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    Fighting Irish

    March 27, 1998

    Irish Play Host to Georgetown

    • BIG EAST favorite Irish looking to open conference play after snowouts
    • Irish add three more makeup games, one left to be scheduled
    • Ust smacks two HRs in NEIU doubleheader, Felker goes 6-for-6 with 2 BB
    • Shilliday, Heilman remain hot for Irish pitching staff

    The Notre Dame baseball team--picked first in the BIG EAST coaches preseason poll--will attempt to open conference play this weekend, at home vs. Georgetown (noon doubleheader on March 28, single game at noon on the 29th) ... all three games are scheduled to be carried by WHME radio (103.1 FM), as is the March 27 makeup game vs. Indiana Tech ... the Irish are in the midst of a busy makeup week, after being snowed out of doubleheaders last week at Providence and Connecticut ... Notre Dame has split four games already this week (beating Cincinnati 3-2 and Northeastern Illinois 11-6 while losing to Indiana Tech, 7-2, and NEIU, 10-4) ... the Georgetown series will complete eight games in six day for the Irish, followed by games next week on Tuesday-Thursday, a travel day Friday and a weekend series at Boston College.

    IRISH ADJUST SCHEDULE: Notre Dame has made the following schedule adjustments as makeup games for last week's snowed out doubleheaders at Providence and Connecticut: Fri., March 26 vs. Indiana Tech (5:05), Wed., April 1 vs. Western Michigan (5:05) and Thur., April 23 vs. Toledo (6:05) ... all of the makeup games are scheduled for Frank Eck Stadium ... WHME radio will pick up the Indiana Tech game and may broadcast the WMU and Toledo games as well (TBA) ... one makeup game remains to be scheduled.

    QUICK NOTES: Notre Dame went 3-1 during the Spring Break stay in San Antonio, Texas but saw its final three games called off due to the rain ... the Irish turned in a championship performance at the Diamond Classic in Evansville, Ind., which featured the state's eight Division I teams (wins over Evansville, Purdue and Indiana) ... fourth-year Irish head coach Paul Mainieri this season had homecoming weekends at Miami (where he grew up) and at the University of New Orleans (where he played) ... Mainieri fittingly coached his 800th career game on Feb. 20 at Miami (his 800th game ironically was rained out at UNO) ... the Irish 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), Notre Dame (7th), NCSU (10th), OSU (14th) and Tennessee (17th) ranking among the nation's winningest Division I teams in the '90's ... senior 1B Dan Leatherman has returned from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for four games while freshman RHP Danny Tamayo remains out with an arm injury ... Notre Dame returns 22 players and 16 of 26 letterwinners from its '97 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 ... 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 K's thrown ... the '97 Notre Dame squad set team records for HRs (66), doubles (127), slugging (.529) and K's thrown (399) while equaling the record for team batting avg. (.334).

    Notre Dame's Probable Starting Lineup
    Pos  Player        Yr. Ht./Wt.   Hometown
    1998 Stats    Notes   
    CF #Allen Greene   Jr. 6-1/195   Seattle, WA
    .329, 13 RBI, 14 R, 2 HR, 2 3B, 4 2B, 7 BB/13 K, 2-5  SB, 2 E   Reached on 35.3% of leadoff ABs
    SS  J.J. Brock     Sr. 6-0/175   Colo. Springs, CO
    .300, 15 RBI, 16 R, 4 HR, 4 2B, 8 BB/16 K, 2-4 SB, 10 E   Career vs. GT: 10-for-20, 6 R, 6 RBI
    DH *Jeff Felker    So. 6-5/185   Ellicott City, MD
    .254, 8 RBI, 7 R, 2 3B, 5 2B, 4 BB/13 K, 2 E   6-for-9 with 2 BB this week    
    C   Jeff Wagner    Jr. 6-3/220   Louisville, KY
    .333, 17 RBI, 13 R, 5 HR, 5 2B, 12 BB/11 K, 6 E   Career vs. GT: 11-for-22, 3 HR, 14 RBI
    3B  Brant Ust      So. 6-1/190   Redmond, WA
    .338, 17 RBI, 19 R, 5 HR, 7 2B, 6 BB/13 K, 5-7 SB, 6 E   Just 3-for-27 (.111) with 2 outs
    RF #Jeff Perconte  So. 5-10/180  Arlington Hts, IL
    .275, 11 RBI, 9 R, 1 3B, 6 2B, 10 BB/6 K, 4-5  SB, 2 E   2-for-9 with 5 BB this week
    LF  Alec Porzel    Fr. 6-0/180   Lisle, IL
    .264, 6 RBI, 10 R, 1 HR, 1 3B, 3 2B, 12 K, 2-4 SB   Just 4-for-18 (.222) with RBI opp's
    2B #Todd Frye      Sr. 5-11/170  Aledo, IL
    .215, 6 RBI, 8 R, 1 2B, 5 BB/8 K, 1-3 SB, 4 E   0-for-11 this week
    1B *Dan Leatherman Sr. 5-11/170  Orland Park, IL
    .292, 7 RBI, 10 R, 3 HR, 3 2B, 6 BB/5 K, 1-1 SB, 4 E   Game-winning, 2-run 2B vs. NEIU
    *–lefthanded hitter;  #–switch hitter
    Probable Starters
    RHP   John Corbin   So.   6-2/190   Hollywood, FL
    9.00, 0-0, 1 GP, 1.0 IP, 1 K/2 BB, .000 opp. batting   Pitched 3/25, 1st app. since 3/20/97
    RHP   Alex Shilliday   Jr.   6-1/205   Dunwoody, GA
    2.38, 2-2, 6 GP, 34.0 IP, 40 K/9 BB, .223 opp. batting   Last 3 gms (16.2 IP, 1 ER, 22 K/3 BB)
    LHP   Tim Kalita   So.   6-1/220   Oak Park, IL
    4.50, 1-0, 6 GP, 22.0 IP, 23 K/13 BB, .310 opp. batting   Last 3 gms (14 IP, 2 ER, 13 K/8 BB) 
    RHP   Brad Lidge   Jr.   6-3/200   Englewood, CO
    5.55, 2-2, 6 GP, 24.1 IP, 30 K/13 BB, .273 opp. batting    Averaging 11.1 K's per nine innings
    THE BULLPEN
    LHP   Chris McKeown   Jr.   6-3/205   Arlington Hts, IL
    6.39, 0-1, 8 GP/1 GS, 12.2 IP, 9 K/10 BB, .292 opp. batting   Pitched this week vs. Ind. Tech (3/25) 
    RHP   Aaron Heilman   Fr.   6-4/200   Logansport, IN
    2.45, 3-0, 9 GP/1 GS, 18.1 IP, 19 K/5 BB, .224 opp. batting   Last 4 games (5.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 K, 1 H)
    RHP   Scott Cavey   So.   6-5/200   Omaha, NE
    18.00, 0-0, 4 GP, 3.0 IP, 2 K/3 BB, .500 opp. batting   One appearance since 2/22   
    RHP   Steve Szczepanski   So.   6-2/180   Lombard, IL
    4.95, 2-2, 8 GP, 20.0 IP, 11 K/5 BB, .282 opp. batting   Beat NEIU (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K, 0 BB)
    RHP   Dan Stavisky   Sr.   6-2/200   Mt. Pleasant, PA
    20.86, 0-1, 5 GP/1 GS, 7.1 IP, 3 K/7 BB, .462 opp. batting   12-4 career record    
    RHP   Tom O'Hagan   So.   6-2/180   Crystal Lake, IL
    6.23, 0-0, 2 GP, 4.1 IP, 4 K/2 BB, .333 opp. batting   Two appearances this week
    LHP   Mike Naumann   Fr.   5-11/175   Tucson, AZ
    2.25, 0-0, 2 GP/1 GS, 4.0 IP, 2 K/1 BB, .409 opp. batting   Started 1st NEIU game (3/26)
    RHP   Mike Carlin   Fr.   6-4/200   Manhattan, KS
    5.79, 0-0, 2 GP/1 GS, 4.2 IP, 3 K/1 BB, .300 opp. batting   Threw in 1st game vs. NEIU (3/26)
    LHP   Mark Lapinskas   So.   6-2/200   Naperville, IL
    0.00, 0-0, 1 GP, 1.0 IP, 1 BB, .000 opp. batting   1st appearance was 3/26 vs. NEIU
    LHP   Pat Davis   Sr.   6-4/225   San Antonio, TX
    27.00, 0-0, 1 GP, 1.0 IP, 2 BB, .400 opp. batting     Pitched vs. BYU (3/9)
    

    SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame leads its all-time series with Georgetown, 6-2 ... the 1996 series at Georgetown represented the first games between the teams in 82 years ... Notre Dame dominated last year's late-season home series vs. Georgetown (14-0, 11-1, 12-1), outscoring the Hoyas 13-2 while totaling 14 hits in each game ... the Irish made just two errors in that series while the three Notre Dame pitchers each faced just four batters over the minimum (recap below) ... Georgetown won the first game of the '96 series (6-3) but the Irish bounced back for a pair of wins (7-3, 7-0) ... lefthander Brian O'Hare held the Irish scoreless until the 7th of that Hoyas win while Alex Shilliday took the loss ... Notre Dame won the second game in '96 behind Darin Schmalz' complete game and career-best 12 K's and three-hit games from Randall Brooks and J.J. brock ... Christian Parker pitched 5.1 no-hit innings and totaled 11 K's in the final game of the '96 series while Jeff Wagner had three RBI ... Notre Dame posted an 11-2 win at Georgetown late in the 1908 season en route to a 20-1 final record ... the Irish travelled to Georgetown again in 1914, losing 4-1.

    ND-GT '97 RECAP (14-0, 11-1, 12-1): Notre Dame sent 14 batters to the plate in the 2nd inning of the opener while scoring nine runs, highlighted by Allen Greene's leadoff home run and his two-run blast later in the inning (Jeff Perconte also homered in the first game) ... Darin Schmalz (5 H, 1 BB, 7 K) faced just 25 batters in the seven-inning complete game ... nine Irish players scored in the opener ... Alex Shilliday (1 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K) faced just 28 batters over eight innings in the second game ... the Irish used a six-run 6th to break open a 4-1 game in the nightcap ... every Irish starter collected a hit in the second game ... Jeff Wagner was 5-for-8 in the doubleheader, with seven RBI ... Chris McKeown's seven shutout innings (5 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 25 BF) put the finishing touches on the sweep ... Notre Dame broke open a sluggish third game with three runs in both the 5th and 6th before tacking on four more in the 7th ... Brant Ust was 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored while Wagner was 2-for-3 and hit his 16th home run of the season ... Georgetown's losing pitchers were Kevin Doody (1.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R/6 ER, 2 BB), Jason Urban (7 IP, 14 H, 11 R/5 ER, 3 BB/4 K) and Franklin Jarman (4 IP, 7 H, 5 R/3 ER, 3 BB/2 K).

    SCOUTING THE HOYAS: Georgetown is 13-12, after losses this week to Maryland-Baltimore County (9-11) and at Bucknell (1-2) ... Georgetown and Pittsburgh were the only BIG EAST teams able to play last weekend, with Pitt winning the first game (5-1) and the Hoyas taking the second (15-1) ... the Hoyas returned eight of 15 letterwinners from last season's team that went 19-37-1 and 8-15 in the BIG EAST ... Georgetown last season ranked last in the BIG EAST for team batting avg. (.251), runs (4.64/gm), home runs (17) and team ERA (6.62) but led the conference with 115 stolen bases ... outfielder Any Volpp was a member of the 1997 BIG EAST all-rookie team ... the Hoyas lost there top two base stealers from last season: Matt O'Brien (22) and Tom Farley (19) ... Georgetown's 1998 team stats: .281, 8 home runs, 41-for-61 stolen bases, 5.38 ERA and .958 fielding (37 errors) ... top hitters: senior OF Kevin DeSanto (.366, 10 RBI, 22 BB, 11-18 SB), senior 1B Matt Dzamba (.362, 16 RBI, 2 HR) and junior OF Sean Mignogna (.324, 13 RBI, 5 3B, 6 2B, 6-7 SB) ... probable starting pitchers: freshman LHP Randy Erwin (2.89, 4-0, 43.2 IP, 37 K/13 BB), senior RHP Jason Urban (3.50, 4-2, 43.2 IP, 27 K/9 BB) and freshman LHP Matt Anizin (6.06, 3-3, 35.2 IP, 15 K/12 BB) ... other wins: Md.-E. Shore (6-2), Manhattan (7-6), Gannon (7-3, 3-2), Yale (3-2, 3-1), Lehigh (15-7), @Mt. St. Mary's (16-7, 10-5), Holy Cross (3-2), Fairfield (5-3) and Brown (13-3) ... other losses: @Duke (5-7, 2-7), @VCU (5-19), Manhattan (2-3), Gannon (3-5), Holy Cross (6-7), Hartford (8-9, 4-11) and Fairfield (2-4).

    FELKER STARTS FEELING IT: Sophomore Jeff Felker had a memorable doubleheader vs. Northeastern Illinois on March 26 ... Felker was 4-for-4 in the first game and 2-for-2 with two walks in the nightcap, reaching on all eight of his plate appearances ... he entered the game with a .170 season batting average and just nine hits but left the field having boosted his season average to .254.

    A LOOK AT THE WEEK GONE BY: Notre Dame's first four games this week produced a .302 team batting average and 5.34 team ERA ... top hitters for the week have included Jeff Felker (.667, 6-for-9, 3B, 2B, RBI, R, 2 BB, 1-1 SB), Allen Greene (.429, 6-for-14, 2B, 2 R, 2 BB, 1-2 SB) and Jeff Wagner (.308, 4-for-13, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R, 3 BB/2 K) ... the Irish offense has totaled 20 walks and 14 K's this week, reversing the trend from the first 16 games of the season (41 BB/115 K) ... the Irish this week are hitting .314 with two outs but just .256 with runners in scoring position, totaling 20 runs while stranding 30 runners (the opponents are 25/29 this week) ... opponents this week have hit .311 with runners in scoring position but just .220 with two outs.

    BROCK, LIDGE EARN BIG EAST WEEKLY HONORS: Notre Dame produced two honorees in the first BIG EAST Conference weekly awards (3/16), as senior SS J.J. Brock was named BIG EAST player of the week while junior RHP Brad Lidge was named the BIG EAST pitcher of the week ... Brock led the Irish during the previous week with a .500 batting average (8-for-16), two home runs, six RBI and six runs scored, plus a double, three walks, a stolen base and just one strikeout ... Brock hit 5-for-9 with two outs while collecting five of his six RBI with two outs ... he went 2-for-5 with four RBI, three runs, a walk and a two-run home run in 15-4 win over BYU and 2-for-3 with a walk, solo home run and two runs in the 4-3 win over Southern Illinois ... Lidge tossed seven shutout innings in the 8-0 win over Southwest Texas State, with seven strikeouts, five hits allowed and no walks ... he faced just five batters over the seven-inning minimum while retiring the leadoff batter in each inning.

    WAGNER RESUMES ASSAULT ON BIG EAST RECORD BOOK: Junior C Jeff Wagner heads into conference play ranked 5th on the BIG EAST all-time batting average list (.417), just two pct. points out of third ... his 32 career home runs are five shy of equaling the Notre Dame all-time record while Wagner's 16 home runs in BIG EAST games are 10 shy of the conference record set by Seton Hall's Mo Vaughn (1987-89) ... Wagner has posted some impressive career numbers vs. Georgetown, as he is 11-for-22 (.500) in six games vs. the Hoyas, with three home runs, 14 RBI, two walks, one K and 22 total bases.

    BIG EAST BECOMES ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY: The BIG EAST has changed its baseball alignment for the 1998 season, as the 11 teams will compete as one conference, as opposed to the previous two-division format ... the top six teams will advance to the BIG EAST Tournament, May 13-16 in Norwich, Conn. ... Notre Dame won last year's National Division title with the best winning pct. of any BIG EAST team (15-6) while West Virginia captured the American Division title (17-7) ... three National Division teams--Rutgers, Seton Hall and Villanova--also advanced to last year's BIG EAST Tournament while St. John's joined WVU out of the American ... WVU, Providence and St. John's advanced from the American Division in 1996 while the National entrants were Villanova, Rutgers and Notre Dame.

    THEY'RE BACK!!!: Notre Dame has two of the seven returning first team All-BIG EAST performers: junior C Jeff Wagner (unanimous as a DH) and sophomore 3B Brant Ust (chosen as a 2B in '97) ... the other returning 1st teamers include UConn senior OF Billy Rich, Providence junior utility player Angelo Ciminiello, Rutgers junior 1B Pete Zoccolillo, St. John's senior SS Giancarlo DiPrima and Seton Hall junior 3B Craig Zimmerli ... UConn senior SS Jason Edgar is one of six returning 2nd team All-BIG EAST performers ... Rich was a 12th-round selection of the Boston Red Sox last season but elected to return for his senior season (he is the highest-drafted BIG EAST returning player).

    AROUND THE HORN: Freshman LF Alec Porzel was third on the team during the San Antonio trip with .385 batting (5-for-13), plus four runs, a double and one RBI ... senior SS J.J. Brock continues to move up the Irish career charts, ranking 5th in triples (13), 6th in at-bats (708), 10th in hits (217) and 10th in RBI (135) ... the Irish are hitting .285 overall but .248 with two outs and .271 with runners in scoring position ... the opponents are hitting .267 with two outs and .306 with runners in scoring position (22 pct. points higher that the .284 overall opponent batting avg.) ... the opponents have 51 two-out RBI while the Irish have 40 ... top hitters with RBI opportunities have been Jeff Wagner (.381), Larry Zimont (.333) and Brant Ust (.318) while the following players are looking to improve with men in scoring position: Jeff Felker (.200), Todd Frye (.200) and Porzel (.222) ... top Irish hitter with two outs are Brock (.360), Allen Greene (.333) and Felker (.333) ... players looking to boost their two-out hitting are Frye (.100), Ust (.111), Porzel (.200) and Jeff Perconte (.200) ... Wagner's 32 career home runs rank 5th all-time at Notre dame, one behind Joe Binkiewicz (1989-92), two behind Ryan Topham (1993-95) and five behind the record shared by Frank Jacobs (1989-91) and former teammate Mike Amrhein (1994-97) ... Ust's owns 16 career home runs, two shy of moving into a tie 10th on the Irish all-time charts ... Wagner also has moved into a tie for 7th on the Irish career doubles list (36), three behind Topham ... in the second game of the NEIU doubleheader, Brock became the 11th Irish player to appear in 200 career games while his 200 career starts are sixth-most at Notre Dame (since 1989), one behind Greg Layson (1991-94).

    TEAM NOTES: Notre Dame’s team ERA stands at 5.47 but is just 3.09 when excluding the tough three-game series at potent Miami, when the Irish gave up 54 earned runs in 24 innings ... prior to the Jan. 30 game vs. FSU, Notre Dame’s earliest 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 '81, 3-2) ... Notre Dame's 7-5 win over Central Michigan on Feb. 25 was the earliest home opener for the Irish since that 1990 Goshen game ... Notre Dame has posted nine straight seasons with 40-plus wins and is 413-159 during the past nine-plus seasons (average record of 45-17) ... Notre Dame's 32-player roster includes players from 17 states.

    EARLIER THIS WEEK ... :

  • ND 3, CINCINNATI 2 (3/24) – Jeff Wagner plated Jeff Perconte with a game-winning, two-run homer in the 8th ... Wagner also singled home Jeff Perconte in the 6th ... Aaron Heilman picked up the win, allowing just two walks over the final two innings, with three K's ... Alex Shilliday opened the game with four shutout innings (1 H, 1 BB, 3 K).

  • INDIANA TECH 7, ND 2 (3/25) – Senior LHP Ken Fischer went the distance for Indiana Tech (9 H, 2 BB, 5 K) ... the Irish averted the shutout in the 9th, on J.J. Brock's two-run, two-out single ... Notre Dame stranded eight runners ... Brad Lidge opened the game with three shutout innings (1 H, 1 BB, 5 K).

  • NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS 10, ND 4 (3/26): Notre Dame stranded 11 runners while Dan Stavisky took the loss (0.1 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 2 BB) ... after NEIU's early lead, the teams matched one another with one run in the 2nd, two in the 3rd and once in the 4th ... Brant Ust hit a two-run blast in the 3rd

  • ND 11, NEIU 6 (3/26): Jeff Felker completed a 6-for-6, two-walk effort in the doubleheader ... the Irish overcame five errors that led to six unearned runs, rallying from an early 6-1 deficit ... the comeback featured four runs in the 3rd and a six-run 4th, highlighted by a two-run, go-ahead double by Dan Leatherman and the second big two-run home run of the day by Ust ... Steve Szczepanski picked up the win with three shutout relief innings (1 H, 3 K) ... Notre Dame's decisive rally began when Matt Nussbaum reached on an error, followed by five straight hits, including Allen Greene’s single to center and Leatherman’s opposite-field double to left-center ... J.J. Brock then worked to a full count before finding the gap in right-center, scoring Leatherman, and Jeff Wagner pushed the Irish ahead 9-6 with a hit-and-run single to right-center ... Ust capped the big inning with a blast that carried well past the left-field fence ... the four-run 3rd included Greene's leadoff double, a Leatherman single, a wild pitch, Ust’s RBI groundout and a triple down the rightfield line by Felker, who scored on Alec Porzel’s infield single.

    NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH PAUL MAINIERI has experienced two noteworthy homecomings this season, making his second return to the University of New Orleans with the Irish baseball program and his second return to his hometown of Miami as the Notre Dame coach ... Mainieri is in his 16th season as a college head coach, with a record of 467-346 (.574), including 135-66 (.672) in three-plus seasons with the Irish ... Mainieri fittingly coached his 800th game Feb. 20 at Miami, ironically after the Feb. 15 game at UNO was rained out ... he is 33 victories away from the 500-win plateau ... Mainieri's 135 wins rank 4th 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 pro baseball, with nine selected in the major-league draft ... Mainieri and his father Demie 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 CC ... 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.

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