Jan. 28, 1998
Notre Dame Baseball Quick Facts
Quick Facts, Irish Baseball A to Z and All the Insider Stuff
Brant Ust (So., 3B, 6-1/190, Redmond, Wash.)
Alex Shilliday (Jr., RHP, 6-1/200, Dunwoody, Ga.)
J.J. Brock (Sr., SS, 6-0/170, Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Allen Greene (Jr., CF, 6-1/190, Seattle, Wash.)
Brad Lidge (Jr., RHP, 6-3/200, Englewood, Colo.)
Jeff Felker (So., RF, 6-5/185, Ellicott City, Md.)
Todd Frye (Sr., 2B, 5-11/170, Aledo, Ill.)
Top Players Lost (all 1997 graduates)
Randall Brooks (CF, Hazelcrest, Ill.)
Darin Schmalz (RHP, Barrington, Ill.)
Larry Mohs (RHP, Nutley, N.J.)
Danny Tamayo (RHP, 6-1/215, Miami, Fla.)
Aaron Heilman (RHP, 6-4/200, Logansport, Ind)
Ben Cooke (IF, 5-9/165, Bay Village, Ohio)
Former Notre Dame baseball player Craig Counsell ('89-'92), who helped the Florida Marlins claim the '97 World Series title, was honored by the Notre Dame community during halftime of the Nov. 22, 1997 home football game versus West Virginia. Prior to attending the game, Counsell stopped by the Notre Dame baseball lockerroom at Frank Eck Stadium to meet with the media (above left) and to visit with members of the Irish baseball program (above). The weekend also provided Counsell a chance to reunite with his former Notre Dame teammate and current Irish assistant coach Cory Mee (left). Counsell played during his Irish career at third base and shortstop, alongside Mee, who played several infield positions at Notre Dame.
Irish Baseball A to Z
ACADEMICS - The Notre Dame baseball team posted a 3.01 team grade-point average in the 1997 fall semester, led by seven players who turned in Dean's List semesters. Current senior captain and Academic All-America candidate J.J. Brock graduated in May of 1997 with a 3.25 cumulative GPA as a mathematics major.
ALUMNI - Notre Dame baseball has produced more than 750 monogram winners during its 105-year history, including the University's current alumni director (Chuck Lennon) and assistant vice president for special events (Jim Gibbons), current Indiana lieutenant governor Joe Kernan, major league executive John McHal, former Irish athletic director Dick Rosenthal, and 1997 World Series champion Craig Counsell.
BIG EAST BULLY: Notre Dame junior catcher Jeff Wagner ranks fifth in BIG EAST Conference history with a .417 career batting average in BIG EAST Conference games. Wagner hit .328 in league action as a freshman before erupting in 1997 for a conference-leading .488 batting average in BIG EAST play. Wagner is just one batting point out of third place, trailing a pair of 1997 graduates who compiled a .417 career BIG EAST batting average: former Irish second baseman/center fielder Randall Brooks (.418, 1996-97) and West Virginia catcher Jason Frushour (.418). Former Seton Hall player Marteese Robinson, who hit .432 from 1985-87, ranks first on the BIG EAST career batting average charts, followed by Villanova's Dennis McCaffery (.420, 1990-91). In 41 career regular season BIG EAST games, Wagner has hit a combined 60-for-144 while totaling 54 RBI, 12 doubles and 16 home runs (former Seton Hall first baseman Mo Vaughn holds the BIG EAST home run record of 26, from 1987-89). Wagner's biggest BIG EAST damage has come against Providence (12-for-19, five home runs), Georgetown (11-for-22), Boston College (8-for-14) and Connecticut (6-for-7).
BROADCASTS - South Bend-based WHME radio (103.1) will broadcast 47 of Notre Dame's 56 regular season games and any postseason action during the 1998 campaign. WHME's television division also will air a minimum of four Irish games this season - at New Orleans (Feb. 14), versus Michigan in Grand Rapids (April 21) and home games versus Villanova (April 11) and West Virginia (May 2). Several other Notre Dame games, at the ACC Disney Baseball Blast (Jan. 30-Feb. 1) and during the three-game series at Miami, Fla. (Feb. 20-22), also may be televised by the Sunshine Network (fans should consult their local listings).
THE ECK - Notre Dame is entering its fifth season of play at Frank Eck Stadium, located on the southwest corner of campus. The Irish have won nearly 85 percent of their games at Eck Stadium during the past four seasons, posting a 98-18 record (.845), highlighted by a 25-2 mark in 1997. That home field advantage included a .374 team batting average in the 27 games at the Eck during 1997, a full 40 points above the record-tying season average of .334.
FORTY WINS - Notre Dame has posted nine straight seasons with 40-plus wins, including 48 wins in 1989 and '92, 46 victories in three seasons ('90, ''93 and '94), 45 wins in '91 and 44 in '95.
FRESHMAN PHENOMS - Notre Dame has produced the last two BIG EAST Conference rookies of the year: designated hitter Jeff Wagner in 1996 and infielder Brant Ust in 1997. Wagner set the Irish freshman home run record, smacking 10 in '96, only to see Ust best that mark with 11 shots over the fence in '97. Ust joined Wagner on the first team all-BIG EAST squad and became the first freshman middle infielder ever named first team all-BIG EAST. Ust wrapped up his rookie season by becoming the first Notre Dame player ever named a first team Freshman All-American by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball magazines.
THE NINETIES: Notre Dame owns the seventh-highest 1990s winning percentage in Division I baseball, going 356-133 during the past eight seasons (.728) to rank behind only Wichita State, Miami (Fla.), Clemson, Florida State, Louisiana State and Delaware.
POWER SURGE: After dropping a three-game 1997 series at Seton Hall on March 22-23, Notre Dame bounced back by winning 32 of its final 40 games and 15 of its final 18 BIG EAST Conference contests to claim the best winning percentage (15-6) in the 11-team BIG EAST. The Irish used a .354 batting average and 52 home runs over that final 40-game stretch to post several Irish overall season records: home runs (66), doubles (127), slugging percentage (.529) and batting average (.334, which equaled the Irish record). The Irish pitching staff closed with a 1.91 team earned run average over the final 10 games while totaling a team-record 399 strikeouts thrown.
PROSPECTS - Two Notre Dame juniors are listed among Baseball America's 1998 list of college baseball's top professional baseball prospects. Righthanded pitcher Brad Lidge is listed as the 31st overall prospect and the 18th pitcher while catcher Jeff Wagner is the 62nd overall prospect and sixth catcher named on the list. Nine players from teams on Notre Dame's 1997 schedule are included on the 1998 BA prospect list: Pat Burrell (Miami, 3B, #1 prospect), Mark Mulder (Michigan State, LHP, #2), J.J. Putz (Michigan, RHP, #12), Robbie Morrison (Miami, RHP #27), John Kremer (Evansville, RHP, #39), Jake Weber (North Carolina State, OF, #63), Adam Neubert (Rutgers, OF, #75), Brooks Badeaux (Florida State, 2B, #90) and Pete Zoccolillo (Rutgers, 1B, #94).
TRAVEL - Notre Dame's schedule regularly takes the program to several top-notch baseball facilities and noteworthy cities throughout the country. In head coach Paul Mainieri's four seasons at Notre Dame, the Irish have visited the following cities: Fullerton, Calif., Seattle, Wash., San Antonio, Texas, Miami, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., New Orleans, La., Boston, Mass., Washington, D.C., Long Beach, Calif., New York City, N.Y., and Orlando, Fla.
Irish Players by State
* Arizona (1)
* California (1)
* Colorado (2)
* Florida (2)
* Georgia (1)
* Kansas (1)
* Illinois (11)
* Indiana (3)
* Kentucky (1)
* Maryland (1)
* Michigan (1)
* Montana (1)
* Nebraska (1)
* Ohio (1)
* Pennsylvania (1)
* Texas (1)
* Washington (2)
* 1997 Record
* 1997 BIG EAST Tournament
* Position Starters Returning
* Monogram Winners Ret./Lost
* 1998 Captain
Coaching and Support Staff
* Head Coach: Paul Mainieri (St. Thomas '82)
* Mainieri's Record at Notre Dame: 125-58/.683 (3 years)
* Mainieri's Career Record: 457-337/.577 (15 years)
* Assistant Coaches: Brian O'Connor, Cory Mee
* Baseball Admininstrator: Bill Scholl
* Academic Services: Kate Halischak, Peter D'Alonzo
* Trainer: Mike Bean
* Managers: Pat McCulloch, Mike Kuharich
* Strength Coach: Bill Martinov
* Baseball SID: Pete LaFleur
* Baseball Secretary: Deb Smith