May 22, 2002
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. – Notre Dame senior centerfielder Steve Stanley (Upper Arlington, Ohio) became the first player ever to repeat as the BIG EAST Conference baseball player of the year while five other Irish players earned all-BIG EAST honors, during Wednesday’s ceremonies at the conference’s annual tournament banquet.
Junior leftfielder Brian Stavisky (Port Allegany, Pa.) was named second team all-BIG EAST for the third straight year while senior catcher Paul O’Toole (Lakewood, Ohio) repeated as a second-team selection. Sophomore second baseman Steve Sollmann’s second-half surge, after a nagging early-season quad injury, earned the Cincinnati native second-team honors (he was a first-team pick and BIG EAST rookie of the year in 2001).
Senior designated hitter Matt Bok (Akron, Ohio) and senior third baseman Andrew Bushey (Boardman, Ohio) gave Notre Dame five BIG EAST honorees who hail from the buckeye state (also in 2001), with both earning third-team recognition. Bok also was a third-team selection in 2001 while Bushey was a first-teamer as a junior, with many of the top games from his solid 2002 season coming during non-conference action.
Stanley ?- who also is being considered for various national player-of-the-year awards – dominated the 2002 BIG EAST statistical charts, ranking among the top 10 in 14 different categories (first in seven). He closed the regular season as the BIG EAST batting leader, both overall (.449) and in conference games (.431), while also owning the league’s top overall on-base percentage (.524; third in league on-base at .508) and posting BIG EAST-leading totals in both categories for runs (62 overall, 30 BIG EAST) and hits (96, 44).
On the basepaths, Stanley ranks second among BIG EAST players for overall stolen bases (31, fourth with 11 SBs in conference games) and eighth in overall walks (33). His total-base totals rank third overall (117) and sixth in league games (57) while his eight doubles in BIG EAST action ranked eighth in the conference. Stanley’s other noteworthy statistics from the 2002 season include just seven strikeouts in 257 plate appearances, plus 14 doubles, two triples, the second home run of his career and just one error.
Stanley also ranks as the BIG EAST’s all-time leader in hits (152) and runs scored (110) during BIG EAST regular-season games.
Stavisky – who joins Bushey as ND’s players currently being considered for Academic All-America honors – bounced back from a pair of injuries (shoulder and facial fracture), each of which sidelined him for nine games during the first half of the season (the Irish are 26-4 since his return). His .419 overall batting average ranks second among all BIG EAST players while his .691 slugging pct. is good for third among the league’s top players. Stavisky – who has 40 RBI and six home runs in 37 games played – also finished among the top 10 in all three avg./pct. categories for conference play, ranking fourth in BIG EAST batting avg. (.394), fifth in slugging (.648) and seventh in on-base pct. Just two BIG EAST players totaled more than his four overall triples.
O’Toole hit .349 in BIG EAST games (76 points higher than his overall average) while ranking among the BIG EAST leaders in five categories during conference action, including first in RBI (30), third in slugging pct. (.709) and total bases (61), fourth in home runs (7) and eighth in doubles (8). He also finished the regular season ranked third among all BIG EAST players in overall triples (4) and 10th in home runs (10), with his 45 RBI ranking second on the squad.
Sollmann rebounded from a nagging quad injury to rank as Notre Dame’s third-leading hitter in BIG EAST play (.355), while boosting his season average to .329 (plus 34 RBI) as the usual No. 2 hitter in the batting order. His solid defensive play, alongside classmates Javier Sanchez (shortstop) and first baseman Joe Thaman, has helped the Irish total 53 doubles plays (just seven shy of the team record).
Bushey’s 18 doubles rank sixth among BIG EAST players, with only three players in the conference totaling more than his 12 two-baggers in BIG EAST games. He leads the Irish in RBI (49), has hit five home runs and ranks as Notre Dame’s third-leading hitter (.356), including a .393 batting average and 33 RBI in 24 non-conference games. Bushey’s .958 season fielding pct. includes just eight errors and one stretch of 24 games without an error.
Bok ranks as Notre Dame’s fifth-leading hitter (.329) while filling a variety of spots in the batting order, with 28 RBI and 11 doubles. His many clutch plays in the 2002 season included the triple and run scored that beat Virginia Tech in the 11th inning (2-1) and the go-ahead hit in the seventh inning of the 9-4 win over perennial power Arizona State.