March 20, 2004

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2004 NOTRE DAME BASEBALL – March 19-20 at Southern Illinois

The 8th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team (12-1) enters Stage-5 of six straight weekends on the road, with a pair of weekend games slated for Southern Illinois (2-12) on March 19 (2:00 CST, 3:00 in South Bend) and 20 (noon) … junior RHP Chris Niesel (16-1) will look to notch another victory to his .941 career win pct. that would rank first in the ND record book … Sunday’s starter is TBA … SIU is expected to counter with junior LHP Eric Haberer, who had a solid start vs. Notre Dame to open the Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic (ND rallied to win that game in 11 innings, 12-11) … see p. 2 for complete box and batter-by-batter results vs. each pitchers from the previous ND-SIU game … Niesel lasted just three innings two weeks ago vs. SIU (the shortest start of his ND career) … Niesel’s debut with ND’s 2002 College World Series team included 10 Ks in 5 IP vs. SIU, at the UNO Classic – becoming the first ND freshman to post double-digit Ks in his debut (just two previous Irish freshman ever had posted 10-plus Ks in a game) … ND has scored in 97 straight games and has been shut out just once in the last 327 games.

Chris Niesel CAREER STATS (see PDF)

Chris Niesel GAME-BY-GAME IN 2004 (see PDF)

Chris Niesel’s CAREER OUTINGS VS. SIU (at New Orleans in ’02; in San Antonio in ’04; see PDF

Chris Niesel NOTES

* His .941 career win pct. (16-1) is on pace to best the ND record (min. 16 dec.) held by Herb Kelly (.917, 22-2 from 1912-14) … current N.Y. Mets hopeful Aaron Heilman (.860, 43-7, ’98-01) is the only ND pitcher since 1924 to win more than 80% of his decisions.

* Averaged nearly 20 outs per 9 IP in 2003 via Ks (8.0) or groundouts (10.3) – but that number is down to 14 in 2003 (8.0 Ks, 6.1 GOs per 9 IP) while he is allowing a .322 opp. batting avg. (compared to .242 in ’02, .243 in ’03).

* Posted a 4.6 season K-to-walk ratio in 2003 that ranks 7th in ND history … his 4.05 career K-to-BB ratio (170/42) is ahead of Alan Walania’s ND record (4.00, from ’90-’93).

* Allowed just two home runs in 98.1 innings during 2003 season, after serving up team-high 7 in 2002 (72.1 IP) … went 11 outings without allowing a home run before a Spencer Harris 3-run blast in the final 2003 regular-season series at Virginia Tech (he allowed just 2 HR in 2003 and has yet to serve up a long ball in ’04).

* 10th ND pitcher with multiple double-digit K games (10 vs. Southern Illinois in ’02, 11 vs. Villanova in ’03) and 5th to do so in 10-year Mainieri era (others are Brad Lidge, Tim Kalita, Aaron Heilman, Danny Tamayo) … also owns six 9-K games in his ND career (four in ’03, plus last week vs. SDSU) … combined with John Axford (12 vs. WMU) as 10th pair of ND teammates with 10-plus Ks in same season (’03).

* Fourth of five ND players ever to receive multiple BIG EAST pitcher-of-the-week honors in same season, joining Aaron Heilman (3 in ’99, 4 in ’00, 2 in ’01), Scott Cavey (2 in ’00) and Danny Tamayo (3 in ’01).

* His 16-1 career record with the Irish could include upwards of nine more wins (due to lack of run support or lost leads by the bullpen), with his ’02 season also interrupted by mononucleosis and the hand injury holding him out of the ’03 BIG EAST Tournament.

* Tossed near no-hitter vs. hot-hitting West Virginia (.330 team avg.) on May 3, 2003, allowing Lee Fritz bunt single with two outs left in 7-inning opener (23 BF, BB, 9 Ks) … would have been first no-hitter by ND pitcher since 1988 (Brian Piotrowicz vs. Ball State).

* Career postseason stats: 2.05 ERA in six outings (five starts), plus 27 Ks, 11 BB and 29 hits allowed in 34.1 IP (he won the 3-1 clincher at top-ranked Florida State in the Super-Regional and had a strong CWS start vs. Rice).

* His three opening-week starts at ND now include a 3.24 ERA, 1-0 record and nearly a 7-to-1 K-to-walk ratio (20 Ks/3 BB, 16.2 IP).

QUITE A RESPONSE – Notre Dame junior RHP Chris Niesel boasted a 22-1 overall streak – 13-0 as a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas HS, 4-0 as a freshman at ND, 3-1 in summer of ’02 with the Cape Cod League’s Falmouth Commodores, and 2-0 in the ’01 and ’02 Blue-Gold intrasquad scrimmages – before suffering the first loss of his ND career, a 7-1 game vs. Nebraska at the Minnesota Metrodome Classic (2/28/03) … Niesel responded to that loss in fine fashion, closing the 2003 college season with a 1.94 ERA and 9-0 record in his final 13 appearances – with 84 Ks and just 17 BB in 88.1 IP, for a 4.9 K-to-walk ratio, plus 71 hits allowed and a .218 opponent batting average in that 13-outing span … with the addition of his 2004 wins over SDSU, Winthrop and Arizona, Niesel’s last 16 appearances include a 1.92 ERA, 12-0 record, 5.0 K-to-walk ratio (105 Ks/21 BB, in 108 innings), 92 hits and a .228 opp. batting avg. (9-inning averages of 8.8 Ks, 1.8 BB, 7.7 H in that 108-inning stretch).

ON A ROLL – Chris Niesel won his final nine decisions of the 2003 season and has opened 2004 with win over San Diego State and Winthrop, yielding an 11-decision overall winning streak that still is sic shy of the Notre Dame record … Ed Walsh won 17 straight decisions spanning the 1926-28 seasons … Aaron Heilman (15-0 in 2001) is the only ND pitcher in the last 75 years to post more than 13 consecutive winning decisions … Niesel’s classmate John Axford won 13 straight decisions (5th-longest in ND history), spanning the 2002 (4) and ’03 (9) seasons … two others join Walsh ad Heilman with the longest winning streaks in the ND record book: Frank “Dreams” Scanlan (16; 1907-09) and Herb Kelly (14; 1912-14) … Niesel nearly posted a 10-decision single-season winning streak in ’03, which would have tied for the 2nd-longest in recorded ND history.

Boxscore and batter ABs vs. each pitcher from the previous Notre Dame-Southern Illinois Meeting (ND 12, SIU 11; 3/6/04 in San Antonio; see PDF)

RADIO, LIVE-STATS & HOTLINE – All of Notre Dame’s 2004 regular-season and postseason games again will be broadcast by South Bend-based ESPN Radio 1580 AM (WDND, which recently switched from 1620, and its sister station WNDV 1490) … the broadcasts are available via the internet at (College Sports Pass subscription required) … also provides links to GameTracker livestats on the website’s main page, for all home games and – as a bonus offering – at select road games (including the games at SIU) … call the ND Sports Hotline at 574-631-3000 for schedule and result information for all varsity sports currently in season (from the main menu, select “4” and then select “1” for baseball information).

STRONG OUT OF THE GATE – Notre Dame is 12-1 for the sixth time in the program’s 112-year history (plus two 13-0 starts, last in 1908) and first time in 94 years, since the 1910 team opened 19-1 … a sweep of this weekend’s games at SIU would give ND the fourth 14-1 start in the program’s history … here’s a look at the top starts in ND baseball history:

Longest One-Loss Starts by ND Baseball Teams

20-1 – 1908 (started 13-0)

19-1 – 1910

19-1 – 1907 (started 17-0)

13-1 – 1902

12-1 – 2004 (active)

12-1 – 1909

SCOUTING SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (see for complete info.) – The Salukis have faced a tough schedule to open 2004 while suffering several late-inning losses, with their 2-12 record including a 22-6 win over Murray State on March 18.

THE SERIES (6-3) – Despite the proximity of the schools, Notre Dame and Southern Illinois have met just nine times previously and never on a campus field (prior to this weekend) … SIU beat ND twice in the 1970 NCAAs (10-2, 1-0, at Ohio State) but the Irish have won six of the last seven, including five games in San Antonio (6-2 in ’96, 4-3 in ’98, 5-3, 3-2 in ’02, 12-11 in ’04) and two at the University of New Orleans (15-5, 2-6).

BACK IN 2002 – A handful of active players remain who played in the 2002 ND-SIU game, played in Southern Illinois (listed below; see PDF):


* Two-Out Terrors – Notre Dame opened the week by batting .500 with two outs vs. SIU and UTSA (19-for-38), compared to just .286 (14-for-49) with 0-1 outs while 12 of the team’s 17 RBI in the tournament have come with two outs.

* Never Say Die – In the 12-11 win over SIU, ND twice was down to its final out with no runners in scoring position but responded with a game-tying run in the bottom of the 9th and two more runs in the 10th to again tie the score, before winning in the 11th.

* Last-Out Heroes – Five Notre Dame batters delivered hits vs. SIU with the Irish down to their last out … ND faced a 9-8 deficit in the 9th when junior 3B Matt Macri sent a 2-out, 0-1 pitch up the middle … P.J. Finnigan then worked ahead to an 0-2 count on Steve Andres but the lefthanded DH was not fooled on a third straight changeup, slicing an opposite-field double into the left-center gap (Macri was running on the play and motored all the way around to force extra innings) … SIU answered with two in the top of the 10th but ND again fought back with 2 outs, this time with Steve Sollmann on first … clutch singles from junior first baseman Matt Edwards (a first-pitch shot up the middle) and senior catcher Javi Sanchez (a 2-1 ball hit to the left side) loaded the bases before sophomore rightfielder Cody Rizzo – who had struck out in the ninth – gained redemption versus Finnigan by sending the first pitch he saw into left field for a two-run single.

* Game-Winner – Sophomore Craig Cooper was an unlikely hero in the 11th vs. SIU, after enduring a case of the flu that had limited him to earlier pinch-runner duties … in the game as a righthanded DH, Cooper greeted righthander Tyler Norrick with a double to right-center (on a 1-1 pitch) … SIU then misplayed a sacrifice bunt from Greg Lopez and Cooper scampered home moments later with the winning run, on a wild pitch.

IRISH POST 400th WIN OF MAINIERI ERA – Tenth-year Notre Dame head coach Paul Mainieri – now in his 22nd overall season – already was averaging 40 wins per season with the Irish just one game into the ’04 season, as ND posted the 400th win of the Mainieri era in the opener vs. San Diego State (now 409-161-1/.717) … Mainieri picked up his 700th career coaching victory vs. Georgetown on March 29, 2003, just 135 games removed from his 600th win (ND’s 99 combined wins in ’01 and ’02 were third-most in nation, behind Florida State’s 107 and South Carolina’s 106) … Mainieri’s 740-440-2 career record (.627) includes 179-121-1 at St. Thomas (’83-’88) and 152-158 at Air Force (’89-’94) … his ND career includes five BIG EAST titles and six NCAA trips with the Irish (’96, ’99-’03), the program’s first No. 1 ranking (in ’01) and first CWS trip since ’57 (in ’02) … he was the nation’s only coach to repeat as ABCA regional coach of the year (Mideast), in 2002, and his squads have extended ND’s streak of seasons with 40-plus wins to 15 (nation’s 3rd-longest active streak) … 35 of his ND players have moved on to pro ball, including 12 drafted in the first 10 rounds and a pair of first-round pitchers (Brad Lidge in ’98, Aaron Heilman in ’01) … every ND player in the Mainieri era who has completed his eligibility with the Irish has graduated from Notre Dame (53 of 53) while the eight who were signed after their junior seasons have returned to complete or near completion of their graduation requirements (including two-time Academic All-American Brian Stavisky) … Mainieri owns the best BIG EAST winning pct. in the conference’s history (.741, 137-48) … in 73 BIG EAST series spanning eight seasons, the Irish have won 55 series with nine splits and only nine series wins by the opponent (just two of them being 3-game sweeps) … the Irish have been swept just four times in 71 all-time BIG EAST doubleheaders (42 ND sweeps, 25 splits) … Mainieri’s first nine ND teams averaged 45 wins per season. PLENTY-O-RUNS – Notre Dame has posted 9-plus runs in five of its last six games: 19-6 vs. Winthrop, 12-3 vs. Florida Memorial, 19-7 vs. Minnesota, 12-11 vs. SIU and 9-17 vs. UTSA.

HEFTY HIT TOTALS – Notre Dame now has posted 20, 19 and 18-hit games in the young ’04 season.

BIG INNINGS – The Irish have dominated ’04 scoring in the 7th-8th innings (30-4 combined; 14-2 in 7th, 16-2 in 8th).

WINNING THE TIGHT ONES – The Irish are 11-1 in their last 12 one-run games (spanning the ’03 and ’04 seasons).


* Sophomore RF Cody Rizzo has missed the last three games due to a sprained wrist. The Irish posted their seventh error-free game of the young season while posting double-digit hits (10) for the eighth time in the 2004 season. It also marked the seventh time this season that Notre Dame has won by five-plus runs.

* Notre Dame’s 12-1 start is all the more noteworthy when considering the absence of two top pitchers (junior RHP John Axford and freshman RHP Jeff Manship, both out for the season due to injury) plus the limited contributions of junior RHP Grant Johnson (just 3 IP, due to shoulder surgery rehab and illness) and Sollmann’s uncharacteristic .216 batting average (he combined to hit .370 in the 2001-03 seasons).

* The rightside infielders – senior 2B Steve Sollmann and junior 1B Matt Edwards – have yet to make an error this season while the leftsiders (sophomore SS Greg Lopez and junior 3B Matt Macri) each have posted 11 error-free games … Sollmann has logged 18 straight error-free games with the Irish (spanning 94 fielding chances) and owns 65 error-free games in the last two seasons … Lopez has not made an error in the last five games (22 chances).

* Texas Tech became the 282nd all-time opponent in ND baseball history, with the Irish now 16-2 in their last 18 games vs. first-time opponents … the Irish also are 18-2 in their last 20 regular-season tournament games.

* Senior C Javi Sanchez is a .311 career hitter away from home (26 points above his .285 career avg. at Eck Stadium).

* Junior 1B Matt Edwards has pushed his career batting avg. to .373, passing Steve Sollmann (.372) for 4th in the ND record book behind All-Americans Dan Peltier (.406), Eric Danapilis (.405) and Steve Stanley (.384).

* Top hitters in the seven-game Spring Break trip included Edwards (.462, 12-for-26, 9 RBI, 5 R, HR, 2 2B, 7 BB, HBP), sophomore lefthanded DH Steve Andres (.389, 7-for-18, 4 RBI, 5 R, HR, 2B, 3 BB, HBP, 1-1 SB) and Macri (.370, 8 RBI, 6 R, 3 2B, 3 BB) … the ND offense’s overall team stats in Texas included a .301 batting avg., a 56-40 scoring edge, 2 home runs, 16 doubles, 31 walks, 15 HBP, 42 strikeouts and 5-of-7 stolen bases … the Irish made 10 errors on the trip (.965 fielding pct.), with the pitching staff totaling a 4.77 team ERA in Texas and a .260 opponent batting avg. (plus 45 Ks, 22 BB, 5 HB, 2 WP and 66 H in 66 IP) … Sanchez threw out 6-of-11 attempted basestealers on the trip.

* Edwards’ combined BB and HBP total (12) is three more than his K total (9) while his “OBS” – combined on-base (.542) and slugging (.783) percentages – is an eye-popping 1.325.

* Macri is batting a full 100 points above his combined avg. from the 2002 and ’03 seasons (.273, 48 RBI in 77 GP) while Lopez has made huge offensive jump from 2003 (when he hit .250 with 26 RBI in 50 GP).

A QUICK LOOK AT THE IRISH (also see recap notes from USC and FAU Classics later in release) – Notre Dame owns the nation’s No. 6-rated freshman class (per Baseball America) while returning the bulk of its offense (each of top nine hitters, eight of nine position starters) and several top pitchers from the 2003 squad that repeated as BIG EAST Tournament champions (first team to do so since 1986), fashioned a 45-18 record and advanced to the final of the NCAA Fullerton Regional … the pitching staff also is set to welcome back Grant Johnson (missed all of ’03 due to shoulder injury) but his fellow junior RHP John Axford will miss the ’04 campaign after undergoing “Tommy John” reconstructive elbow surgery … the 14 returning position players combined to make 89% of the offensive starts in ’03 while combining for 99% of the stolen bases (83 of 84), 96% of the triples (25 of 26), 90% of the hits (597 of 664) and runs scored (391 of 433), 87% of the walks (178 of 204), and 84% of the home runs (26 of 31) and doubles (97 of 115) … the 2004 staff’s eight returning healthy pitchers (including Johnson, with his ’02 stats) combined for a 3.23 ERA and 28-8 record in their previous season with the Irish, with their other combined stats from the past season including two saves, 290 strikeouts, 115 walks and 318 hits allowed in 334 innings … ND closed 2003 by batting a combined .353 (103-for-292) in eight 2003 postseason games (followed by the current .352 average after six games in ’04).

NOTRE DAME’S 2004 STARTERS – By Position (see PDF)

FAR & WIDE – The 11 players listed below as potential starters include three California natives and two each from Florida and Ohio, plus one each from Virginia, Iowa, New York and Colorado.

NOTRE DAME PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP (* indicates lefthander hitter, ** switch hitter)

Note: see PDF for each player’s career stats and spring break stats

2B – #3 Steve Sollmann (Sr.; 5-11/195; Cincinnati, OH/St. Xavier HS)

* ND Record Book – ranks 11th in career batting avg. (.359), 4th in fielding assists (530), 5th in stolen bases (70), 7th in hits (266), 8th in runs (187) and 10th in at-bats (740) … next up on those lists are Alec Porzel’s 562 assists, Greg Layson’s 80 SBs, Mike Amrhein’s 269 hits, Paul O’Toole’s 187 runs and Amrhein’s 745 ABs.

* 2004 Team Ranks – leads 2004 team in stolen bases (3) and runs (15; also 5th among BIG EAST players) while ranking 2nd in walks (7) and starts (12), 3rd in hit-by-pitch (4), 5th in RBI (8) … collected first extra-base hit of 2004 vs. Texas Tech.

* Second-to-None – rated BIG EAST’s best defensive 2B for ’04, per Baseball America (was a prep CF) … has averaged 5.2 games per error in his career, including just 16 total errors in the last three seasons (9.1 games per E) … has not made an error in his last 18 games with the Irish (spanning 94 fielding chances) while totaling 65 error-free games in the last two seasons (73 GP).

* Spring Back? – Batted a combined .413 (31-for-75) during 2001-03 Spring Break trips … hit .519 (14-for-27) on ’01 Spring Break trip in northern California, then just .190 (4-for-21) during 2002 Spring in Round Rock/San Antonio (while slowed by a quad injury) before batting .481 (13-for-27) over ’03 Spring trip to Jacksonville – then just .182 on 2004 spring trip.

* Honors – Preseason 1st Team All-Amer./BE Player of Year … 2003 All-American/Academic All-American (3.38 GPA, mark. major)

* Top 2004 Games – vs. San Diego State (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 BB, SB), Minnesota (2-for-4, RBI, R, BB, HBP), Penn State in S.A. (2-for-5, 2 RBI, R) and UTSA in title game (2-for-6, 3 RBI, R)

CF – #6 DANNY DRESSMAN* (Fr.; 5-9/175; San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS)

* 2004 Team Ranks – leads ’04 team in sac. bunts (3) and runners advanced (11) while ranking 3rd in 2-out RBI (5), 4th in total RBI (9) and 5th in doubles (3) and 2-out batting (.375) … also has advanced baserunners 57.7% (5th-best on team).

* Top 2004 Games – vs. Winthrop (2-for-4, RBI, 2 R, SAC) and Southern Illinois (2-for-6, 2 RBI, 2B).

* Senior Season at Mitty HS (’03): .402, 8 HR, 40 RBI, 15-15 SB, 21 BB

* One of three California natives in 2004 opening-day lineup (also Cody Rizzo, Steve Andres) … parents Chuck and Diane (former ND tennis player) are Notre Dame graduates

1B – #14 Matt Edwards (Jr.; 6-2/195; Mechanicsville, VA/Lee-Davis HS)

* 2004 Team Ranks – leads ’04 team in 11 categories – home runs (4), RBI (17), walks (10), slugging (.783), on-base pct. (.542), total bases (36), hits (20), doubles (4), 2-out RBI (9), batting with runners in scoring pos. (.471) and leadoff on-base (.625) – also ranking 2nd in batting (.435), starts (12) and pct. of baserunners advanced (.633), plus 4th in 2-out batting (.417) and runs (11), 5th in HBP (2).

* BIG EAST Ranks – leads conference in home runs (4), also 2nd in RBI (17), slugging (.542) and on-base (.783), 4th in batting avg. (.435), 6th in walks (10) and total bases (36), 11th in hits (20) and 12th in doubles (4)

* ND Record Book – his .371 career batting avg. would rank 5th in ND history, behind Dan Peltier (.406, ’86-’89), Eric Danapilis (.405, ’90-’93), Steve Stanley (.384, ’99-’02) and Scott Sollmann (.372, ’94-’96)

* Top 2004 Games – vs. San Diego State (3-for-5, 4 RBI, R, HR, 2B), Winthrop (3-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B, BB), Florida Atlantic (2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, game-tying and go-ahead HRs), UTSA first game (3-for-4, 4 RBI, 2 R, HR, 2B, SF) and Texas Tech (3-for-4, R, 2B, BB)

* Named Tournament MVP at Florida Atlantic Classic (.417, 5-for-12, 2 BB, HBP, 4 RBI, 5 R, 2 HR, 2B) and Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic (.438, 7-for-16, 4 BB, 7 RBI, 4 R, HR, 2B) … frst Mainieri-era player to homer in his first AB of season opener (’04 vs. SDSU)

* OH-BOY OBS!: His 1.325 OBS – combined on-base (.542) and slugging (.783) pct.’s, both currently 2nd-best among BIG EAST players – would best the ND record of 1.298, set by All-American Dan Peltier in 1989 (.783 slugging, .513 on-base).

* 2003 honors: 1st team all-BIG EAST, ABCA 2nd team all-region

* Returned in 2003 after suffering broken leg early in ’02 (at Round Rock); prep SS, played 3B and 1B in ’03

C – #15 Javi Sanchez (Sr.; 6-3/205; Miami, FL/Columbus HS)

* 2004 Team Ranks – leads 2004 team in doubles (4; also 12th in BIG EAST) and 2-oiut batting (.500) while ranking 2nd in starts (12) and 4th in total bases (21), hits (14) and batting with runners in scoring position (.438).

* Top 2004 Games – vs. Winthrop (3-5, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B), So. Illinois (4-6, 2 R, 2B) and UTSA first game (2-4, 2 RBI, R, 2B, HBP)

* All-Tournament selection at the 2004 Florida Atlantic Classic (.417, 5-for-12, 4 RBI, 3 R, HR, 2B) and the Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic (.412, 7-for-17, 3 BB, HBP, 3 RBI, 4 R, 3 2B)

* Road Warrior – owns .313 career batting avg. away from home (.245 at Eck Stadium) … six of his seven home runs with the Irish have come away from home (including the last five)

* Prep 2B who started at SS for 2002 CWS team; converted to another new position of catcher in 2003

* 2003 BIG EAST Tournament MVP (8-for-11, 4 BB, 4 SAC, 6 RBI, 5 R), NCAA Regional all-tournament pick (6-for-15, 2 RBI, 4 R)

* Serves as 2004 team tri-captain along with senior 2B Steve Sollmann and junior RHP Chris Niesel

RF – #17 Cody Rizzo (So.; 6-1/200; Temecula, CA/Chaparral HS)

* 2004 Team Ranks – leads ’04 team in hit-by-pitch (6) while ranking 2nd in leadoff on-base pct. (.500) and batting with runners in scoring position (.444), 4th in runs (11; also 3rd in BIG EAST) and on-base pct. (.450), and 5th in batting avg. (.353) and hits (12). * Top ’04 Games – vs. USC (2-for-3, 2 R), Minn. (1-for-5, HBP, 3 R), SIU (2-for-5, HBP, 2 RBI, 2 R), UTSA gm-2 (2-for-3, HBP, 3 R)

* Did not play in three games of Round Rock Classic due to wrist injury (out indefinitely)

* HBP MVP – Set Notre Dame record with 28 HBP in ’03 (7th in NCAA record book) … his 34 career HBP already are 4th in the ND record book and just four shy of Craig DeSensi’s record total (’92-’95)

* Prep soccer/baseball two-sport star; hit 8 HRs in 2003 fall ball … high school catcher who has developed into stellar defensive OF

DH/LF – #36 STEVE ANDRES* (So.; 5-10/190; Napa, CA/Justin Siena HS)

* 2004 Team Ranks – second on ’04 team in on-base pct. (.487) while ranking 2nd in home runs (2) and walks (7), 3rd in slugging (.586) and leadoff on-base pct. (.455), and 5th in total bases (17).

* Top 2004 Games – vs. Winthrop (1-for-3, RBI, 2 R, HR,BB), So. Illinois (3-for-3, RBI, 2B), UTSA first game (2-5, 2 RBI, R, HR)

* All-Tournament selection at Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic (.462, 6-for-13, BB, 4 RBI, 3 R, HR, 2B)

* Academic All-America candidate (3.40 GPA, business major)

* As Pinch-Hitter – has collected hits in 8 of his last 12 pinch-hit ABs with the Irish (8-for-18 overall), including 4-for-7 in 2004 (rest of ’04 team is 0-for-6) … was 4-for-11 as a 2003 pinch-hitter (ended freshman season 4-for-5 in pinch-hit ABs)

* 4th-generation ND student (great-grandfather William Andres played for ND) … former walk-on, sparked ND’s ’03 opening week

or DH – #12 Matt Bransfield (So.; 6-1/200; Englewood, CO/Cherry Creek HS)

* Top 2004 Games – vs. USC (2-for-3), Florida Memorial (1-for-5, 2 RBI, R)

* Academic All-America candidate (3.34 GPA, College of Arts & Letters)

* Hit .383 with 12 HR in summer ’03 with wood-bat Colorado Sox … ’03 Blue-Gold fall intrasquad: 4-for-7, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 6 RBI, 2 2B

3B – #5 Matt Macri (Jr.; 6-2/190; Clive, IA/Dowling HS)

* 2004 Team Ranks – leads team with 4 doubles (also 12th in BIG EAST) and has hit ND’s only triple of the season, also ranking 2nd in RBI (16; 4th BIG EAST), hits (19), runs (14; also 9th in BIG EAST), total bases (28) and starts (12), 3rd in batting avg. (.373), 4th in slugging (.549) and leadoff on-base pct. (.400) and 5th in walks (6) and batting with runners on (.400).

* Top 2004 Games – vs. Minn. (4-for-6, 6 RBI, 5 R, 2-run, opp.-field HR, 3-run 3B), SIU (3-6, RBI, 3 R), Penn St. in R.R. (3-4, 3 RBI)

* Named All-Tournament at Florida Atlantic Classic (.385, 5-for-13, 7 RBI, 7 R, HR, 3B, 2 BB) and Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic (.400, 6-for-15, BB, 3 RBI, 6 R, 2 2B)

* Big day vs. Minnesota included career-high in hits (4) while 6 RBI and 5 R were one shy of tying ND records … one of eight ND players known to have scored 5-plus runs in game and just the 3rd in ND record book since 1901 (Pat Pesavento had 5 runs vs. Penn in ’89, Brant Ust 5 vs. at Seton Hall in ’98, Steve Sollmann tied 102-year-old ND record with 6 R vs. South Ala. in ’02 NCAAs)

* Already has 11 error-free games in ’04, including no errors in first 7 games (he totaled 45 error-free games at Irish SS in ’03)

* Rated nation’s #41 prospect among 2004 college juniors, per Baseball America (4th infielder on that list)

* Returned in 2003 after early-season elbow injury in 2002 freshman season

* Summer 2003: hit 7 HR as 3B in wood-bat Cape Cod League, with Brewster Whitecaps

* One of several top prep QBs on 2004 ND team (also Matt Bransfield, Steve Andres, Mike Dury)

SS – #4 Greg Lopez (So.; 6-0/185; Upper Arlington, OH/Upper Arlington HS)

* 2004 Team Ranks – leads ’04 team in starts (13) while ranking 2nd in hit-by-pitch (4) and 2-out RBI (7), 3rd in hits (17), RBI (15; also 6th in BIG EAST), runs (14), total bases (22) and batting with runners on (.467), 4th in batting avg. (.370) and 5th in on-base pct. (.446)

* Top 2004 Games – vs. Winthrop (4-6, 6 RBI, 2 R, HR, 2B), Southern Illinois (2-5, 2 RBI, R), Penn State in S.A. (2-4, RBI, R), Texas Tech (1-2, 2 R, HBP, SAC)

* Named to Florida Atlantic Classic All-Tournament Team (.357, 5-for-14, 8 RBI, 2 R, HR, 2B)

* Already has posted 11 error-free games in 2004, with no errors in last 5 games (22 chances)

LF – #13 BRENNAN GROGAN* (So.; 6-2/175; Tequesta, FL/The Benjamin School)

* 2004 Team Ranks – leads ’04 team in pct. of baserunners advanced (.684) while ranking 2nd in 2-out batting average (.455), sacrifice bunts (2) and runners advanced (7), and 5th in slugging pct. (.500)

* Top 2004 Games – vs. Florida Memorial (2-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 R, HR, 2B) and Minnesota (4-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB, SB)

* One of Notre Dame’s 13 Florida natives in Paul Mainieri era, including four on 2004 team (also senior C Javi Sanchez, junior RHP Chris Niesel, freshman LHP Matt Whittington)

or LF #9 Craig Cooper (So.; 6-2/205; Plainview, NY/Chaminde HS)

* 2004 Team Ranks – leads ’04 team in 2Bs (4; 12th BIG EAST), plus 2nd in stolen bases (2) and sac. bunts (2), also 5th in RBI (8)

* Top 2004 Games – vs. Florida Memorial (2-for-4, 2 RBI, BB) ant UTSA in title game (2-for-5, 3 RBI, R, 2B)

* Summer 2003 (Hays Larks): hit .337 with 24 SB, 38 RBI, 5 HR, 5 3B

C – #11 SEAN GASTON* (Fr.; 6-0/170; Brownsburg, IN)

* 2004 Team Ranks – leads 2004 team in batting (.480) while ranking 2nd in stolen bases (2) and slugging (.600), 3rd in doubles (3), on-base pct. (.480), 2-out batting (.429) and batting with runners in scoring position (.444), 4th in leadoff on-base (.400) and pct. of baserunners advanced (.600), and 5th in hits (12).

* Named National Hitter of the Week (from College Baseball Writers) and BIG EAST Player of Week after hitting 10-for-12 during Florida trip (6 RBI, 7 R, 3 2B, 2 SB, 1.083 slugging)

* Senior Year (’03) at Brownsburg HS: .478, 8 HR, 35 R, 8 3B

1B – #44 MIKE DURY** (Fr.; 6-5/225; Indianapolis, IN)

’03 Chatard HS: .420, 10 HR, 37 RBI

Reserve Players:

2B – #8 Chris Fournier (Fr.; 5-11/200; Fairfield, CT)

’03 Fairfield HS: .671, 3 HR, 42 RBI, 20 2B, 30 BB

RHP – #22 Grant Johnson Jr.; 6-5/215 (Burr Ridge, IL)

* Missed 2003 with shoulder injury; slowed in ’04 while returning from surgery/bout with tonsilitis

* Tossed 1-hitter vs. South Alabama in 2002 NCAAs

* 2002 Freshman All-American and member of U.S. National Team

LHP – #21 Joe Thaman (Sr.; 6-4/210; St. Louis, MO)

’00 at St. Louis Univ. HS: 3.23, 7-1, 57 K/25 BB, 45 IP

* All-Tournament at Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic after posting 6-2 relief win over Penn State (7 IP, 2 R, 5 H, BB, 7 Ks)

* Stellar defensive 1B who started for Irish in 2001-03 seasons

RHP – #38 Tyler Jones (Jr.; 6-4/205; Arlington, TX)

* Converted to sidearm delivery for 2004 season … drafted by Atlanta Braves in 2001 (30th round)

LHP – #33 Scott Bickford (Jr.; 6-5/170; Owings, MD)

RHP #37 Dan Kapala – Fr.; 6-5/210 (Royal Oak, MI)

’03 Shrine Cath. HS: 1.05, 11-4, 193 K/79 BB, 27 H, 93 IP

RHP – #35 Chris Vasami (Fr.; 6-3/250; Mamaroneck, NY)

’03 Mamaroneck HS: 0.67, 10-1, 120 K/20 BB, 34 H, 62 IP

LHP – #44 Mike Dury (Fr.; 6-5/225; Indianapolis, IN)

’03 Chatard HS: .420, 10 HR, 37 RBI