June 2, 1999
- Infielder Ust taken in sixth round
- Hard-throwing lefty Kalita goes in seventh
- Senior Jeff Wagner picked by Anaheim Angels in 21st round
The Notre Dame baseball program saw three of its players selected in the first 21 rounds of Wednesday’s 1999 major league baseball draft, highlighted by two players who were selected by the Detroit Tigers in the first seven rounds.
Irish junior infielder Brant Ust (Redmond, Wash./Eastlake HS) was selected in the sixth round (177th pick) by the Tigers, who then opted for junior lefthander Tim Kalita (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest HS) in the seventh round with the 207th overall pick. Senior designated hitter Jeff Wagner (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier HS) rounded out the Irish selections on the first day, as a selection of the Anaheim Angels in the 21st round (641st overall pick). The first 23 rounds of the draft were completed on Wednesday, with the draft scheduled to continue on Thursday and Friday if necessary (the draft continues until all teams pass).
Ust and Kalita are just the third pair of Irish teammates to be selected in the first 10 rounds of the same draft. Righthander Christian Parker was a fourth-round pick by the Montreal Expos in ’96 while centerfielder Scott Sollmann went in the seventh round of that draft to Detroit. In 1998, righthander Brad Lidge was selected by the Houston Astros in the first round (17th overall) and outfielder Allen Greene went in the ninth round to the New York Yankees.
Ust ranks as one of the top hitters in Notre Dame and BIG EAST Conference history, earning All-America honors and BIG EAST player of the year as a sophomore in 1998 (he also was selected to Team USA in the summer of ’98). He ranks among the top six in five major Irish career categories, including second in home runs (46) and consecutive games started (all 179 of his career). Ust also ranks fourth at Notre Dame in career batting average (.368) and doubles (51) while standing sixth in hits (243) and 10th in at-bats (660). Drafted in the 11th round of the 1996 major-league draft by the New York Yankees, Ust elected to enroll at Notre Dame and became the BIG EAST rookie of the year in the spring of 1997. In 1998, he became the third sophomore ever named BIG EAST player of the year. After being tabbed as preseason player of the year for the 1999 season, Ust went on to earn first team all-conference for the third consecutive season while being Notre Dame’s most productive hitter. The veteran infielder led the 1999 team in batting (.359), hits (79), home runs (17), walks (30), total bases (150) and on-base percentage (.439). He ranked second in runs (53), RBI (58), doubles (16), and slugging (.682). Ust was listed as the nation’s No. 38 preseason college prospect in 1999 by Baseball America.
Kalita, who entered Notre Dame undrafted out of high school, developed into one of the top lefthanded pitchers in the country under the tutelage of Irish pitching coach Brian O’Connor. O’Connor also previously helped Lidge, a 42nd round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants, develop into just Notre Dame’s second first-round draft choice since the amateur draft began in 1965. Kalita owns an 11-3 career record with a 4.00 ERA and a .260 opponent batting average. His 16 starts in 1999 were the fifth-most in Irish history. Kalita developed into one of the top strikeout pitchers in Notre Dame history ,as his 214 career strikeouts place him sixth all-time with the Irish while averaging out to 9.0 Ks per nine innings. The hard-throwing lefthander has helped Notre Dame set the team single-season strikeout record in each of his three seasons (399 in 1997, 456 in ’98 and 478 in ’99). Kalita took on an elevated role in 1999 as one of two returning starters from the 1998 squad. He posted a 4-2 record and finished with the third highest single-season strikeout total in Irish history, with 97 (teammate Aaron Heilman posted 118 to better Frank Carpin’s long-standing record of 102 Ks in 1958).
Wagner was drafted in 1998 by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 50th round and elected to return to Notre Dame for his senior season. Despite a foot injury that kept him out of the lineup for 37 games in 1999, Wagner still hit eight home runs in 82 at-bats and led the team with a .720 slugging percentage. He finished his college career as Notre Dame’s career home run leader (49) while ranking fourth in RBI (189), fifth in doubles (50), eighth in walks (109), ninth in hits (233) and 10th in runs (158). The power-hitting catcher/DH became the first player ever named first team all-BIG EAST four times and finished second to former Seton Hall great Mo Vaughn on the BIG EAST list for career home runs in conference games (24, two shy of Vaughn’s 26). Wagner also ranks first all-time in BIG EAST history with 83 RBI in conference plat. After missing 18 games initially in 1999, Wagner returned on April 3 to play in the doubleheader sweep of Connecticut. He homered on the first pitch he saw versus the Huskies, before adding another home run in the opener and a third homer in the nightcap. Wagner then reinjured his foot on April 25 in a game against Seton Hall and missed the remainder of the 1999 season.
See attached biography for further information on the careers of Ust, Kalita and Wagner.
NOTES: Ust and Kalita are the seventh and eighth players selected in the first 10 rounds of the major-league baseball draft during the five-year tenure of Irish head coach Paul Mainieri S Ust is the fourth-highest selection during that time (Lidge first round in ’98, outfielder Ryan Topham fourth round in ’95, Parker fourth round in ’96) S Detroit used their first round pick (third overall) to select USC catcher Eric Munson S the BIG EAST had a player selected in the first round (the fourth in the last three years), as Baltimore used the 23rd overall selection on Providence outfielder Keith Reed S other BIG EAST players selected on the first day included Boston College first baseman Sean McGowan (third round, San Francisco Giants) and Seton Hall RHP Cameron Esslinger (16th round, Colorado) S Ust and Kalita are the first Irish players drafted by the Tigers since Sollmann and infielder George Restovich were selected by Detroit in 1996, in the seventh and 17th rounds respectively S Ust and Kalita are the fifth and sixth Notre Dame players ever selected by the Tigers, joining shortstop Pat Pesavento (1989, 17th round), outfielder Eric Danapilis (1993, 23rd round), Sollmann and Restovich.
Eastlake High School
5, at Seton Hall (4/25/98)
4, five times
5, at Seton Hall (4/25/98)
5, vs. Dallas (3/8/99)
5, vs. Western Michigan (3/23/99)
5, at Seton Hall (4/25/98)
- Extra-Base Hits
4, at Seton Hall (4/25/98)
- Total Bases
15, at Seton Hall (4/25/98)
10, vs. Penn State (3/6/99)
10, vs. W. Michigan (3/23/99)
- Hitting Streak
15 games (April 13-27, 1997)
Three-year regular who has started all 179 games of his career, representing the second-longest streak of consecutive starts in Notre Dame baseball history (shortstop Pat Pesavento started 204 straight, from 1986-89) … holds rare distinction of earning first team All-BIG EAST honors at three different positions: second base (1997), third base (’98) and shortstop (’99) … his statistical numbers fell off a bit in ’99, after a sophomore season in which he earned third team All-America and BIG EAST player of the year before being selected to the 22-player roster with USA Baseball … finished as Team USA’s third-leading hitter in the summer of ’98, batting .378 (34-for-90) with 20 RBI, 10 doubles, three triples and 10 walks while splitting time at third with Cal State Fullerton’s Ryan Owens … became first Notre Dame baseball player to make the final USA national team roster since Shaun Fitzmaurice played for the 1964 Olympic team … made the move in 1999 from third base back to shortstop, where he played during the final 16 games of ’97 … also played shortstop in summer of ’97 with the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League … one of the top hitters in Notre Dame and BIG EAST history … joined sophomore RHP Aaron Heilman in making Notre Dame one of just five teams in the nation that returned multiple All-Americans from 1998 … developed into a complete player who can hit for average (.368 for his career, fourth best in Irish history) and can drive the ball to all fields (his 46 career home runs include several opposite-field shots) … also a threat to steal bases, with a strong throwing arm, good range and an unending hustle … his physical attributes include strong wrists, good hand-eye coordination and excellent all-around athleticism (he was a high school quarterback and defensive back) … elected to join Irish program despite being selected by New York Yankees in 11th round of 1996 major league draft … was 18th-highest drafted player in ’96 who opted to play Division I baseball (only two players drafted before him ended up joining Ust as Baseball America Freshman All-Americans … has posted 68 career multi-hit games, including a five-hit game at Seton Hall in ’98 … listed as nation’s No. 38 college prospect in 1999 by Baseball America.
IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Ranks among the top six of five major Notre Dame career categories, including second in home runs (46) and consecutive games started (179) … also ranks fourth in Irish history for career batting average (.368) and doubles (51), sixth in hits (243) and 10th in at-bats (660) … his 18 home runs in 1998 remain second-most in the Notre Dame record book (his 17 in ’99 rank fifth) … his other 1998 totals included a .724 slugging pct. (sixth in Irish history) and 20 doubles (seventh) … scored 66 runs as a freshman in 1997-good for 10th all-time at Notre Dame … also tied Notre Dame single-game record for hits (5), home runs (3) and runs scored (5), after a 5-for-5, five RBI game at Seton Hall on April 25, 1998 … ranks fifth in BIG EAST history with a .413 career average in BIG EAST games (100-for-242) … his .493 conference batting average in 1998 represented the best mark by a BIG EAST player in the 1990s.
AS A JUNIOR: Named first team All-BIG EAST for third straight year … started all 61 games, including the entire regular season at shortstop … served as DH at BIG EAST tournament and as second baseman in NCAAs … led team in batting (.359), hits (79), home runs (17), walks (30), total bases (150) and on-base pct. (.439) while ranking second in runs (53), RBI (58), doubles (16) and slugging (.682) … also totaled 10 stolen bases (14 att.), two triples, 35 K, two sacrifice flies and 19 errors in 241 chances (.921 fielding pct.) … led team with .372 two-out batting avg. and 24 two-out RBI … tied his career-best hitting streak of 15 games, from March 30-April 18 … had 20 multi-hit games (eight 3-hit, one 4-hit) … posted 14 multi-RBI games (two 5-RBI games) … had hits in 50 of the 61 games … went 2-for-4 in 1-0 win over No. 2-ranked Miami … played key role in 10-1 win at Rutgers (3-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI) … hit 4-for-7 in doubleheader sweep of Providence … helped Irish post 7-2 win over West Virginia in opening game of BIG EAST tournament (2-for-3, HR, 2B).
AS A SOPHOMORE: Named third team All-America by Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association, while earning a unanimous selection as BIG EAST player of the year … joined junior RHP Brad Lidge as third pair of teammates ever to win BIG EAST player and pitcher-of-the-year awards (since ’85) … became third sophomore ever named BIG EAST player of the year, joining Seton Hall 1B Mo Vaughn (’88) and Connecticut utility player Jason Grabowski (’96) … led the BIG EAST with the highest conference batting average ever posted during the decade of the 1990s (.493) … swept all three BIG EAST average and percentage titles, with .960 conference slugging and a .530 on-base pct. … tied for second in the conference with eight home runs in BIG EAST play … hit a team-best .373 overall (81-for-217) while ranking among the BIG EAST leaders in the following overall categories: first in home runs (18), fourth in doubles (20) and hits (81), sixth in RBI (58) and 10th in runs (55) … his .724 overall slugging ranked sixth in Irish history … his 18 home runs tied for second-most ever in a season at Notre Dame, two behind Frank Jacobs’ 20 in 1991 … had 24 multiple-hit games (five with three hits, three with four hits, one five-hit game) … started all 58 games at third … hit .375 with two outs, .354 with runners in scoring position … tied three Irish records and one BIG EAST mark in ninth inning of April 25 nightcap at Seton Hall, when he sent a first-pitch offering over the leftfield fence to cap a 5-for-5 day that included three home runs, a double high off the wall, five RBI and five runs.
AS A FRESHMAN: Named to ’97 Freshman All-America teams by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball … played three infield positions for significant stretches … led all BIG EAST freshmen in batting (.372), home runs (11, an Irish freshman record), RBI (54) and runs (66, third overall in the BIG EAST) … ran away with conference rookie-of-the-year award while becoming first freshman middle infielder and eighth freshman overall (since ’83) ever named first team all-BIG EAST, as a second baseman … one of two Irish players to start all 60 games, starting first 16 at third base, next 28 at second and final 16 at shortstop … second on team with 66 runs, third in batting (.372), home runs (11), doubles (15) and slugging (.623) … struck out looking just five times in 250 plate appearances (26 total Ks, 21 walks) … made just five errors at shortstop (.931 overall fielding) … hit .356 with two outs, .343 with runners in scoring position … had nine three-hit games and 4-for-4 game in 12 -1 win over Georgetown … had 15-game hitting streak (April 13-27) and 24 multi-hit games.
PREP & PERSONAL: A three-sport athlete at Eastlake High School … earned honorable mention All-America recognition from USA Today … a shortstop and centerfielder, earning all-conference and team MVP honors three times … all-conference as a senior while leading team to division title … set school records with nine career home runs and five in a season … also set school records for RBI in a season and career … hit .433 as a senior … member of National Honor Society … born July 17, 1978, in Brussels, Belgium … also lived in England with his family before moving to Washington …. son of Paul and Paula Ust … full name is Brant Steven Ust … a marketing major in the College of Business Administration.
Year GP/GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HP SO SF/SH SB-SBA OB SLG AVG1997 60/60 223 66 83 15 4 11 54 21 3 26 3/0 4-7 .428 .623 .3721998 58/58 217 55 81 20 1 18 58 16 7 36 5/0 11-16 .424 .724 .3731999 61/61 220 53 79 16 2 17 58 30 3 35 2/0 10-14 .439 .682 .359TOTALS 179/179 660 174 243 51 7 46 170 67 13 97 10/0 25-37 .431 .676 .368
Oak Park, Ill.
Oak Park-River Forest HS
10, at Seton Hall, 9 IP (4/27/98)
10, vs. Penn State, 8 IP (3/10/99)
10, at West Virginia, 8 IP (3/20/99)
10, at Villanova, 7.2IP (3/27/99)
9, at Seton Hall (4/27/98)
8, vs. Penn State (3/10/99)
8, at West Virginia (3/20/99)
- Fewest Hits All. (min. 5 inn.)
2, vs. Michigan, 7.1 (4/21/98)
2, vs. West Virginia, 6.0 (5/19/99)
3, vs. Penn State, 5.0 (3/6/99)
3, at Northwestern, 5.0 (4/6/99)
3, vs. Miami (FL), 7.0, (5/11/99)
Talented lefthander who took on elevated role as one of team’s top two starters in 1999 … has posted deceiving stats throughout his Notre Dame career, as 19 of his 33 starts have resulted in no-decisions … finished the ’98 season ranked 26th in the nation for ERA (2.78) … has improved his velocity and offspeed pitches throughout his career … his expanded role in 1999 included a greater leadership presence on the Irish staff … poses rare challenge to hitters as a lefthander who can spot his fastball with high velocity … owns an 11-3 career record, with a 4.00 ERA and .260 opponent batting average … averaged 9.0 K per 9 innings for his career … a key component to his effectiveness involves avoiding wildness and mental lapses, as evidenced in his loss to Cal State Fullerton in the 1999 NCAAs (he allowed one run over the first four innings before walking the first two batters and giving up two home runs in the four-run fifth) … refined his pitching during successful ’98 summer stint with the Mat-Su Miners of the Alaska League and a solid showing in ’98 fall practice … has finished strong during each of the past two seasons (four runs allowed in final six regular-season starts of 1998, two earned runs in final five regular-season starts of ’99) … an intense pitcher who challenges hitters … looking to maintain his edge for deeper stretches, after struggling to get through the fifth inning at times in ’98 and ’99 … had some rocky first innings in 1999 but showed mental toughness to bounce back and set down 10-plus batters in a row with regularity … has continued to develop his major-league curveball and a lively fastball … ranks sixth in Notre Dame history with 214 career strikeouts … helped Irish post team K record in each of his three seasons (399 in ’97, 456 in ’98 and 478 in ’99).
AS A JUNIOR: Endured an up-and-down 1999 season that featured 16 starts in 18 overall appearances … finished sixth on the Irish staff with a 5.16 ERA, plus a 4-2 record, 97 Ks and 46 walks in 90.2 innings … struggled at times with his control (11 wild pitches, seven hit batters) and extra-base hits, as 48 of the opponent’s 93 hits went for two-plus bases (22 doubles, 15 home runs) … shared team lead with five pickoffs while allowing just nine stolen bases all season … posted three straight 10-strikeout performances during March (vs. Penn State, West Virginia and Villanova) … joined teammate Aaron Heilman as the only Notre Dame pitchers to post 95-plus strikeouts in season since Frank Carpin threw 102 in 1958 (Heilman’s 118 stand first all-time, Kalita’s 97 rank third) … his .271 opponent batting avg. ranked fourth on the staff … 29 of his strikeouts came on a called third strike … led team with 73 flyball outs … averaged 5.04 innings per appearance and 9.63 strikeouts per nine innings … ranked fourth in the BIG EAST in overall strikeouts thrown and sixth for strikouts in conference games (49) … left the May 11 game versus No. 2-ranked Miami with a 3-2 lead after seventh inning, allowing just one earned run on three hits (the Hurricanes rallied for a 5-3 win) … proved very effective against left-handed hitters (opposing lefties hit just .222 against him) … his 16 starts placed him in a tie for fifth on the Irish single-season list … opened the postseason with six steady shutout innings in 7-2 win over West Virginia at the BIG EAST Tournament (2 H, 1 BB, 5 K).
AS A SOPHOMORE: Made 15 appearances (11 starts) in ’98, while posting a 2.78 ERA that ranked 26th in the nation … combined with Heilman (nation-leading 1.61 ERA) to help Irish rank 12th in nation for team ERA (4.02) … won all four of his decisions, including three straight in April … averaged nearly a strikeout per inning (71 Ks in 74.1 IP) while totaling 37 walks, five wild pitches and seven hit batters … allowed just .250 opponent batting (68 hits) … ranked fifth in BIG EAST for overall ERA, third in conference ERA (2.03) … returned from rocky third outing (at Miami, Fla.; 3.2 IP, 7 ER) with a 10.13 ERA before slicing it under three … tossed six innings to beat BYU, 15-4 (3 H, 3 BB, 5 Ks) … stalled in fifth inning of 6-4 win at Boston College (4 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 5 BB, 2 K) … began his push in 9-1 win over Michigan (7.1 IP, 2 H, 1 UER, 3 BB, 5 K), followed by career-best 10 Ks and only career complete game in 6-1 win a Seton Hall (9 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 1 BB) … added 5-3 win over West Virginia (7.1 IP, 9 K, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) … had no decision in 3-2 BIG EAST Tournament win over St. John’s (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K) … had rough fifth inning in BIG EAST Tournament, as Rutgers rallied from 6-0 deficit (7 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 8 K).
AS A FRESHMAN: Appeared in 14 games (six starts) … went 3-1 with a save while ranking eighth in the BIG EAST with a 3.67 ERA … tied for third on staff with 46 Ks, plus 33 walks in 49 innings … allowed .256 opponent batting … pitched 2.1 shutout innings in 9-2 loss to Penn State, allowing one hit and two walks … tossed 5.1 innings versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee (8 Ks, 2 R, 6 H, 3 BB) … posted 6-3 win over IUPUI (4 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB) … combined with fellow lefty Chris McKeown to post 4-0 shutout of Bowling Green (3 IP, 4 Ks, 2 BB) … won consecutive outings versus Chicago State (7-5, 7 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 4 BB, 7 Ks) and University of Chicago (3-1, 6.1 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 4 BB, 6 Ks) … turned in a gutsy mid-game effort in BIG EAST elimination-game loss to Villanova (5-4, 11 inn.), totaling seven Ks while allowing four runs (three earned) over seven innings (5 H, BB).
PREP & PERSONAL: Pitched on two conference title teams at Oak Park-River Forest High School … helped team capture regional title as a junior … all-conference as a senior on nationally-ranked team … posted 15-K, one-hit win with Oak Park Royals summer team … hails from same high school as 1997 Irish baseball MVP Mike Amrhein … born Nov. 21, 1978, in Evanston, Ill. … son of Joseph and Nancy Kalita … full name is Tim Ryan Kalita … a management information systems major in College of Business Administration.
Year G/GS/CG IP H R ER BB K WP HB BK AVG HR W-L SV ERA1997 14/6/0 49.0 45 23 20 33 46 3 3 0 .256 3 3-1 1 3.671998 15/11/1 74.1 68 33 23 37 71 5 7 0 .250 2 4-0 0 2.781999 18/16/0 90.2 93 61 52 46 97 8 11 0 .271 15 4-2 0 5.16TOTALS 47/33/1 214.0 206 117 95 116 214 16 21 0 .260 20 11-3 1 4.00