June 19, 2006
Three senior members of the 2006 Notre Dame baseball team – first baseman Craig Cooper, lefthanded pitcher Tom Thornton and shortstop Greg Lopez – recently completed the formality of signing with the Major League organizations that drafted them and are set to begin their professional careers with short-season single-A teams. Their former Irish teammate Jeff Samardzija is nearing a finalized deal with the Chicago Cubs but his signing has yet to be officially announced by the Cubs or Major League Baseball. Another junior righthander from the 2006 Notre Dame team, Jeff Manship, was picked in the 14th round by the Minnesota Twins but also has yet to sign (he has two years of eligibility remaining, after missing his freshman season in 2004 due to injury).
(Note: this release includes a full wrapup for all five of ND’s drafted players, including updated bio. capsules with career stats, links to career stats and 2006 game-by-game stats, and some post-draft quotes.)
Jeff Samardzija is nearing his professional baseball debut as a member of the Boise Hawks (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Cooper – a 7th-round pick of the San Diego Padres – was set to report to the Eugene (Ore.) Emeralds of the Northwest League while Thornton (a 21st-round Detroit Tigers selection) is headed to his native northeast as a member of the New York-Penn League’s Oneanta (N.Y.) Tigers. Lopez has been assigned to the Appalachian League’s Pulaski (Va.) Blue Jays but currently is at home in the Columbus, Ohio, area as he rehabs from a leg injury (he ultimately may start his career with another team in the Blue Jays organiaztion, pending the length of his rehab and where his services would be most needed at that time).
Early indications are that Samardzija will begin his pro career as a member of the Boise (Idaho) Hawks, which would give him the chance to face his former Notre Dame teammate Cooper during the Northwest League season. Other teams in the Northwest League include another Oregon-based team (the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes), plus five teams from the state of Washington: the Vancouver Canadians, the Spokane Indians, the Tri-City Dust Devils (based in Pasco), the Everett AquaSox and the Yakima Bears.
Thornton is set to play in the larger 14-team NY-Penn League, which includes seven other teams from New York: the Batavia Muckdogs, the Hudson Valley Renegades (based in Wappinger Falls), the Staten Island Yankees, the Auburn Doubledays, the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Jamestown Jammers and the Tri-City Valleycats (based in Troy). The league also includes two teams from Pennsylvania (the State College Spikes and Williamsport Crosscutters), plus teams from four other states: the Aberdeen (Md.) Ironbirds, the Lowell (Mass.) Spinners, the Vermont Lake Monsters (based in Winooski, Vt.) and the Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Scrappers.
The Pulaski Blue Jays join the Bristol Sox and Danville Braves as teams from Virginia in the Appalachian League, which also includes four teams from Tennessee – the Elizabethton Twins, the Johnson City Cardinals, the Greenville Astros and the Kinsport Mets – plus the Bluefield (W.Va.) Orioles, the Burlington (N.C.) Indians and the Princeton (W.Va.) Devil Rays.
Several recent Notre Dame players have started their pro careers in the Northwest League, including three each with Tri-City (3B/C Andrew Bushey, RHP J.P. Gagne and 3B Matt Macri) and Boise (C Paul O’Toole and RHPs Matt Laird and Ryan Kalita), plus RHP Danny Tamayo with Spokane, OF Brian Stavisky in Vancouver and RHP Ryan Doherty with Yakima. Three other recent Irish players made their debut in the NY-Penn League: SS Alec Porzel (Lowell), RHP Chris Niesel (Mahoning Valley) and 1B Matt Edwards (Batavia). Former Notre Dame catcher Javi Sanchez started his pro career in the Appalachian League with Elizabethton.
Tom Thornton – along with several other drafted players from Notre Dame – could pass through South Bend later in his career, as a member of the West Michigan Whitecaps (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Each of the four players mentioned above could return to South Bend later in their pro careers, as members of teams in the Midwest League (the South Bend Silverhawks are a member of the league). The Cubs have a team in the Midwest League (the Peoria, Ill., Chiefs), as do the Padres (Fort Wayne, Ind., Wizards), the Tigers (West Michigan Whitecaps, based in Grand Rapids) and the Blue Jays (Lansing, Mich., Lugnuts).
POST-DRAFT QUOTES FROM Craig Cooper – “It feels great. It fulfills a lifelong dream and I get to play professional baseball. It’s a dream come true. I had been hearing that I’d be picked somewhere between the seventh and 10th rounds, but you never know. I went in not expecting that much but hoping for the best. It worked out really well for me.
“I’ll be heading to Eugene, Oregon. Sooner or later I could end up back in Indiana. It would be great to be back in the area and see some friends.
“The biggest strides for me have been with my confidence and discipline at the plate. Coming in as a freshman, you don’t even know what to except from college. Every year my confidence kind of grew and grew. Freshman year, I kind of had to find out if I could compete. Once I realized I could be competitive, I wanted to be better and every year I kind of grew. Playing in the Cape Cod League really helped, facing great pitching every day and when you came back to school it made it a lot easier. My plate discipline my freshman year, I had a problem with curveballs and swinging at balls in the dirt. Over time and with repetition, I’ve been able to make some adjustments.
“[Notre Dame assistant] coach [Cliff] Godwin had a huge impact on me. He’s always out there doing early work with the guys and he spent a lot of time individually with me, working on my swing and doing drills with me. I owe a lot of my success this year to coach Godwin.
“Playing at Notre Dame definitely helped with my success. Being around the coaches and the people I met at Notre Dame, I can’t ask for a better experience. I definitely maximized my potential.
“I think [the Tigers organization] want me to play a majority of first base but also fill in some in the outfield. I’m willing to play wherever they need me, so it’s a good situation.”
“The thing that most concerns me is the grind I’ll be playing at on a daily basis. You are playing just about every day, there are long bus rides, not much time to let your body recover. Once you make the adjustment to playing every day, I think that’s going to be the biggest adjustment.”
“I’m in this for the long haul and am going to give it my best shot. I’m going to compete until I can’t compete with the rest of the guys I’m playing with. It’s always been my dream to make it to the major leagues. I’m not going to give up on in until I know I’ve given it my best shot.”
POST-DRAFT QUOTES FROM Tom Thornton – “(Getting drafted) has been a result of a lot of hard work and a lot of people behind the scenes helping me out to help get me where I am. From coach Mainieri to coach Rooney and the other assistants we’ve had along the way and all my teammates that have been behind me. They’re all a big part of where I am now and getting ready to enter into a professional career.
“Overall the way I approach the game and an overall belief that we I have the ability with my teammates to win the game. In refining my control, I was able to let my teammates get the outs and help us win the game. I developed the confidence in not having to go and strike everyone out. It was a matter of refining the craft where I could get guys out just by hitting my spots. That’s how I was able to come the furthest, basically a change of perception. I didn’t have to dominate with a fastball in the upper 90s.
“There are so many things I’m going to miss, from the social and academic end. I’m going to miss going to class every day and raising my level of knowledge every day. I’ve met so many people at Notre Dame and have made so many great friends. It’s been wonderful to wake up every day in that atmosphere and have a great time surrounded by wonderful people.
“From a baseball perspective, we had some great team chemistry and there are some great young guys on the team to pass the torch to. I’m going to miss coming out to the field every day and just being with these guys, going into competitive situations with guys that are there with you and take the game seriously and have a great attitude. I’m really going to miss the fans. We have some wonderful fans and they were a great support to us.
“I just feel blessed to have the chance to keep playing. The Tigers are a great organization and they were the ones who came to the table and drafted me. right now I’m very Loyola to that and their ability to take a chance with me.”
The past few months have seen Greg Lopez get engaged, be accepted into medical school. be named an Academic All-American, graduate from Notre Dame and be selected in the MLB draft (photo by Pete LaFleur).
POST-DRAFT QUOTES FROM Greg Lopez – “It’s a great feeling to be recognized like this. It’s a lifelong dream to get the chance to play professional baseball. I wasn’t sure when I would get drafted and just heard about it on the internet on mlb.com. I was like the fifth name they said after I just had turned it on. So it was pretty exciting.
“The big thing they liked about me is that I’m a good shortstop and very passionate about the game. It’s a great organization and someday I would love to be playing in Toronto. I’m very grateful they picked me.
“[Notre Dame assistant] Coach [Cliff] Godwin taught me about having a plan at the plate and just being aggressive and attacking the baseball. He brings a lot of energy and excitement to the team, which is something that I thank him for because it really boosted the environment fir us throughout the season. He always was positive with us and told us to stick with our game and that it would work out and by the middle of the season I was hitting .370 and feeling great. He just really helps you stay confident and confidence is half the battle.”
“It’s a busy time right now in my life with the potential to go medical school and being engaged. My fiancÃƒÂ©e loves baseball as much as I do, which is really nice to have. It’s great that she is with me.”
(Note: also see bio. section below for links to Lopez’s diary entries throughout 2006 season, with his final entry to come soon at www.collegebaseballinsider.com).
Craig Cooper UPDATED BIO. CAPSULE (1B; Sr.; Plainview, N.Y.; as of June 19, 2006) – Became one of the highest-drafted seniors in Notre Dame baseball history (7th round; San Diego Padres) while also becoming the first ND baseball player ever to receive All-America honors at first base (the ND program has produced 17 All-America performers overall, with that group including 11 position players) … named a 2006 second team All-American by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball magazine while earning third team All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America … also was one of 30 players named to the list of final candidates for the Brooks Wallace national player-of-the-year award and was member of the College Baseball Foundation’s 30-player All-America team … voting procedures prevented him from even being considered for All-America honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association, as Ball State’s Ryan Miller was selected the first-team first baseman on the ABCA’s All-Mideast Region team while Cooper was relegated to the 2nd team (only all-region 1st teamers are eligible for ABCA All-Americans, a policy that eliminated several top players from consideration, including Washington RHP Tim Linecum) … joined Kentucky 1B Ryan Strieby and two OFs (Drew Stubbs of Texas and Kellen Kulbacki of James Madison) as the only position players to receive each of the following honors: among the final-30 candidates for the Brooks Wallace Award; a CBF All-American; a Collegiate Baseball 1st or 2nd team All-American; a Baseball America 1st or 2nd team All-American; and a NCBWA All-American … Cooper outhit Miller by 90 points (.425-.335) but the players filled different overall roles (Cooper as leadoff man with near-ND-record .522 on-base pct. and nation-leading 79 runs; Miller as cleanup batter, with 76 RBI and 21 home runs) … Cooper’s slugging pct. was just 24 points below Miller (.678 to .654), with both hitting 19 doubles while Cooper had 15 more total hits (97 to 82) and half as many strikeouts (14, to Miller’s 29) … became seventh different ND player to earn Baseball America All-America honors (since ’81), joining the likes of CFs Dan Peltier (1st team; ’89), Eric Danapilis (1st tm; ’93) and Steve Stanley (3rd tm in ’01; 2nd tm in ’02), 3Bs Brant Ust (3rd tm; ’98) and Matt Macri (2nd tm; ’04), and RHP Aaron Heilman (1st tm; ’01) … top notes from the impressive 2006 season from the BIG EAST player of the year include the following: leads nation in runs scored (79); 6th nationally in batting avg. (.425); posted nearly a 3-to-1 walk-to-strikeout ratio (38/14) and 17 more extra-base hits (31) than Ks; all-time leader in BIG EAST Conference history for career bating avg. in BIG EAST games (.444); unprecedented three-time BIG EAST batting champ; led ’06 ND offense in 20 categories, including .426 batting with runners on base and .575 leadoff on-base pct.; reached base in 55 of 57 games played (hits in 50; runs in 48); 3rd-best season on-base pct. in ND history (.522); tied ND record with 21-game hit streak …
Draft-Day Notes – The 41 previous MLB drafts had seen ND players (including incoming signees who ended up playing for the Irish) picked in the draft or signed as free agent a total of 120 times, but never by the Padres until Cooper became San Diego’s 7th-round pick in the ’06 draft … all 30 of the current Major League teams now have drafted or signed at least one ND player (or incoming player) … just nine previous ND position players have been drafted higher than Cooper, who became the 4th-highest senior draft pick in the program’s history (2nd-highest among senior position players), behind RHP Aaron Heilman (1st round, ’02; Mets), CF Steve Stanley (2nd rd, ’02; A’s) and RHP Steve Whitmyer (6th rd, ’83; Indians) … with LHP Tom Thornton picked in the 21st round (Tigers) and SS Greg Lopez going to the Blue Jays in the 33rd, the ND baseball program now has seen four seasons in which three seniors have been drafted (also ’93, ’01 and ’02) … none of the three (Cooper, Thornton and Lopez) had been drafted at any time previously in their baseball careers … just one previous pitcher/position player combination in ND history – the 2004 duo of RHP Grant Johnson (2nd rd; Cubs) and 3B Matt Macri (5th rd; Rockies) – has been drafted higher than junior RHP Jeff Samardzija (5th rd; Cubs) and Cooper … the only other pair of ND teammates to go higher in the draft than Samardzija/Cooper were outfielders Stanley and Brian Stavisky in 2002 (2nd and 6th rounds, both to the A’s) … Samardzija and Cooper are the seventh pair of ND teammates to each be drafted in the first 10 rounds (also ’96, ’98, ’99, ’01) … ND’s five draft picks in ’06 (also RHP Jeff Manship, 14th rd to Twins) has been bested just once in the program’s history (6, in ’01) …
Craig Cooper compiled one of the top all-around seasons ever by a Notre Dame player while picking up various All-America honors for the 2006 season.
Among the NCAA, BIG EAST and ND Leaders – Cooper currently leads the nation in total runs scored (79) and runs per game (1.39) while ranking 6th in batting avg. (.425) … North Carolina SS Josh Horton (.404) was the only other player from a top-25 team hitting above .400 (as of June 15) and was the only player from a Super Regional team among the NCAA’s top-50 hitters (.388-plus) … only two players from teams at the CWS could finish above Cooper in runs or runs per game … Oregon State’s Cole Gillespie (78 runs; 1.37) has played two games in Omaha and will play at least one more while Miami’s Jon Jay (77 runs, in 64 GP) has played one CWS game, with at least two more (including June 19 game vs. Rice) … also averaged 16.3 ABs per K (228/14) in 2006, placing him 25th on NCAA list of players who are “toughest to strike out” … joins Jackson State’s Joaquin Rodriguez (.457; 17.5) as the only players ranked among the NCAA top-25 for both season batting average and toughest to K … set the BIG EAST Conference record for career batting avg. in BIG EAST games (.444; 120-for-270), after claiming unprecedented third straight BIG EAST batting title in 2006 (.481 in league games; also .470 in ’04 and .403 in ’05, plus .345 in `03) … former Boston College player Kevin Penwell is the only other player in 22 years of BIG EAST baseball to win multiple batting titles (in ’95 and ’96)… former Rutgers player Joe Cirrone had held the BIG EAST record of .443 but he totaled just 115 career ABs (51 H) in his BIG EAST career, five fewer than Cooper’s hit total (the BIG EAST min. for the stat is 100 career ABs) … outdistanced RU’s Todd Frazier (.424) by 57 points to win ’06 BIG EAST batting title, also outdistancing West Virginia’s Casey Bowling by 22 points (.425-.403) to finish atop BIG EAST charts for overall 2006 batting avg. … prior to ’04 season, former ND standout 3B Brant Ust (in ’98) had been only player ever to lead the BIG EAST in conference batting avg., slugging pct. and on-base pct. for same season … Cooper became second player to lead all three categories in the ’04 (.470 batting, .573 on-base, .759 slugging) and duplicated the unique feat in ’06 (.481 batting, .573 on-base, .759 slugging) … also paced BIG EAST in OPS (1.332 on-base plus slugging), hits (52), runs (43), home runs (7, tied for lead) and total bases (82) during ’06 conference games, in addition to ranking 7th in walks (19) and 8th in RBI (24) … only four of the previous 16 BIG EAST batting champs – Rutgers SS Darren Fenster (.505, in ’99), ND’s Ust (.493, in ’98), UConn CF Mike Scott (.491, in ’01) and ND catcher/ DH Jeff Wagner (.488, in ’97) – have claimed the BIG EAST batting title with a higher avg. than Cooper’s .481 … for the overall ’06 season, he led all BIG EAST players in batting (.425), runs (79), hits (97) and on-base (.522), plus 2nd in OPS (1.065) and TBs (149), 4th in slugging (.543) and 2Bs (19), 7th in BBs (38), 9th in 3Bs (3) and 11th in HRs (9) … combined with ND junior RHP Jeff Manship for fifth time in history BIG EAST baseball (first time since ’99) that same team has produced the BIG EAST player and pitcher of the year … joined Ust (’98) and CF Steve Stanley as ND’s recipients of BIG EAST player of the year … sixth ND position player to earn all-BIG EAST recognition in three or more seasons (2nd team in ’04, 3rd tm in ’05, 1st tm in ’06), joining Wagner (4), Ust, Stanley, OF Brian Stavisky and 2B Steve Sollmann in that elite group … joined 2B/CF Randall Brooks (’96-’97) as only ND players ever to receive all-BIG EAST honors at distinctly different positions (OF in ’04 and ’05; 1B in ’06) … ended up 12th or higher on 12 different Notre Dame career lists: 7th in on-base (.461); 8th in hits (265) and runs (191); 9th in batting (.361), stolen bases (45), 2Bs (52), games played (221) and putouts (840); 10th in BB (111) and hit-by-pitch (30); and 12th in RBI (162) and AB (734) … compiled one of the top offensive seasons ever by an ND player in … his .522 season OB pct. ranks 3rd-best in ND history (tops in the 12-year Mainieri era), behind the .531 posted by Eric Danapilis in ’91 and Edwin Hartwell’s .529 in ’93 … late 1980s standouts Pat Pesavento (88 in ’89; 81 in ’88) and Dan Peltier (81 in ’89) are the only ND players ever to score more runs in a season than Cooper (79; 4th), who came up three shy of reaching 100 hits for the season (97; 5th) … Stanley (119 in ’02; 102 in ’01), Peltier (115 in ’89) and Sollmann (98, in ’03) are the only ND players with more hits in a season … his .425 season batting avg. is 6th-best in ND history (2nd in Mainieri era), behind Hartwell (.447, in ’93), Peltier (.446, in ’89), Stanley (.439, in ’02) and Danapilis (.438, in ’93; .429 in ’90) … also ended up with 149 total bases in ’06 (9th) … earned team MVP honors after leading the 2006 Irish offense in 20 categories: batting (.425), slugging (.654), OB (.522), OPS (1.176), hits (97), runs (79), HRs (9), 2Bs (19), BBs (38), TBs (149), plate-discipline ratio (+34; 38 BB+10 HBP-14 Ks) and plate appearances (278) – plus situational categories such as batting with runners on base (.426), in scoring position (.373) and with 2-outs (.327; 12 RBI), pct. advancing runners (62%), leadoff on-base pct. (.577), batting vs. both RHPs (.436) and LHPs (.397) and overall clutch-hitting score (1,133; .577 leadoff OB x .75, + .327 with RISP + .373 with 2-outs) … ended up 2nd on ’06 team in SBs (9), 3Bs (3), ABs (228) and starts (57, one behind team leader Greg Lopez), plus 4th in RBI (41) and HBPs (10) and 5th in GP (57) …
Other Career and Season Notes – Cooper’s full career stats are as follows: .361 batting avg. (265-for-734) in 221 GP/192 GS, 26 HR, 7 3B, 52 2B, 191 R, 162 RBI, .557 slug., .461 on-base, 1.018 OPS, 111 BB, 30 HBP, 81 K, 6 SF, 10 SAC, 45-62 SB, 10 E, .989 fielding pct. … had all 9 of his HRs in 2006 during 23-game win streak but none in final 23 games (37 H, 17 BB), ending up 4 HRs shy of becoming third ND player ever with 30-plus HRs and 30-plus SBs (45) in his career … named national player/hitter of the week twice in his career … earned that honor from Collegiate Baseball and the Rosenblatt Report in late April of ’06, after batting 10-for-19 (.526) with 13 RBI, 9 R, 4 HR, 2 2B, 5 BB and a HBP in 5-game span (vs. Toledo and IPFWW, plus series with Rutgers) … third player in 12-year Paul Mainieri era to post multiple hit streaks of 13-plus games (13, late in ’05; 21, mid-’06) … CF Steve Stanley had a 16-game hit streak in ’00 and a 13-game streak in ’02 while 2B Steve Sollmann had 13- and 15-game hit streaks in ’03 … reached base 39-of-54 times (72.2%) when leading off the game for 2006 ND offense, batting 29-for-45 (.644) in 1st-ining leadoff plate appearances, including (4 HR, 1.089 slugging pct., 8 2B, 8 BB, also reached on HBP and E) … his official OPS (on-base plus slugging) was an off-the-charts 1.793 as the 1st-inning leadoff batter in ’06 … led by Cooper, the 2006 Irish offense hit .352 as a team in the 1st inning (67-35 scoring edge) … scored 28 of his nation-leading 79 runs in the 1st inning of ’06 season … had hits in 65 of his final 74 games with the Irish (hits in 54 of final 59 in the regular season) … reached base in all but two of his 57 games played in ’06 season, with hits in 50 of those games and runs scored in 48 … reached base in each of his first 34 games played during ’06 season and scored in 16 straight games after opener … had a streak of 44 games played without grounding into a double play (ended in ’06 postseason) … possibly would have compiled a 31-game hit streak in 2006 if he could have managed another AB or two vs. Central Michigan on March 22 (0-for-1, with 3 BB and sac. fly, ending 9-game hit streak, followed by 21-game hit streak that tied ND record) … compiled strong 2006 batting marks both at home (.461, 41-for-89) and on the road (.403, 56-for-139) .. ND was 43-10-1 in ’06 with him batting in leadoff spot (4-5 when another player served as leadoff batter) … narrowly missed a chance at being considered for 2006 Academic All-America honors, entering ’06 spring semester with a 3.197 cumulative GPA as political science major (min. 3.20) … followed with 3.83 GPA in ’06 spring semester, graduating with 3.26 cumulative GPA while being one of 24 Irish players with 3.0-plus GPA for ’06 spring term.
2006 Game Highlights – Cooper did not play in an early stretch that saw ND lose four straight to top teams (Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota and Arizona) … had pair of top efforts on Spring Break trip in San Antonio, vs. Iowa (4-for-5, RBI, 3 R, 2B, HBP; 16-2) and Southern Illinois (3-for-5, RBI, R; 12-2) … his 7-for-13 BIG EAST home series vs. Pittsburgh (3 RBI, 4 R, HR, 2B, 2 BB, SB) included 3-for-5 game to help fuel rally in 9-8 series finale (RBI, 3 R, HR, 2B, BB) … followed with 9-for-13 weekend to lead sweep at South Florida (4 RBI, 7 R, HR, 3B, 2 BB, 2 SB), collecting three hits in all three games … had multiple hits in 11 of 12 games from March 29-April 13 … continued his impressive career batting vs. rival Rutgers by batting 8-for-1 with 3 HR in sweep (9 RBI, 8 R, 2 2B, 4 B, HBP) … had first 2-HR game of his career in 11-5 opener vs. RU (4 RBI, BB) before matching career high with 5 RBI in 14-12 series finale (4-for-5, 3 R, 2 2B, HR, BB) … joined teammates Sean Gaston (in ’04) and Brett Lilley (in ’05) as one of 31 ND players ever to post 5-plus hits in a game, in 7-3 game-2 win at UConn (5-for-5, RBI, 3 R) … closed career at Eck Stadium by batting 7-for-11 in series with Louisville (RBI, 6 R, 3B, 4 BB), walking four times in 11-3 opener and then hitting 4-for-5 in final home game (RBI, 2 R, 3B; 6-9) … hit 3-for-5 to help win game-2 at Seton Hall (3 R, 2B; 14-12) … clinched BIG EAST record for career batting avg. in conference games after hitting 3-for-4 in road game vs. Villanova (2 RBI, 2 R, HBP; 12-1) … collected hits in final six games, including 12-4 BIG EAST Tournament win over West Virginia (2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, BB), elimination-game win over St. John’s (2-for4, 2 RBI, 2 2B, BB; 5-3) and 7-0 title game vs. Louisville (2-for-4, 2 RBI, SF) … closed career with hits in NCAA Lexington Regional games vs. College of Charleston (2-for-7, R, BB; 4-5 in 16 innings) and Kentucky (2-for-3, R, BB; 4-10), earning a spot on the regional’s all-tournament team (alongside teammate Alex Nettey).
Craig Cooper's Notre Dame Career Stats
Year Avg GP/GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB SLG% BB HBP SO OB% SF SH SB-ATT PO-A-E-FLD%
2003.. .303 46/31 122 22 37 6 2 0 15 47 .385 15 4 23 .397 0 2 10-13 38-4-1-.977
2004.. .360 58/46 175 42 63 13 1 10 48 108 .617 25 2 22 .441 2 4 12-17 83-1-2-.977
2005.. .325 60/58 209 48 68 14 1 7 58 105 .502 33 14 22 .446 2 4 14-17 196-11-3-.986
2006.. .425 57/57 228 79 97 19 3 9 41 149 .654 38 10 14 .522 2 0 9-15 52-43-4-.993
TOTAL. .361 221/192 734 191 265 52 7 26 162 409 .557 111 30 81 .461 6 10 45-62 840-59-10-.989
Tom Thornton ranks among the top control pitchers in Notre Dame history and also made a name for himself as a big-game pitcher throughout his career (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Tom Thornton UPDATED BIO. CAPSULE (LHP; Sr.; Middleboro, Mass.; as of June 19, 2006) – Selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 21st round of the 2006 MLB draft … combined with 1B Craig Cooper (7th rd.; Padres) and LHP Tom Thornton (21st rd; Tigers) for the fourth time in ND baseball history that three seniors have been drafted (also ’93, ’01 and ’02) … joined with junior RHPs Jeff Samardzija (5th rd; Cubs) and Jeff Manship (14th rd; Twins) in marking the first time that three ND pitches have been selected in the same draft … ND’s five draft picks in ’06 has been bested just once in the program’s history (6, in ’01) … became the eighth ND player/incoming player to be drafted/signed by the Tigers … others of note have included: SS Pat Pesavento (’89; 17th rd), CF Eric Danapilis (’93; 23rd rd), CF Scott Sollmann (’96; 7th rd), 1B/C George Restovich (’96; 17th rd), IF Brant Ust (’99; 6th rd) and LHP Tim Kalita (1999; 7th rd) … ranks among the top control pitchers in ND history, averaging just 1.61 walks per 9.0 innings pitched (64 in 332.2) during his four seasons with the Irish … Brandon Viloria (1.61 BB/9 IP, from ’00-’03) and Alan Walania (1.43; ’90-’93) are the only pitchers in the ND record book with better career walk averages … his final season in 2006 included the 2nd-best walk avg. (0.77; 7 in 82.1) and 2nd-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.29; 58/7) in recorded ND history, trailing only fellow LHP Tom Price’s impressive 1994 season (0.49 BB/9 IP; 12.14 K/BB; 85 K, 7 BB in 127.2 IP) … aside from Price, no other ND pitcher has come close to Thornton’s walk avg. and K/BB ratio from the 2006 season (Scott Cavey’s 1.23 BB/9 IP in ’99 is 3rd on that list while Danny Tamayo owns the 3rd-best K/BB mark, at 6.24 in ’01) … ended his career tied for 2nd in ND history with 53 starts on the mound (1997 grad Darin Schmalz also had 53 GS while Price had 56 from ’91-’94) … ended 4th on the ND career list for innings pitched (332.2), 8th in wins (27-12) and 11th in strikeouts (204), just one behind former teammate J.P. Gagne and two shy of 1950s standout Tom Bujnowski … for-year All-American Aaron Heilman (393.2), Price (390) and late-1980s standout Brian Piotrowicz (337.2) are the only ND pitchers to have logged more innings than Thornton … graduated with a 3.58 cumulative GPA as a double major in anthropology and film-television-and-theater (3.87 in ’06 spring semester) … joined former women’s basketball player Ruth Riley (’01) as the only ND student-athletes ever to receive the athletic department’s Byron Kanaley Award (recognizing those who are exemplary as students and leaders) and the Chris Zorich Award (recognizing community service excellence) … baseball program’s 13th recipient of the Kanaley Award (third of the Mainieri era) and first to receive the Zorich Award … served as a co-captain for the 2006 baseball team, a rare leadership role for the pitcher position … his final five semester GPAs included 3.73, 3.81, 3.73, 3.75 and 3.87 … served as one of team’s top weekend starters on the 2006 staff, ranking 2nd on team in starts (14; 8th-most in BIG EAST) and 3rd in wins (7-2; 5th in BIG EAST) and innings pitched (82.1), plus 4th in strikeouts (58) … owned the 10th-best ERA (3.94) among BIG EAST pitchers who pitched at least 1.0 inning per team game … among those BIG EAST regulars, his 7 walks were the fewest by a significant margin (no other BIG EAST regular had fewer than 16 walks in 2006) … his tremendous control included total of just 13 free passes in the 2006 season (7 BB, 6 HBP) and no wild pitches … only pitchers in the ND record book – Chris Michalak (118.2, in ’92) and Schmalz (84.2, in ’96) – have logged more innings in a season without uncorking a wild pitch … his other 2006 stats included 93 hits allowed (3 HR), a .292 opp. batting avg. in 14 total appearances … no other pitcher in the BIG EAST has totaled fewer than 16 walks this season while only three BIG EAST “regular” pitchers (1 IP per team game) have surrendered 0-1 HRs … led staff with 6 pickoffs while ranking 3rd in Ks “looking” (20), groundouts (94) and innings per outing (5.2), also 5th in total appearances (15) … limited opponents to a .291 leadoff on-base pct. (3rd-best on staff) … allowed .333 batting with runners on base in ’06, plus .280 with 2-outs, .311 by LH hitters and .285 by RH batters … had a 1.22 groundout/flyout ratio in 2006 … his 9-inning averages in 2006 included team-best 0.77 walks, plus 6.34 Ks, 10.17 H, 10.28 GOs and 37.17 BF … helped ’06 team rise as high as No. 8 in the national polls … his full career stats are as follows: 3.79 ERA, 27-12, 62 GP/53 GS, 332.2 IP, 357 H (.280; 19 HR), 204 Ks, 64 BB (3.19 K/BB ratio), 9 WP, 29 HBP, 7 complete games, 2 solo shutouts (plus a shared shutout) … helped ND compile one of the best four-year records in all of college baseball during his career (179-71-2, from ’03-’06) and named BIG EAST pitcher of the week five times in his career, 2nd-most in the 22-year history of BIG EAST baseball (behind former ND ace Heilman’s 10) … those honors came after outings such as an opening-week win at #20 USC in ’04 (6 IP, UER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 Ks), a shutdown effort vs. a potent Texas Tech team later that season (3 BB, HB, 7 Ks; 8-1) and a five-hit solo shutout of Southern Illinois (2 Ks, 0 BB; 4-0) during the 2006 Spring Break trip in San Antonio … also named BIG EAST pitcher of the week after 3-0 win over Indiana State during 2006 season opener (7 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 5 Ks, 0 BB; in Millington, Tenn.) … his other 2006 season highlights included: the 4-2 win over Illinois earlier on Spring Break trip (7.2 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 6 Ks); the 10-4 win at South Florida (6 IP, R, 6 H, BB, 6 Ks); a 6-2 road win over Villanova in the final week of the regular season (5 IP, R, 7 H, 2 Ks); and the 7-2 BIG EAST Tournament elimination-game win over St. John’s (7 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 3 Ks) … his all-BIG EAST junior season saw him become the only pitcher in the Mainieri era to throw three straight 9-inning complete games before finishing 13th among the league’s pitchers with a 2.83 ERA in ’05 BIG EAST games … proven big-game pitcher in ’04, finishing atop the BIG EAST charts for wins (9-2) while ranking 2nd with 99.2 innings and 5th in Ks (77) … top games that season included rare 9-inning shutout at West Virginia; (6 H, 2 BB; 4-0) and a career-best 12 Ks in an NCAA elimination game versus Kent State (3 H, 2 BB; 7-1) … tabbed by NDWorks magazine as a “senior we will miss” … under consideration for a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship … a consistent and eager participant in community service work throughout his career as an ND student-athlete … took on a personal project in 2005-06 by serving as a weekly mentor to students at South Bend’s Veritos Academy … also was a leading participant in the baseball’s teams many service activities, including: the Buddy Walk for children with Downs Syndrome; adopting an area family for Christmas, through the Salvation Army; participating in the South Bend Reads program and the D.A.R.E. drugs and alcohol education program; and the athletic department’s annual Christmas party for patients from Memorial Hospital’s hematology/oncology ward … was an invited participant in the athletic department’s Academic Honors faculty mentoring program.
Tom's Thornton's Notre Dame Career Stats
Year ERA W-L App GS CG SHO/CBO SV IP H R ER BB SO 2B 3B HR BF B/Avg WP HBP SFA SHA
2003.... 1.81 5-1 15 8 0 0/0 0 54.2 54 18 11 14 29 15 0 0 0 .269 3 6 2 8
2004.... 3.88 9-2 16 15 1 1/0 0 99.2 95 53 43 24 77 19 0 8 0 .251 4 8 2 8
2005.... 4.69 6-6 16 16 4 0/0 0 96.0 115 57 50 19 40 21 0 8 418 .306 2 9 3 11
2006.... 3.94 7-3 15 14 2 1/1 0 82.1 93 38 36 7 58 13 1 3 340 .292 0 6 2 7
TOTAL... 3.79 27-12 62 53 7 2/1 0 332.2 357 166 140 64 204 68 1 19 758 .280 9 29 9 34
Greg Lopez’s many impressive numbers during the 2006 season included just 12 errors in 58 games played and a 3.40 cumulative GPA, as a double major in pre-professional studies and anthropology (photo by Matt Cashore).
Greg Lopez UPDATED BIO. CAPSULE (SS; Sr.; Upper Arlington, Ohio; as of June 19, 2006) – Third-year starting shortstop and four-year monogram winner who earned all-BIG EAST honors (2nd team) for second time in his career during 2006 season while also receiving 2006 ESPN The Magazine third team Academic All-America honors (as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America) before graduating with a 3.40 cumulative GPA, as a double major in pre-professional studies and anthropology … experienced the dual thrills of being accepted into medical school (at the University of Texas-San Antonio) and being selected in the 2006 MLB draft (by the Toronto Blue Jays, in the 33rd round) … combined with 1B Craig Cooper (7th rd.; Padres) and LHP Tom Thornton (21st rd; Tigers) for the fourth time in ND baseball history that three seniors have been drafted (also ’93, ’01 and ’02) … ND’s five draft picks in ’06 (also RHPs Jeff Manship, 5th rd/Cubs, and Jeff Manship, 14th rd/ Twins) has been bested just once in the program’s history (6, in ’01) … became the eighth ND player/incoming player to be signed/drafted by the Blue Jays, with other of note including SS Pat Pesavento (’88; 11th rd; returned to ND) and RHPs Pat Leahy (’89; 16th round; HS senior) and David Sinnes (’93; 19th round) … second-year team captain who made just 12 errors in 58 games played during ’06 season, with 48 error-free games and an impressive 3:1 ratio of RBI to errors (an impressive mark for any high-level SS) … led 2006 team in games started (58) while ranking 2nd in at-bats (207) and games played (58), 4th in sac. bunts (7) and 5th in hits (530 and RBI (37), despite batting mostly in the 8-hole … his other 2006 stats included a .304 batting avg., .370 slugging pct., .342 on-base pct., 31 runs, 9 doubles, a triple, 74 total bases, 9 walks, 5 times hit-by-pitch, 2 stolen bases and 18 strikeouts (well below his 44 Ks from the ’05 season … situationally, he ranked 3rd on the team in batting vs. LHPs (.379) and 2-out RBI (15, nearly half of his ’06 total) and 4th in batting with runners on base (.342) and with runners in scoring position (.356) … his other 2006 situational stats included .270 vs. RHPs and .242 with 2-outs (he advanced 54.4% of runners) … had only two games with multiple errors (none with more than 2 Es) in the entire 2006 season while helping turn 31 double plays … his top 2006 games included 3-for-5 days vs. Central Michigan (RBI, R; 11-9) and Georgetown (3 RBI; 6-3) … three of his most productive games of the season helped deliver game-3 wins in BIG EAST series (vs. Georgetown, St. John’s and Rutgers) … batted 7-for-11 to help sweep SJU, with three hits in each of the final two games … hit 3-for-5 in game-2 vs. Red Storm (2 R, BB; 13-7) and then played lead role in 7-5 thriller that capped sweep (3-for-3, 2 RBI, R, BB, 2 2B) … helped Irish outlast RU in 14-12 series finale (3-for-5, 3 R) … batted 3-for-6 with a walk in hearbreaking 16-inning loss vs. the College of Charleston at the NCAA Lexington Regional (4-5) … ended his career as ND’s all-time leader in total sacrifices (48; 32 sac. bunts, 16 sac. flies), plus 2nd in sac. bunts (32), 4th in career fielding assists (584), 7th in HBPs (34), 8th in games played (230), and 10th in games started (217) and at-bats (746) … the only ND players with more fielding assists include former teammate and four-year 2B Steve Sollmann (629), utility infielder J.J. Brock (619) and standout SS Pat Pesavento (617) … his other career stats include a .294 batting avg., 219 hits, 31 doubles, 131 RBI, 122 runs, 2 triples, 38 walks, 34 HBPs, 116 Ks, 7-of-15 stolen bases and a .934 fielding pct. … compiled one of the top season fielding percentages (.953, in ’06) of any ND shortstop in the 12-year Paul Mainieri era … ranked as team’s 2nd-best hitter at home during 2006 season (.390) … also had team’s 2nd-best batting avg. on team during 23-game win streak (.440, 20 RBI, just 4 Ks and 4 Es) … ranked as team’s 4th-best hitter in April (.380) and in 2006 BIG EAST regular-season games (.347) … helped 2006 team rise as high as 8th in the national rankings … played lead role as ND compiled one of the best four-year records in all of college baseball during his career (179-71-2, from ’03-’06) … earned 3rd team all-BIG EAST honors in 2004 while receiving baseball team’s Rockne Student-Athlete Award … an invited participant in the ND athletics Academic Honors faculty mentoring program … also member of the Presidential Committee on Diversity, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and the athletic department’s Leadership Institute … one of five ND student-athletes who received the 2006 Arthur Ashe Award, recognizing students of color who exemplify the all-around standards set by the tennis great … his extensive community service work has included the following: La Casa de Amistad Christmas for Hispanic youth; Shoe Box Drive for homeless youth; Swing for Shoes drive for children in need; Adopt-a-Family for Christmas; Logan Center mentor for adults with Downs Syndrome; drug and alcohol prevention speaker to elementary-age youth; Buddy Walk for children with Downs Syndrome; the athletic department’s annual Christmas party for local youth with cancer; four-year participant in the Christmas for Pediatric Ward; coordinator of the pediatric ward Adopt-A-Kid; and reading program for children in South Bend.
Greg Lopez's Notre Dame Career Stats
Year Avg GP/GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB SLG% BB HBP SO OB% SF SH SB-ATT PO-A-E-FLD%
2003.. .250 50-40 132 17 33 1 0 0 26 34 .258 4 4 22 .289 2 8 1-5 21-67-8-.917
2004.. .332 59-57 199 39 66 14 0 2 34 86 .432 14 9 32 .396 3 10 4-5 89-182-20-.931
2005.. .274 63-62 208 35 57 7 1 2 34 72 .346 11 16 44 .347 7 7 0-2 116-169-23-.925
2006.. .304 58-58 207 31 63 9 1 0 37 74 .357 9 5 18 .342 4 7 2-3 76-166-12-.953
TOTAL. .294 230-217 746 122 219 31 2 4 131 266 .357 38 34 116 .349 16 32 7-15 302-584-63-.934
Jeff Samardzija’s 21 career wins have been bested by just 12 pitchers in the 114-year history of Notre Dame baseball (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Jeff Samardzija UPDATED BIO. CAPSULE (RHP; Jr.; Valparaiso, Ind.; as of June 19, 2006) – Selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 5th round of the 2006 MLB draft (the Cubs did not have a pick in the 2nd-4th rounds) … was projected by Baseball America as the 20th-best overall prospect (including high school players) heading into draft day but fell to the 5th round due to his dual commitments to baseball and football … just one previous pitcher/position player combination in ND history – the 2004 duo of RHP Grant Johnson (2nd rd; Cubs) and 3B Matt Macri (5th rd; Rockies) – has been drafted higher than Samardzija and senior 1B Craig Cooper (7th rd; Padres) … the only other pair of ND teammates to go higher in the draft than Samardzija/Cooper were OFs Stanley and Brian Stavisky in ’02 (2nd and 6th rounds, both to the A’s) … Samardzija and Cooper are the seventh pair of ND teammates to each be drafted in the first 10 rounds (also ’96, ’98, ’99, ’01) … joined with fellow junior RHP Jeff Manship (14th rd; Twins) and senior LHP Tom Thornton (21st rd; Tigers) in marking the first time that three ND pitches have been selected in the same draft … ND’s five draft picks in ’06 (also SS Greg Lopez in 33rd round to the Blue Jays) has been bested just once in the program’s history (6, in ’01) … ND players (including the incoming signees who joined the Irish) now have been drafted or signed as a free agents a total of 125 times and the Cubs have drafted/signed the most ND players from that group (11; all since 1996) … ND’s other noteworthy Cubs draft picks have included: C Mike Amrhein (’97; 10th rd), OF Brian Stavisky (’01; 33rd rd; draft-eligible soph./returned to ND), C Paul O’Toole (’02; 21st round) and RHP Grant Johnson (’04; 2nd rd) … on pace to possibly graduate at the end of the 2006 fall semester … one of 21 ND baseball players who posted a GPA of 3.0-plus in the 2005 semester and then was one of 24 Irish baseball players to top the 3.0 GPA mark in the 2006 spring (in-season) semester … joined Manship to form just the seventh pairs of pitchers from the same team who have been first team all-BIG EAST selections in the same season (since ’85) … only two other pairs of starting pitchers since 1992 (including ND’s Aaron Heilman and Danny Tamayo in 2001) have been named first team all-BIG EAST … compiled 21-6 record in his three seasons with the Irish … just 12 pitchers in the 114-year history of Notre Dame baseball have won more games in their careers (22-plus) … his other career stats include a 3.82 ERA in 50 appearances (31 starts), with 159 strikeouts, 84 walks and 236 hits allowed (.256 opp. batting avg.; 11 HRs) in 240.1 innings (11 wild pitches, 18 hit batters, plus a save in ’04) … ended up with 15th-best overall ERA (4.33) among “regular” pitchers (at least 1.0 IP per team game) in the 12-team BIG EAST while also ranking 3rd in the BIG EAST for innings (97.2) and starts (15), 4th in wins (8-3) and 8th in Ks “looking” (24) … his 59.2 innings during league action ranked 6th-most among BIG EAST pitchers … led Notre Dame’s 2006 staff in innings pitched (97.2) and games started (15) while ranking 2nd in wins (8-2), 3rd in strikeouts (61) and Ks “looking” (20), and 5th in appearances (15) … his other 2006 season statistics included 37 walks, 101 hits allowed (3 home runs), a .272 opp. batting avg., 5 hit batters and 5 wild pitches … led team with 115 groundball outs, as 60% of his outs (176 of 293) came via Ks or GOs (10.60 per 9 IP; 5th-most on staff) … compiled 1.16 groundout-to-flyout ratio … averaged team-best 6.2 innings per outing while his 9-inning averages included 5.62 Ks, 3.41 walks, 9.31 hits and 39.26 batters faced … owned 2nd-best opponent 2-out batting avg. on the staff (.211) while holding lefthanded hitters to .234 batting (5th-best) … his other situational stats included a .388 opp. leadoff on-base pct., .267 opp. batting with runners on base and .291 by RH hitters … 10 of his 15 starts in 2006 came as the game-1 starter (in series or tournament) … reached the 7th inning in eight of his starts while pitching 6-plus innings 11 times … failed to reach the 5th inning only once in ’06 season … his career stats in three seasons with the Irish include a 21-6 record, good for the 13th-most wins in the 114-year history of Notre Dame baseball … also compiled a 3.82 career ERA in 50 appearances (31 starts), with 159 strikeouts, 84 walks and 236 hits allowed (.256 opp. avg.) in 240.1 innings pitched (1 SV, 11 WP, 18 HBP, 11 HR) … his top games during the 2006 season included keeping the Irish in the game versus then-#15 Texas A&M, in San Antonio (5.1 IP, R, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 Ks; no-decision as ND rallied for 5-4 win) … delivered 6-1 win in his 2006 home debut, logging career-high 8.0 innings and totaling career-best 8 Ks as Irish set Eck Stadium attendance record of 3,028 (R, 8 H, BB) … had solid outing to help beat St. John’s in 9-2 opener of showdown series (7 IP, 2 R, 11 H, 3 BB, 5 Ks) … improved to 6-1 the next week with 11-5 win over rival Rutgers (7.1 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 6 Ks) … closed regular season with his strongest outing of the season, notching 3-1 road win over Villanova in duel with fellow top prospect Kevin Mulvey (8.1 IP, R, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 Ks) … totaled 16 Ks and just 3 walks over his final 3 GP of the 2006 season … won key winners-bracket game at BIG EAST Tournament vs. West Virginia (12-4), with Stan Posluszny’s 3-run blast accounting for most of WVU’s runs (8 IP, 4 R, 9 H, BB, 6 Ks) … another mistake pitch yielded a game-tying, 3-run HR in the NCAA opener vs. the College of Charleston as the Cougars forged a 4-4 tie in the 7th and ultimately won, 5-4 in 16 innings (8 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 Ks).
Jeff Samardzija's Notre Dame Career Stats
Year ERA W-L App GS CG SHO/CBO SV IP H R ER BB SO 2B 3B HR BF B/Avg WP HBP SFA SHA
2004.... 2.95 5-3 20 6 0 0/2 1 64.0 50 25 21 17 42 2 1 5 0 .209 3 3 0 3
2005.... 3.89 8-1 15 10 1 0/1 0 78.2 85 39 34 30 56 10 3 3 360 .272 3 10 1 6
2006.... 4.33 8-2 15 15 0 0/0 0 97.2 101 51 47 37 61 24 2 3 426 .272 5 5 3 10
TOTAL... 3.82 21-6 50 31 1 0/3 1 240.1 236 115 102 84 159 36 6 11 786 .256 11 18 4 19
The season-long spotlight and fan attention surrounding Jeff Samardzija included this popular two-sport promotional poster (photo and copyright held by Mike Bennett/Lighthouse Imaging).
- Notre Dame two-sport star history, from Blue and Gold (June 19, 2006)
- Charlie Weis and Jeff
Jeff Manship’s career rate of 10.11 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched is the second-best by a Notre Dame pitcher in the past 40 years (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Jeff Manship UPDATED BIO. CAPSULE (RHP; Jr.; San Antonio, Texas as of June 19, 2006) – Named by Collegiate Baseball magazine as a third team Louisville Slugger All-American while also collecting BIG EAST Conference pitcher-of-the-year honors and being the only unanimous pick for first team all-BIG EAST honors … selected by the Minnesota Twins in 14th round of the 2006 MLB draft … has two years of eligibility remaining, after missing freshman season in 2004 due to injury … joined with fellow junior RHP Jeff Samardzija (5th rd; Cubs) and senior LHP Tom Thornton (21st rd; Tigers) in marking the first time that three ND pitches have been selected in the same draft … ND’s five draft picks in ’06 (also 1B Craig Cooper to he padres in 5th round and SS Greg Lopez, in 33rd round to the Blue Jays) has been bested just once in the program’s history (6, in ’01) … follows six previous ND players who were Minnesota Twins draft picks or signees, most notably RHP Aaron Heilman (2000; supplemental round between 1st and 2nd; returned to ND) and catcher Javi Sanchez (2004; 14th round) … one of 17 ND baseball players to earn All-America honors (sixth pitcher, including five this decade) … ranked 23rd In nation with 10.6 strikeouts per 9.0 innings during the 2006 season … his 111 strikeouts in the 2006 season tied Aaron Heilman’s 2001 total for 3rd-most in ND history (seven shy of Heilman’s record total, posted in both 1999 and 2000) … his career strikeout rate (10.11 per 9.0 IP) ranks 4th-best in ND history … his former teammate Ryan Doherty (12.17) is the only Irish pitcher in the past 40 years with a better career strikeout rate than Manship (Dan McGinn averaged 12.66 Ks/9 IP from ’64-`65 and Rick Rusteck 10.75 from ’61-’63) … his 10.63 Ks per 9 IP in 2006 rank 7th-best in a season ever by an ND pitcher (4th-best since 1965) while his .223 season opp. batting average is 12th-best in the ND record book (stat kept since ’91) … his two-year career stats with the Irish include a 3.39 ERA and 11-3 record in 27 appearances (21 starts), with 131 Ks, 38 walks and 102 hits allowed (.232 opp. avg.; 7 HR) in 116.2 innings (plus 10 wild pitches, 7 hit batters and a save in ’05) … combined with 1B Craig Cooper for fifth time in the history of BIG EAST baseball (first time since ’99) that same team has produced the BIG EAST player and pitcher of the year … joined Brad Lidge (’98), Heilman (’00, ’01) and Chris Niesel (’03) as ND’s recipients of the BIG EAST pitcher-of-the-year award … he and Samardzija become just the seventh pairs of pitchers from the same team who have been first team all-BIG EAST selections in the same season (since ’85) … only two other pairs of starting pitchers since 1992 (including ND’s Aaron Heilman and Danny Tamayo in 2001) have been named first team all-BIG EAST … ended up with the 4th-best overall 2006 ERA (3.26) among “regular” pitchers (at least 1.0 IP per team game) in the 12-team BIG EAST while leading the league in wins (9-2), strikeouts (111) and Ks “looking” (48), also ranking 4th in low opponent batting avg. (.223) and innings pitched (94.0) and 8th in games started (14) … in 2006 BIG EAST games, he led the conference in wins (7-1), Ks (70) and Ks looking (29) while also ranking 3rd in opp. batting avg. (.226) and innings (63.1) plus 5th with a 3.13 ERA in BIG EAST play … led ND’s 2006 staff in wins (9-2), strikeouts (111; 3rd in ND history) and Ks “looking (48) while ranking 2nd on staff for innings pitched (94.0) and starts (14), and 3rd in low opponent batting avg. (.223), plus 5th in ERA (3.26; among pitchers with 20-plus innings) and appearances (15) … compiled nearly a 4-to-1 season strikeout-to-walk ratio (111/28; 3.96) while totaling 16 more innings pitched than hits allowed (78) … his other season stats included 6 hit batters, 4 wild pitches and a team-high 7 home runs allowed (the rest of the staff allowed just 11) … owned top groundout-to-flyout ratio on the staff (1.82), with 76% of his outs (213 of 282) coming via Ks or GOS (102; 2nd-most on staff) … averaged 6.1 innings per outing (2nd on staff) while his 9-inning averages included 10.63 Ks (2nd on team), 2.68 walks (5th-lowest), 7.47 hits (4th) and 37.44 batters faced … averaged more than 20 outs per 9 IP (20.40) via Ks or groundouts (9.77) … held opposing lefthanded hitters to a .180 batting avg. (3rd-best on staff), also ranking 3rd on team in opponent batting with runners on (.242), plus 4th in opponent 2-out batting (.222) and opponent leadoff on-base pct. (.313; 2.8 per 9 IP) … RH batters hit .249 vs. him … posted 8-plus Ks in 10 of his 15 appearances during the 2006 season … pitched well enough to win his first two starts of the season, instead picking up no-decisions in losses to Oklahoma (3-4; in Millington, Tenn.; 5 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 Ks) and Arizona (0-2, in 10; at Metrodome; 6 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 10 Ks) … posted pair of wins in his hometown of San Antonio, vs. Iowa (6 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 Ks; 16-2) and Southern Illinois (8 IP, 2 R, 7 H, BB, 8 Ks; 12-2) … beat Pittsburgh in first home series of the season (7 IP, R, 4 H, BB, 9 Ks; 4-3) before winning 10-1 series finale at South Florida (8 IP, R, 4 H, BB, 4 Ks) … pitched well but had no-decision in 7-5 series finale vs. St. John’s (7 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 7 Ks) … notched his ninth win of 2006 in final regular-season series, posting 6-2 road victory over Villanova (7.2 IP, 2 R/1 ER, 5 H, BB, 6 Ks) … pitched in postseason losses to St. John’s at BIG EAST Tournament (2 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 2 BB, K; 1-10) and vs. Kentucky in NCAA Lexington Regional (3.2 IP, 6 R/3 ER, 3 H, 7 BB, 8 Ks out of bullpen; 4-10).
Jeff Manship's Notre Dame Career Stats
Year ERA W-L App GS CG SHO/CBO SV IP H R ER BB SO 2B 3B HR BF B/Avg WP HBP SFA SHA
2004 (dnp due to injury)
2005.... 3.97 2-1 12 7 0 0/1 1 22.2 24 11 10 10 20 4 0 0 103 .270 6 1 1 2
2006.... 3.26 9-2 15 14 0 0/0 0 94.0 78 40 34 28 111 11 1 7 391 .223 4 6 1 6
TOTAL... 3.39 11-3 27 21 0 0/1 1 116.2 102 51 44 38 131 15 1 7 494 .232 10 7 2 8