March 24, 2005

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2005 NOTRE DAME BASEBALL – Week 6 – vs. Georgetown (March 24)

BIG EAST BEGINNINGS – The Notre Dame baseball team (8-9) opens BIG EAST Tournament play on Thursday, March 24, with a 12:05 Eck Stadium doubleheader vs. Georgetown (12-8) … junior LHP Tom Thornton and sophomore RHP Jeff Manship are slated to be the ND starting pitchers vs. the Hoyas while sophomore RHP Jeff Samardzija is the probable starter in Saturday’s game-1 vs. Seton Hall (game-2 starter is TBA) … ND leads the GU series 24-2 and has won 23 straight vs. the Hoyas (since ’96), including an 18-7, 11-4, 9-6 sweep at Bethesda’s Shirley Povich Field in ’04 … Paul Mainieri, now in his 11th season at ND and 23rd overall as a college head coach, heads into the GU series with a 789-460-2 career record that includes a 458-181-1 record with the Irish.

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 … 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).

Tom Thornton CAREER STATS and 2005 Game-by-Game Stats for Tom Thornton and Jeff Manship (see PDF)

STILL GOING – The Irish have extended the program’s second-longest scoring streak to 165 games (dating back to ’02), trailing only a 231-game scoring streak from 1999-2002 … ND also has scored in 396 of the last 397 games.

STENCIL THEM IN – Three ND players have started all 17 games this season, with freshman 2B Brett Lilley the only one to do so at the same position … the others include senior Matt Edwards (14 at 1B, 3 at 3B) and junior Craig Cooper (7 at LF, 4 at CF, 3 at 1B, 2 at RF, 1 at DH) … Edwards is the only player to hit in the same spot (3-hole) in all 13 games.

RED RATIO UPDATE – ND assistant coach David “Red” Grewe tracks a special ratio to gauge the Irish batters plate discipline: walks plus hit-by-pitch minus strikeouts … the ’04 ND squad was +23 in the “Red Ratio,” easily the best mark of the Paul Mainieri era (dating back to ’95; avg. ratio of -31 from ’95-’03) … freshman 2B Brett Lilley is +18 (11 BB, 13 HBP, 56Ks) in the Red Ratio while the rest of the team is just -4 (Craig Cooper is next, at +9).

HBP HIGHWAY ROLLS ON – Notre Dame remains on pace for a record team hit-by-pitch total, with 43 HBPs in the first 17 games (that would factor out to 142 in the 56-game regular season, well ahead of the team record of 106/5th in NCAA history set in ’04) … freshman 2B Brett Lilley has racked up 13 HBPs, just three shy of joining teammate Cody Rizzo (28 in ’03, 21 in ’04) as the only ND players with more than 15 HBPs in a season … other 2005 HBP leaders include Alex Nettey (5), Steve Andres (5) and Matt Edwards (4).

NEW-LOOK LINEUP – ND has played most of the season without junior DH and 2004 RBI leader Matt Bransfield (broken hand in ’05 opener), meaning that the typical 2005 batting order has included just five returning starters (junior OFs Steve Andres, Craig Cooper and Cody Rizzo, senior 1B Matt Edwards and junior SS Greg Lopez) … newcomers to the everyday lineup have more than held their own, as freshman 2B Brett Lilley (.400), junior CF Alex Nettey (.333) and freshman 3B Ross Brezovsky (.322) rank 1-3-4 on the team batting charts while sophomore C Sean Gaston is 6th on the team with a .292 batting avg.

SPRING IN HIS STEP – Senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards owns a .345 career batting avg. with the Irish but he now has hit a combined .415 (34-for-82) during 22 career Spring Break games, with 28 RBI and 52 total bases (4 HR, 6 2B, 16 R, 12 Ks, SAC, 13 BB, 4 HBP, 7 Es, 2-3 SB).

FIRST-INNING FOCUS – Recent seasons have seen the Irish struggle with 1st-inning run production in the early games but ND now has totaled 17 runs in the 1st inning of 17 games this season.

ALAMO CITY IRISH BASEBALL CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT PICKS – ND’s three all-tournament picks at the Alamo City Irish baseball classic included: junior LF/DH Steve Andres (.500, 5-for-10, 4 RBI, 4 R, 2 HR, 3 BB, 2 Ks), junior CF Alex Nettey (.385, 5-for-13, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B, 3 BB, HBP, 1-2 SB) and freshman 3B Ross Brezovsky (.357, 5-for-14, 3 R, 3B, 2 Ks, E) … the only other ND player who hit above .290 in the tournament was sophomore C Sean Gaston (.333, 5-for-15, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2B, HBP, K, SAC) … the Irish hit .288 in the four games (30 R, .439 slugging pct., 5 HR, 3B, 3 2B, 18 BB, 4 HBP, 20 Ks, .385 on-base pct., 3-4 SB, .974 fielding, 4 Es, 26 LOB) while the ND staff had an 8.00 ERA in the ACIBC (36 IP, 55 H/.367, 17 BB, 21 Ks, 3 WP, 7 HB) … the Irish now are 2-3 in the all-time series vs. Texas-San Antonio, 3-1 vs. Southwest Missouri State and 3-10 vs. Oral Roberts.

GREAT ALAMO MEMORIES – Junior LF/DH Steve Andres, who headed to San Antonio earlier this week mired in a 1-for-21 slump, has been an all-tournament pick at the past two Alamo City Irish Baseball Classics, batting a combined .478 (11-for-23) in the ’04 and ’05 ABIBCs, plus 8 RBI, 7 runs, a .913 slugging pct. (3 HR, 2B), a .556 on-base pct. (4 BB), a 1.469 OPS (combined OB and slugging) and just 2 strikeouts … Andres has left the park on 3 of his 7 hits this season.

SPRING BREAK STATS – The Irish hit .296 in the six games over the break, scoring 40 runs (6.7/gm) with a .409 slugging pct. (5 HR, 3B, 6 2B), .402 on-base (29 BB, 9 HBP), 31 Ks, 3 sac. bunts, 3-of-5 SBs and .969 fielding (7 Es) … top hitters on the Texas swing included senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards (.391, 9-for-23, 10 RBI, 6 R, 2 HR, 2 2B, .739 slug, 4 BB, K, .464 OB, 1.203 OPS, SF, 3 Es), freshman 2B Brett Lilley (.368, 7-for-19, 2 RBI, 6 R, 4 BB, 5 HBP, 4 Ks, SAC, .571 OB), junior CF Alex Nettey (.353, 6-for-17, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B, 3 BB, HBP, K, 1-2 SB), junior OF Craig Cooper (.333, 8-for-24, 5 RBI, 4 R, 2B, 4 BB, 2 Ks, SB) and junior LF/DH Steve Andres (.333, 6-for-18, 5 RBI, 6 R, 2 HR, .667 slug, 5 BB, 3 Ks, .478 OB, 1.145 OPS) … the ND pitchers posted a 9.00 staff ERA over the break, with 86 hits allowed (.368 opp. avg.), 28 BB, 30 Ks, 10 HB and 4 WP in 54 IP (plus 8 unearned runs).

HIT MASTERS – Senior 1B/3B Matt Edwards has hits in 14-of-17 games this season (13 of past 14, including team-best 8-game hitting streak) while leading the team in multi-hit games (9) and multi-RBI games (7) … others of note include freshman 3B Ross Brezovsky (5 multi-hit games), junior CF Alex Nettey (hits in 11 of 14) and freshman 2B Brett Lilley (6 multi-hit).

THROWN TO THE FIRE – The Notre Dame pitching staff is looking to put the first month of the season quickly behind it, with several veterans and newcomers expected to play key roles the rest of the way … the Irish lost three key pitchers from the ’04 staff that finished 5th in the nation with a 3.36 team ERA (ace junior starters Grant Johnson and Chris Niesel signed with the Cubs and Indians, respectively, while top lefthanded reliever Joe Thaman moved on due to graduation) … two pitchers who have been highly-rated prospects, senior John Axford and Jeff Manship, would have been natural replacements for Johnson and Niesel but each is being eased back slowly after undergoing 2004 reconstructive elbow surgery (they have combined to throw just 2.1 innings this season) … one result of Axford and Manship’s limited production has been the quick use of four freshman pitchers – LHPs Wade Korpi and David Gruener and RHPs Joey Williamson and Tony Langford – who have combined to log 42.1 innings with mixed results.

DOHERTY REMAINS ON RECORD PACE – Junior All-America closer Ryan Doherty’s career stats have him in position to challenge ND record for career Ks per 9 IP (12.27), low hits per 9 IP (6.19) and K-to-walk ratio (3.96) … two of those standing records – 12.66 Ks/9 IP and 6.27 H/9 IP – were set 40 years ago by Dan McGinn (’64-’65) … Doherty’s former teammate Chris Niesel ended his career in ’04 with the K-to-BB record (4.09) … Doherty’s career ERA has risen a bit this season (from 2.30 to 2.72) … his 17 career saves trail only John Corbin (20; ’97-’00) and J.P. Gagne (19; ’00-’03) in the ND record book … his next strikeout will be the 100th of his ND career … Doherty has converted 16-of-18 save chances the past two seasons and has allowed just 3-of-24 inherited baserunners to score in the ’04 and ’05 (2-of-7) seasons.


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