Jan. 3, 2004

The Notre Dame baseball team has turned in another strong semester in the classroom, with the 36 players combining to average a 3.15 grade-point average during the 2003 fall semester. Twenty of the Irish players posted a semester GPA of 3.0-plus, with 12 checking in a 3.4 or higher.

The Irish showed improvement across the board from the previous two semesters, after posting a 3.09 team GPA in the 2002 fall semester (17 players at 3.0-plus, eight at 3.4-plus) while the team’s in-season GPA during the spring of ’03 was 2.95 (16 players at 3.0-plus, seven at 3.4-plus).

Notre Dame’s 24 veteran players now own an average cumulative GPA of 2.98, led by five who head into the 2004 spring semesters as Academic All-America candidates. Senior second baseman Steve Sollmann (Cincinnati, Ohio) now owns a 3.38 cumulative GPA as a marketing major and could repeat his Academic All-America honor from 2003. The team’s other leading candidates for 2004 Academic All-America honors include four members of the sophomore class: DH/outfielder Matt Bransfield (3.34, in College of Arts and Letters; Englewood, Colo.), shortstop Greg Lopez (3.36, Arts and Letters; Upper Arlington, Ohio), DH/outfielder Steve Andres (3.40, Business; Napa, Calif.) and lefthander Tom Thornton (3.36, Arts and Letters; Middleboro, Mass.).

Notre Dame’s Academic All-America history includes 19 honors since 1992, with the Irish producing multiple Academic All-America recipients in each of the previous four seasons (no other Division I program can make that claim).

The six-member senior class led the way for the Irish during the 2003 fall semester, with each posting a GPA above 3.4 (the seniors averaged a 3.56). Sollmann registered a 3.75 semester GPA for his third consecutive Dean’s List semester while catcher Javi Sanchez (Miami, Fla.; management major) posted the best semester GPA of his career (3.40). Another regular member of the Irish lineup, lefthanded pitcher/first baseman Joe Thaman (St. Louis, Mo.; marketing), added his first Dean’s List semester (3.52) while three others rounded out the strong semester by the senior class: infielders Zach Sisko (3.67 for fourth Dean’s List semester and 3.30 cumulative GPA, as pre-professional and history double major; Belleville, Ill.) and Tim Murray (3.58 for third Dean’s List semester and 3.41 cumulative GPA, as mathematics/business administration major; Shrub Oak, N.Y.) and lefthander Cody Wilkins (3.46 semester, 3.03 cumulative; Hudson, N.C.).

Three members of the junior class posted GPAs of 3.2-plus, led by righthander Grant Johnson (Burr Ridge, Ill.) with a 3.63 as a marketing major (3.12 cumulative GPA). Third baseman Matt Macri (3.21, political science; Clive, Iowa) and DH/outfielder Brent Weiss (3.33 semester/3.14 cumulative, finance; Cockeysville, Md.) also posted GPAs of 3.2-plus in the 2003 fall term.

The veteran players from the sophomore class include six who posted GPAs of 3.0-plus, led by three above 4.0: Thornton (3.73), Bransfield (3.49) and Andres (3.47). The others from the sophomore class who posted GPAs of 3.0-plus included Lopez (3.31) and outfielders Alex Nettey (3.31 semester/3.24 cumulative, Business; Dalton, Ill.) and Cody Rizzo (3.00, Arts and Letters; Temecula, Calif.).

Five newcomers rounded out the 20 players who posted GPAs of 3.0-plus in the 2003 fall semester, including sophomore catcher Nick Mainieri (3.40; South Bend, Ind.) and three freshmen: righthander Jess Stewart (3.47; Mannasas, Va.), catcher Sean Gaston (3.33; Brownsburg, Ind.), righthander Derik Olvey (3.27; Pelham, Ala.) and righthander/first baseman Chris Vasami (3.07; Mamaroneck, N.Y.).