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    Big O Salute

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    USC forward Renaldo Woolridge honors his father, the late Orlando Woolridge ('81) with a nice musical tribute. Orlando passed away last month at the age of 52.

    Before There Was Mike and Mike ...

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    ... there was, well, Mike and Mike.

    (Very) Super Regionals - Game 3

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    nd-celebrate-061002-lg.jpg Irish Underground takes a look at the 10-year anniversary of Notre Dame baseball and its trek to the World Series with a glance at the final game of the 2002 Super Regionals.

    Notre Dame halted the Seminoles' 25-game winning streak, an Atlantic Coast Conference record and one of the longest winning streaks in Division I baseball history.

     

    Game 3 - June 10, 2002 - Recap | Box Score | Quotes | Photos

    Baseball Advances To College World Series With 3-1 Win

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - No. 11 Notre Dame (49-16) became the eighth team to earn a spot in the College World Series field with a 3-1 Super Regional victory over No. 1 Florida State (60-14) as 5,195 fans looked on at Dick Howser Stadium. Freshman right-hander Chris Niesel (4-0) held the Seminoles in check all day, allowing just six hits and one earned run in eight innings of work.

    Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when Steve Sollman singled home Joe Thaman from second base with two outs. Thaman was on after drawing a walk and had moved to second on a groundout.

    The Irish got another two-out run in the fourth to make it 2-0. Kris Billmaier singled to center, moved to third on Paul O'Toole's single and scored on a base hit by Javier Sanchez. Notre Dame got an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh to push the lead to 3-0. O'Toole singled and Thaman grounded to second with one out on what looked to be an inning-ending double play, but

    FSU second baseman Bryan Zech committed an error to put runners on first and second. Steve Stanley's bunt single loaded the bases and O'Toole scored on Steve Sollman's sacrifice fly to center.

    The Seminoles mounted a late rally in the top of the eighth. Bryan Zech doubled and came around to score on Tony Richie's two-out single off the wall in right. Notre Dame left fielder Brian Stavisky ended the inning with a sliding catch of Jerrod Brown's fly ball in fall territory. Florida State starter Marc LaMacchia (10-2) pitched well in the loss, giving up two earned runs on six hits in 6.1 innings. LaMacchia walked two and struck out two.

    Notre Dame now advances to the College World Series in Omaha, NE to play the Stanford Cardinal. It is the second World Series trip ever for the Irish and their first since 1957.

    (Very) Super Regionals - Game 2

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    76560_ssollmann.jpg Irish Underground continues its presentation of a flashback to Notre Dame's 2002 World Series run and its 10-year anniversary of conquering Florida State in the Super Regionals.

    Game 2 - June 8, 2002 - Recap | Box Score | Quotes

    Irish Fall To Florida State, 12-5

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - No. 1 Florida State (60-13) scored eight runs in the top of the first inning and went on to defeat No. 11 Notre Dame (48-16) by a score of 12-5 in NCAA Super Regional action at Dick Howser Stadium Sunday afternoon. Stephen Drew led the way for FSU with a career-high five hits and four runs scored while Jerrod Brown added three RBI. The 2002 Seminoles tied an ACC record with their 60th win and became just the second team in school history to win 60 games, joining the 1986 team that went 61-13.

    After getting behind early in each of their four previous NCAA Tournament games, the Seminoles reversed that trend in dramatic fashion with eight runs in the top of the first inning. Drew led off with a double and Tony McQuade and Ryan Barthelemy walked to load the bases. Brown knocked in two with a double to right, making him 14-for-17 on the season with the bases loaded. Nick Rogers walked to load the bases again and Blair McCaleb did the same to bring in another run. Mike Futrell followed with an RBI-single to left. A pair of Notre Dame errors on Bryan Zech's grounder to second cleared the bases and made it 7-0. In his second at bat of the inning, Drew scored Zech from second with a base hit.

    The Irish answered with four runs in the bottom half of the first to cut the lead in half. Steve Stanley, Steve Sollman, Brian Stavisky and Andrew Bushey started the rally with four straight singles. Stavisky and Bushey each picked up an RBI. After a sacrifice fly from Matt Bok scored Stavisky, Kris Billmaier made it 8-4 with an RBI-double.

    Drew sparked FSU again in the fourth with a double off the screen to start the inning. McQuade knocked him in with a single up the middle. A Tony Richie single put McQuade on third before Brown came through with his third RBI of the day on a fielder's choice to make it 10-4.

    Barthelemy made it 11-4 when his singled home Drew in the fifth. Stavisky doubled home a run for the Irish in the bottom of the eighth and FSU added another on Barthelemly's second RBI of the day for the final of 12-5.

    Senior right-hander Blair Varnes (10-3) earned the victory after giving up four runs in the first, holding the Irish scoreless over the next 5.2 innings. Notre Dame starter Pete Ogilvie (7-4) took the loss after surrendering eight runs (seven earned) and recording just one out in the first inning.

    Lax In The City - 6.8.12

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    Notre Dame rising senior women's lacrosse player Emily Conner has a dream internship for a sports fan this summer, as she is interning with ESPN in New York City in its Marketing & Sales department. Within the department, the Alexandria, Va., native works on the asset management team in the consumer marketing solutions department. The 10-week internship will offer Conner a chance to explore the fourth biggest city in the world, while working for The Worldwide Leader In Sports.

    Conner graciously volunteered to keep a weekly blog for Irish UNDerground, which will offer a small glimpse into her busy life this summer. Here is the opening entry in the summer series: Lax In The City.

    Week #1

    As a wise man once said "live every moment for the moment." While most people would choose a quote from great minds like Albert Einstein or Mother Theresa to start their first blog, that just would not be an accurate representation of whom I am. Instead, I start us off with a quote from Michael Jordan. I have always liked Michael Jordan. Perhaps it's for his ability to make not only himself look good but his teammates as well. Or maybe it's because he could fly ... at least for a little while. Most likely it's for his incredible acting in the movie "Space Jam" - seriously. No matter if you like or dislike Michael Jordan, his quote can resonate with you on some level or another.

    In my case, "live every moment for the moment stood out to me when I moved to New York City last Saturday. When I say, "stood out", I mean literally, as it was written on someone's shirt in the subway. It actually made me think about a lot of things.  Here I was, 21 years old, moving to a new (HUGE!) city, about to start my dream internship at ESPN, and I was scared to death. I do not know what made me so nervous, but I think it was the fear of failure that I and many other elite athletes suffer from. Our whole lives we have been considered good at what we do, namely sports, but in this case I was going into a situation where I didn't know if I would be good at what was expected of me. In fact, when my bosses said that my work would involve finance, flashbacks of my first finance exam at Notre Dame - my worst grade ever - kept running through my mind, and I felt my confidence shrink very quickly.

    My first day, I definitely carried some of that fear over with me, but walking in with my roommate, a fellow ESPN intern and college athlete, made me relax a little bit. At least I knew I had someone I could grab lunch with - it's sad how quickly those middle school fears can rush back to you! Still, when you walk into the office, it's hard not to become overwhelmed. I mean this is ESPN...how cool is that?

    (Side Note: The only bad part about my office is the large New England Patriots' poster. Not okay for an Indianapolis Colts fan.)

    As great as everything else was, I have to admit that the first time my phone rang I think my heart started beating out of my chest as I whispered to the girl next to me - "What do I say?" Something tells me MJ didn't have the same fears in a game's final minutes... That first day I didn't completely overcome my nerves, but I definitely made huge strides. It didn't hurt that the entire office was welcoming and incredibly helpful, doing their best to integrate me into the system during such a busy time.

    Now I still do not know how good of a grasp I will get on all the GRPs, CPMs, VPVH's etc. (Editor's Note: What are these?), but I do know that I will not let the fear of failure dictate how I approach this summer internship. Instead, I plan on doing what Michael Jordan said, and live every moment for the moment. And why shouldn't I? I am in a city that people dream of living in, working an internship, which had been out of my wildest dreams only a few months ago. I am incredibly blessed. And while I realize that this summer will be a challenge, I know how to respond to failures and learn from my mistakes. Through lacrosse I have learned to fight through insecurities and other inhibitors, and I am now prepared to not only face the challenges in front of me today, but also enjoy the challenges as I pursue my goals. This is a lesson that Michael Jordan - the high school student who was cut from the varsity basketball team who became the most highly decorated basketball player in history - taught the world.  Is there a better success story in the world of sports?

    (Very) Super Regionals - Game 1

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    2462974.jpegWith NCAA Super Regionals opening today, it's impossible to forget Notre Dame and its remarkable run to the 2002 College World Series. The Irish opened their 2002 NCAA Super Regional at top-ranked Florida State exactly 10 years ago yesterday. UND.com and Irish Underground will present over the next three days full recaps, stats, photos and memories from that unforgettable weekend.

    Notre Dame halted the Seminoles' 25-game winning streak, an Atlantic Coast Conference record and one of the longest winning streaks in Division I baseball history. Such events have become a tradition for Irish athletic teams, led by the following:

    - Nov. 17, 1957 - Dick Lynch's TD provides the only scoring as the ND football team wins at 2nd-ranked Oklahoma, 7-0, ending the Sooners' 47-game winning streak (still the NCAA record)

    - Jan. 19, 1974 - Dwight Clay's jumper from the corner provides the winning points in the closing seconds as the ND men's basketball team halts UCLA's 88-game winning streak (still the NCAA record) in a 71-70 thriller

    - Oct. 2, 1994 - The Notre Dame women's soccer team plays to a 0-0 tie versus perennial power North Carolina in a game played in St. Louis, stopping UNC's 92-game winning streak (still the NCAA record) ... one year later, the Irish women's soccer team claims the national title (with wins over UNC and Portland in the College Cup semifinals and final)

    - Jan. 15, 2001 - The Notre Dame women's basketball team stuns BIG EAST Conference rival Connecticut, 92-76, in a midseason game at the Joyce Center - halting UConn's 30-game win streak and vaulting ND on to the national title.

    - June 7, 2002 - The Notre Dame baseball team ends top-ranked Florida State's 25-game winning streak with a 10-4 win at Howser Stadium, in the first game of an NCAA Super Regional series.

    The two victories by Notre Dame over the nation's top-ranked team was nothing knew for the program. The Irish defeated No.1 twice previously in NCAA Tournament action, winning 6-3 at Miami in the 1992 Atlantic Regional before posting an 8-1 win at Clemson in the 1994 East Regional. Notre Dame also had posted a pair of regular-season wins over Miami when the 'Canes were ranked No. 2 in the nation: 2-1 at Michigan on March 27, 1992, and 1-0 at Notre Dame's Eck Stadium on May 12, 1999 (the Irish were one strike from the no-hitter, with Miami suffering its first shutout loss in 248 games).

    Game 1 - June 7, 2002 - Recap | Box Score

    Notre Dame Defeats Florida State, 10-4, In Game 1 Of Super Regional

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - (AP) Top-ranked Florida State (59-13) saw its 25-game win streak snapped by No. 11 Notre Dame (48-15) in Friday night's opening game of the Tallahassee Super Regional. The Fighting Irish downed FSU 10-4 in front of a season-high 5,388 fans at Dick Howser Stadium. Kris Billmaier went 4-for-5 and tied a career-high with five RBIs to lead the way for the Irish. Billmaier knocked in two runs with a two-out single in Notre Dame's four-run eighth.

    Brian Stavisky put the Fighting Irish on the scoreboard first with a two-run homer in the top of the first inning, his eighth homer of the season.

    Notre Dame added another run in the third to make it 3-0. Steve Stanley led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a two-out single to left by Billmaier.

    FSU got one back in the bottom half of the third when Stephen Drew doubled, took third on a passed ball, and came home on Ryan Barthelemy's ground ball to second.

    Tony Richie blasted a solo home run to center, his 13th of the year, to lead off the fourth. Nick Rogers followed with a walk, advanced to second on Richie Smith's infield single, and came around to score on Drew's ground out to tie the game at three.

    The Irish got the lead back in the sixth when Javier Sanchez drew a bases loaded walk with two outs. Lynch was able to get out of the jam when he got Joe Thaman to ground out to second.

    The Seminoles tied the game in the bottom of the sixth the same way. With the bases loaded and two outs, Tony McQuade fouled off a pair of 3-2 pitches before drawing a bases loaded walk.

    Notre Dame wasted no time in regaining the lead, chasing FSU starter Matt Lynch after one out in the seventh inning. Billmaier did the damage, driving in two with a base hit to right center. Daniel Davidson relieved Lynch and struck out two end the frame.

    In the eighth, the Irish broke the game open with four, two-out runs to make it 10-4. Steve Sollmann and Stavisky had RBI-singles and Billmaier knocked in two more to bring his RBI total to five.

    Freshman right-hander Grant Johnson improved to 9-4 with the win. Johnson allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings of work. He struck out two and walked six, throwing 131 pitches on the night.

    Lynch (13-2) took the loss, surrendering six runs on 10 hits in 6.1 innings. Lynch struck out four and walked two.
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    Now you wouldn't believe me if I told you, but Brenden Dougherty can run like the wind blows.

    The junior sprinter will be making his first NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships appearance this week in his home state when 14 Irish student-athletes travel to Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Seven men's competitors are slated to compete in five events, while seven female competitors will participate in four events. The 14 total competitors and seven on each team are the most in Irish outdoor history for one NCAA Championship.

    Would it be poetic if Dougherty entered Drake Stadium mounted on top of a thoroughbred? His grandfather would have no objections.

    Sioux City Journal - When most Notre Dame athletes think of the "Four Horsemen," the fabled 1924 Fighting Irish football foursome comes to mind.

    Not for Brendan Dougherty.

    The Notre Dame sprinter's grandfather, John, ran for a lesser-known track-and-field quartet that went by the same name -- the old Trinity High "Four Horsemen" squad that was inducted into the Sioux City Relays Hall of Fame this spring.

    "Yup, he was one of the Four Horsemen," said Brendan, whose grandpa anchored Trinity's medley relay to a gold medal at the 1945 state track and field meet at Iowa State's old Clyde Williams Field in Ames.

    The track was cinder back then, the starting blocks made of wood and races measured in yards instead of meters. There was also just one class of runners for the entire state, not four.

    "My grandpa gets a kick out of telling that story," Brendan said. "We've heard it hundreds of times."

    Sixty-seven years from now, he hopes he has a story of his own to tell.

    The Bishop Heelan grad is the first leg on Notre Dame's 4x400-meter relay that broke a school record and qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships that start today at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

    "I like to think of it as home-court advantage," Dougherty said, "because I've ran here more than most other people."

    Indeed, Dougherty feels right at home at the blue oval -- where three years ago he anchored Heelan's 4x400 to a Class 3A record at the state track and field meet.

    The color of his blue-and-gold jersey hasn't changed; only the name. After high school, Dougherty mailed his times, his transcript and a highlight video to Notre Dame -- his "dream college" -- and the marks caught the eye of Fighting Irish coach Joe Piane.

    "I was completely shocked when he called me up," Dougherty recalled. "He said, 'we're interested in you,' and right then and there I told him if he could get me in, I'd definitely come. Basically, the rest is history."

    Fighting Irish track and field history, that is.

    Read the entire feature at SiouxCityJournal.com.

    Another Typical Day ...

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    IMG_3812.JPG

    ... on the most beautiful campus in the world.

    Lezynski Joins Holy Cross Coaching Staff

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    The "president emeritus" of the Walk-on Players' Union has got a new gig.

    Former Irish cornerback Nick Lezynski ('11) was named today as the assistant secondary coach at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.

    A friend and classmate of mine, Lezynski earned his bachelor's degree in marketing last year, before returning to ND as a fifth-year student-athlete for the 2011 season.

    Read more about his new position on the Crusaders' website.

    WOPU Nation, continuing to do big things. Congrats, Nick.

    - Josh Flynt ('11)

    A Tribute to Orlando Woolridge

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    Woolridge.jpg
    Orlando Woolridge (1959-2012)

    Following his untimely passing last week, many Notre Dame alums and fans sent their thoughts and prayers out to the family of Irish basketball great Orlando Woolridge ('81). On Friday, former teammate Marc Kelly ('82), now a Superior Court Judge in Orange County, Calif. made a special tribute to the 13-year NBA veteran.

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    After the bailiff introduced him, the Honorable Judge Kelly called his court into session with a few words about Woolridge. Here's the text from the official court reporter, Lisa Charboneau Peters:

    Please remain standing for a moment of silence in honor of Orlando Woolridge, a dear friend and ex-basketball teammate of the court at Notre Dame, who sadly passed away last night at age 52.

    Always smiling, Orlando was a world-class human being and one of the greatest athletes ever to put on a Notre Dame uniform.

    He leaves behind a legacy that will endure among the many persons who had good fortune to meet him.

    We pray for strength for his family and friends, and may he rest in peace.

    Be seated and come to order.

    All in all, a very nice tribute from one Irish teammate to another. Kelly served as the President of the Monogram Club from 2007-2009 and was a four-year walk-on with the Irish, before embarking on a career in law.

    Read more on Woolridge's life and basketball career on UND.com.

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