May 8, 2001
Notre Dame senior shortstop Alec Porzel (Lisle, Ill./Naperville North HS) has become the third Irish baseball player to earn multiple BIG EAST Conference player-of-the-week honors this season, after a strong showing last week in single games versus Michigan and Western Michigan and the three-game series with Connecticut.
Porzel-who also earned the honor on April 16-continued the recent surge that has pushed his season batting average to .296, thanks to hits in 17 of the last 20 games (he is batting .403, or 31-for-77, during that stretch). He collected multiple hits in four of five games last week (1-for-1 with two walks in the other) while leading the Irish during the week in batting avg. (.524, 11-for-21), hits, doubles (4), home runs (one of three to hit one), total bases (18), slugging pct. (.857) and on-base pct. (.583), plus second in runs (8), RBI (7) and walks (3).
He struck out just once during the week, did not hit into a double play, batted 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position, hit 6-for-9 with two outs and reached on 3-of-6 leadoff chances. Notre Dame players have combined for six of 15 BIG EAST player-of-the-week awards this season, including two each by junior CF Steve Stanley (Feb. 26, April 23) and sophomore RF Brian Stavisky (Feb. 19, April 2). Irish senior righthanders Danny Tamayo (Feb. 26, April 23, April 30) and Aaron Heilman (March 5, March 26) join two-time Seton Hall honoree Shawn Tarkington as the only repeat BIG EAST pitchers of the week this season (no team aside from ND has produced repeat players of the week).
Porzel’s 25 doubles lead the BIG EAST and rank third nationally, trailing only the 27 posted by Michael Woods (Southern Univ.) and Ryan Keyes (Ohio Univ.)-with Porzel’s average of 0.48 doubles per game ranking 7th nationally. He also ranks 4th among BIG EAST players with 47 overall RBI while ranking atop the league leaders in seven categories for conference games: 1st in RBI (32) and doubles (13), 2nd in total bases (58), 3rd in slugging pct. (.652) and runs (23), 5th in home runs (4) and 6th in hits (31). He is batting .348 in BIG EAST games, 52 points above his overall average.
Porzel’s output during the UConn series included a 5-for-10 showing at the plate, with a home run, two doubles, five RBI, five runs and two walks. He opened the scoring in the series with a solo home run before adding two walks and a run scored in that 6-1 win. He then kept ND close for the 13-12 rally in the nightcap, batting 3-for-5 with two runs scored, a two-run double and an RBI single-before closing the week with 2-for-6 game in the 19-12 loss (with a double and run scored). His career stats vs. UConn now include 15-for-30 batting (.500), plus nine RBI, nine runs, a home run, five doubles, four walks and a stolen base.
He opened the week by batting 2-for-4 in the 9-1 win over Michigan (BB, R, RBI) and then went 3-for-4 in the 7-6 loss to WMU (R, RBI, 2B).
Porzel has moved into second on the ND career RBI list (204, 17 behind ’93 grad. Eric Danapilis) and is the second ND player ever to post 25-plus doubles in a season (Dan Peltier hit 32 in ’89). He made his 223rd career start on Sunday, tying Craig Counsell (’92) for 2nd in ND history, behind J.J. Brock’s 238 from ’94-’98. Porzel is tied with Jeff Felker (’00) for 4th in the ND record book for games played (228), 10 back of Brock’s record total. His 849 career ABs leave Porzel 11 shy of Brock’s record.
Porzel in the BIG EAST Record Book
Porzel steadily has crept into the BIG EAST career record book and is the only player currently ranked among the conference’s all-time top 10 for each of the following categories: RBI (1st), doubles (2nd), at-bats (2nd), hits (6th), home runs (6th), games played (6th) and runs (8th). Former Rutgers shortstop Darren Fenster ranks among the top 10 in six of those categories (all but home runs) while former UConn 1B Brian Packin ranks among the top 10 in five of those categories.
Porzel’s 13 RBI during the last nine BIG EAST games sent him well past the BIG EAST record for career RBI in league games (89), previously held by former Rutgers 1B/OF Pete Zoccolillo (Porzel heads to BC needing one more RBI for 100). His 33 league doubles are one shy of Fenster’s BIG EAST record while Porzel needs 11 more at-bats to pass Fenster on that BIG EAST career list (he would set the ND and BIG EAST career records on the same at-bat). Current Villanova 2B Matt Longo is tied with Porzel for 2nd on the BIG EAST career RBI list, with 335 (VU’s BIG EAST season is over).
By starting all three games at BC, Porzel could move up to 4th on the BIG EAST career games played list (with 93) while his 76 career BIG EAST runs scored are tied for 8th in the league record books (five out of 6th). His 106 hits rank 6th in BIG EAST history (two behind Longo and five shy of 4th) while his 19 home runs are tied for 6th (just three previous players have hit more than 21 BIG EAST home runs). He needs one double in the BC series to tie the BIG EAST single-season record (14) set by UConn’s Billy Rich in ’97. Porzel is tied with Stanley (76) for 8th on the BIG EAST career runs list, just five out of 6th (Stanley also has 104 career BIG EAST hits, two behind Porzel and four back of Longo).
Here’s a look at Porzel’s BIG EAST statistics (excluding BIG EAST Tournament games), heading into the final regular-season games of his record-setting career: