April 16, 2002
Notre Dame junior righthander J.P. Gagne (Bloomington, Minn.) has been named the BIG EAST Conference pitcher of the week, after posting relief wins in back-to-back days versus conference foes Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.
Gagne did not allow a run in seven innings of work while holding the Panthers and Hokies to four total hits and two walks. He had one strikeout and 13 groundouts while allowing just one hit in 12 opponent at-bats with runners on base (1-for-6 with two outs).
Gagne inherited a 7-2 lead versus Pittsburgh and pitched the sixth and seventh innings of that 12-2 win, allowing one hit and one walk while facing the minimum six batters (with 14 pitches). He worked out of a sixth-inning jam, with one out and runners on second and third, by inducing a groundout before the final out came when a runner was caught stealing. Gagne then gave up a leadoff at-bat in the seventh but served up a popup and double-play ball to kill the threat.
One day later, Gagne entered a 1-1 game in relief of classmate Ryan Kalita and pitched the 7th-11th innings while allowing just three hits and an intentional walk, with one strikeout and 10 groundouts – with the Irish pushing across the winning run in the bottom of the 11th.
Gagne – who has totaled 16 wins in three years as a member of the starting rotation – ranks fifth among BIG EAST pitchers with a 2.85 overall ERA and has posted three of his four wins during the current 12-game homestand, including a three-hit shutout in the 1-0 win over BYU. He currently leads the Irish in wins, innings (47.1), appearances (10) and starts (7) while ranking third on the staff in low opponent batting average (.238), plus opponent batting with 2 outs (.212) and with runners on (.257). His ratio of 1.90 walks per 9 innings also ranks third on the Irish staff.