March 20, 2007
* Note – see first PDF listed above for full-color game program, including team rosters and stat sheets, ND headshot page, action photos, game notes, probable starting pitchers and “Tale of the Tape” statistical comparison (second PDF contains detailed cumulative stats pack).
GAME NOTES – Notre Dame this week plays its first home games under head coach Dave Schrage, whose 20 years as a college head coach have included 484 wins (he is in the midst of his 18th season as a D-I head coach) … Notre Dame’s many early-season challenges have included replacing the entire 3-man weekend rotation (a task not faced by at least the 19 previous ND teams) while losing six of the nine everyday position starters from 2006 (also unprecedented in a check of the past 19 seasons) … the Irish return to Eck Stadium for a much-needed 7-game homestand, after spending 22 days on the road (including travel days) during the first month … ND has won 14 of its past 18 home openers (1989-2006; 10-3 from ’94-’06) but lost the first Eck Stadium game of 2006 (2-4 vs. Wright State) … the 10-4 win over Cincinnati in 2005 saw current junior SS Brett Lilley become the first ND freshman ever to post a 5-hit game in the home opener … ND leads the series with Cleveland State, 15-1 (avg. scoring margin of 11-5), with CSU posting a 12-5 win over the Irish in ’04 … the ND-WMU series dates back to 1916 and currently is tied (63-63-1), with the Irish holding a narrow lead in the series scoring (667-642; +25) … Northwestern (130 games) is the only team to have faced the ND baseball program more than WMU (127), followed by Michigan State (125), Michigan (120), Wisconsin (118) and Purdue (117) … ND beat CSU 12-1 in ’06 while edging WMU, 2-0 (the Irish own five straight wins over the Broncos) … ND’s 2007 highlights include wins over #12 TCU (4-1) and #7 Nebraska (16-6) … the Irish are batting .380 in wins this season (11 runs/gm) but just .162 in the losses (1.3 runs/gm) … ND already has lost four times this season when holding a mid-game lead (unearned runs provided the margin in each of those losses) … the ND offense hit .303 (.355 with runners in scoring position) and averaged 7.0 runs in the eight Spring Break games, with a 2.88 staff ERA over Spring Break while holding opponents to .239 batting and posting a 2-to-1 K-to-walk ratio (55/27) … the Irish dominated late-game scoring on the trip (32-3 from the 7th-10th innings) … top Spring Break hitters included: A.J. Pollock (.419, 13-for-31, 4 RBI, 8 R, 3B, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 3 SAC, SF, 3-3 SB, 5 Es), Ryan Smith (.381, 9-for-21, 6 RBI, 4 R, 2B, 2 BB, 3 Ks, SF, 2 Es), Danny Dressman (.367, 11-for-30, 6 RBI, 6 R, 2B, 3B, 3 BB, K, SAC, SB) and Lilley (.364, 12-for-33, 2 RBI, 11 R, BB, 5 HBP, 4 Ks, SAC, SB, 3 Es) … ND has yet to lose this season when scoring 5-plus runs (7-0) … the Irish own a 17-7 scoring margin in the 1st inning (also 19-5 in the 7th) … Lilley’s 60 career time hit-by-pitch already rank 60th in NCAA history (one shy of 9th) … ND is 7-1 when outhitting the opponent (1-8 when being outhit) … ND is averaging 5.9 runs/gm (compared to 5.5/gm, at the end of the 2006 Spring Break trip) … the Irish own a better staff ERA (3.08) than at the end of the 2006 spring trip (3.29) but ND’s .951 season fielding pct. (33 Es in 17 games, 29 unearned runs allowed) is well below the 2006 teams defensive stats after returning from their spring trip (.972, 16 Es in 15 games, 12 UER) … ND is batting nearly identical this season vs. LHPs (.280) and RHPs (.275) … the Irish also have solid situational hitting stats with runners in scoring position (.343 batting avg.) but are hitting just .262 with 2-outs … top batters with RISP include junior DH/OF Tony Langford (.500, 4-for-8), Pollock (.462; 6-for-13), Ross Brezovsky (.364), Dressman (.357) and Barnes (.353) … six different ND pitchers own a sub-2.00 season ERA … Jess Stewart had three appearances spanning 8.1 innings on the trip, without allowing an earned run (UER) … ND owns the best staff ERA (3.08) among BIG EAST teams, also ranking 3rd in low opp. batting avg. (.252), low HRs allowed (6) and low walks per 9 IP (3.6), plus 9th in Ks thrown per 9 IP (6.6) … the Irish rank 11th among BIG EAST teams in fielding pct. (.951) … the ND offense ranks 6th among BIG EAST teams in runs (101), 8th in home runs (9) and on-base pct. (.368), 9th in batting avg. (.275) and stolen bases (17) and 10th in slugging pct. (.400) … David Phelps owns the 2nd-best ERA among BIG EAST regulars (1.20), also ranking 4th among the league’s pitchers in wins (3-1) and starts (5), 7th in Ks (26) and 8th in innings (30.0) … Mike Dury ranks 4th in the BIG EAST with 4 home runs (also 6th with a .647 slugging pct.).