March 21, 2006
The Notre Dame baseball team (9-6) enters its home opener on Tuesday, March 21 (5:05 EST), versus Wright State (7-8) – with the Irish looking to continue the momentum of their 7-1 record over Spring Break … sophomore LHP Wade Korpi will draw the start vs. the Raiders while freshman RHP David Phelps is the probable starter the next day (vs. Central Michigan, at 5:05) … ND opens BIG EAST Conference play on the road (its fifth straight weekend away from home), with those games to be played at Povich Field in Bethesda, Md. (noon doubleheader on Sat., March 25; single game on Sun., March 26, at noon) … Jeff Manship is the probable game-1 starter for the Irish vs. the Hoyas, with fellow junior RHP Jeff Samardzija slated to start game-2 and senior LHP Tom Thornton the likely Sunday starter … most BIG EAST series this season have shifted to a Fri.-Sat.-Sun. format and all games will be nine innings (even in a doubleheader format – except when a DH is played on Sunday due to an earlier rainout, in which case the first Sunday game would be seven innings) … also note that Mondays no longer are available as makeup days for BIG EAST series.
IRISH QUICK NOTES – The Irish are 9-2 in home openers during the Paul Mainieri era, losing to Bowling Green in 1995 (4-5) and Central Michigan in ’04 (1-4) … after starting the season 2-5, ND won six straight and went 7-1 on its spring break trip in San Antonio … Matt Bransfield was named tournament MVP at the Irish Baseball Classic after batting 8-for-16 with 5 RBI (HR, 3B, 3 2B) … other all-tournament picks included: Alex Nettey (.462, 6 R), Cody Rizzo (.357, 5 RBI), Craig Cooper (.421, 5 R), Ross Brezovsky (.455, 4R), Jeff Manship (8 IP, 2 UER, 8 K), and Tom Thornton (9 IP, 5 H) … Thornton was named BIG EAST pitcher of the week for the fifth time in his career (former ND gerat Aaron Heilman, with 10, is the only pitcher in BIG EAST history with more weekly BE honors) … ND hit .346 on the trip, averaging 7.8 runs per game with 23 doubles, 3 triples, and a pair of HRs … the ND pitchers had a 2.50 ERA and .205 opponent batting avg. on the trip … half of ND’s RBI on the trip (31 of 60) came with 2-outs (8 by Rizzo) … ND now is 45-21 in 10 trips to San Antonio during the Paul Mainieri era (24-8 in the IBC) … Manship has totaled 32 Ks and just 5 walks in 25 IP while Thornton is 3-1 with 16 Ks and one walk … the 7 wins tied for the most in a Spring Break trip in the Mainieri era (also 2000 and ’01) … ND starting pitchers have combined for a 3.06 ERA, including a 3.50 K-to-walk ratio (71/20) and 10 more innings pitched (85.1) than hits allowed (75) … Cooper hit safely in all eight games of the trip and has hits in 10 of the 11 games he has played this season … Danny Dressman – named BIG EAST player of the week after starting 7-for-12 with 8 RBI on the Spring Break trip – had hits in his first nine games played and now has hits in 10 of 12 GP overall … ND’s loss to Iowa (8-10) marked the third time this season that unearned runs have produced the Irish margin of defeat … Mainieri enters the week three wins shy of his 500th win with the Irish (497-199-2; 828-478-3 overall) … freshman Jeremy Barnes already has made starts at 1B (1), 2B (2), SS (1), 3B (3) and DH (2).
SERIES NOTES – ND holds a 3-2 series edge vs. Wright State, including three 1995 games at ND (11-8, 6-8, 5-8) … ND leads the CMU series 14-8 but the Chips have won the past two meetings (1-4 and 4-10, both at ND) … ND rallied to beat CMU in 2001 (6-4, on Ken Meyer’s 2-out, 2-strike grand slam in the 9th) and claimed the nation’s No. 1 ranking the next week … Wright State owns wins this season over Urbana (10-2), TCU (6-4), Air Force (9-3, 1-0, 9-0), Indiana Tech (11-5) and Butler (6-2), with losses to IPFW (5-7), TCU (4-8, 2-4), Wake Forest (2-7, 2-7, 2-19) and Butler (8-10, 5-6).
**See PDF link above for game program **