp. batting avg.), 3 walks, 2 hit batters and a strikeout … the 78-pitch outing included just 42 strikes but he picked up 10 total groundball outs and stranded three runners at 3rd base (plus two more at 2nd).

• His 2.95 ERA in 2004 ranked 2nd among BIG EAST regulars, behind West Virginia ace LHP Zac Cline (2.65)
• Owned 2nd-best opponent batting avg. (.209) on BIG EAST pitching charts, behind BC 1st-rounder Chris Lambert (.196)
• His .209 opponent batting avg. in ’04 ranks 3rd-best ever by ND freshman while his 20 appearances rank 5th
• 3rd among ND’s 2004 regular pitchers (20-plus IP) in opp. batting, innings and groundouts (85), also 4th among regulars in ERA and GP, 5th in wins and Ks … owned ’04 staff’s best opp. batting avg. by LH hitters (.160)
• Held unique distinction of ranking 4th on ’04 staff in relief appearances (14, closed 4) and 5th in starts (6)
• Ended 2004 regular season with 2.45 ERA that ranked 47th in nation
• Helped salvage ’04 season as Irish overcame injuries to three top pitchers (John Axford, Jeff Manship, Derik Olvey)
• ’04 highlights included 22-inning scoreless streak (2nd-longest by ND pitcher in Mainieri era) and 4-0 win over #20 Central Florida (7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, HB, 4 Ks, 10 groundouts, 2 popups, 25 batters faced, took perfect game into 4th inning; LH batters hit just 1-for-14 vs. him) … combined with Derik Olvey to allow just 2 hits and 7 baserunners vs. Penn State in Round Rock (4 IP, save, BB, K, 13 BF; 4-2) … picked up 5-3 win at WVU in 7-inning opener that extended to 10 (2 IP, BB, K, 5 GO, 7 BF; 5-3) … suffered tough-luck loss in first start, taking no-hitter into 7th before St. John’ scored 2 unearned runs for 2-1 win (7.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 Ks, 11 GOs, 26 BF, 85 pitches, retired first 14) … picked up 7-3 win over Michigan in Grand Rapids, as starter in planned rotation (4 IP, H, R, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 61 pitches)


Jeff Samardzija is a two-sport standout with the Irish.



MULTI-SPORT STARS – ND’s first baseball/football athlete since Scott Sollmann in the mid-’90s … lettered with ’03 and ’04 ND football teams as reserve wide receiver, saving best game of career for the ’04 Insight Bowl (5 catches, 89 yards) … 2nd on ’04 ND football team with 16.1 yards per catch (17 for 274) while appearing in all 12 games … earned all-conference, all-area and all-state (as centerfielder) at Valparaiso High School (.467, 55 RBI, 7 HR, 6 3B), after stellar ’02 season on mound (3.28, 6-3 record, 50 Ks, 27 BB) … never missed a start in final three seasons at VHS, spanning football, basketball and baseball (160-plus games) … runner-up for Indiana Mr. Football Award and named top receiver in state … other two-sport stars with ties to the ND baseball program have included:

• Johnny Mohardt – teamed with George Gipp in backfield on Knute Rockne’s 1920 national championship team, captained ’21 baseball squad, played professionally in both sports; teammates included legends Red Grange, Ty Cobb)
• Future ND athletic director Dick Rosenthal pulled off the basketball (All-America) and baseball double from ’51’-53 … Jim Gibbons, Rosenthal’s teammate on both teams, later served his alma mater as an assistant baseball coach and assistant vice-president
• Former Washington Redskins safety Pat Eilers won an ND baseball monogram in ’88 while Frank Jacobs (’91) – one of the top long-ball hitters in Irish history – started at tight end for the ’88 national championship football team … Irv Smith, a starting tight end in ’92, earned baseball letters in ’90 and ’91.
• Shortstop Paul Failla, a third-round California Angels draft pick (’94), was a backup QB on the ’93 football team while Scott Sollmann led the ’94 Irish with .402 batting and saw football action as a special teams player/reserve WR (’94-’95).
• College Football Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Theismann was a 39th-round draft choice of the Minnesota Twins (`71) … he played six baseball games with the Irish in 1970, also playing in various summer leagues.


Matt Edwards owns a .424 career batting average during Spring Break games.



Career Spring Break Stats from 2003 (Jacksonville) and 2004 (San Antonio/Round Rock) Seasons:

Matt Edwards* – .462 (24-for-52), 18 RBI, 10 R, 8 K, 4 2B, 2 HR. SAC, 9 BB, 4 HBP, 3 E, 2-3 SB
Greg Lopez – .325 (13-for-40), 7 RBI, 12 R, 3 SAC, 7 K, 3 E, 2 BB, 4 HBP, 0-1 SB
Steve Andres – .296 (8-27) 4 RBI, 2B, HR, 6 R, 6 Ks, E, 3 BB, SB, HBP
Cody Rizzo – .278 (10-for-36), 3 RBI, 8 R, 6 HBP, 6 K, 2 2B
Craig Cooper – .275 (11-for-40), 8 RBI, 8 R, BB, 5 2B, 5 K, 2 SAC, 2-4 SB
Danny Dressman – .258 (8-for-31), 6 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B, 3 BB, 1-2 SB, 2 SAC, SF, 9 Ks
Alex Nettey – .200 (1-for-5)
Sean Gaston – .154 (2-for-13), R, K
Matt Bransfield – .118 (2-for-17), RBI, 5 K, BB, 2 HBP

*Note: Edwards also was 1-for-7 at the 2002 Round Rock Classic before suffering a season-ending broken leg (3 Ks, E) … his career Spring Break stats from ’02-’04 include a .424 batting avg. (25-for-59)

RARE LOSSES – Notre Dame’s pair of losses last week to Dayton (13-9 in 11 innings; 11-10) represented the first time in the 11-year Paul Mainieri era that the Irish had lost back-to-back games when scoring 9-plus runs in each game … in fact, the program had played 740 straight games without suffering such back-to-back losses, dating back to early in the 1993 season (that team lost 10-9 at Arizona and 14-11 at Wichita State, on March 10 and 13) … Mainieri’s teams traditionally have featured strong pitching and fielding and – prior to the Dayton losses – his Irish teams had won nearly 95% of their games when scoring 9-plus games (now 190-13, .936).


Dan Kapala was a key part of Notre Dame’s 2004 bullpen success.



BULLPEN BLUES – Notre Dame is looking to restore its bullpen to the impressive status from the 2004 season … here’s a comparison of the ’04 bullpen stats and the stats posted by the relievers in the first seven games of the ’05 season:

2004 – 2.97 ERA, 19-3 record, .225 opp. avg., 196 Ks (7.8 per 9 IP), 76 BB (3.0), 20 HBP, 15 WP, 191 H (7.6), 2.6 K-BB
2005 – 4.84 ERA, 3-0 record, .330 opp. avg., 10 Ks (4.0), 11 BB (4.4), 5 HBP, 22.1 IP, 29 H (11.7), WP. 0.9 K-BB

DOHERTY DOMINANCE – Junior All-America closer Ryan Doherty is on pace to set or challenge four Notre Dame career records, including an ERA mark that has stood for more than 40 years (set in 1961 by fellow All-American Nick Palihnich) and two other records that are nearly as longstanding:

Doherty’s Current Career Stats … Standing ND Record 2.44 ERA (18 ER/66.2 IP) … 2.36 (Nick Palihnich, 1959-61)
12.69 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched (94 Ks/66.2 IP) … 12.66 (Dan McGinn, 1964-65)
4.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio (94 Ks/22 BB) … 4.09 (Chris Niesel, 2002-04)
5.94 hits allowed per 9.0 innings pitched (44 H/66.2 IP) … 6.27 (Dan McGinn, 1964-65)


Ryan Doherty remains on pace to challenge several longstanding ND pitching records.



ALUMNI GATHERING – Several recent Notre Dame standouts were in Mesa last weekend cheering on the Irish, including several key members of the 2002 College World Series team: all three members of the outfield (LF Brian Stavisky, CF Steve Stanley, RF Kris Billmaier), 2B Steve Sollmann, catcher Paul O’Toole and RHP Grant Johnson … one of the first leaders of the Paul Mainieri era, catcher Bob Lisanti, also will be on hand to check out his alma mater, as was former pitching ace Danny Tamayo (’01) … the parents of Arizona native and former Notre Dame lefthander Mike “Doc” Naumann (’01 also stopped by to cheer on the Irish.

Ryan Doherty – needs 6 more strikeouts for 100 in his career
Cody Rizzo – needs 2 more runs for 100 in his career, HBP for 50th time last week vs. Dayton
Matt Bransfield – needs 10 more hits for 100 in his career
Paul Mainieri – needs 15 more wins for 800 in his 23-year career
Steve Andres – needs 17 more hits for 100 in his career
Matt Edwards – scored 100th career run last week vs. Dayton; 34 RBI shy of cracking the ND career top-10 list


Cody Rizzo is on the verge of scoring his 100th career run with the Irish.



STILL GOING – The Irish have extended the program’s second-longest scoring streak to 155 games, trailing only a 231-game scoring streak from 1999-2002.

PRESEASON RESPECT – Notre Dame and upcoming opponent Rice are two of just seven teams to be a consensus preseason top-20 pick (in the Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, USA Today/coaches and baseball writers polls) each of the past five seasons (’01-’05), with the others including Cal State Fullerton, Stanford, LSU, South Carolina and Arizona State … the Irish and Owls also are two of seven teams that have been in the BA preseason top-20 every season since 2000 (others include LSU, CSF, Georgia Tech, Stanford and Baylor) … ND checked in at 20th in BA’s 2000 preseason poll, followed by 9th in 2001, 5th in ’02, 12th in ’03, 20th in ’04 and 20th in ’05.

MONTH-BY-MONTH WITH THE IRISH – Notre Dame traditionally has posted a better won-loss record in the second half of the season, with the first 10 seasons of the Paul Mainieri era featuring a 155-74-1 (.676) combined record during Jan.-March and a 296-100 (.748) record during April-June (a difference of nearly 75 pct. points).

Notre Dame’s Monthly Record in the Paul Mainieri Era (see PDF for chart)

STAYING THE COURSE – Notre Dame’s 4-3 record to start the 2005 season actually rates as the 4th-best win pct. during the month of Feb. in the 11-year Paul Mainieri era, trailing only the 2004 (6-0), 2001 (5-1) and 2000 (2-1) teams.


Utility infielder Eddie Smith is one of several Irish players who are capable of racking up high hit-by-pitch totals.



HIT-BY-PITCH HIGHWAY – Notre Dame players were hit-by-pitch 106 times in the 2004 season (good for 5th in NCAA history) but the Irish already are more than 20% of the way to a new team record after totaling 22 HBPs in the first 7 games of the ’05 season … the plunk-fest began with 9 HBPs in the opener vs. Florida A&M, one shy of the record set by Washington in a 1998 game vs. Rice … junior LF Steve Andres had 3 HBP in the ’05 opener while Craig Cooper, Matt Edwards, Matt Bransfield, Greg Lopez, Eddie Smith and Ross Brezovsky also were plunked by Rattlers pitchers … ND and FAMU (2) combined for 11 HBPs (one shy of that NCAA record of 12) … freshman 2B Brett Lilley was hit-by-pitch in his first four plate appearances during the final game of the weekend vs. Central Florida, one shy of yet another NCAA record … the Irish are averaging 3.1 HBPs per game and – at that pace – would total 176 in the 56-game regular season.

HBP … PDQ – Junior RF Cody Rizzo already owns the ND records for times hit-by-pitch in a season (28, in ’03) and career (50 – and counting) … Rizzo ranks 23rd on the NCAA career HBP list and would move to 13th on that list with 5 more HBPs … former San Francisco player Anthony Hurtado holds the NCAA record with 92 HBPs … Rizzo helped set the team HBP record in 2004 (106), good for 5th on the NCAA all-time list … two newcomers – freshman 2B Brett Lilley (state record in Ohio with 19 HBP in ’03) and junior IF Eddie Smith (team-record 18 HBP at Centralia CC, in ’04) – could help the Irish approach triple-digit HBPs again in ’05 … the departed players combined for 36 HBPs in ’04 (led by 15 from C Javi Sanchez, 11 by 2B Steve Sollmann).


WHO’S BACK/WHO’S GONE – The Irish return six of nine position starters but will be looking for others to step into the voids in the lineup created by graduation and the Major League draft … All-America 3B Matt Macri moved on to pro ball after his stellar ’04 season while second 2B Steve Sollmann (the winningest four-year starter in the program’s history) and clutch-hitting catcher Javi Sanchez were the leaders of the ’04 senior class, taking their considerable leadership skills with them on to postgraduate life and their own pro baseball careers … OF rates as the strongest and deepest position for the Irish in ’05, with juniors Steve Andres (LF), Craig Cooper (CF) and Cody Rizzo (RF) the likely starters as opening day approaches … senior 1B Matt Edwards, junior SS Greg Lopez and junior DH Matt Bransfield also add to the veteran core – with the three new starters likely to include sophomore C Sean Gaston and a pair of prep shortstops at 2B (Brett Lilley) and 3B (Ross Brezovsky) .. on the mound, the Irish must replace two frontline starters in Grant Johnson and Chris Niesel (both signed as early ’04 draft picks) but junior LHP Tom Thornton returns after leading BIG EAST pitchers with nine wins in ’04 … three others – senior John Axford and sophomores Jeff Manship and Derik Olvey – could be top members of the ’05 rotation after completing their respective comebacks from injuries that wiped out their ’04 seasons … junior All-America closer Ryan Doherty leads an impressive group of bullpen talent that also includes hard-throwing sophomore Dan Kapala but must replace steady LHP and ’04 graduate Joe Thaman … a stable comprised of several veterans and four highly-regarded newcomers adds further depth to a pitching staff that will be looking to improve on its 2004 team ERA (3.43) that ranked 9th in the nation.

OPENING-GAME EXPLOSION – The 2005 season opener vs. Florida A&M saw Steve Andres and Matt Edwards both homer and the Notre Dame offense nearly tie an NCAA record by totaling nine times hit-by-pitch, as the Irish pushed across the program’s most runs in a season opener since 1963 (and 4th-most ever to open a season) en route to an 18-3 victory over Florida A&M (at UCF) … the program’s 113-year history includes just three openers in which Notre Dame scored more runs: 21-1 vs. Chicago in 1943, 19-0 vs. Winona in 1909 and 20-3 at Indiana in 1963.

EIGHT-SPOT – Notre Dame’s impressive 2004 offense included several big-scoring innings and the 2005 Irish already have one of those big innings in the books, after putting eight runs on the board in the 6th inning of the opener vs. FAMU … the inning included 5 hits (leadoff home run by Matt Edwards, 2-run single by Danny Dressman), 3 walks (2 with bases loaded), 2 HBPs and a costly error … that capped five straight scoring innings for the Irish in the opener.

FIRST-TIME FOES – Opening-week opponent Florida A&M became the 284th different team faced by the Irish in 113 seasons of college baseball … the Irish now are 17-1 in their past 18 games vs. a first-time opponent (seven straight wins), dating back to a win over Sam Houston State at the 2001 Alamo Invitational … that streak vs. first-time opponents includes the win over Rice at the ’02 College World Series … ND is slated to face one more first-time opponent in 2005 (South Dakota State, on March 19 in Evansville).

BIG OPENINGS – Notre Dame’s 7-4 record in season openers during the Mainieri era included three straight one-run wins from 2001-03 but the Irish now have won the past two season openers by a combined score of 25-4 (7-1 vs. San Diego State, 18-3 vs. Florida A&M)

A WIN AND A SAVE – Junior All-America closer Ryan Doherty notched the victory in the 4-3 comeback vs. Florida A&M, after taking the mound with runners on first and second in the top of 9th … Doherty alertly caught the lead man in a rundown and then popped up the next batter to end the threat … the next day, Doherty recorded the final five outs vs. UCF (4-2) for his first save of the season and 15th of his Irish career … he retired five of the seven batters he faced, striking out three while allowing one hit and hitting a batter … John Corbin (20, ’97-’00) and J.P. Gagne (19, ’00-’03) are the only ND pitchers to total more career saves than Doherty.


Ross Bresovsky delivered several clutch hits in the first two weeks of the 2005 season.



NEW HEROES – Junior OF Alex Nettey and freshman 3B Ross Brezovsky were the late-game heroes as Notre Dame overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat Florida A&M, 4-3 … Nettey sent a 1-out, 0-1 pitch over the centerfielder’s head in the bottom o of the 9th and scored the winning run moments later on Brezovsky’s ground-rule double that kicked over the rightfield fence.

OLVEY RETURNS – Sophomore righthanded reliever Derik Olvey suffered the hard-luck loss in the 2-1 game vs. UFC while making his first appearance since March 23, 2004 (he missed most of his freshman season due to tendonitis) … Olvey, who allowed the game’s final run in the bottom of the 7th, was touched for four hits and one walk in three innings (with one strikeout).


Derik Olvey is back with the Irish pitching staff after missing most of the ’04 season due to injury.



FANTASTIC FANS – The many Notre Dame fans at UCF’s Bergman Field during opening week include several noteworthy faces, among them: former ND players Brad Lidge (Houston Astros closer), Javi Sanchez (Miami native preparing for spring training with Twins organization) and Jeff Perconte (local lawyer), Tampa Bay Devil Rays owner Vince Naimoli (one of several ND alums who are involved in the top levels of MLB administration) and the namesake of ND’s home stadium, Frank Eck.

SUNSHINE STATE SMILES – The Irish now are 15-3 in their past 18 games played in Florida, with one of those losses coming at Florida State in the 2002 NCAA Super Regional series … the 1-2 series vs. Dayton (in Mesa) extended ND’s struggles in the state of Arizona (6-14 all-time).

DECADE OF DOMINANCE – Notre Dame entered the 2005 season with a 241-79-1 record in the decade of the 2000s (’00-’04), yielding a .752 win pct. that ranks second-best in all of Division I baseball (now 245-82-1, .749).

FREE-BASE FACTOR – Junior RF Cody Rizzo already owns the ND career record for times hit-by-pitch (50) but surprisingly had no HBPs during the opening-week (his teammates totaled 17 HBPs in those four games) before getting hit once in the Dayton series… Rizzo has made up for his lack of HBPs by walking six times in the first two weeks, nearly doubling his BB total (4) from all of the ’04 season.

Inside the Numbers of the Opening-Week Stats

• Notre Dame’s .274 team batting avg. in last week’s games was below the ND program’s avg. team batting mark (.289) for opening-week games in the 11-year Mainieri era … since 1999, only the 2002 Irish squad has posted a lower opening-week batting avg. – but things ended up all right for that team, as it advanced to the College World Series.
• The .371 team slugging pct. was well below the Mainieri-era avg. for opening week (.433) and lowest since ’99 (.299)
• The .421 on-base pct. was far ahead of the Mainieri-era avg. for opening week (.366) and 3rd-best of the Mainieri era, behind his first team (.450, in ’95) and the ’03 squad (.429)
• The first nine pitching staffs of the Mainieri era averaged a 6.75 opening-week ERA but the past two seasons have yielded the top opening-week ERAs in that 11-year span (0.57 in ’04, 1.80 in ’05)
• The Irish pitchers issued an uncharacteristic high walk total in the ’05 opening week (19 BB, in 4 GP) after walking just 5 batters in the pair of 2004 opening-week games.
• The Irish turned 10 double plays during opening week after totaling just 19 DPs in 30 opening-week games from ’95-’04.

OPENING-DAY SALVOS – Junior LF Steve Andres and senior 1B Matt Edwards both homered in the opening win over Florida A&M, marking the first time that multiple Irish players have the left the yard in the same opener during the Paul Mainieri era … Edwards also became the first Mainieri-era player ever to collect multiple opening-day home runs in his Irish career (also in ’04, vs. San Diego State at USC) … Andres, who also homered at Arizona State during the ’03 opening week, joins Edwards and two others – IF Brant Ust (’98 vs. N.C. State; ’99 vs. James Madison) and OF Kris Billmaier (’03 vs. Dayton and Newman) – as the only Mainieri-era players with multiple career HRs during opening-week games … in addition to Ust (Jr., SS, ’99; vs. JMU, at FIU, 8-4), Billmaier (Sr., RF, ’03; vs. Dayton, @ASU, 10-9), Edwards (2) and Andres, three other ND players have homered in a Mainieri-era opener: Bob Lisanti (Sr., C, ’96; at Georgia Tech, 4-12), Dan Leatherman (Jr., 1B, ’98; vs. Florida State, in Orlando, 10-1) and Matt Bok (Sr., DH, ’02; vs. Missouri, @UNO, 7-6).

SILENT BULLDOG TAKES A BITE – Sophomore RHP Jess Stewart, nicknamed the “Silent Bulldog” by ND pitching coach and fellow Virginia native Terry Rooney, had a noteworthy debut in the 4-2 win at Central Florida (5.1 IP, UER, 5 H, 3 BB, K, HB, 7 groundball outs, 93 pitches) … Stewart became just the third pitcher in the 11-year Paul Mainieri era to not allow an earned run while pitching 5-plus innings during opening week … the others include Scott Cavey vs. Air Force in 2000 (0.00, 6 IP, H, BB, 6 Ks) and Alex Shilliday vs. Florida State in 1998 (0.00, 5 IP, H, 4 BB, 6 Ks; in Orlando).

STARTER SUCCESSJess Stewart’s solid start followed on the heels of fellow sophomore RHP Jeff Samardzija (5 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 BB, K, 2 HB; win, 18-3 vs. Florida A&M) and junior LHP Tom Thornton (5 IP, R, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 71 pitches; no-decision in 2-1 loss at Central Florida) both posting 1.80 ERAs during the season-opening weekend in Orlando … it marked the first time that three Mainieri-era pitchers (since ’95) have logged a 1.80 ERA or better in the same opening-week action (min. 5 IP) … the ’04 opening week was the first time that multiple pitchers had an ERA of 1.80 or lower: Thornton (see below) and Chris Niesel in the 7-1 win over San Diego State (1.59, 5.2 IP, 3 H, BB) … prior to ’04, just three other ND pitchers had logged 5-plus innings on the opening weekend and emerged with an ERA of 1.80 or better (each picked up the win): the Alex Shilliday and Scott Cavey games noted above and Aaron Heilman’s 2001 start at Mississippi State (1.50, 6 IP, 5 R/ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 Ks).

STEWART SLAYS THE KNIGHTS … AGAINJess Stewart has defeated Central Florida each of the past two seasons, logging 5-plus shutout innings in both outings (3-2 in ’04, 4-2 in ’05) … his combined stats in those two games vs. UCF include 7 hits allowed, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts and a hit batter in 10.1 innings.


Wade Korpi drew a week-one start and could return as a starter during the Spring Break trip.



DYNAMIC DUO – Two freshman pitchers on the 2005 Notre Dame staff, LHP Wade Korpi and RHP Joey Williamson, are the first high school teammates ever to sign with the Irish in the 11-year Paul Mainieri era … each was an all-state performer at Santaluces High School in ’04 while combining for a 19-1 record, 0.87 ERA and 215 strikeouts in 133 innings.

ERA ELITE – Notre Dame finished in the top-20 of the national charts for team ERA in five of the previous seven seasons, owning the nation’s best team ERA during portions of 2000 and ’01 … the ’00 staff surged atop the national ERA charts in late April (2.72) and finished 16th (3.93) … the Irish returned to the top spot among the ’01 team ERA leaders for three weeks in April, finishing 5th at 3.22 (best at ND since ’92, third-best since ’75) … ND went on to finish 13th in the ’02 ERA rankings (3.57), 18th in ’03 (3.53) and 9th in ’04 (3.43), joining Texas and Rice as the only teams ranked among the nation’s final top-20 ERA leaders every year from ’00-’04 … the Irish finished 12th in the final ’98 ERA rankings (4.02).

BIG SHADOWS – Notre Dame’s 2005 roster includes some big bodies, with seven who are 6-foot-4 or taller: junior RHP Ryan Doherty (7-1, 255) and LHP Tom Thornton (6-6, 220), senior RHP John Axford (6-6, 160), sophomore RHP Jeff Samardzija (6-5, 215), senior LHP Scott Bickford (6-5, 170), sophomore LHP/1B Mike Dury (6-5, 230) and sophomore RHP Dan Kapala (6-5, 225).

THREE NEW STARTERS AROUND THE HORN – Notre Dame’s 2005 lineup includes three first-year starters around the infield: sophomore C Sean Gaston, freshman 2B Brett Lilley and freshman 3B Ross Brezovsky … that’s the first time the Irish have fielded three or more first-year starters (i.e. not including players who started previously for ND at other spots) in the infield since the first season of the Paul Mainieri era, when sophomores Randall Brooks (2B), J.J. Brock (SS) and Mike Amrhein (3B) each moved into the 1995 lineup after playing sparingly in ’94 … the 1997 season saw freshman 1B Jeff Felker and 2B Brant Ust make their debuts as starters but that season ultimately included three first-year starters (Ust went on to split time as a starter at 2B, SS and 3B while junior Todd Frye eventually logged the most starts at 2B, in his first season as a regular) … see PDF for chart of recent first-year infield starters.

STATE ROLL CALL – The Notre Dame list of all-time monogram winners includes players from 44 home states … pitchers Brandon Viloria (Wailuku, Hawaii) in 2000 and Cody Wilkins (Hudson, N.C.) in ’04 became the first players from their respective states ever to monogram with the Irish baseball program … the only states that have not produced ND baseball letterwinners are Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Vermont … the 11-year Paul Mainieri era has featured players from 36 states, including 15 states and one province on the ’05 roster (see list on PDF):


The Paul Mainieri File – Career: 785-454-2 (.633, 22-plus seasons; 1,241 total games) … at Notre Dame: 454-175-1 (.721, 10-plus seasons; 630 total games)

Notre Dame’s Paul Mainieri – now in his 11th season as head coach for one of the nation’s elite college baseball programs – couldn’t help but get a little nostalgic as the calendar turned from 2004 to 2005.

• The previous spring saw his 10th Notre Dame team continue the program’s record-setting ascension and the ensuing fall of 2004 then included the first-ever reunion of Mainieri’s former players … a spirited turnout at that event helped pay tribute to the players – and their coach – who had combined to rack up 450 wins during the previous 10 seasons.
• Shortly after the calendar flipped to ’05, Mainieri was honored with a 25-year coaching certificate at the American Baseball Coaches Association convention and was voted as the ABCA’s chair of Division I Baseball Coaches … three weeks later, he returned to his hometown of Miami to be honored at Christopher Columbus High School with the Explorer Diamond Award – a prestigious alumni honor … then, just days prior to the ’05 opener, outgoing Indiana governor Joe Kernan bestowed the state’s highest honor (the Sagamore of the Wabash) on the ND baseball head coach.
• The energetic coach who once was touted among the nation’s top young coaches steadily has evolved into a respected elder statesman – and his 2000-04 teams had combined for the nation’s 2nd-best win pct. in the 2000s (.752, 244-80-1).
• The 47-year-old Mainieri – who in ’02 became the nation’s only coach to repeat as one of eight ABCA regional coaches of the year – continued the program’s standard of excellence in his first 10 seasons, with: seven conference titles, seven trips to the NCAAs, 450 wins, 40 players who were drafted or signed free-agent contracts, and 14 selected in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Draft – with his Irish players combining for 12 All-America and nine Academic All-America seasons … his squads have extended the program’s string of consecutive seasons with 40-plus wins to 16.
• Mainieri’s ND teams have combined for a 100% graduation rate (59 of 59), among players who completed their eligibility (11 who signed professionally after their junior year have returned to complete or near completion of their degree) … ND is the only Div. I baseball program to produce Academic All-Americans each of the past five years, with two honored every season from ’00-’03 … the current squad combined for a 3.07 team GPA in the 2004 fall semester, led by 17 players with a GPA of 3.0-plus and seven at 3.4-plus.
• Two of Mainieri’s former Notre Dame assistant coaches – Brian O’Connor (at Virginia) and Cory Mee (Toledo) – were named Division I coaches within weeks of one another, during the summer of 2003.
• In nine seasons of BIG EAST play, the Irish have won more league games (157-54, .744) than any other team in the conference, which has sent five different teams to the NCAAs since 1999.
• Mainieri, who spent the previous six years as head coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy, is in his 23rd year of coaching on the collegiate level, with an overall record of 785-454-2 (.633) … he ranks 2nd on the Notre Dame baseball career coaching wins list (454-175-1/.721), behind Hall of Famer Jake Kline (558, ’34-’75).
• His 2001 team claimed the program’s first No. 1 national ranking, the ’02 team made the program’s first College World Series appearance in 45 years, the ’03 squad became the first to repeat as BIG EAST Tournament champions since 1986, and his ’04 team turned in an historic 51-12 record while becoming the first two win three straight BIG EAST titles.
• Highly-regarded prospects and diamonds in the rough have comprised the recent Notre Dame incoming classes – highlighted by the nation’s top-ranked freshman class in 2002 and the No. 7-rated class for the prospective 2006 freshmen … all told in the Mainieri era, eight of 10 Irish players who were drafted out of high school have gone on to be drafted in a higher round at Notre Dame while 19 who were undrafted as preps went on to be drafted as members of the Irish program … three of Mainieri’s former ND players – Brad Lidge (Astros), Aaron Heilman (Mets) and Christian Parker (Yankees) – have pitched in the Major Leagues, with Lidge emerging as one of the game’s elite closers in 2004.
The Paul Mainieri Era (1995-2005) – By The Numbers (see PDF)

IRISH OFFENSE SEES RED IN 2004 – Current third-year ND assistant coach David “Red” Grewe helped the Irish experience great success in ’04 … Grewe’s star defensive pupil with the record-setting ’04 squad was catcher Javi Sanchez, a converted infielder with no catching experience prior to the ’02 fall season (he was a 14th-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in ’04) … several ’04 players – including 3B Matt Macri, OF Craig Cooper, SS Greg Lopez and DH Matt Bransfield – showed big jumps in their offense during a second year of instruction from Grewe … Macri ranked among the ND and BIG EAST leaders in nearly every offensive category and became the 3rd ND player (first in 15 years) to reach 80 hits and 40 walks in the same season … Cooper became the first player ever to lead the BIG EAST in conference batting avg. (.370), slugging and on-base in the same season while combining with Bransfield (24 RBI) and Macri (7 HR) for an ND sweep of the BIG EAST triple-crown titles … the ’04 ND offense finished with a .407 on-base pct. that ranks 4th in ND history and best in the Paul Mainieri era (since ’95) … the Irish also ranked 19th on the NCAA scoring charts with 7.8 runs per game in ’04, good for 4th in the ND record book (just two Irish teams since the late 1950s have scored at a higher clip) … the ’04 team’s rejuvenated power included an unprecedented four players with 10-plus home runs, yielding a home run total that more than doubled from ’03 (31 to 69, four shy of the team record) …

FIRST-INNING OFFENSE – The past few seasons have seen Notre Dame struggle with its first-inning run production until the final month of the season (the ’04 team scored 1st-inning runs in 12 of the final 17 games) … that slow-start trend continued during the 2005 opening weekend in Orlando (no 1st-ininng runs in 4 games) but the Irish then scored 1st-inning runs in 2-of-3 games last week vs. Dayton … despite the inconsistent 1st-inning run production in recent years, the Irish have dominated the 2nd-inning scoring (56-11 in ’04; already 7-1 in ’05, for a combined 12-3 scoring margin in the 1st and 2nd innings this season) … the ’05 opponents own a distinct advantage in the late innings this season, outscoring the Irish by a combined 11-5 margin in the 8th, 9th and extra innings (ND has outscored the opposition 51-25 from the 1st-7th innings) … the ’04 offense’s quick-strike ability was on full display in the series finale at Connecticut, when ND erupted for 10 hits (3 home runs) and 10 runs before the hosts had even stepped into the batters box.

RED RATIO UPDATE – Notre Dame third-year assistant coach David “Red” Grewe charts the Notre Dame plate appearances based on a ratio of walks plus times hit-by-pitch minus strikeouts (BB+HBP-Ks) … the “Red Ratio” yields the difference between free bases earned by the batters and “free outs” given to the opponent (by striking out, with no defensive play required) … ND as a team currently is +11 in the Red Ratio but freshman 2B Brett Lilley (+9; 4 BB, 6 HBP, 1 K) is the only Irish player who is above +3 (the rest of the team is just +2) … junior OF Craig Cooper (+3, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 2 Ks) and senior 1B Matt Edwards (+2; 2 BB, 2 HBP, 2 Ks) are the only other players with a Red Ratio better than +1 … the 2004 offense finished +23 in the Red Ratio, a major improvement from the -61 ratio posted by the ’03 squad.

ROONEY MAKES BIG IMPACT WITH ’04 STAFF – Upon his arrival in the fall of ’04, ND pitching coach Terry Rooney set about educating the Irish pitchers on the concept of “offensive pitching” that focuses on aspects that the staff can control – being mechanically-sound, working to advantage counts, high first-pitch strike percentages and controlling the running game … the ND pitchers quickly bought in to Rooney’s defined plan, yielding a 3.43 ERA that ranked 9th in the nation and maintained the program’s string of five straight seasons among the nation’s top-20 ERA leaders (matched only by Texas and Rice) … the 2004 staff’s low walk avg. (2.48 per 9 IP) ranks 2nd in the ND record book behind the ’01 staff (2.48) that was led by senior stars Aaron Heilman and Danny Tamayo … the ’04 staff also posted the program’s 2nd-best K-to-walk ratio (2.69, trailing only the 2.92 in ’01) while the .248 opponent batting average in ’04 ranks 5th-best by an Irish staff since the wood-bat days of the early 1970s.

DOUBLE-DIGIT DINGERS – The 2004 Notre Dame baseball team more than doubled the program’s home run output from the ’03 season (31 to 68), with four Irish players hitting 10-plus home runs for the first time in the program’s history: junior 3B Matt Macri (14), sophomore DH Matt Bransfield (12), sophomore 1B Matt Edwards (12) and – a player with a more unique first name – sophomore RF Craig Cooper (10).

CLASS RANK – Notre Dame’s current senior class helped Notre Dame compile a 150-51 record (.746) spanning the 2002-05 seasons … if the Irish reach 50 wins this season, the class of ’05 will pass the class of ’04 (195-61-1) with the program’s most wins in a four-year period … the ’04 seniors also rank as the ND class with the best career win pct. (.761).

PROSPECTS – The Sept. 2004 Perfect Game/Baseball America list of the nation’s top college prospects for the 2005 Major League draft included three Notre Dame players among the top 150 prospects: junior OF Craig Cooper (50th; 10th among OF), junior closer Ryan Doherty (90th) and senior RHP John Axford (145th) … the annual Baseball America preview issue also ranks prospects by class (namely the non-juniors) and RHP Jeff Manship was rated the nation’s No. 46 sophomore prospect … Manship was the No. 3 freshman prospect prior to the 2004 season, before being sidelined with an elbow injury (after pitching in the summer of ’03 with the U.S. National Team).

40-SOMETHING – Notre Dame owns 16 straight seasons with 40-plus wins, including 51 in 2004, 50 in ’02, 49 in ’01, 48 in ’89 and ’92, 46 in ’90, ’93, ’94 and ’00, 45 in ’91 and ’03, and 44 in ’95 … ND’s active streak of seasons with 40-plus wins ranks third in Division I, behind Florida State and Wichita State (both with 27 straight 40-win seasons).

2004 Honors and Awards (for 2005 returning players, see PDF)


• In addition to several current Major League players who honed their craft with the Irish baseball program, a number of Notre Dame graduates currently serve as top executives in Major League Baseball: Cleveland Indians owner and CEO Lawrence Dolan (’54, ’56 ND Law), Indians president Paul Dolan (’83), Tampa Bay owner/CEO/VP Vince Naimoli (`59), Arizona Diamondbacks general manager/VP Joe Garagiola, Jr. (’72), Oakland A’s president Mike Crowley (’85), recently-retired Los Angeles Dodgers V.P. of External Affairs Tommy Hawkins (’59, ND basketball star), MLB Executive VP of Administration John McHale (’71) and MLB Director of Special Events Brian O’Gara (’89).
• Former Notre Dame pitcher Brad Lidge ranked as one of MLB’s top rookies in his first full season with the Houston Astros (3.60 ERA, 97 Ks, 85 IP, 78 GP, 60 H, 42 BB) and was the winning pitcher in the historic no-hitter vs. the New York Yankees on June11, 2003 (2 IP, 2 Ks; 8-1) – the first no-hitter vs. the Yankees since ’58 (6,980 games) and first suffered by the Yankees at home since `52. Lidge – one of MLB’s elite closers in ’04 (NL record for Ks by a reliever) – is one of three ND pitchers from the Paul Mainieri era who have gone on to pitch in the big leagues (also Aaron Heilman with the N.Y. Mets and Christian Parker with the Yankees) while two early-’90s Notre Dame players – IF Craig Counsell and LHP Chris Michalak – have played for multiple MLB teams.

COAST-TO-COAST – The Notre Dame baseball team has traversed to all corners of the nation in recent years, including visits since 1990 to states spanning from Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington … since 1957, the Irish have played in 34 different states (plus Washington D.C.) and 116 cities (including scheduled 2005 trips) … in the past 13 years, the Irish have posted wins on the fields of many perennial college baseball powers, including four wins on the road over Miami (4-2 in ’89, 2-1 in ’92, 6-3 in ’92 NCAAs, 5-2 in ’95) plus other road triumphs over Texas (13-4 in ’91), Louisiana State (6-3 in ’91), Arizona State (11-4 in ’93), Wichita State (8-6 in ’93), Florida State (4-3 in ’93 NCAAs; 10-4 and 3-1 in ’02 NCAAs), Clemson (8-1 in ’94), Mississippi State (7-0 in 2000 NCAAs, 7-5 and 4-2 in ’01), USC (3-1, in ’04) and Florida Atlantic (3-2, in ’04).

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON – Six current Irish players are second-generation college baseball players: senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards (Norm “Cookie” Edwards, Stetson), senior LHP Scott Bickford (Mark Bickford, Salisbury State), junior C Nick Mainieri (Paul Mainieri, New Orleans), junior IF Eddie Smith (Ed Smith, Gonzaga), sophomore LHP/1B Mike Dury (John Dury, N.C. State) and sophomore RHP Jeff Manship (John Manship, Arizona).

OPPONENT PROSPECTS – Notre Dame’s 2005 opponents feature 19 players who were listed by Perfect Game/Baseball America (Sept. ’04) among the top-150 draft-eligible college prospects for the 2005 MLB draft … those players include four players each from upcoming opponents Texas A&M and Rice … the Aggies players on that top prospects list include: SS Cliff Pennington (12), RHPs Kevin Whelan (25) and Robert Ray (33) and catcher Craig Stinson (68) … the Owls players on the list include: RHPs Bryce Cox (83) and Josh Geer (95), RHP/OF Lance Pendleton (93) and LHP Matt Ueckert (127) … other ND opponents among the top-150 prospects include: USC catcher Jeff Clement (2nd) and RHP Zack Kalter (77), St. John’s closer Craig Hansen (8th) and ace RHP Anthony Varvaro (71), Michigan 2B Chris Getz (59) and RHP Derek Feldkamp (133), Oral Roberts OF Travis DeBondt (82), Central Michigan RHP Jayson Ruhlman (79), Bowling Green OF Nolan Reimold (94), Evansville 1B Eric Lis (106) and Rutgers OF John DeFendis (113).

NOT SHORT ON TALENT – Pail Mainieri consistently has recruited prep shortstops and utilized them in other parts of the Notre Dame lineup … the latest to fit that mold are a pair of current freshmen who have become the starters at second (Brett Lilley) and third base (Ross Brezovsky) … others of note who came to ND as prep SS and started at other positions have included: Randall Brooks (CF in ’97), Allen Greene (LF in ’97 LF, CF in ’98), Alec Porzel (LF in ’98, 2B in ’99), Andrew Bushey (3B in ’99-’02, also played some C in ’02), Matt Edwards (3B in ’03, 1B in ’04-’05), Greg Lopez (3B in ’03) and Matt Macri (3B in ’04) … Mainieri also pulled off a rarer position switch when he moved then-freshman Steve Sollmann from CF to 2B (Sollman went on to be an All-American and standout defensive player at his new position of 2B).

SCHEDULE CHANGES – Please note that a handful of Notre Dame’s 2005 games have undergone time changes … namely, the March 7 game vs. Texas State (in Round Rock) will start at 3:30 p.m. CST while the next game, March 9 vs. Texas-San Antonio, has been shifted to a 7:15 p.m. start (in San Antonio).

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