May 10, 2001

Notre Dame baseball game notes – at Boston College (May 12-13, 2001).

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ND holds a 12-5 edge in the BC series but the Eagles have won the last three, including the final game of a 2000 series at ND (1-12, 6-10, 11-1) and a pair of one-run wins over the Irish in the BIG EAST Tournament (4-3, 6-5) … the first two games of the series came at BC back in 1909 (a 9-0 ND win) and 1928 (an 8-1 BC win) … since joining the BIG EAST, the Irish have played just one series at BC (a 5-2, 6-4, 16-6 sweep in ’98) … the teams played on Cape Cod in 1996 (a 9-0, 6-1 DH sweep for the Irish).

ND’s last game at BC’s Shea Field saw the Irish set a team record by smacking 7 home runs in a 16-6 win (4/5/98) … 1B Dan Leatherman left the yard twice, with the other HRs coming from current senior SS Alec Porzel (then the starting LF), 3B J.J. Brock, SS Brant Ust, CF Allen Greene and RF Jeff Felker … ND then matched that record early in the ’99 season by hitting seven HRs in a 14-11 win at New Orleans (current junior 3B Andrew Bushey hit one of his five career HRs in that game).

Junior CF Steve Stanley owns a .600 career batting avg. (18-for-30) in eight career games vs. BC (6 RBI, 11 R, 2B, 3 BB, SB, K) … ND’s other top career hitters vs. BC include junior DH Ken Meyer (.500, 6-for-12, RBI, 5 R, 2 2B) and junior C Paul O’Toole (.400, 10-for-25, 11 RBI, 9 R, 3 HR, 2B, BB, SB) … junior 3B Andrew Bushey will be looking to boost his career avg. vs. BC (2-for-15, .133), as will senior SS Alec Porzel (10-for-39, .256) … see p. 10 for stats vs. BC and ND pitchers.

ND owns its 13th straight season with 40-plus wins, including 48 in ’89 and ’92, 46 in ’90, ’93, ’94 and ’00, 45 wins in ’91 and 44 in ’95 … ND’s active streak of seasons with 40-plus wins ranks 4th in Division I, trailing three others that have yet to reach 40 Ws this season: Florida State (23, currently 38-14), Wichita State (23, 38-22, with more than 56 GP due to a Hawaii trip exemption) and Clemson (15, 33-17).

+30 … AND BEYOND –
The Irish are 30-plus games over .500 (+35) for the 4th season in ND history (first ever prior to May) … the ’89 team was the first to do it, winning five straight games to claim the MCC title and push its record to 47-17-1 (on May 20) … the ’90 Irish swelled to a 40-10 record on May 6th (with a 14-4 win over Xavier) before topping out at +35 in the MCC Tournament (45-10, then 46-11) … the ’92 Irish pushed their record to 43-13 with a 10-1 win over Dayton in the MCCs and surged as high as +34 (48-14) thanks to wins in the NCAAs over Miami, Delaware and South Carolina … ND tied the ’90 team’s mark of +35 with the 9-1 win over Michigan and fell back after the 7-6 loss to WMU before becoming the first Irish team ever to reach +36 with the DH sweep of UConn (6-1, 13-12).

2001 marks the sixth time that an ND baseball team has reached 41 wins in the regular season but only one previous ND squad (44-10, ’90) headed into the postseason with more than 41 wins … the four previous ND teams that finished the regular season with 41 Ws were ’89, ’91, ’92 and ’00 … the Irish can set the team record for regular-season wins with a pair of victories at BC.

BYOB(rooms)?: –
ND has seen firsthand how challenging it can be to sweep a three-game series on the road despite being the BIG EAST’s winningest team since 1996 (101-32, .759) … in their first five seasons, ND managed to sweep just two of 10 three-game series at opposing BIG EAST stadiums: at BC in ’98, at Georgetown in ’99 … the brooms were dusted off earlier this season when ND became the first BIG EAST team ever to sweep a 3-game series at Rutgers (10-2, 8-2 and 5-4 in 11 inn.) before doing it again at St. John’s (3-2, 5-0, 7-3) … ND’s other three-game BIG EAST road series have included: at GU in ’96 (2-1), at Seton Hall in ’97 (0-3), at RU in ’97 (2-1), at SHU in ’98 (2-1), at SJU in ’99 (1-2), at 2000 series at Villanova, UConn and West Virginia (all 2-1) … the Irish never played a three-game series at Providence and have yet to do so at Pittsburgh … ND’s all-time road record in three-game BIG EAST series is 25-11.

ND has won 17 of its last 18 BIG EAST series, 25 of the last 28 (one tie) …. the Irish have won 42 of 53 all-time since ’96 (5 series ties, 6 series losses) … ND’s series run in the past three seasons includes eight series wins, one loss and one tie in ’99 and wins in all nine series of 2000 before winning 8-of-9 series this season (2-3, 8-9 losses at Virginia Tech).

The Irish have played 51 all-time BIG EAST doubleheaders, sweeping 30 (18 splits, just 3 opp. sweeps) … prior to Virginia Tech’s pair of wins on March 25 (3-2, 9-8), ND had played 34 consecutive BIG EAST doubleheaders without being swept (since the first BIG EAST weekend of ’97 season, at Seton Hall) … the losses at VT are the only opponent sweep in ND’s last 42 league DHs.

Senior RHP Aaron Heilman owns a 1-1 record and two saves in four career appearances vs. BC but the Eagles have touched him for 16 runs (10 earned, 5.63 ERA), 22 hits and nine walks in 16 innings of play.

Heilman owns a 9-1 career record when facing a team that beat him earlier in his career, with the lone loss coming to Rutgers late in 2000 (16-6, after losing 7-6 in 10 inn. to RU at the ’98 BIG EAST Tournament) … Heilman avenged that second loss to the Knights this season with a 10-2 win at RU on April 7 … since losing an 11-9, 10-inn. game to West Virginia on May 2, 1998, Heilman has posted a 5-0 record vs. WVU in his last six appearances-with two relief wins and three complete-game wins (highlighted by an 18-K performance in 2000) … Heilman beat St. John’s last season (8-3, his first decision vs. SJU since a 6-5 loss in ’98) and beat the Red Storm again this season (3-2) … he avenged his ’99 loss to BC (10-7) by beating the Eagles in 2000 (10-6) … he has pitched 14 previous games vs. teams that owned a rare win vs. the Irish ace, with the following stats in those games: 9-1, 2.68 ERA, 63.2 IP, 50 H (7.07/9 IP), 17 walks (2.40/9 IP), 79 Ks (11.17/9 IP) and a 4.6 K-to-BB ratio … Heilman is 17-2 in his career vs. non-BIG EAST teams (both losses in first outings of season) but he has not had the chance to avenge his ’99 loss to Florida International or his 2000 loss to Ohio State (both FIU and OSU are 2001 NCAA tournament hopefuls).

Senior RHPs Aaron Heilman and Danny Tamayo and sophomore RHP J.P. Gagne (3.40, 2.64 as starter) will be looking to extend the impressive performances by ND starting pitchers in 2001, as the Irish starters have combined for a 2.36 ERA through the first 49 games (1.96 before the UConn series) … the bulk of those starts (24) have come from the lethal combination of Heilman (1.42, 6th in the nation) and Tamayo (2.16, 26th) while Gagne (4.45, 3.76 as starter) has turned in solid efforts in eight of his nine starts … sophomore RHP Peter Ogilvie (1.15, 4-1 in six starts) has evolved into a strong No. 4 starter while junior RHP Matt Buchmeier (3.81) logged five decent starts during the first half of the season … other ND starters in 2001 have included senior LHP Mike Naumann (1.90), sophomore RHP Ryan Kalita (1.13) and junior RHP Drew Duff (5.79) … other combined stats for ND starting pitchers: 35-5 in 327.2 IP (86 earned runs), with 271 Ks, 76 walks and 262 hits allowed (for 9-inning averages of 7.4 Ks, 2.1 BBs and 7.2 hits) ? ND’s overall 2.97 team ERA includes a 4.56 by the bullpen-led by sophomore RHP Matt Laird (3.33, 4-1, 4 SV).

ND is 22-4-1 in all games away from home this season (21-4 at Eck Stadium) … ND’s 12-2 record on the opponent’s field nearly was 14-0 (the Irish suffered two late-inning losses at Virginia Tech, 3-2 and 9-8).

ND needed just 36 games (30-5-1) to clinch the 78th winning season in the baseball program’s 109-year history, including 14 straight (the 1987 team went 15-29).

Seventh-year ND head coach Paul Mainieri owns a 630-398-1 (.613) record in 18-plus college seasons … in addition to his 298-119-1 (.714) mark at ND, Mainieri’s teams were 180-121 in six seasons at St. Thomas (Fla.) and 152-158 in six seasons at Air Force … his 298 wins rank 3rd all-time at ND, behind Pat Murphy (318, ’88-’94) and Jake Kline (558, ’34-’75) … Mainieri has seen 24 of his Irish players go on to pro baseball (16 via the draft), with RHP Christian Parker being the first to reach the Majors (he earned a spot as the N.Y. Yankees No. 5 starter and made his debut vs. Toronto on April 6 at Yankees Stadium-with Mainieri and others from ND watching on) … 15 of his players at St. Thomas went on to pro ball, including three-Joe Klink, Dane Johnson and Dan Rohrmeier-who have played in the major leagues … Mainieri and his father Demie are the only known father-son combo in college baseball history to top 500 wins … Demie won 1,018 in 30 years at Miami-Dade North CC.

Paul Mainieri-who heads into the BC series two wins shy of his 300th career victory at Notre Dame-reached the 500-win milestone in ND’s Feb. 27, 1999, win at New Orleans (14-11) before reaching his 600th win this season in memorable fashion: on St. Patrick’s Day in the 7-6 win over Portland in the title game of the Fresno State Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic (the Irish wore special green jerseys) … Mainieri experienced two noteworthy homecomings in ’99, making his third return with the Irish to the UNO (where he played) and his third return as the ND coach to his hometown of Miami … Mainieri coached his 800th career game on Feb. 20, 1998, at the University of Miami, after a Feb. 15 game at UNO was rained out … he notched his 499th career win in the ’99 season opener vs. James Madison, in Miami at Fla. International (Feb. 19) … Mainieri picked up his 200th win at ND in the 7-6 win over Oakland on April 30 ,1999 … he coached his 900th college game in the opener at Georgetown on May 8, 1999, and his 1,000th this season vs. Hillsdale College (March 29).

Irish senior SS Alec Porzel steadily has infiltrated the BIG EAST record book and is the only player currently ranked among the BIG EAST’s all-time top 10 for each of the following categories in conference games: RBI (1st, 99), doubles (2nd, 33), at-bats (2nd, 335), hits (6th, 106, 5 shy of 4th), home runs (6th, 19), games played (6th, 90, 3 out of 4th) and runs (8th, 76, 5 out of 6th) … Porzel’s 13 RBI during the last nine BIG EAST games sent him well past the previous BIG EAST career RBI record (89, by Rutgers 1B/OF Pete Zoccolillo) … Porzel needs two doubles and 11 more at-bats to pass former Rutgers SS Darren Fenster atop those BIG EAST stat categories (Porzel would have been 1st team all-BIG EAST in 2000 but Fenster had a player-of-the-year season) … Porzel’s 14 doubles in BIG EAST games this season stand just one shy of the BIG EAST record (UConn’s Billy Rich had 14 in ’97) … ND junior CF Steve Stanley is tied with Porzel for 8th on the BIG EAST career runs list (76) and ranks 7th in hits (104, two behind Porzel).

Porzel hit 24 doubles as a junior and already has gone one better this season, with his 25 two-baggers ranking third in the nation (Southern University’s Michael Woods and Ohio University’s Ryan Keyes both have 27) … Porzel’s 0.48 2Bs/gm rank 7th nationally … Dan Peltier (32, ’89) is the only previous ND player to hit 25-plus 2Bs in a season … Porzel (75) is ND’s runaway leader for career 2Bs (Eric Danapilis was the previous recordholder, with 61 from ’90-’93).

In addition to already ranking as ND’s leader in career doubles (75), Alec Porzel is the only player presently ranked in the Irish career top 10 for home runs, triples and doubles ? here’s where he ranks in the Irish career record book, heading into the BC series (see p. 3 of release for updated career record book):

* 1st in doubles (75)
* 2nd in ABs (849, 11 back of J.J. Brock’s record 860 from ’94-’98)
* 2nd in games started (223, 15 shy of Brock’s record 238)
* 2nd in RBI (204, 17 behind Eric Danapilis’ 221 from 1990-93)
* 4th in games played (228, 10 shy of J.J. Brock’s record 238)
* 5th in hits (265, 31 behind Pat Pesavento’s record 296, ’86-’89)
* 5th in HRs (34, 15 back of Jeff Wagner’s record 49 from ’96-’99)
* 7th in runs scored (174, 72 behind Pesavento’s record 246)
* 9th in 3Bs (12, 12 behind Scott Sollmann’s record 24, ’94-’96)

ND owns a .334 team batting average in BIG EAST games (.321 overall, up 24 points from 2000) and is averaging 9.3 runs per inning in conference games.

Junior Steve Stanley has started all 177 games of his ND career (all in center field) while logging all but 14 innings in CF during his three seasons … in fact, during the 1999-2001 seasons, the familiar #2 has patrolled center field for the Irish in 99.1 percent of the innings (1,496 of 1,510)-including all but two out of 513.2 during his freshman season (his classmate Paul O’Toole played the final two innings in a 20-10 loss at Northwestern on April 6, 1999) … Stanley then played in CF for the final 267.2 innings of ’99 and the first 497 of his sophomore season-a span of 764.2 consecutive innings in center field-before being replaced by current senior Ben Cooke for the final five innings of the 8-1 NCAA Tournament loss at Mississippi State (the Irish fell into an early 7-0 hole and Stanley reluctantly left the game due to illness) … this season, he has patrolled center in all but seven of 427 innings-with Mike Naumann inserted into CF for the final inning vs. Texas-Pan American (a 14-9 win) while John Heintz played the position for the final four innings vs. Hillsdale (a 9-2 win) and for the final two innings of the 15-3 win over Seton Hall … Naumann-who had plenty of OF experience as a prep-turned in a play during that brief stint vs. UTPA that Stanley would be proud of, sprinting to the warning track and crashing into the wall while holding on to a flyout off the bat of Caleb Schmidt (who homered earlier in the game) … here’s a breakdown of Stanley’s innings played in center field:

By starting each of ND’s final three regular-season games, Steve Stanley would move past former teammate Brant Ust (1997-99) for 2nd place on the ND all-time list for consecutive starts (179) … Ust’s three-year career saw him split starts at 3B, 2B and SS in ’97 before playing primarily 3B in ’98 and SS in ’99 … the Irish record for consecutive starts is held by another former SS, as Pat Pesavento started 204 consecutive from 1986-89 (starting with the final 31 games of ’86)-one of the longest starting streaks in Division I history.

Senior SS Alec Porzel combines with a junior trio-CF Steve Stanley, 3B Andrew Bushey and C Paul O’Toole-to form the veteran core of ND’s position players … those four have combined for 716 games played, 700 starts, 833 hits in 2,595 at-bats (.321), 172 doubles, 462 RBI, 159 stolen bases and 193 walks.

The ND baseball squad posted a 3.19 team GPA in the 2000 fall semester-the program’s best term in the seven-year tenure of coach Paul Mainieri … 11 players turned in a Dean’s List semester (3.4 or higher) in the fall, with 21 at 3.0 or higher … Irish baseball players have earned GTE Academic All-America honors 13 times since ’82, including a pair in 2000: 2B Jeff Perconte (3.76 cumulative GPA, double major in economics and government, now attending ND Law School) and current senior LHP Mike Naumann (3.92, pre-professional science, three 4.0 semesters, already accepted into and plans to attend Baylor Medical School) … ND was one of seven Division I baseball teams with multiple Academic All-Americans in 2000 and only two of those schools-ND and North Carolina-participated in the 2000 NCAAs … four current ND players recently were named to the 11-player Academic All-District V team (no other school had multiple players on the team) and now advance to the national Academic All-America ballot: Naumann, junior 3B Andrew Bushey (3.33, finance), sophomore RF Brian Stavisky (3.69, business) and sophomore RHP Matt Laird (3.59, business).

One of the hidden keys to ND’s success in 2001 has been the play of junior 3B Andrew Bushey, who has provided solid offense batting mostly in the No. 7 hole (he is 4th on the team with a .343 batting avg., plus 15 doubles, 3 triples and a .467 slugging pct.) … Bushey’s batting avg. is up 72 points from his combined avg. in 1999 and 2000 (.271) while his slugging is up 86 points (.381 first two seasons) … his 3 triples are more than the previous 2 seasons combined (2) while he hit just 18 combined doubles in 1999 and 2000 … his .417 BIG EAST average ranks 3rd among the conference’s players, behind a pair of OFs: UConn’s Mike Scott (.451) and Billy McCarthy of Rutgers (.419).

Andrew Bushey’s sudden jump in batting average brings back memories of another recent Irish player-Mike Amrhein (1994-97)-who made the switch to catcher prior to making big strides at the plate (Bushey began training as classmate Paul O’Toole’s backup last fall and has made nine starts behind the plate this season) … Amrhein-who credited his experience as a catcher with improving his abilities to see the ball as a hitter and understand the strategy of opposing pitchers (Bushey has expressed similar observations)-was a 99th-round draft choice of the New York Yankees before returning to Notre Dame for his senior season in 1997 … after playing mostly OF and 3B in his first three seasons, Amrhein split catching duties with Jeff Wagner in ’97 and responded with a monster season that included a 21-game hitting streak … Amrhein entered that season with a .346 career batting avg. but hit nearly 50 points higher than that in ’97 (.394) while amassing 91 hits, 14 home runs, three triples, 13 doubles, 71 RBI, 33 walks and just 17 Ks (nearly matching his HR total) … Amrhein’s big final season prompted the Chicago Cubs to select him in the 10th round of the ’97 draft (only three ND seniors ever have been drafted higher) and he is in the midst of his 5th season within the Cubs organization (he was a non-roster invitee at Cubs spring training each of the past two seasons and currently is playing with the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx in the double-A Southern League).

Andrew Bushey has matched his 2000 hit total (58) but his improved batting avg. has included a surprising rise in his strikeout total, as Bushey K’d just 12 times as a sophomore but has 20 strikeouts in 2001 (his on-base pct. has jumped from .352 in 2000 to .392 this season).

ND recently ended a 13-game homestand that included 19 straight days without a road trip and the only time this season that the Irish will play at home on consecutive weekends … the first six weekends of ND’s 2001 season-and seven of the first eight-were spent on the road, traversing some 14,000 miles with destinations in seven widespread states (Mississippi, Texas, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Jersey).

The 15-4, 17-10 wins over Georgetown represented ND’s most combined runs (32) ever in a BIG EAST doubleheader … it also marked the first time that the Irish had reached 15 runs in consecutive games since the 1993 postseason, when ND beat Evansville 22-5 in the title game of the MCC Tournament before downing Mississippi State 15-1 in the NCAA East Regional (at Florida State).

Sophomore RF Brian Stavisky continues to made strides as an all-around offensive force, as the dangerous power hitter has struck out just 17 times in 184 plate appearances (9.61 PAs per K)-a considerable improvement from his 2000 average of 6.95 … Stavisky’s strikeout numbers are more impressive within BIG EAST play, as he has K’d just seven times in 98 BIG EAST plate appearances (13.6 PAs/K) … Staviksy had K’d just once in the previous 17 games before striking out in his final two ABs during the loss to WMU.