April 2, 2002
Notre Dame senior catcher Paul O’Toole (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Ignatius High School) has been named the BIG EAST Conference baseball player of the week, after leading the Irish to a 3-1 week (March 25-31) in road games vs. West Virginia and Georgetown.
O’Toole paced the Irish offense during the week in batting average (.500, 8-for-16), times on base (10, two walks), doubles (3), total bases (14) and slugging percentage (.875), and runs scored (7). He also ranked second on the team with seven RBI for the week and added his team-leading fifth home run of the season in clutch fashion, launching a three-run shot for a 6-6 tie as the Irish rallied for a 10-6 win at West Virginia. The 6-1, 205-pound lefthanded hitter also stole a base during the week and played error-free in the field.
A second-time BIG EAST player of the week (also earning the honor as a sophomore, on March 13, 2000), O’Toole showed his versatility as a hitter during the four-game stretch, batting fifth, second and in the cleanup spot. He hit 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position and reached on 3-of-4 leadoff plate appearances.
O’Toole opened the week by batting 2-for-3 and plating a run for an early 2-0 lead in the 4-2 loss to WVU (batting in the No. 5 hole). He then delivered the key hit in the comeback form an early 6-1 deficit at WVU, smacking a three-run blast with two outs to tie the game in the 7th (ND won 10-6 in 10 innings). He also drew an intentional walk in his next at-bat (he hit in 2nd spot of the WVU nightcap).
After shifting to cleanup duties at Georgetown, O’Toole hit 2-for-3 in the first game (10-6), including a two-run single in the five-run 1st, plus three runs scored, a walk and a stolen base. He capped the week by batting 3-for-5 in the 12-3 win over GU, with three more runs scored and an RBI double.
Four current members of the Notre Dame baseball program have been named BIG EAST player of the week during the past three seasons, including senior third baseman Andrew Bushey after his 6-for-9 effort at the 2002 season-opening UNO Classic. ND’s other previous BIG EAST players of the week include senior centerfielder Steve Stanley (Feb. 23 and April 23 of 2001) and junior leftfielder Brian Stavisky (April 24, 2000, Feb. 19 and April 2, 2001).
O’Toole currently ranks seventh on the squad with a .277 season batting average while leading the Irish in RBI (20), runs scored (18), home runs (5) and two-out RBI (6). He also ranks second on the team in walks (9) and stolen bases (5), third in hits (23) and slugging pct. (.554), and has yet to ground into a double play (in 43 at-bats with runners on base).
O’Toole owns a .310 career batting average while appearing in 196 career games, with 186 starts. He ranks sixth in Notre Dame history with 48 career stolen bases (most ever by an ND catcher), with his other career stats including 209 hits, 133 RBI, 25 home runs, eight triples, 41 doubles, 162 runs scored, 71 walks and 23 times hit-by-pitch. His 1,073 career putouts rank fourth in Notre Dame history and are the most ever by an ND catcher.