May 12, 2004

Note: click on both PDF links below for complete ND baseball notes:

Bio Notes in PDF Format
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Game Notes in PDF Format
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Notre Dame Baseball Gameday Notes – vs. Michigan (May 12, 2004)

THE ND-UM SERIES – Notre Dame and Michigan are set to meet for the 117th time and for the 10th straight season (including a regular-season game and NCAA meeting in 1999) … Michigan leads the all-time series 75-41 but ND has won seven of the last 10 (including the last five regular-season meetings) and three straight prior to losing the 2003 game (8-4) … the most-common opponents in the ND baseball program include Northwestern (130 games), Michigan State (125), Wisconsin (119), Michigan (116) and Purdue (116, including ND win earlier this season) … ND’s first varsity baseball game was vs. Michigan on April 21, 1892 (6-4 ND win).

IN THE MAINIERI ERA – ND is 6-4 vs. Michigan during the nineprevious seasons of the Mainieri era (5-3 at Old Kent/Fifth Third Park) … Michigan won an epic game at OKP in 1996 (7-6, in 16 innings) while the Irish posted an 8-3 home win over the Wolverines late in the 1996 season … Michigan won the 1997 game at OKP (5-3), with all the Michigan runs unearned after ND made three errors in the 7th … ND’s 9-1 win in ’98 featured Tim Kalita’s dominating 7.1 innings (2 H, UER, 3 BB, 5 Ks) … the Irish then won the ’99 game at OKP (14-4) before Michigan beat ND in the 1999 NCAAs (11-5) at Eck Stadium …the Irish then won in 2000, 5-4 in 11 innings, with Matt Nussbaum plating the tying run in the 9th and making the game-ending tag at the plate … Peter Ogilvie’s complete game (5 H, R, BB, 6 Ks) won the 2002 game, 9-1.

RECAPPING THE 2003 GAME – Michigan stretched to a 7-0 lead before claiming the 8-4 victory at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark … ND battled back with three runs in the 3rd and one more in the 8th but the Irish left five runners on base from the 6th-8th innings (nine total LOB) to stall the comeback attempt … sophomore LHP Drew Taylor picked up the win, after allowing three runs on eight hits and one walk over 5.2 innings (with two strikeouts) … senior RHP Tim Leveque then recorded the final 10 outs for his second save of the season, allowing one run on four hits (with four Ks) … senior RHP Peter Ogilvie suffered the loss in his third straight Baseball Bash start, allowing four runs on two hits and four walks (with three Ks) … both of Michigan’s runs in the third reached on walks, with two more walks leading to a 4-0 UM lead in the 4th … ND’s No. 1-3 batters combined to hit just 1-for-14 but the batters in the 6-9 spots sparked the offense, combining to hit 8-for-15 … Michigan’s three-run fifth then saw the Irish outfielders lose a fly ball in the lights, with Brock Koman reaching on the double as the Wolverines stretched to a 7-0 lead.

RECAPPING THE 2002 ND-UM GAME – The Irish used clutch performances from a number of players to overcome an early 3-0 deficit en route to a 7-4 victory (ND’s 13th straight) … Michigan scored in the 1st and added two more in the 2nd vs. Peter Ogilvie but managed just one run the rest of the way vs. winner Grant Johnson (3 IP, 11 BF, H, 2 BB, Ks) and close J.P. Gagne (4 IP, R, 3 H, 4 Ks), who started the 2000 Baseball Bash … several ND players helped overcome just the third career 0-for-5 game for Steve Stanley and a 1-for-5 night from the Brian Stavisky … 3B Andrew Bushey – who logged his 21st consecutive game without an error – put the Irish on the board in the 4th inning with a 2-run double off the wall in left-center … Matt Bok added the go-ahead single (4-3) in the three-run top of the 6th while Javi Sanchez became the first player from either team to hit a home run in the last three Baseball Bashes, launching a 2-run shot over the leftfield wall (for a 7-3 lead in the 8th) … Kris Billmaier hit 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored … Michigan LHP Rich Hill struck out all six batters he faced in the first two innings but the Wolverines went on to use five more pitchers … RHP Phil Tognetti (3 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 2 BB) was tagged with the loss.

Jeff Samardzija Stats and Game-by-Game (see PDF)

Samardzija Quick Notes – ranked 26th in the nation with a 2.14 ERA … ND’s first football/baseball two-sport athlete since CF Scott Sollmann (brother of current ND senior 2B Steve Sollmann) pulled double duty in the mid-1990s … suffered tough-luck loss in his first start of the season (2-1 vs. St. John’s) … logged 22.1 innings without allowing a run, for a shutout streak that spanned 10 outings (he did not allow an earned run for 24 innings) … made Sunday road starts vs. Georgetown and Pittsburgh after playing in ND football scrimmages the day before.

MATT-CHING MASHERS – There have been a high number of players named Matt on the Irish baseball team in the past few years and three of those players currently sit atop the team’s RBI charts: junior 1B Matt Edwards (47 RBI), sophomore DH Matt Bransfield (47) and junior 3B Matt Macri (45), in addition to ranking 3rd-5th in batting avg. (Macri .349, Edwards .331, and Bransfield .331) … Macri is the team leader in runs (61) and triples (6) while Bransfield’s 11 home runs are two more than any other Irish player (Macri is next with 9, followed by Edwards with 8) … eight other ND players during the 10-year Paul Maineri have gone by the familiar name, including current freshman LHP Matt Whittington, 2003 relief ace Matt Laird and three seniors from the 2002 CWS team: DH Matt Bok, RHP Matt Buchmeier and OF/1B Matt Strickroth … South Bend native Matt Nussbaum played a number of positions during his ND career (’97-’00) while C Matt Prill and LHP Matt Arminio were one-year walk-ons with the Irish baseball program.

FAR & WIDE – Notre Dame’s 2004 opening-day roster included players from 19 different states/provinces, led by four each from Florida, Illinois and Indiana, three each from California and New York, and a pair of players from Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Virginia … the ’04 roster also includes single players from Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina and Ontario … the 10-year Paul Mainieri era has featured ND baseball players from 36 states/provinces, the above 19 plus: Minnesota, Washington, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Oregon.

LEFTSIDE LOCKDOWN – Notre Dame’s new-look leftside infield in 2004 has featured a stellar defensive combination in junior 3B Matt Macri and sophomore SS Greg Lopez, who have combined for 72 error-free games this season (40 for Macri, 32 for Lopez) … 4 of Macri’s 7 errors this season came in a pair of games vs. Texas-San Antonio and he did not make an error at the hot corner during the entire month of April (his only E came at SS, while Lopez was resting his sore back) … the leftside infielders also have boosted their offensive production in 2004, with Maci owning a .349 batting avg., 9 home runs and 45 RBI (compared to a .273 combined avg. in the ’02 and ’03 seasons) while Lopez owns a team-best .362 batting avg. (112 points above his .250 avg. in ’03) and a team-leading 13 doubles (after collecting no extra-base hits in ’03).

FOOL ME ONCE … – Nonwithstanding the 10-run outburst in the 1st inning of the UConn series finale, the Notre Dame offense has struggled with early-game offense for most of the 2004 season, owning only a 49-26 edge in 1st-inning runs while outscoring the opponents just 164-106 (+58) in the 1st-4th innings (avg. of 3.5 runs) … the Irish bats typically awake in the middle innings, with a +136 scoring edge (216-80, avg. of 4.6 runs) in the 5th-8th innings … ND’s only dominant early inning has been the 2nd (48-7) but the Irish actually have been outscored in the 3rd (43-32) and hold a narrow 35-30 edge in the 4th … the Irish now hold a +769 combined scoring edge in the 6th (71-27) and 7th (50-15) innings.

OH BOY, OBS! – A popular measure of hitters’ effectiveness is “OBS” (combined on-base and slugging percentages), with four Notre Dame players ranking among the BIG EAST’s top-10 leaders in overall OBS (see PDF for chart)

… a big part of Andres’ high OBS number is his team-leading 35 walks (2nd-most in the BIG EAST), putting him on pace for 48 walks (would rank 6th in ND record book and most since ’94) … the ND record for single-season OBS is the 1.295 posted by All-American CF Dan Peltier in 1989 (.513 OB, plus ND-record .783 slugging).

SINGLE-DIGIT LOSERS – Notre Dame (38-9) heads into the Michigan as one of nine Division I teams (out of 287) with single-digit losses … just six teams – Stanford (37-7), East Carolina (40-7), Texas (45-8), Rice (34-8), Oral Roberts (37-8) and Albany (32-8) – have fewer losses than the Irish while Miami (35-9) and the College of Charleston (36-9) both have nine losses.

BULLPEN BULLIES – The Notre Dame bullpen will be looking to close the 2004 regular season with continued strong outings, as Irish relievers have combined to post a 3.05 ERA (nearly 1.2 runs below the starters’ 4.22), a 16-1 record and a .223 opponent batting avg. in 2004 … the ’04 bullpen also has converted 11-of-12 save chances while letting just 25% of inherited baserunners come around to score … one area that the relievers will be looking to improve is its walks and hit-batter totals (avg. of 3.7 BB/HBP per 9 IP).

MARATHON MEN – The two longest games in the 10-year history of Eck Stadium have lasted 15 innings and the Irish have won both of those marathons, besting West Virginia on May 3, 1998 (5-3) and Ball State last week (April 27; 7-6) … then-freshman LF Alec Porzel’s 2-run blast beat WVU in the ’98 classic vs. WVU (signaling many more clutch hits to come from the future all-BIG EAST shortstop) … Chris Niesel’s 12 Ks and 8.1 shutout innings helped the Irish rally vs. Ball State (6-6) and Steve Andres delivered the leadoff triple before scoring on Craig Cooper’s first-pitch, opposite-field single to right.

GO THE DISTANCE – The Irish are 20-5-1 in their last 26 extra-inning games, including 4-0 in 2004 (12-11 vs. Southern Illinois in 11; 5-3 at West Virginia in 7-inning game that went 10; 6-5 vs. Villanova in 10; and 7-6 vs. Ball State in 15).

LOSING STREAKS RARE – Notre Dame has suffered back-to-back losses just once all season (at Pittsburgh, on April 25) while the rally vs. Ball State helped the Irish avert what would have been their first 3-game losing streak since early in the 2003 season.

20-to-1 – The 15-inning comeback win over Ball State included an Eck Stadium-record 20 strikeouts from the ND pitching staff … more impressively, the Irish issued just one walk in the entire game and that base-on-balls was an intentional pass … starter Tom Thornton (4) combined with relievers Chris Niesel (12) and Ryan Doherty (4) for the 20 Ks while Rico Bertucci also pitched in the game and joined the others in not issuing a conventional walk.

WINNING TIGHT, WINNING BIG – Notre Dame owns a 12-4 record in 2004 games decided by 1-2 runs (5-2 in 1-run games) while nearly 60% of the team’s wins (22 of 38) have come by 5-plus runs.

TRIPLE DOUBLES – The Irish offense has pushed across double-digit runs 15 times this season while collecting 10-plus hits in 26 of 44 games (including 5 of the last 6) … ND also has won by a margin of 10 or more runs in eight games during the ’04 season.

Notre Dame Pitching Staff Comparison and Bullpen Chart (see PDF)

DOHERTY EMERGES AS ALL-AMERICA CANDIDATE – Sophomore RHP Ryan Doherty has filled the closer role held by All-American J.P. Gagne in 2003, with the 7-foot-1 Doherty turning in a mostly dominant season in which he has been nearly unhittable (.101, 8-for-79) to go along with a team-leading 1.88 ERA, 8 saves (tied for the BIG EAST lead), a 5-1 record, 34 Ks and 10 walks in 24 IP … here are other notes on Doherty’s stellar 2004 season:

* His strikeout average (12.46 Ks per 9 IP) is in range of the 46-year-old ND record set by Frank Carpin in 1958 (12.63).

* His low hit avg. (3.46 per 9 IP) is on record pace in ND history, well below the 4.83 hits per 9 IP allowed by Ed Lupton back in 1963.

* His only failed save conversion (8-of-9) came in the second game at Pittsburgh (April 25), when another impressive streak ended as he allowed a hit for the first time in 11 appearances (opponents were 0-for-31 vs. the big righthander in that span).

* He has not allowed an inherited baserunner to score (1-of-17) since allowing his first inherited baserunner of the season to score, vs. Southern Illinois on March 6.

* Struck out 4 of the 5 batters he faced to pick up win in 15-inning game vs. Ball State (7-6).

* Logged shutout streak that spanned 10 appearances and 11.0 IP (March 27-April 25).

* His 1.73 season ERA would rank 9th in the ND record book (5th-best since 1990)

* His 8 saves rank 6th on the ND single-season list, behind former teammate Gagne(13 in ’03), current Eastern Kentucky pitching coach John Corbin (11 in 2000, 9 in ’99), Mike Coffey (10 in ’89) and Aaron Heilman (9 in ’98).

* On pace for 31 appearances in 2004, which would rank 2nd in ND history behind Coffey’s 37 in ’89.

ROADTRIPPERS DELUXE – Notre Dame’s nomadic 2004 season includes playing 29 of its first 48 games on the road, with only two weekends at home during that stretch (not counting finals week) … the upcoming game vs. Michigan in Grand Rapids will give the Irish nearly 16,000 miles of travel this season (with potential postseason trips also still in the mix) … here’s the mileage breakdown for both air and ground transportation (the Irish traveled by bus to WVU and from SHU to Pittsburgh, plus bus trips to SIU and to Grand Rapids for the UM game):

Destination … Round-Trip Mileage

Los Angeles (via Atlanta) 4,638

Boca Raton, Fla. … 2,570

San Antonio/Round Rock, Texas … 2,317

Carbondale, Ill. … 786

Morgantown, W.Va. … 882

Bethesda, Md. … 1,154

South Orange, N.J./Pittsburgh, Pa. … 1,326

Storrs, Conn. … 1,619

Grand Rapids, Mich. … 235

Total … 15,527

NOTE: see PDF for complete bio update pages on position starters