April 16, 2003

The Notre Dame baseball team has moved its Saturday doubleheader (April 19) with Seton Hall back one hour to the customary 12:05 start, at Eck Stadium. Thursday’s “Brown-Bag-It at The Eck” doubleheader with Pittsburgh remains at the 12:05 start time.

(Note: please consult und.com or the ND Sports Hotline – at 574-631-3000, option 4, then option 1 – for any other schedule adjustments … per BIG EAST policy, doubleheaders that are not part of a three-game series are unable to be re-scheduled for makeup play).

Notre Dame’s planned starting pitcher rotation includes sophomore RHP Chris Niesel (2.92 ERA, 4-1, 51 Ks, 11 BB, .222 opp. batting avg. in 52.1 IP) and freshman LHP Tom Thornton (1.33, 2-0, 11 K, 8 BB, .227 in 27 IP) versus Pittsburgh, while the Panthers are expected to counter with senior RHP Joe Engle (4.32, 3-3, 25 Ks, 13 BB, .244 in 44 IP) and junior RHP Don Rhoten (3.51, 2-2, 27 Ks, 23 BB, .211 in 41 IP).

The Irish then are slated to start (order to-be-determined) sophomore RHP John Axford (2.20, 7-0, 51 Ks, 21 BB, .220 in 49 IP) and senior RHP Ryan Kalita (3.89, 4-0, 29 Ks, 20 BB, .240 in 39.1 IP) versus Seton Hall, with the Pirates yet to announce a rotation pending their games Thursday at Villanova.

FIRST SET OF NCAA STAT LEADERS RELEASED – The NCAA has released its first edition of the national stat leaders, with the Irish entering the week ranked 27th in ERA (3.54, now 3.56) and 11th in winning pct. (25-6, .806; now .788, 26-7) while the current .970 team fielding pct. would rank 30th … four ND players entered the week ranked individually among the NCAA stat leaders: junior 3B/1B Matt Edwards (19th with 1.30 RBI per game, 39 total; now 1.28, 41), freshman OF Brennan Grogan (13th with 0.18 triples/gm, 5 total; now 0.17), junior 2B Steve Sollmann (16th with 0.61 stolen bases/gm, 19 total; now 0.64, 21) and senior RHP J.P. Gagne (13th with 7 saves) … sophomore RHP John Axford owns a 7-0 record (just eight pitchers in the nation have more wins) while only Rice’s Jeff Niemann and N.C. State’s Vern Sterry (both 9-0) entered the week with a better undefeated record (seven others were 7-0) … Axford’s current 2.20 ERA is just shy of the NCAA top-50 leaders (2.09 is the cutoff).

ND OPPONENTS IN THE NCAA STATS – Several ND opponents currently are ranked among the NCAA stat leaders:

* Six were listed among the team batting average leaders – Arizona State (3rd, .345), West Virginia (7th, .334), Minnesota (10th, .331), Michigan (18th, .323), Ball State (20th, .322) and Wake Forest (25th, .320) – while five were among the scoring leaders: ASU (4th, 9.9 runs/gm), WFU (7th, 9.1), Michigan (18th, 8.2), Nebraska (23rd, 7.9) and Toledo (30th, 7.7).

* Three were listed among the ERA leaders: Virginia Tech (7th, 2.87), ASU (19th, 3.32) and Nebraska (23rd. 3.45).

* Four were listed among the fielding pct. leaders: Vanderbilt (3rd, .980), Purdue (16th, .973), ASU (26th, .971) and Rutgers (30th, .969).

* Seven were listed among the individual batting leaders: WVU’s Lee Fritz (5th, .460), St. John’s Mike Rozema (11th, .446), Toledo’s Mitch Maier (13th, .444), WFU’s Jamie D’Antona (21st, .429), Eastern Michigan’s Derrick Peterson (23rd, .427), WFU’s Ryan Johnson (29t, .421) and Bowling Green’s Kelly Hunt (30th, .420).

* Six were listed among the home runs leader – Nebraska’s Matt Hopper (5th, 13, 0.42/gm), WFU’s D’Antona (7th, 13, 0.39), Eastern Illinois’ Bret Pignatiello (9th, 12, 0.38), Jacksonville’s Chad Hauseman (12th, 13, 0.36), Purdue’s Nick McIntyre (23rd, 10, 0.32) and ASU’s Jeff Larish (29th, 13, 0.31) – while three were among the RBI leaders: WFU’s D’Antona (2nd, 57, 1.73/gm), ASU’s Larish (4th, 67, 1.60) and Virginia Tech’s Wyatt Toregas (19th, 39, 1.30).

* Other offensive leaders included: five in doubles – ASU’s Dustin Pedroia (3rd, 25, 0.56), Minnesota’s Ben Pattee (13th, 16, 0.52), Detroit’s Tim Poley (14th, 11, 0.50), Michigan’s Brock Koman (25th, 14, 0.48) and Georgetown’s Michael Lombardi (30th, 14, 0.47); three in triples – Nebraska’s Jeff Leise (10th, 6, 0.19), UConn’s Peter Soteropoulos (27th, 4, 0.13) and Virginia Tech’s Chris Stanton (30th, 4, 0.13); and three in stolen bases – WFU’s Ryan Hubbard (6th, 26, 0.84), Vanderbilt’s Ryan Klosterman (10th, 24, 0.71) and WFU’s Adam Bourassa (14th, 21, 0.64).

* On the pitching side, four were ranked among the ERA leaders – BG’s Kyle Knoblauch (20th, 1.71), Nebraska’s Adam Marsden (23rd, 1.78), EIU’s Damon White (43rd, 2.01) and Virginia Tech’s Ryan Kennedy (38th, 2.06) – while Seton Halls Mark Irwin (14th, 46 Ks, 12.2/9 IP) and Boston College’s Chris Lambert (23rd, 56, 11.0) were among the strikeout leaders … ASU’s Erik Averill and Jered Liebeck both entered the week with 7-0 records (9th) while Virginia Tech’s Matt Dalton (4th with 9 saves) is among the top relievers, as are four who are among those tied for 13th with 7 saves: UConn’s Mike Games, BC’s Ryan Morgan, ASU’s Ryan Schroyer and SHU’s Chris Noonan.