THE SERIES: Notre Dame has owns an 11-6 series edge vs. CMU, including wins each of the last four seasons (14-9, 7-5 and 3-1 at ND from 1997-99 and 5-0 at Jacksonville, Fla., in 2000).
THE LAST MEETING (5-0): Senior RHP Scott Cavey turned in a five-inning shutout stint (3 Ks, 0 BB, 3 H) at minor-league Wolfson Park in Jacksonville, Fla. S Brian Stavisky punctuated the game by crushing a two-run shot to dead center field S Mike Naumann followed up Cavey’s start with 2.2 shutout innings (4 H) while John Corbin registered the final four outs for the save S Adam Bolthouse took the loss (7 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 Ks) … ND took a 1-0 lead in the 3rd, as Ken Meyer sent a one-out double down the leftfield line before scoring on Steve Stanley’s double to the same part of the field … ND added to its lead with two runs in the 8th, with Porzel reaching on a two-out fielding error by the 3B Tim Bullinger before Stavisky smacked an 0-1 pitch to deep center field-sailing the 20-foot wall, 401-plus feet from home plate … Meyer capped the scoring with an RBI single in the 9th.
PORZEL NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame senior SS Alec Porzel (Lisle, Ill./Naperville North High School) has been named the BIG EAST Conference baseball player of the week, after leading the Irish to six victories during the week of April 9-15 S Porzel-who was named the 2001 preseason BIG EAST player of the year by Collegiate Baseball magazine-came through with several clutch hits and paced Notre Dame during the week in RBI (14), two-out RBI (8), total bases (18), home runs (2) and extra-base hits (4) while batting .409 (9-for-22) with two home runs, a triple, a double (.818 slugging pct.), eight runs scored, two walks (.458 on-base pct.) and just one error at shortstop (he has just six Es all season) S he did not strike out or hit into a double play in 24 total plate appearances S Porzel’s impressive situational batting during the week included hitting .615 (8-for-13) with runners on base (2nd-best on team), plus team-best batting averages with runners in scoring position (.545, 6-for-11) and with two outs (.455, 4-for-11) S his highlights during the week included a two-run home run in the 9-8 win over Detroit-making Porzel the first Irish player ever to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in his career-plus a 4-for-8, nine-RBI doubleheader versus Georgetown.
SURGING: Porzel has overcome a slow start to his final season by batting .361 during the team’s current 15-1 run, yielding a ..262 overall season average S he leads the team in doubles (14, second among BIG EAST players) and shares the team lead in two-out RBI (12) while ranking second on the squad in total RBI (29) and third in runs scored (30) and walks (15) S his 19 RBI in BIG EAST games rank second among all players in the conference S Porzel’s .966 season fielding percentage (six errors in 177 chances) ranks 47 points higher than the fielding pct. he posted as the Irish shortstop in 2000, when he totaled 25 errors in 62 games played.
NCAA ERA LEADERS: ND’s 2.61 team ERA ranks 1st in the NCAA , led by Aaron Heilman (1.32, 6th in nation) and Danny Tamayo (1.65, 12th) … ND (now 31-5-1) also entered the week with the nation’s best winning pct. (.852) .
IN THE RECORD BOOKS: In addition to already ranking as Notre Dame’s leader in career doubles (64), Porzel is the only Notre Dame player currently ranked in the Irish career top 10 for home runs, triples and doubles S here’s where he ranks in the Irish career record book, heading into tomorrow’s Central Michigan game:
* 1st in doubles (64)
* 5th in at-bats (791, 169 back of J.J. Brock’s record 860 from 1994-98)
* 5th in RBI (181, 40 behind Eric Danapilis’ 221 from 1990-93)
* 7th in games started (208, 30 shy of Brock’s record 238)
* 7th in hits (243, 53 behind Pat Pesavento’s record 296 from 1986-89)
* 7th in home runs (31, 18 back of Jeff Wagner’s record 49 from 1996-99)
* 8th in triples (12, 12 behind Scott Sollmann’s record 24 from 1994-96)
* 9th in games played (213, 25 shy of J.J. Brock’s record 238)
* 10th in runs scored (160, 86 behind Pesavento’s record 246)
Irish Quick Notes * Since the doubleheader loss at Virginia Tech, the Irish are riding a 15-1 streak that has included a ..348 team batting avg. (.369 with runners in scoring position), 9.6 runs per nine innings and a 2.41 team ERA … eight starters are batting .347 or higher during the 15-1 run (four over .380, three at ..400-plus).
* Beginning with three consecutive shutouts from March 21-23, the Notre Dame pitching staff has posted 144 shutout innings during the last 21 games (177 IP), which factors out to shutout frames in 81.4% of the innings (or 7.3 per 9 IP).
* ND has pushed its winning streak to 10 games-the program’s longest win streak since an 11-game run early in the 1999 season-while becoming the quickest Irish team ever to reach the 30-win plateau (four previous ND teams started 30-9). … the Irish also have tied the team record for consecutive BIG EAST wins in a season (10), matching the run by the 1998 team.
* Since blowing a pair of late-inning leads at Virginia Tech on March 25 (two of ND’s four 1-run losses, 3-2 and 9-8), the Irish have won 15 of their last 16 games overall (10-0 BIG EAST) while the Hokies have gone 3-6-1 in their last 10 league games.
* Aaron Heilman joined Frank “Dreams” Scanlan (10-0 in 1908) Bill Ryan (9-0 in 1910, lost next game), Hugh Mageveney (9-0 in 1924) and Tim Kraus (9-0 in 1994) as the only ND pitchers ever to start a season 9-0 (Heilman tied Scanlan’s record for single-season winning streak in 2000, winning 10 straight after losing on the first weekend).
* ND has won 15 of its last 16 BIG EAST series while winning 39 of 50 all-time BIG EAST series since 1996 (with five series ties and six series losses) … the Irish have played 48 all-time BIG EAST doubleheaders, sweeping 27 of them (with 18 splits and just three opp. sweeps).
* One of the hidden keys to ND’s success has been the play of junior 3B Andrew Bushey, who has provided solid offense batting mostly in the No. 7 hole (4th on team with .346 batting avg., plus 11 doubles, 3 triples and a .474 slugging pct.) … Bushey’s batting avg. is up 75 points from his combined avg. in 1999 and 2000 (.271) while his slugging is up 93 points (.381 first two seasons) … his 3 triples are more than the previous 2 seasons combined (2) while he hit just 8 doubles in 1999 and 10 in 2000.
* Bushey (5 E) and senior SS Alec Porzel (6) have combined to impressively make just 11 errors this season, with a .965 combined fielding pct. … the Irish have made just 48 errors in 37 games (just three games with 3-plus) while Es have led to just 25 unearned runs (opponents are averaging just 3.24 runs per 9 IP even with unearned runs) … the .967 season fielding pct. remains on pace to break the team record (.965) while the eight regular position players have combined for just 35 errors (.971), including just one outfield error …. sophomore LF Kris Billmaier (no Es in 41 chances) continues to make defensive strides after converting from 2B late in the 2000 season … one-third of the team’s errors (16) have been made by freshman 2B Steve Sollmann, a converted OF who nonetheless has made some sparkling plays and helped turn 16 of the team’s 27 double plays as he adjusts to his new position S freshman 1B Joe Thaman has just 3 Es (.992).
* ND is set to take over the national ERA lead despite not having the services of two members of its 5-man rotation-junior RHP Matt Buchmeier (1-0, 5 GS, 3.81) and sophomore RHP Peter Ogilvie (2-1, 4 GS, 0.72)-during the past two weeks … both have been out with sore shoulders but Buchmeier could return this week.
* The 15-4, 17-10 wins over Georgetown represented ND’s most combined runs 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 Notre Dame 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).
* ND now owns a .324 team batting average in BIG EAST games (.316 overall, up 17 points from 2000) and is averaging one run per inning in conference games (110 in 109 inn.) … the Irish hit a combined .369 in the DHs vs. Georgetown and West Virginia, including .426 (29-for-68) with runners in scoring position … over the first 14 BIG EAST games, the Irish are batting .364 with runners in scoring position (.313 overall in 2001).
SO MANY STRONG STARTS: Sophomore RHP J.P. Gagne will be looking to extend the impressive performances by Notre Dame starting pitchers during the 2001 season, as the Irish starters have combined for a 1.99 ERA through the first 37 games … the bulk of those starts (14) have come from the lethal senior RHP combination of Aaron Heilman (1.32, 6th in the nation) and Danny Tamayo (1.65, 12th) while sophomore RHP Peter Ogilvie (0.72) has turned in four strong midweek starts S junior RHP Matt Buchmeier (3.81) has logged five starts while J.P. Gagne (4.19, 2.97 as starter) has turned in solid starts in each of his five starts and his fellow sophomore RHP Tim Kalita (1.13) has won both his midweek starts … the other combined stats for ND starting pitchers in 2001 include a 25-2 record in 244 innings pitched, with 193 Ks, 53 walks and 168 hits allowed (for nine-inning averages of 7.4 Ks, 2.0 BBs and 6.4 hits) S ND’s overall 2.61 team ERA includes a 4.15 ERA by the bullpen-led by sophomore RHP Matt Laird (1.02, 2-0, 4 SV).
SEVENTH HEAVEN: ND’s most productive inning has been the 7th (36 runs scored, 7 allowed).
SPRINT TO 20: ND reached the 20-win plateau (20-4-1) faster than any of the program’s previous 92 teams, dating back to the 20-1 start by the 1908 squad … the 2000 Irish squad tied the ND record for quickest to 30 wins (30-9) set by three previous teams, with the 2001 ND team reaching 30 wins
LOTS OF ZEROES: The Irish pitchers have combined for 76 shutout innings in the last 11 games (in 92 IP, with a 1.98 ERA in that span).
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE: Senior SS Alec Porzel set the ND record for career doubles in the SHU series finale (62-now 64-including a team-best 14 this season).
3-0 TRIFECTA: Notre Dame won three straight games on march 21 and 23 by the same score (3-0), equaling an 85-year-old team record by registering three consecutive shutouts … the last time that happened for a Notre Dame baseball team, two of the opponents were known by different school names (ND’s athletic teams weren’t even known as the Irish until 1930), with that 1916 team blanking Michigan Agriculture (now Michigan State) by a 2-0 score, Purdue 1-0 and Western State (now Western Michigan) 6-0 from April 29-May 6 of that season … the only other seasons to produce three consecutive shutouts came in 1907 (6-0 vs. Indiana, 4-0 vs. Nebraska, 5-0 vs. Oberlin from May 9-15) and in the first three games of 1908 (19-0 vs. Winona, 18-0 vs. Albion and 19-0 vs. Kalamazoo) … 3-0 has been the magic shutout score for ND this season, with all five 2001 shutouts coming by that score (also vs. Florida Atlantic and New Mexico).
A CASE FOR THE DEFENSE: Notre Dame’s stellar .967 season fielding pct. is on pace to best the team record (.965)-led by just six errors from senior SS Alec Porzel, and three by freshman 1B Joe Thaman … the Irish have totaled just 48 errors (1.3/gm) … ND has posted eight error-free games, 14 with one error and just three with more than two Es (a three-error game in the 3-0 win over New Mexico, 3 Es in the 6-1 win over Toledo and 4 Es in the 15-4 win over Georgetown) … errors have led to just 25 unearned runs for the opponent … ND has allowed just 3.2 runs per nine innings (when including the unearned scores).
KEEP ON CRANKING: Freshman 2B Steve Sollmann .leads ND with a .406 season batting avg. and is very familiar with the last Irish player to hit .400-plus, as his brother Scott hit ..402 in 1994 and .405 in ’95.
WORKING OVERTIME: ND is 9-0-1 in its last nines extra-inning games, since losing 10-7 to Boston College on April 17, 1999 (7-inning game that ended in the 8th) … that streak includes a rare happening at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic, with the Irish tying Navy (4-4 in 10) before beating Fresno State (5-4 in 10) and Miami of Ohio (3-2 in 11) … in addition to the 11-inning win earlier this season at Mississippi State (4-2) and the recent 11-inning win at Rutgers (5-4), the extra-inning streak includes wins over Oakland (7-6 in 10, 4/30/99), Villanova (7-3 in 10, 3/25/00), West Virginia (3-1 in 7-inn. game extended to 10, 4/15/00), Michigan (5-4 in 11, 4/26/00) and Pittsburgh (11-8 in 10, 5/6/00) … the VU and WVU games were on the road, the Michigan win was on neutral ground at Old Kent Park (Grand Rapids, Mich.).
NAUMANN RECEIVES SCHOLARSHIP FROM BIG EAST: Notre Dame senior LHP Mike Naumann (Tucson, Ariz.) is one of four BIG EAST baseball players who have been awarded a $2,000 scholarship for use towards postgraduate studies … AEROPOSTALE Stores is the official apparel of BIG EAST Championships and also is the sponsor of the conference’s Post Graduate Student-Athlete Scholarship Program … each BIG EAST school nominated a male and female student-athlete for the scholarship program, with other BIG EAST baseball players that were nominated by their schools including Mike Scott (Connecticut), Matt Irvin (Pittsburgh), (Baseball) and Brian Leighton (Seton Hall) … Naumann earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2000 and carries a 3.92 cumulative grad-point average as a pre-professional science major (he has been accepted to Baylor’s medical school and plans to attend that prestigious institution beginning in the fall of 2001).
SCORING STREAK: By scoring vs. Navy on March 12, Notre Dame set the team record for consecutive games with at least one run scored (134), dating back to a 12-0 loss at Florida International on Feb. 21, 1999 (the streak now stands at 159 games) … ND set the previous record by scoring in the each of the first 133 games of the Paul Mainieri era (Feb. 24, 1995-March 9, 1997) and has scored in of 400 of 405 total games during the Mainieri era (98.8 percent).
30-30: Senior SS Alec Porzel smacked what proved to be a valuable 2-run home run in the 9-8 win over Detroit on April 11 and in the process became the first Notre Dame player ever to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases (31) in his career (doing so in his 205th career game played) … junior C Paul O’Toole (18 HR, 34 SB, 147 GP) likewise has a shot at the 30-30 distinction.
ALL-STATE TEAM: With eight Ohio natives on the 2001 Irish baseball squad, Notre Dame could field an all-Ohio squad that also would include second-year assistant coach Dusty Lepper at SS (he is a native of Findlay and played at Toledo) while the team’s student managers-Ken Kleppel and Katie Furman-would split time in left field (both hail from the Cleveland area) … here’s how the rest of the all-Ohio squad would be aligned: junior C Andrew Bushey (Boardman, suburb of Youngstown), junior 1B Paul O’Toole (Lakewood, outside of Cleveland), freshman 2B Steve Sollmann (Cincinnati), senior 3B Ben Cooke (Bay Village, suburb of Cleveland), junior CF Steve Stanley (Upper Arlington, in Columbus area) and junior RF Matt Bok (Akron) … two freshman RHPs would share pitching duties: Mike Morgalis (Cincinnati) and Nick Colagiovanni (Garfield Heights).
BIG SHADOWS: Several members of the Notre Dame baseball team bring big frames to the ballpark, including All-America RHP Aaron Heilman (6-5, 225 pounds) and two everyday starters: sophomore RF Brian Stavisky (6-3, 220) and freshman 1B Joe Thaman (6-4, 205) … sophomore 1B Mike Holba (6-7, 225) is the tallest member of the Irish squad and was an all-state quarterback as a prep while junior OF Matt Strickroth (6-5, 230) was an all-state football lineman during his high school days.