May 30, 2004
Notre Dame junior third baseman Matt Macri (Clive, Iowa/Dowling HS) – who made an impressive lateseason push before coming up shy of receiving BIG EAST Conference player-of-the-year honors – has been recognized on a higher level as a second team All-America selection from USA Today Sports Weekly. Macri finished the regular season ranked among the BIG EAST’s top-10 leaders in 11 of 12 categories (for all games) and became the first player ever to lead the conference in both home runs and triples during BIG EAST games.
Macri is just the third Notre Dame player ever named to the exclusive USA Today All-America team, which recognizes a total of just 28 players (14 each on the 1st and 2nd team, with the awards beginning in 2000). Righthanded pitcher Aaron Heilman was a USA Today 2nd-team All-Amercan pick in 2000 and a 1st-teamer in 2001, when Irish centerfielder Steve Stanley earned a spot on the 2nd team (he then also was a USA Today 1st teamer, in ’02).
The 6-2, 190-pound Macri most recently picked up tournament MVP honors at the BIG EAST Championship, after batting 6-for-14 (.429) with five RBI, two home runs – and several more big-league plays at the hot corner – in a pair of wins over Boston College and a single win over St. John’s.
Macri – who is batting .468 with seven home runs in the month of May (23-for-62), plus hits in 13 of his last 14 games – currently leads Notre Dame in batting average (.380), slugging percentage (.701), on-base percentage (.478), home runs (14), triples (7), doubles (15), runs scored (72), hits (84) and total bases (155) – plus an eye-popping 1.179 “OBS” (combined on-base and slugging pct.’s). Macri’s 56 RBI are one shy of team leader Matt Bransfield while his 38 walks are second on the squad to Steve Andres’ 42 and his 12 stolen bases trail only Steve Sollmann’s 16. He also is the first Notre Dame player in the 10-year Paul Mainieri era to total 12-plus home runs and 12-plus stolen bases in the same season.
Macri becomes the 14th Notre Dame baseball player to receive All-America honors and is the eighth player so honored during the Mainieri era. He is the program’s 10th position player to earn All-America distinction and joins fellow third baseman Brant Ust (’98 honoree) as the only Notre Dame corner infielders ever selected to an All-America team.
Notre Dame’s other position player All-Americans have included catchers Elmer Kohorst (’56, ’57) and Walt Osgood (’62), shortstop Rich Gonski (’64), the center-field trio of Dan Peltier (’89), Eric Danapilis (’93) and Stanley (’01, ’02), rightfielder Ryan Topham (’95) and current senior second baseman Sollmann (’03).
The program’s four pitchers who have earned All-America honors include Nick Palihnich (’60), four-time honoree Heilman (’98-’01), J.P Gagne (’03) and current junior righthander Chris Niesel (’03).
Several players from teams on Notre Dame’s 2004 schedule were named to USA Today’s All-America teams, including Texas Tech 1B Josh Brady (1st team), Rutgers OF Jeff Frazier (2nd team) and a pair of 2nd-team pitchers from Central Florida in Matt Fox and Kyle Bono (neither faced the Irish in the recent pair of midweek games). The 28 All-Americans also include four other players who faced the Irish during the 2003 season: Cal State Fullerton C Kurt Suzuki (2nd), Nebraska 3B Alex Gordon (1st), Arizona State SS Dustin Pedroia (1st) and Eastern Michigan SS Brian Bixler (2nd).
Additional Updated Bio. Notes On Macri – hit just .273 in first two seasons with the Irish (missed most of ’02 due to elbow surgery), with .426 slugging and .359 on-base over the ’02 and ’03 seasons (his ’04 numbers include a batting avg. 107 points higher than his career avg. heading into ’04, plus a boost in 275 slugging points and 119 on-base points) … he has hit 14 HRs with 56 RBI in 57 games this season after totaling just 5 HRs and 48 RBI in 77 games over the ’02 and ’03 seasons … his margin of walks (33) plus hit-by-pitch (6) minus strikeouts (71) was -32 in his first two seasons, compared to +6 in ’04 (38 BB, 6 HBP, 39 Ks) … his situational batting includes ranking 2nd on team in leadoff on-base pct. (.533), plus 3rd in 2-out batting (.349) and batting with runners in scoring position (.377) … settled into leadoff spot during Sollmann’s 21-game injury absence (5 of his HRs in ’04 have been leadoff shots) … owns stellar .943 fielding pct. (just 10 errors) and 50 error-free games … his May/post-finals stats include team-best .468 batting and 7 HRs in 15 games (16 RBI, 18 R, .935 slugging, 3B, 6 2B, 6 BB, 2 HBP, 6 Ks, .514 on-base, 1.449 “OBS”, 5 SB, 2 SF, 4 Es/.897) … ended regular season as BIG EAST leader in overall runs and triples, also 2nd in hits, slugging, on-base, OBS and total bases, 4th in RBI and home runs, 5th in in batting avg. and 6th in doubles … joined teammate Craig Cooper, Pittsburgh’s Jim Negrych and BC’s Jason Delaney as BIG EAST’s only players in top 10 for on-base and slugging … in conference games only, he finished 1st in hits (38), HRs (7), runs (36), 3Bs (3) and total bases (71), 2nd in slugging (.703), 3rd in OBS (1.174), 5th in batting (.376) and 6th in on-base (.453) … first BIG EAST player ever to lead the conference in both home runs (7) and triples (3) during BIG EAST games … 4th player ever to lead BIG EAST in hits and HRs during same season (first since current Texas Ranger Jason Grabowski did it with UConn in ’96) … led the league in four of nine annual categories listed in BIG EAST record book (H, R, SB, 3B), tying three previous players for the most BIG EAST-leading stats in same season (another current big leaguer, Seton Hall alum Craig Biggio, was the first to lead the BIG EAST in four stats, in ’86, with the most recent coming in 1990) … tied BIG EAST record with third career BIG EAST player-of-the-week award (2nd in ’04) after hitting 9-for-18 in week of May 10-16 vs. UConn, Michigan and Rutgers (17 TB, 2 HR, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 2 SB) … 2nd on team with .358 batting in April (29-for-81, 18 RBI, 34 R, 4 HR, 5 3B, 4 2B, 20 BB, 3 HBP, 16 Ks, 5 SB, E) … his .333 batting in Feb. and March also was 2nd on team (26-for-78, 22 RBI, 20 R, 3 HR, 3B, 5 2B, 12 BB, HBP, 17 Ks, 2 SB, 5 Es) … a .463 career batter at Eck Stadium (81-for-175, 38 RBI, 9 HR in 53 GP), including team-best .495 batting at The Eck in 2004 (47-for-95, 24 RBI , 39 R, .580 OB, .895 slug., 1.475 OBS, 7 HR, 5 3B, 7 2B, 20 BB, 2 HBP, 12 Ks, 2 SF, 9 SB, 4 Es/.949) … has made 54 starts at 3B, plus 2 at SS (vs. Manchester and IPFW) … hit mostly in 6-spot (7 games) and 7-spot (8) early in season before making 19 starts in the 2-hole, after injury to Sollmann … also had made 4 starts batting 5th and 2 in 8-hole, plus 16 leadoff starts (all 15 games since Sollmann’s return) … went 18 games without an error before miscue after midgame shift to SS vs. Cleveland State … 6 of his 10 errors have come in 3 games (2 in both games vs. Texas-San Antonio and in game-2 vs. Virginia Tech) … also posted 45 error-free games as Irish SS in ’03 … 3rd on team with .346 batting in 2004 games vs. ranked teams USC, Winthrop, FAU, Minnesota, Arizona and UCF (9-for-26, 8 RBI, 9 R, HR, 2 3B, 2 2B, .692 slugging, .452 on-base, 1.144 OBS, 5 BB, 3 Ks, 1 E) … needs 6 more hits to become 10th ND player with 90-plus in a season … his .701 season slugging pct. would rank 10th in ND record book (best since ’99) … his 14 HRs are tied for 9th on that ND season list while his 7 triples are tied for 6th … his 72 runs already rank 8th in the ND record book (only three previous players have scored 80-plus) … his 155 total bases in 2004 rank 5th in ND history, just behind Jeff Wagner (156, in ’97), Ust (157, in ’98) and Danapilis (159, in ’93) while Peltier holds the record of 202 (in ’89) … his 12 career triples are tied for 9th in ND history … named All-Tournament at FAU Classic (.385, 5-for-13, 7 RBI, 7 R, HR, 3B, 2 BB) and Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic (.400, 6-for-15, BB, 3 RBI, 6 R, 2 2B) … leads team with 23 multi-hit games (11 with 3-plus, pair of 4-hit games, one 5-hit game) while his 14 multi-RBI games are 2nd-most on team (has 2 of team’s 6 games with 5-plus RBI) … has grounded into just one double play all season, despite 108 at-bats with runners on base … combined with Cooper (.470 batting) and Bransfield (33 RBI) in making ND the league’s first team since 1989 (third in BIG EAST history) to feature the conference leader in batting avg., home runs and RBI (ND had the unique distinction of also owning the ERA leader, with Grant Johnson’s 1.91) … the 1989 Villanova squad is the only previous BIG EAST team to feature three different players who comprised the league’s leaders in batting, RBI and home runs.