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    Fighting Irish

    Feb. 12, 1998

    Irish Return to Play at New Orleans

    • Two games vs. New Orleans, one vs. Loyola await Irish
    • Earliest season-opener yields 10-1 win over #23 Florida State
    • Irish drop pair of two-run games to North Carolina State, Duke
    • Wagner opens 5-for-11, smacks 28th career home run
    NOTRE DAME 1998 BASEBALL SCHEDULE
    Sat. 2/14  *at University of New Orleans            New Orleans, LA/Privateer Park (UNO) 1:00 p.m.
    Sat. 2/14  *vs. Loyola (LA) University              New Orleans, LA/Privateer Park (UNO) 5:00 p.m.
    Sun. 2/15  *at University of New Orleans            New Orleans, LA/Privateer Park (UNO) 1:00 p.m.
    Fri. 2/20  *at University of Miami                  Coral Gables, FL/Light Stadium       7:00 p.m.
    Sat. 2/21  *at Univ. of Miami (Sunshine Network-TV) Coral Gables, FL/Light Stadium       7:00 p.m.
    Sun. 2/22  *at University of Miami                  Coral Gables, FL/Light Stadium       1:00 p.m.
    Fri. 2/27  at Evansville Diamond Classic            Evansville, IN/Bosse Field           7:00 p.m.
    Sat. 2/28  TBA   Diamond Classic                    Evansville, IN/Bosse Field           TBD
    Sun. 3/1   TBA   Diamond Classic                    Evansville, IN/Bosse Field           TBD
    * Carried on WHME 103.1 FM radio and available on RealAudio,
    via the Notre Dame website (www.und.com).

    The Notre Dame baseball team resumes play this week with two games at New Orleans (Feb. 14-15) and a Feb. 14 game with Loyola (La.) University, to be held at UNO's Privateer Park ... the weekend will serve as a homecoming for fourth-year Irish head coach Paul Mainieri, who played at UNO in 1978 and '79 ... Mainieri fittingly is scheduled to coach in his 800th career game Sunday at UNO ... Saturday's game vs. UNO originally was scheduled to broadcast by WHME television but the TV broadcast has been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts ... the Irish recently won the earliest season-opener in the program's 106-year history, beating then-#23 Florida State 10-1 on Jan. 30 at the ACC/Disney Baseball Blast in Orlando, Fla. ... the Irish then lost a pair of tough two-run games to North Carolina State (10-8) and Duke (3-1) ... each of that tournament's six teams was listed among the top 50 teams in Baseball America's preseason rankings (Ohio State and Tennessee also took on the ACC teams), with FSU (4th, .747), Notre Dame (7th, .728), NC State (10th, .696), OSU (14th, .688) and Tennessee (17th, .681) all ranking among the nation's winningest Division I teams during the 1990s ... top hitters from the first week include junior C Jeff wagner (5-for-11, 4 RBI, HR), sophomore 3B Brant Ust (4-for-11, 4 RBI, HR) and senior 1B Dan Leatherman (4-for-12, 2 RBI, HR).

    QUICK NOTRE DAME NOTES: Notre Dame returns 22 total players and 16 of 26 letterwinners from its 1997 team that went 41-19, won the BIG EAST Conference national division title (15-6) and went 2-2 in the BIG EAST Tournament ... the Irish return seven of nine offensive starters and five pitchers with starting experience ... despite losing 10 letterwinners from last year's squad, the bulk of the program's statistical leaders are back, as the 22 returners accounted for 66% of the hits last season, 68% of the RBI, 70% of the home runs, 54% of the wins, 62% of the innings and 66% of the strikeouts thrown ... the '97 Notre Dame squad set team records for home runs (66), doubles (127), slugging pct. (.529) and strikeouts thrown (399) while equaling the record for team batting avg. (.334) ... the Irish closed 1997 by winning 15 of their final 18 BIG EAST games and 32 of 40 overall, with five of those final eight losses coming by one run ... unearned runs provided the margin of defeat in eight of Notre Dame's 19 losses last season.

    Notre Dame's Probable Starting Lineup
    Pos.  Player         Yr.  Ht./Wt.   Hometown            1998 Stats                                    1997 Stats   
    SS    J.J. Brock     Sr.  6-0/175   Colo. Springs, CO   3-for-12 (.231), 2 R, 2 BB/3 K, 1 E           .365, 3 HR, 50 RBI, 45 R  
    2B   #Todd Frye      Sr.  5-11/170  Aledo, IL           3-for-11 (.273), 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB             .308, 19 RBI, 12 SACS   
    3B    Brant Ust      So.  6-1/190   Redmond, WA         4-for-11 (.364), 4 RBI, 4 R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 1 E  .372, 11 HR, 54 RBI
    C     Jeff Wagner    Jr.  6-3/220   Louisville, KY      5-for-11 (.455), 4 RBI, 3 R, 1 HR, 3 BB/1 K   .374, 17 HR, 69 RBI, .712 slug.   LF        #Allen Greene                     Jr.   6-1/195   Seattle, WA   3-for-11 (.273), 1 RBI, 1 R, 3 BB/2 K   .365, 7 HR, 20 2B, 55 RBI    
    RF   *Jeff Felker    So.  6-5/185   Ellicott City, MD   2-for-9 (.222), 3 RBI, 1 2B, 4 K              .319, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 8-8 SB
    DH   #Jeff Perconte  So.  5-10/180  Arlington Hts, IL   1-for-6 (.167), 2 R, 2 BB/2 K                 .282, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 18 R
    LF    Alec Porzel    Fr.  6-0/180   Lisle, IL           1-for-9 (.111), 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 K
    1B   *Dan Leatherman Sr.  5-11/170  Orland Park, IL     4-for-12 (.333), 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 K        .218, 55 AB, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 8 R
    *­lefthanded hitter;  #­switch hitter
    Righthanded Designated Hitters
    DH    Larry Zimont   So.  6-3/220   Oak Forest, IL      1-for-7 (.143), 2 RBI, 2 R, 3 K, 1 SF         .143, 7 AB, 2 R
    DH    Danny Tamayo   Fr.  6-1/215   Miami, FL
    Probable Starters
    RHP   Alex Shilliday Jr.  6-1/205   Dunwoody, GA        0.00, 1-0, 5.0 IP, 6 K/4 BB, 1 H              5.11, 7-3, 1 SV, 79.1 IP, 72 K
    RHP   Brad Lidge     Jr.  6-3/200   Englewood, CO       6.00, 0-1, 3.0 IP, 3 K/4 BB, 6 H              6.21, 4-3, 37.2 IP, 40 K
    LHP   Tim Kalita     So.  6-1/220   Oak Park, IL        4.50, 0-0, 4.0 IP, 6 K/0 BB, 8 H              3.67, 3-1, 49.0 IP, 46 K
    Righthanded Relievers
    RHP   Danny Tamayo   Fr.  6-1/215   Miami, FL           0.00, 0-0, 4.0 IP, 0 K/1 BB, 1 H
    RHP   Dan Stavisky   Sr.  6-2/200   Mt. Pleasant, PA    67.50, 0-0, 0.2 IP, 0 K/3 BB, 2 H             10.29, 0-1, 7.0 IP, 5 K
    RHP   Steve Szczepanski So. 6-2/180 Lombard, IL         6.00, 0-1, 3.0 IP, 2 K/0 BB, 3 H              5.00, 1-0, 9.0 IP, 6 K 
    RHP   Scott Cavey    So.  6-5/200   Omaha, NE           0.00, 0-0, 2 GP, 1.1 IP, 2 K/2 BB,            2.38, 1-0, 11.1 IP, 9 K 
    RHP   Aaron Heilman  Fr.  6-4/200   Logansport, IN      0.00, 0-0, 1.0 IP, 0 K/0 BB, 1 H
    RHP   Tom O'Hagan    Fr.  6-2/185   Crystal Lake, IL    2.95, 1-1, 3 SVS, 21.1 IP, 14 K
    RHP   Mike Carlin    Fr.  6-4/200   Manhattan, KS
    Lefthanded Relievers
    LHP   Chris McKeown  Jr.  6-3/205   Arlington Hts, IL   0.00, 0-0, 3.0 IP, 3 K/1 BB, 2 H              3.26, 4-3, 69.0 IP, 46 K
    LHP   Mark Lapinskas Fr.  6-2/195   Naperville, IL      6.39, 1-0, 1 SV, 12.2 IP, 14 K
    LHP   Pat Davis      Jr.  6-4/225   San Antonio, TX     7.71, 0-0, 9.1 IP, 8 K

    THE SERIES: Notre Dame and New Orleans' previous three meetings came at UNO on March 1-3, 1996 ... the Irish won the first game, 8-3, before dropping the final two to the then-#22 Privateers (11-7, 12-7) ... Christian Parker picked up the win, pitching 6.2 innings, while current junior Alex Shilliday had three K's over two no-hit innings for the save ... the Irish broke open a 1-1 game with a four-run fifth vs. reigning national player of the week Steve Stanson ... current junior Jeff Wagner was one of four Irish players with an RBI in that game ... UNO used two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth to win the second game, with current Irish players Dan Stavisky (6th) and Chris McKeown (8th) pitching in the late innings ... Wagner had an RBI groundout in the final game of the '95 series ... Notre Dame and Loyola split two early games in 1964 at Loyola, with the Irish taking the first game (4-1) and the Wolfpack winning the second (9-5).

    UNO HOMECOMING: Fourth-year Notre Dame head coach Paul Mainieri will be making his second return to New Orleans with the Irish ... Mainieri completed his playing career at the UNO, as a second baseman in '78 and '79 ... Mainieri played for current UNO athletic director and Baseball Hall of Famer Ron Maestri ... UNO won the Sun Belt Conference title in both of Mainieri's seasons ... Mainieri will experience a second homecoming next week, when the Irish play three games at the University of Miami (Fla.) ... Mainieri graduated from Miami's Christopher Columbus High School, where he also began his coaching career as an assistant baseball and football coach for two years in the early 1980s ... the trip to Miami will be the second of the Mainieri era, as the Irish dropped two games at Miami, 9-4 and 12-4, in Mainieri's first season ('95) before beating the Hurricanes 5-2 ... Mainieri is in his 16th season as a college head coach, with a record of 458-339 (.575), including 126-60 (.677) with the Irish ... Mainieri fittingly is scheduled to coach in his 800th game Sunday at UNO ... he is 42 wins away from the 500-win plateau ... Mainieri's 126 wins rank fourth at Notre Dame, behind Larry Gallo (157, 1981-87), Pat Murphy (318, 1988-84) and Jake Kline (558, 1934-75) ... Mainieri has seen 13 of his Irish players go on to professional baseball, with nine selected in the major-league draft (four in the first 10 rounds) ... Mainieri and his father Demie, the legendary coach of Miami-Dade North Community College, are the only known father-son combination in college baseball history to each top 400 career coaching wins ... Demie won 1,018 games in his 30-year career at Miami-Dade North ... prior to Notre Dame, Mainieri coached six seasons at Air Force, after coaching six seasons at St. Thomas (Fla.) University ... 15 of Mainieri's players at St. Thomas went on to pro baseball, including three--Joe Klink, Dane Johnson and Dan Rohrmeier--who have played in the major leagues ... ... in the Mainieri era, the Irish have visited the following cities: Fullerton, CA, Seattle, WA, San Antonio, TX, Miami, FL, Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA, Boston, MA, Washington, D.C., Long Beach, CA, New York City, NY, and Orlando, FL.

    SCOUTING UNO: UNO opened with wins over Jackson State (5-3, 7-5) on Feb. 8-9 ... UNO returns seven offensive starters and 15 of 25 letterwinners from its '97 team that went 31-25 and finished eighth in the Sun Belt Conference (11-15) ... UNO's returners accounted for 54 of 76 home runs last season ... UNO's '97 team stats included .318 batting., 47-of-71 stolen bases, a 5.82 ERA and .955 fielding (95 errors) ... 13th-year UNO head coach Tom Schwaner owns a career record of 410-310 ... UNO's top returning hitters are junior 2B Chris Avans (.363, 10 HR, 52 RBI) and junior C Lloyd Hecard (.380, 7 HR, 37 RBI) ... Hecard and sophomore 3B Buddy Wilker (.358, 12 HR, 47 RBI) were first team all-region last season, Hecard was second team ... Avans is making the move from 3B to 2B while Wilker is the preseason starting 3B after a utility role last year ... 1B Frank Torre (.325, 10 HR, 42 RBI) is coming off a Freshman All-America season ... junior RF Mac Harer had 44 walks last season, most in the Sun Belt Conference ... top returning pitchers include sophomore RHPs David Miller (5.35, 4-5, 65.2 IP, 68 K/32 BB) and Hunter Gomez (6.75, 57.1 IP, 42 K/20 BB) and junior RHP Brady Benoit (7.38, 3-5, 42.2 IP, 37 K/34 BB) ... Benoit threw three shutout relief innings in the first win over Jackson State (3 K, 1 H) ... junior LHP Nick Farrer--a transfer from Scottsdale CC--won the second game, logging six innings as a starter while allowing two runs (6 H, 6 K, 1 BB) ... UNO hit just .206 vs. Jackson State, led by 2-for-6 efforts from Avans and JC transfer outfielder Brandon Williams ... Williams (3 RBI), Heckerd (3 RBI, 3 runs) and Wilker (4 RBI) each hit a home run vs. Jackson State.

    SCOUTING THE WOLFPACK: Loyola opened with a 5-3 win over LSU-Shreveport and losses to McNeese State (14-4) and Centenary (7-4), with all three games played at Zephyrs Stadium (home of the New Orleans AAA franchise) ... Loyola returns 13 of 20 letterwinners from its '97 team that went 27-26 (11-9 in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference) ... top returning players include sophomore 3B Scott Guidry (.352, 2 HR, 15 RBI), senior 1B/RHP Carl Servat (.284, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 4.30, 6-6, 75.1 IP, 41 K), senior RHP Jason Smyczynski (4.42, 8-5, 95.2 IP, 61 K) and senior OF Brian Olagues (.274, 3 HR, 39 RBI) ... Loyola's '97 stats included a .291 batting average, 16 home runs, 59-for-81 stolen bases, a 5.34 ERA and .944 fielding (92 errors) ... Loyola is hitting .195 this season, led by Servat (3-for-9) and Olagues (3-for-10) ... the Loyola pitchers have posted a 3.60 team ERA, as 14 of the 24 opposing runs have been unearned ... junior RHP Brad Harris picked up the win in relief over LSU-Shreveport, tossing three shutout innings (2 K, 2 H) ... Smyczynski took the loss vs. McNeese, allowing nine runs (four earned) over three innings (2 K, 3 BB, 8 H) ... Servat lost to Centenary, yielding seven runs (just one of which was earned) over six innings (3 K, 2 BB, 8 H).

    AROUND THE HORN: Prior to the Jan. 30 game vs. FSU, Notre Dame's earliest season-opener came on an unseasonably warm day on Feb. 5, 1990, when the Irish posted a 3-0 home victory over Goshen ... the 10-1 win over FSU gave Notre Dame its first opening-game win since an 8-2 win at Tulane in 1994, with the recent opening losses coming vs. Texas, Georgia Tech and Long Beach State ... that Irish win also snapped a 16-year FSU winning streak on opening day (Georgia Southern beat FSU in the '81 opener, 3-2) ... senior SS J.J. Brock last week moved past Bob Lisanti ('96, 182) into seventh place on the Irish career games started list (183) ... Brock also moved past former teammate Randall Brooks ('97, 640) into ninth on the Irish career at-bats list (641), two behind Scott Sollmann (1994-96, 643) ... Brock, Brooks, Sollmann and Mike Amrhein (3rd with 745 career ABs) all joined the Irish program in 1993-94 ... junior C Jeff Wagner's ninth-inning grand slam last week vs. North Carolina State was the 28th home run of his career, moving him into a tie for sixth in Irish history with Tim Hutson (1985-88) and Dan Peltier (1987-89), one behind Eric Danapilis ('93) ... Notre Dame is scheduled to play its first 23 games of '98 away from home ... Notre Dame's 32-player roster includes players from 17 states: 11 from Illinois; three from Indiana; two each from Colorado, Florida and Washington; one each from Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas ... Notre Dame has posted nine straight seasons with 40-plus wins and is 405-156 during the past nine-plus seasons, for an average record of 45-17.

    RECAP (ND 10, FSU 1): The earliest opener in the 106-year history of Notre Dame baseball was a memorable one, as the Irish used strong pitching from Alex Shilliday and RBI from six players to beat #23 Florida State ... Shilliday tossed five shutout innings, with six K's and four walks while surrendering his only hit in the fourth ... Chris McKeown pitched next three innings (3 K's, 1 R, 2 H, 1 BB), and freshman Aaron Heilman faced four batters in the ninth (1 H) ... the Irish roughed up FSU junior Chris Chavez for seven runs over three and two-thirds innings (8 H, 3 BB) ... Notre Dame jumped ahead 2-0 in the first, with J.J. Brock opening the season with a hit to right ... Todd Frye bunted Brock to second before singles from Brant Ust, Jeff Wagner and Allen Greene ... Notre Dame added two runs in the second, when Jeff Perconte drew a leadoff walk, moved up on a single by Dan Leatherman and Brock's fielder's choice before scoring on a Frye single (Brock scored on Ust's sacrifice fly) ... the Irish broke open the game with a four-run fourth ... Leatherman lined an opposite-field leadoff home run to left before Jeff Felker cleared the bases with a three-run double ... Ust, Wagner and Greene drew two-out walks before the FSU outfielders lost Felker's fly ball in the lights ... the Irish tacked on two in the ninth, thanks to walks by Wagner and Greene, an error by second baseman Jose Zabala and Leatherman's RBI groundout.

    RECAP (NCSU 10, ND 8): N.C. State scored seven in the eighth while a grand slam by Jeff Wagner in the top of the ninth was too little, too late ... Notre Dame came back from a 3-0 deficit to claim a 4-3 lead on Brant Ust's solo home run in the eighth ... NCSU's eighth included four walks, three hit batters, two doubles and a single ... Steve Szczepanski was the hard-luck loser, allowing two earned runs over three-plus innings (2 K's, 3 H) ... Tim Kalita scattered eight hits and no walks over the first four innings, allowing three runs (two earned) with six K's ... NCSU scored an unearned run in the second and added a pair in the third ... Wagner reached on an error in the fifth, moved up on a single by Allen Greene and scored on Larry Zimont's two-out single ... Todd Frye singled in the sixth, stole second and scored on Ust's single to left ... Alec Porzel stroked a leadoff triple in the seventh and trotted home on Zimont's sacrifice fly ... Ust opened the eighth with a leadoff shot off the scoreboard in left-center ... Szczepanski left in the eighth with runners on first and third before Dan Stavisky gave up a game-tying single, uncorked a wild pitch and issued a walk ... the Irish pulled off a forceout at home but Jimmy Slaughter delivered a two-run double down the rightfield line ... Stavisky's troubles continued, with an intentional walk, sacrifice fly, double steal and another walk before yielding to Scott Cavey, who hit a batter with the bases loaded, walked in a run and hit another batter, giving NCSU a 10-4 lead ... Zimont was hit by a pitch to open the ninth, Frye walked with two outs and Ust singled before Wagner smacked a grand slam to right-center.

    RECAP (DUKE 3, ND 1): Ed Conrey's two-run single in the first was the difference, as the Irish managed just five hits vs. freshman RHP Patrick Hanaway and sophomore RHP Brad Dupree ... Hanaway pitched the first four and two-thirds, allowing an unearned run on three hits and three walks (one K) ... Brad Lidge took the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) over three innings (3 K's, 6 H, 4 BB) ... Duke added a run in the third, on an RBI single from Jordan Litrownik ... the Irish scored in the fifth, when Todd Frye walked with the bases loaded after a one-out single by Jeff Perconte, an error by second baseman J.D. Alleva and a two-out walk by J.J. Brock ... Brant Ust had a chance to cut into the lead but grounded out to third ... both teams stranded seven, with Duke turning timely double plays in the first and fourth (Notre Dame turned four DPs) ... Scott Cavey bounced back from a rocky appearance vs. N.C. State, setting down three straight to get the Irish out of a bind in the fourth ... freshman Danny Tamayo faced the minimum 12 batters over the final four innings (1 H, 1 BB, 2 DP's).

    CHALLENGING SLATE: Five BIG EAST teams were ranked among Baseball America's preseason top 100: Notre Dame (33), Rutgers (45), St. John's (50), W. Virginia (89) and Seton Hall (95) ... just eight of the nation's 28 other conference have more teams in the top 100: Southeastern (11), Western Athletic (9), Big 12 and Pac-10 (8), ACC and Big 10 (7), and Conference USA and Sun Belt (6) ... Notre Dame could play 27 games in the '98 regular season vs. teams ranked in the top 100: #2 Miami (3 games), #9 Michigan, #25 Florida St., #29 Duke, #45 Rutgers (2), #47 NC St., # 50 St. John's (2), # 69 Evansville, #73 BYU (2-3), #76 New Orleans (2), #83 S. Illinois (2-3), #88 Michigan St., #89 WVU (2), #90 Ball St., #95 Seton Hall (3) and #99 Purdue.

    MORE HOMECOMINGS: Notre Dame freshman RHP Danny Tamayo (Miami, FL/Ransom Everglades HS) last week returned to his home state for the ACC/Disney Classic and had an impressive debut vs. Duke, facing the minimum 12 batters over the final four innings ... nine previous Florida natives are known to have lettered with Irish baseball, most notably first baseman Henry Valenzuela (Tampa, 1979-82) and righthander David Sinnes (Miami) ... Valenzuela led the Irish in '81 with eight home runs while striking out just seven times in 135 ABs ... Sinnes (Palmetto HS) owns the Irish career record for strikeouts (315) while sharing the record for career winning pct. (.800, 32-8) and ranking third in wins, fifth in appearances (69), fifth in innings (297.1) and seven in career ERA (2.91) ... Sinnes also owns the second-best season ERA (1.05, in '90) in Irish history, best since 1960 ... Tamayo will return to his home city on Feb. 20-22, when Notre Dame plays three games at the University of Miami ... three others Notre Dame players­seniors Pat Davis (San Antonio, Texas) and Dan Stavisky (Mt. Pleasant, Pa.) and freshman C Andrew Stohl (Grand Ledge, Mich.)­will have the chance to play in their home state this season ... Notre Dame will play nine games (March 7-14) at Wolff Municipal Stadium­home of the minor-league San Antonio Missions­including the fourth annual Irish Baseball Classic ... the Irish will play a three-game series vs. the University of Pittsburgh (April 18-19), at either the on-campus Trees Field or Three Rivers Stadium ... Notre Dame and Michigan will meet on April 21 at Old Kent Park­home of the West Michigan Whitecaps­in Grand Rapids, Mich.

    LIDGE, WAGNER AMONG TOP 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 (NC St., OF, #63), Adam Neubert (Rutgers, OF, #75), Brooks Badeaux (FSU, 2B, #90), Pete Zoccolillo (Rutgers, 1B, #94).

    ACADEMICS JOB ONE: The Notre Dame baseball team posted a 3.01 team GPA in the '97 fall semester, led by seven players who turned in Dean's List semesters: senior LHP Pat Davis, senior 2B Todd Frye, senior RHP Dan Stavisky, junior C Mike Knecht, sophomore IF Matt Nussbaum, sophomore IF Jeff Perconte and freshman LHP Mike Naumann ... current senior SS, team captain and Academic All-America candidate J.J. Brock graduated in May of 1997 with a 3.25 cumulative GPA as a mathematics major before posting a 3.7 in the 1997 fall semester ... a total of 17 Irish players topped the 3.0 GPA mark last fall.

    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.

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