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    Chuck In the Armor - Georgetown Preview

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    Notre Dame hits the midpoint of the BIG EAST season this weekend, sitting at the .500 mark in conference play. The Irish head to Georgetown, trying to do something our politicians can't...get something done in Washington, D.C.

    I'm no Karl Rove or David Axelrod, but here are the issues I think the Irish should focus on in order to get a landslide victory.

    Reduce the deficit: It's great the Irish have shown THE ability to comeback from four runs down. It would be even better not to put themselves in those situations. Mik Aoki has directly challenged his team to play with more urgency from the outset of games. They did it Friday night against Cincinnati, but it has to happen more than once a week.

    Focus on the economy....of pitches. Normally, the Irish starters are strike throwers, but that wasn't the case last weekend. Will Hudgins wasn't his usual sharp self, falling behind in counts. Pat Connaughton needed 80 pitches to get through just four innings. He frequently seemed to be overthrowing, and not following through. Finding the strike zone will result in fewer pitches and longer starts.

    Strengthen the defense...The shortstop position has accounted for 20 errors in 35 games, and that's one reason for the increased pitch count. The pitchers have to help their own cause, though. They have made six errors, most frequently on bunts. Georgetown has some speedsters in Justin Leeson and Rand Ravnaas who like to bunt for hits, so Notre Dame better be prepared for small ball.

    Find renewable energy...It's not surprising a young team like the Irish might be hitting a wall at this point of the year. 35 games is a full high school season, but there's still six weeks to go in the college season. The week off from games may help the youngsters, as well as junior catcher Joe Hudson, who has been behind the plate for every game but one this year.

    Emphasize health care...Charlie Markson should be fully recovered from his virus. Trey Mancini is expected to be back from the wrist contusion. Even Hudson's thumb which has been hurting since early in the season should be a little better.

    Be aware of a foreign power...Georgetown used to be the BIG EAST doormat, but Peter Wilk has the best team he's had in 15 years on the Hill. The Hoyas enter the weekend above .500 and just a game behind Notre Dame in the conference. Leeson is a quality leadoff man with speed, Ravnaas is a legitimate all-BIG EAST selection, and Stanford transfer Mike Garza is an offensive force.

    Pitching and defense continue to be a problem for the Hoyas. They allow five earned runs per game and have committed 60 errors. The Irish need to be the aggressor and make Georgetown feel more like North Korea.

    Don't be distracted by anything else...the bucolic setting of Shirley Povich Field, throwback uniforms and the like. These are the issues that are important. It will require sweat, effort and sacrifice (both bunts and flies). But as a team...together everyone achieving more...victory can be achieved for God, country and Notre Dame!

    - Chuck Freeby ('86)

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