March 23, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – David Phelps already had logged strong starts in all five of his outings during the 2007 season but the sophomore righthander had something special on hand for Friday night’s BIG EAST opener versus South Florida, as the emerging Irish ace went the distance for the three-hit, 1-0 shutout, with Mike Dury’s early home run holding up as the game’s only scoring. Phelps (4-1) racked up a career-high 10 strikeouts, walked just one and hit another with a pitch in the impressive 115-pitch display. It is the first time in five seasons that a Notre Dame righthander has tossed a nine-inning solo shutout – dating back to J.P. Gagne’s 1-0 win over BYU that helped turn around the season for the 2002 College World Series team (which was just 12-10 heading into that game, similar to the current squad’s 11-9 record). That 2002 game versus BYU also stands as the previous time that the Irish had played in a rare nine-inning, 1-0 game.
(Note: this recap now includes quotes from coach Phelps, Dury and coach Dave Schrage, plus historical note information on the rarity of 9-inning solo shutouts and 1-0 games by recent ND teams).
Notre Dame – winners of four straight and seven of the past eight – had one of its better defensive games of the season with only one error marking just the eighth time in 20 games that the Irish have avoided multiple errors. The switch-hitting Dury got a hold of a 2-1 fastball from USF righthanded ace Danny Otero (4-4) and pulled it into the crosswind, down the rightfield line. The blast had enough force to carry over the fence, keeping Dury among the BIG EAST’s top power hitters. Dury’s fifth home run of 2007 came on his 59th at-bat of the season and eclipses his long-ball total from the previous three seasons combined (4 HR, in 84 ABs).
USF (16-8, 2-2 BIG EAST), which has yet to beat the Irish in five tries since joining the conference in 2006, failed to advance a runner to second base, as Phelps limited the visitors to 0-for-11 batting with runners on base. The St. Louis-area native allowed just two leadoff batters to reach base in the game – including one in the 9th, before striking out the side for a memorable finish.
The Irish improved to 8-4 in their all-time BIG EAST season openers and now are 6-0 this season when hitting a home run.
Phelps (who located 78 of his pitches for strikes is the 10th different Notre Dame pitcher (done a total of 15 times) to log a 9-inning solo shutout during the past 13 seasons (1995-2007). His 10 strikeouts marked just the third time among those 15 games that an Irish pitcher has reached double-digit Ks in a 9-inning solo shutout (current junior LHP had an 11-K game in the 2-0 win over Western Michigan during the 2006 season).
The rarity of a 1-0 game can be seen in the fact that only seven Notre Dame games in the past 15 seasons – spanning exactly 900 games – have yielded that score (all won by the Irish), and three of those 1-0 finals were 7-inning games.
But how rare is it for a pitcher to go the full nine innings and pick up the tension-packed 1-0 victory? Consider the fact that Phelps has joined former righthander J.P. Gagne as the only Notre Dame pitchers to post a 9-inning solo shutout in a 1-0 game since at least the middle of the 1991 season (pending further research into the ND baseball archives), with that span covering at least 964 games. Gagne holds several other rare distinctions in Notre Dame baseball history, as one of three ND pitchers ever to total 20-plus career wins (25) and 10-plus saves (21) – with the others being current big-leaguers Chris Michalak and Aaron Heilman – and as one of three Irish baseball players ever to couple All-America and Academic All-America honors during his career (joining Dan Peltier and Steve Sollmann in that elite group). Interestingly enough, Phelps could become the fourth player on the All-America/Academic All-America double honor list, as he has compiled a 3.36 cumulative GPA while double majoring in political science and computer applications.
Notre Dame’s seven 1-0 games during the past 15 seasons have involved just one other with a solo home run – back in 1996, when Mike Amrhein’s blast helped beat Navy in a 7-inning game at the Service Academies Classic in Millington, Tenn.
USF’s only baserunner in the first three innings came with one out in the 1st, as freshman second baseman Ryne Intlekofer made a diving spot but bobbled the ball and was unable to throw out Walter Diaz. Intlekofer quickly redeemed himself moments later, slapping down a strong throw from catcher Matt Weglarz to thwart the stolen-base attempt.
Three innings later, Ty Taborelli pulled a 1-1 pitch into left-center for a two-out single but Phelps blew a 1-2 pitch past Addison Maruszak to quickly end the threat. Dexter Butler then reached on a single up the middle to start the 5th (on another 1-2 pitch) but Phelps induced a flyout to center field off the bat of Brandin Daniel before Joey Angelberger (2-2 cont) and Nick Cardieri (1-2) both went down looking at third strikes.
Butler earned a five-pitch walk to reach with two outs in the 7th but Daniel again flew out to center to keep the score at 1-0. A tiring Phelps later hit Cardieri with a first-pitch offering – putting a runner on base with one out – but 9-hole hitter Brad Karns flew out to left field and pinch-hitter Ryan Soares lined a shot up the middle that was deftly snared by Intlekofer.
Diaz jumped on an 0-1 pitch to start the 9th, sending a single through the left side, but Phelps came back to strike out Taborelli on foul tip into Weglarz’s glove (on a 1-2 pitch). Maruszak then narrowly missed a sure double down the rightfield line but was frozen on a 2-2 pitch for the second strikeout – and Butler ended the game on the same count, after holding off on an inside fastball that ended the game.
Senior centerfielder Danny Dressman’s 4th-inning single extended his hitting streak to eight games, longest by a Notre Dame player this season and the third-longest hit streak of his ND career.
Postgame Comments From ND Head Coach Dave Schrage – ” You can’t say enough about David and what he did again, coming out against their best guy. To get three strikeouts in the ninth inning is unbelievable. … David came back in the fall with a purpose. You can’t give enough credit to him and [pitching] coach [Sherard] Clinkscales and also the mental part of the game that Sherard has worked on with David. … We fought through a lot of things tonight and David Phelps was mentally strong to keep them off the board. It was a little frustrating offensively, we made some poor baserunning mistakes and did not do a good job in situational hitting. We could have scored two or three runs and could have executed a little better. In the 8th inning, we had first and third with one out, and Pollock, our best contact hitter and fastest guy, strikes out. It just seemed like we were pulling teeth to score runs today. … One thing about Mike Dury, he has been a great leader for us when playing and when on the bench. This is his last year of playing college baseball. He took advantage with the first-base job being open and has gone out and hit the ball tremendously hard. … Both teams have two good pitches left for this weekend, so now we have to focus on the rest of the series … The Webber International game last week was huge, because we needed a come-from-behind game to spark the team. Those are the type of games that turn your season around and you build winnings streaks off.”
Postgame Comments From ND Senior 1B Mike Dury – “I was trying to look for something up in the zone and [Otero] threw one that I put a good swing on. I didn’t think it was going out because of the wind, but I hit it pretty good. Who would think I hit a home run in the second inning and it end up being the winning run? … Obviously, seeing more pitches everyday this season helps out a lot. [Assistant] coach [Scott] Lawler has helped me a lot with my approach, in getting my pitches and not getting myself out. … With Dave on the mound, we knew the game would be low-scoring, but I didn’t think it would be that low-scoring. I’ve been here for three-and-a-half years, and that was one of the best outings I’ve ever seen. The way he was making his pitches was huge for our team. We have to get more runs behind him but Dave was incredible and picked us up tonight. The guys in our locker room thought Dave could come out and be our top starter. … So many guys are stepping up this year. We’ve always had a our ups and downs, but when we come home like this is when we need to hit our stride and hopefully this sparks us in the right direction. … Coach Schrage told me he does not care how much I strike out and was looking for me to be a power hitter. He has helped me with my approach. … It was rough for me earlier in my career. You want to be helping this program win games and I was luck to do that on the mound. [Former ND player] Javi Sanchez always sends me text messages to give me advice and support, I respect him so much. … Being in pressure situations, you are able to relax and focus on your approach, whether on the mound or at the plate. … To get out of here with the win is huge for our team.”
Postgame Comments From ND Sophomore RHP David Phelps – “It has not kicked in yet. It’s a little surreal. It was amazing. I had a couple outings this year when I’d go out and they’d tell me I had one more and then I’d give up the hit and get yanked. But they stuck with me tonight and it was awesome. I know Kyle can do the job but I wanted to finish. … The biggest thing is I know my team behind me is going to make the plays. Otero threw very well tonight but we got he one run. … One of the biggest motivations for me is I look back to last year and I was not on the postseason roster, and it was a real culture shock for me. I had to work hard and now I’m just trying to keep my spot. … A couple times tonight we had real quick innings but that did not bother me that much because I was in the groove and ready to go back out there. But we have some power and can sore a quick run. … It’s always nice when you know you’re going against their best to raise you up in a level. They have a phenomenal lineup. Knowing you are facing the best is going to bring out your best. … I can throw the pitches this year and don’t have to worry about the guys making the plays. … The gears were going a lot on that second strikeout in the ninth, I was definitely pumped.”
RECENT 1-0 GAMES INVOLVING NOTRE DAME BASEBALL – Dating back to a 1-0 loss at Xavier on April 25, 1992 (in a 7-inining game), the Notre Dame baseball team has played in just seven 1-0 games over that 15-year stretch (a span of 900 games) … ND has won each of the past seven 1-0 games, which include only four that have been 9-inning games … current sophomore RHP David Phelps (’07, vs. USF) joined former versatile pitcher J.P. Gagne (’02, vs. BYU) as the only pitchers on the below list to register a 9-inning solo shutout in the rare 1-0 wins … here’s the list:
9-Inning, 1-0 Games (since win over Illinois-Chicago on 4/15/91, a span of 964 games)
Notre Dame 1, Valparaiso 0 (4/22/98; Eck Stadium) – Five ND pitchers who would have noteworthy careers pitched in this game, most notably current Major League players Brad Lidge (starter, jr., RHP; 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 Ks, 8 BF, 32 pitches) and Aaron Heilman, who picked up the win after closing the final 3.2 innings (H, BB, 6 Ks, 12 BF, 47 pitches) … the outing extended Heilman’s personal shutout streak to 16 appearances and 26.1 innings (it later would reach 33.0 IP) while dropping his season ERA to 1.14 and giving him 53 Ks in 39.1 total IP … the 1-0 battle actually was the first game of a scheduled doubleheader, with the game extended beyond 7 innings until ending with 2-outs in the bottom of the 9th … the game-ending sequence included a one-out fielding error by SS Billy Finn (allowing Brant Ust to reach), with Ust coming around to score on a stolen base, a Jeff Perconte groundout and Alec Porzel’s single into left-center (on a 1-2 pitch) … Valpo sophomore RHP Tony Floros pitched the 8.2 innings for the tough-luck loss (UER, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 34 BF, 124 pitches) … others to pitch for the Irish included standout late 1990s starter Alex Shilliday (jr. RHP, 2 IP, H, K, 8 BF, 24 pitches), future top righthanded starter Scott Cavey (soph. RHP, IP, 3 H, HB, 5 BF, 23 pitches) and freshman LHP Mike Naumann (0.1 IP, H, 2 BF, 3 pitches), who went on to become a two-time Academic All-American … the game spanned 2:21 of game time.
#24 Notre Dame 1, #2 Miami 0 (5/12/99; Eck Stadium) – Roughly 13 months later, Porzel, Heilman and Shilliday again played key roles in a 1-0 win, this time over the vaunted Miami Hurricanes, in a classic showdown that remains on the short list of the greatest games in Eck Stadium history … ND became the first team to shut out Miami since 1995 (ending the 6th-longest scoring streak in NCAA history at 248 games) … the Irish also were one strike away from handing Miami its first no-hit loss in more than 2,000 games (2,078, dating back to 1964) – and it would have been the first no-hit loss for the Hurricanes in a 9-inning games since 1958 … Mike Rodriguez averted the no-hitter by dropping a 1-2 pitch into shallow left field but Heilman (5 IP, H, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 4 groundouts, 17 BF) then struck out fellow Team USA invitee Manny Crespo to end the game … three ND pitchers combined for 15 Ks, with Shilliday (2 IP, 2 BB, 4 Ks, runner caught stealing, 7 BF) and senior LHP Chris McKeown (2 IP, BB, 4 Ks, pickoff throw, 6 BF) combining to face just 13 batters over the first four innings … the games only run came in the 1st inning, as Steve Stanley hit an opposite-field, leadoff single to left field and then was running on a groundout to second base by fellow freshman Paul O’Toole before scoring on Porzel’s single into center (on a 2-2 pitch) … sophomore RHP Tony Farmer took the loss (4.1 IP, 6 H, BB, HB, WP, 4 Ks, 20 BF) while freshman RHPs Troy Roberson (2.2 IP, BB, 2 Ks, balk, 9 BF) and Vince Vasquez (IP, BB, 2 Ks, 3 BF) combined for 3.0 shutout innings … Miami’s hopes for the 9th-inning rally were dampened by a sliding catch from LF Matt Nussbaum, who raced to the leftfield line to snare a 1-2 pitch off the bat of future big-leaguer Bobby Hill … the win game the Irish their 14th straight 40-win season … the game spanned 2:35 of game time.
Notre Dame 1, BYU 0 (4/1/02; Eck Stadium) – Possibly the fastest 9-inning game in ND history was over in just 1:39, as the teams combined for only nine baseunners and no errors… unlike the games vs. Valpo and Miami, this tight game featured just one pitcher for each team … ND junior RHP J.P. Gagne faced just 30 batters while registering the 3-hit shutout (7 Ks, 8 GO, 6 infield popups, 71 of 108 pitches for strikes) … the outing came just four days after Gagne was knocked around in his start at West Virginia (1.0 IP, 5 R, 6 H) … senior LHP Jeff Stone went the distance for the Cougars (8 IP, 5 H, BB, K, 28 BF, 41 of 71 pitches for strikes) … junior DH and 8-hole hitter Mike Holba was the unlikely offensive hero, in a rare start … Holba pulled a 2-0 pitch into the left-center gap for a one-out double in the 3rd inning before moving up on Joe Thaman’s grounder back to the mound and scoring on a wild pitch.
7-Inning, 1-0 Games – There also have been three 7-inning games involving ND (since 1992) that have produced 1-0 finals … junior RHP Darin Schmalz posted the complete-game win over Navy on 2/23/96, in Millington, Tenn. (0 BB, 4 Ks, one runner reached 3rd base) … Mike Amrhein hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 1st … Navy pitcher McLemore also went the distance (6 IP) … nine years later at Eck Stadium, sophomore RHP Chris Niesel’s no-hit bid ended on a 2-out bunt single by West Virginia’s Lee Fritz (5/3/03) … Niesel struck out nine, faced just 23 batters and located 67 of his 101 pitches for strikes (1 H, 1 BB) … WVU sophomore RHP Shawn Miller took the loss (6 IP, UER, 4 H, BB, HB, WP, 3 Ks, 25 BF, 56 of 88 pitches for strikes) … sophomore SS Matt Macri’s leadoff double past the third-base bag (1-2 pitch) sparked the 6th-inning run sequence, followed by Brennan Grogan’s sac. bunt, a hit batter (Matt Edwards), a popup and a fielding error by SS Grant Psomas that allowed Macri to score … Eck Stadium saw a similar game between ND and Rutgers on 5/15/04, with Grant Johnson collecting the win (7 IP, 4 H, BB, 3 Ks, 26 BF, 60 of 85 pitches for strikes) and fellow junior RHP Jack Egbert taking the loss (6 IP, R, 6 H, 2 BB, HB, WP, 2 Ks, 25 BF, 55 of 87 pitches for strikes) … Macri had the RBI in this 1-0 game, pulling a 1-0 pitch down the leftfield line to score Cody Rizzo (who was hit by a pitch before moving up on Greg Lopez’s sac. bunt).
ND’s RECENT NINE-INNING SOLO SHUTOUTS (1995-2007) – LHP Tom Thornton (’05 and ’06) recently joined Dan Stavisky (’96), Danny Tamayo (1 in ’00, 2 in ’01) and Aaron Heilman (’01) as the four ND pitchers who have posted multiple nine-inning solo shutouts since 1995 … the 15 nine-inning solo shutouts in that 13-year span also include the strong efforts of Darin Schmalz (’95), Gregg Henebry (’95), Christian Parker (’96), and J.P. Gagne (’02), plus current junior LHP Wade Korpi (’06) and current sophomore RHP David Phelps (’07) … Thornton, Henebry and Korpi are the only LHPs on the list … five on the below list have not walked a batter in their solo shutouts: Parker, Stavisky (2), Gagne and Thornton (vs. SIU) … four on the list allowed just three combined hits/walks in their solo shutouts: Parker, Stavisky (vs. Pitt), Tamayo (vs. SJU) and Gagne … 10 of the recent 9-inning solo shutouts have featured 2-3 hits allowed: 2 by Heilman (vs. Pitt) and Tamayo (vs. St. John’s) and 3 by Henebry, Parker, Stavisky (vs. Pitt), Tamayo (vs. Mississippi State and New Mexico), Gagne, Korpi and Phelps … Gagne and Phelps are the only players on the list to toss their gem in a 1-0 game while Stavisky (vs. Pittt) and Korpi did so in 2-0 games and four others were 3-0 games (Schmalz, Heilman vs. Florida Atlantic and Pitt, Tamayo vs. UNM) … the fewest batters faced in a 9-inning solo shutout (since ’95): Stavisky (28, vs. Pitt), Schmalz (30), Tamayo (30, vs. MSU and SJU) and Gagne (30) … the most Ks in a 9-inning solo shutout since `95: Parker (11), Korpi (11), current sophomore RHP David Phelps (10, vs. South Florida), Stavisky (10, vs. Pitt), Heilman (9, vs. FAU), Tamayo (9, vs. SJU) and Heilman (8, vs. Pitt) … the lowest pitch counts (state kept for the past 10, since 2000): 84 by Thornton (vs. Southern Illinois), 105 by Tamayo (vs. MSU), 107 by Tamayo (vs. SJU), 108 by Heilman (vs. Pitt) and Gagne … here’s the list of ND’s 9-inning solo shutouts from 1995-2007:
â€¢ 3/11/95 … ND 3, George Washington 0 (in San Antonio) – RHP Darin Schmalz (4 H, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 30 BF, one runner past 2B)
â€¢ 4/22/95 … ND 6, Illinois-Chicago 0 – LHP Gregg Henebry (3 H, BB, HB, 6 Ks, 31 BF, no runners past 2B)
â€¢ 4/21/96 … ND 7, at Georgetown 0 – RHP Christian Parker (3 H, 0 BB, 11 Ks, 5.1 no-hit start, no hit to OF until 2-outs in 9th)
â€¢ 4/30/96 … ND 2, Pittsburgh 0 – RHP Dan Stavisky (3 H, 0 BB, 10 Ks, 28 BF)
â€¢ 5/17/96 … ND 4, St. John’s 0 (BET; Norwich, Conn.) – RHP Dan Stavisky (6 H, 0 BB, 4 Ks)
â€¢ 5/28/00 … ND 7, at Mississippi State 0 (NCAAs) – RHP Danny Tamayo (3 H, 1 BB, K, 10 GO, 30 BF, 105 pitches, took no-hitter into 7th)
â€¢ 3/2/01 … ND 3, Florida Atlantic 0 (in St. Petersburg) – RHP Aaron Heilman (5 H, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 11 GO, 4 IF popups/lineouts, rundown, 32 BF, 111 pitches)
â€¢ 3/12/01 … ND 3, New Mexico 0 (in Fresno, Calif.) – RHP Danny Tamayo (3 H, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 8 GO, 34 BF, 122 pitches)
â€¢ 3/23/01 … ND 3, at Pittsburgh 0 – RHP Aaron Heilman (2 H, 4 BB, 2 HB, 8 Ks, 16 GO, 32 BF, 108 pitches, bloop 1B and 1B thru the infield)
â€¢ 4/28/01 … ND 5, at St. John’s 0 – RHP Danny Tamayo (2 H, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 14 GO, 30 BF, 75 of 107 pitches for strikes, bunt single)
â€¢ 4/1/02 … ND 1. BYU 0 – RHP J.P. Gagne (3 H, 0 BB, HB, 7 Ks, 8 GO, 6 IF popups, 30 BF, 71 of 108 pitches for strikes)
â€¢ 3/27/04 … ND 4, at West Virginia 0 – LHP Tom Thornton (6 H, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 9 GO, 3 IF popups, 34 BF, 75 of 111 pitches for strikes, multiple baserunners only in the 5th)
â€¢ 3/18/06 … ND 4, Southern Illinois 0 (in San Antonio) – LHP Tom Thornton (5 H, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 12 GO, 3 IF popups/foulouts, 31 BF, 64 of 84 pitches for strikes, 3 runners in scoring position/1 reached 3B)
â€¢ 3/29/06 … ND 2, Western Michigan 0 – LHP Wade Korpi (3 H, 2 BB, 11 Ks, 6 GO, 2 IF popups, 2 pickoffs, 31 BF, 77 of 114 pitches for strikes)
â€¢ 3/23/07 … ND 1, South Florida 0 – RHP David Phelps (3 H, 1 BB, 1 HB, 10 Ks, 5 GO, 32 BF, 78 of 115 pitches for strikes)
South Florida (16-8, 2-2 BIG EAST) 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-0-0 – 0 3 2
Notre Dame (11-9, 1-0 BIG EAST) 0-1-0 0-0-0 0-0-X – 1 7 1
Home Run: Mike Dury, ND (solo in 2nd; 5th of season/9th of career).