March 27, 2004
NOTRE DAME AT WEST VIRGINIA
Saturday, March 27, 2004
1:00 p.m. doubleheader
The Notre Dame baseball team (14-3) – ranked as high as sixth in this week’s national polls (per Collegiate Baseball magazine) – heads on the road for the sixth straight weekend by opening BIG EAST Conference play at West Virginia on Saturday, March 27 (1:00 p.m. doubleheader) and Sunday the 28th (1:00) … the Irish are coming off a 16-6 win over Detroit, after totaling just 24 runs in the previous six games … ND’s planned pitching rotation is junior RHP Chris Niesel, sophomore LHP Tom Thornton (already a two-time BIG EAST pitcher of the week in ’04) and junior RHP Grant Johnson, who is being eased back to regular duty after 2003 shoulder surgery … WVU is expected to counter with junior LHP Zac Cline, junior RHP Shawn Miller and freshman RHP Travis McGrath …Niesel will look to get back on the winning track after losing last week at Southern Illinois (8-4), ending his streak of 10 consecutive winning decisions while dropping his career record with the Irish to 16-2 … Niesel nearly no-hit West Virginia in the 2003 series opener, a 1-0 pitcher’s duel vs. Miller (ND took the narrow win) … ND leads the series 25-13 (9-5 at WVU) but WVU won 2-of-3 at Eck Stadium last season (0-1, 7-5, 5-1) before the Irish beat the Mountaineers to open the ’04 BIG EAST Tournament (9-1) … ND’s team stats include a .313 team batting avg., 14 home runs, 128 runs scored, a 4.30 staff ERA and just 13 errors (.977 fielding pct.) while WVU is batting .303 with 13 HRs and 91 R, plus a 6.49 ERA and .957 fielding (25 Es) … ND has scored in 101 straight games and has been shut out just once in the last 331 games … see www.msnsportsnet.com for in-depth information on the Mountaineers.
RADIO, LIVE-STATS & HOTLINE – All of Notre Dame’s 2004 regular-season and postseason games again will be broadcast by South Bend-based ESPN Radio 1580 AM (WDND, which recently switched from 1620, and its sister station WNDV 1490) … the broadcasts are available via the internet at www.und.com (College Sports Pass subscription required) … und.com also provides links to GameTracker livestats on the website’s main page, for all home games and – as a bonus offering – at select road games … WVU originally had intended to provide non-GameTracker livestats but will be unable to do so for the ND series … 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).