June 17, 2002
Notre Dame Game Notes
Notre Dame vs. Rice
2002 College World Series
June 17, 2002
HELLO, NICE TO MEET YOU:
Today marked the first-ever meeting between Rice and Notre Dame. Rice becomes the 277th different opponent the Irish have played in the 110-year history of the program.
STANLEY AN NCAA RECORD SETTER:
Irish centerfielder Steve Stanley tied the NCAA all-time record by starting his 255th consecutive game today. Stanley could set the record tomorrow against the loser of the Texas/Stanford game.
Notre Dame posted its 22nd come-from-behind victory this season today against the Owls, including 13 of those coming in the final three innings of the game.
IRISH SET TEAM RECORD FOR WINS IN A SEASON:
With the win today, Notre Dame now has 50 wins on the season, setting the single-season mark for wins in a season. Last year, Notre Dame won 49 games.
Brian Stavisky’s ninth-inning homerun was Notre Dame’s second game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth this season. Joe Thaman hit a two-run game-winning homer against Arkansas-Little Rock on March 14. It also was the first walkoff home at the CWS since Florida State’s Karl Jernigan hit a three-run homer against Stanford in a 14-11 win (13 innings) in 1999.
Brian Stavisky now has seven homeruns in 11 NCAA Tournament games.
BEATING THE BEST:
The Irish once again beat the No. 1 team in the country in Rice, marking the third time this season Notre Dame has done that. Last week, Notre Dame defeated then No. 1 Florida State twice in the Super Regionals. Notre Dame also defeated top-ranked teams twice in the early 90s in the NCAA Tournament winning 6-3 at Miami in the 1992 Atlantic Regional and 8-1 against Clemson in the 1994 East Regional.
Notre Dame is averaging a home run per game in the 2002 postseason (12 HRs in 12 games), led by Stavisky’s three.
NIESEL THE DIESEL:
Freshman pitcher Chris Niesel continued his first-inning heroics by retiring the Owls 1-2-3. Niesel has now given up 0 ER, 9 H, 9 K, 3 BB and held opponents to a .225 batting average in the first inning this season. Niesel’s overall line in four NCAA appearances: 3 starts, 2-0 W-L, 21.1 IP, 17 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 12 K, 12 BB.
LONG DISTANCE TOLLS:
The long ball has hurt Chris Niesel this season as 15 of the 27 runs he has given up this season have come on seven homeruns.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN THE STAT OF THE GAME:
Notre Dame left nine runners on base, including six in scoring position today against the Owls. The Irish left the bases loaded in both the second and third innings today, in addition to leaving runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings.
OPENING INNING JITTERS AT CWS:
The Irish were retired 1-2-3 in the first inning, marking the third consecutive game the Irish have gone in order to start the game. In the five previous NCAA games in 2002, Notre Dame had scored 12 runs in the first inning, including four against South Alabama and in game two against Florida State.
IRISH PITCHERS MOWING THEM DOWN:
With their seven strikeouts today, Notre Dame pitchers set the new team single-season strikeout mark at 480, breaking the old record of 478 set in 1999.
OUCH, THAT HURTS:
After being plunked in the third inning, Matt Bok added to his team lead with 12 HBPs this season.
HEART AND SOUL-MANN:
Sophomore second baseman Steve Sollmann has a nine-game NCAA Tournament hitting streak (all nine games the Irish have played in 2002) and is 23-37 (.564). Overall, Sollmann has at least one hit in 12 of 14 NCAA Tournament games during his career.
CLUTCH TWO-OUT HITTER:
Rightfielder Kris Billmaier has six two-out RBI’s for the Irish in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. The rest of the team has five for the tournament.
With Paul O’Toole’s sacrifice bunt in the fifth, Notre Dame extended its team record for sacrifice hits in a season to 66.
With its 4-6-3 double play in the sixth inning, Notre Dame added to its team record with its 56 double play of the season.
O’TOOLE MOVES INTO TIE FOR SECOND ON GAMES PLAYED LIST:
Catcher Paul O’Toole moved into a tie for second on the all-time Notre Dame games played list today with former shortstop Alec Porzel. O’Toole and Porzel have both played in 239 career games, second only to Steve Stanley’s 255. O’Toole is also fourth on the all-time career starts list with 227.
With his hit in the ninth, Steve Stanley has now hit in 56 of 67 games for the Irish this season.
STANLEY HITS 1,000 AT-BAT MARK:
With his plate appearance in the ninth inning, Steve Stanley now has 1,000 career at-bats.
Stanley moved into a tie for second with Eric Danapilis with 459 total bases. Stanley also added to his single-season career hits record with his 117 hit and now has 383 career hits, good for third all-time in NCAA history.