April 3, 1998
Irish Head to Boston College
- Winning streak pushed to seven games
- Irish sweep Georgetown, highlighted by 23-hit game
- Wagner, Ust and Brock emerging as new home run trio
- Strikeouts continue to mount for Irish pitching staff
NOTRE DAME 1998 BASEBALL SCHEDULE (17-9)
Sat. 4/4 *at Boston College (DH) BIG EAST Conference Frank Eck Stadium Noon
Sun. 4/5 *at Boston College BIG EAST Conference Frank Eck Stadium Noon
Tues. 4/7 *Ball State Frank Eck Stadium 5:05
Wed. 4/8 *Chicago State Frank Eck Stadium 5:05
* On WHME radio 103.1 FM, available via realaudio through the Notre Dame website, at www.und.com.
The Notre Dame baseball team (17-9, 3-0 BIG EAST)--picked first in the BIG EAST coaches preseason poll--returns to the road this weekend for a three-game series at Boston College (April 4 doubleheader, April 5 single game) ... all three games are scheduled to be carried by WHME radio (103.1 FM) ... the Irish--who are tied with Rutgers and Seton Hall atop the BIG EAST standings--completed a busy makeup week, after being snowed out of doubleheaders at Providence and Connecticut (two makeup games are still to be scheduled) ... Notre Dame is riding a seven-game winning streak, highlighted by a 23-hit game vs. Georgetown that equaled the most hits by an Irish squad in the 1990s ... Notre Dame is on pace to set team record in home runs, doubles and strikeouts thrown.
IRISH ADJUST SCHEDULE: Notre Dame has made the following schedule adjustments as makeup games: Mon., April 13 vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee (4:00 PM) and April 23 vs. Toledo (6:05) ... all of the makeup games are scheduled for Frank Eck Stadium ... two makeup games remain 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 ... freshman RHP Danny Tamayo remains out with an arm injury while sophomore DH Larry Zimont is out with a hamstring pull. .. Notre Dame returned 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).
TEAM NOTES: Prior to the Jan. 30 game vs. FSU, Notre Dameís 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.
SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame has won five of its six previous games vs. BC, including two games at BC in '96 (9-0, 6-1) and two at home last season (11-6, 16-3) ... the teams had not met for 67 years before Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995-96 ... Notre Dame won 9-0 at BC in 1908 en route to a 20-1 season ... the Irish lost at BC 20 years later, 8-1 in 1928 ... Notre Dame's 9-0 win at BC in '96 was led by Darin Schmalz (four-hitter, 5 K's) and J.J. Brock (2-for-3, 4 RBI, 2 R) ... Dan Stavisky threw six shutout innings in the 6-1 win later that day while Mike Amrhein was 3-for-5 with a home run.
ND-BC '97 RECAP (11-6, 16-3): Randall Brooks became the first player in Notre Dame baseball history to twice record five hits in a game while Mike Amrhein and Jeff Wagner continued their hot hitting, as the Irish swept a doubleheader from Boston College ... BC allowed two unearned runs in the first inning of the opener and the Irish took an early 4-0 lead before adding four runs in the 4th ... BC made the final score close with four runs of its own in the top of the 7th ... the Eagles hung with the Irish in the nightcap, trailing just 4-1 through four innings before Notre Dame scored four times in the 5th and 6th and twice more in the 7th ... Notre Dame pounded out 16 hits in the first game and 20 in the second (equaling the Irish season-best), with a balanced hitting effort that was led by an impressive combined 25-for-35 day from the #1-#4 hitters (Pat OíKeefe, Brooks, Amrhein and Wagner) ... OíKeefe had three hits in both games, going 6-for-11 with six runs scored ... Brooks was 7-for-8, with , five RBI ... Amrhein finished 5-for-8, with a home run, six RBI and seven runs scored ... Wagner opened the day 4-for-4 effort, including his fourth home run in as many games, and totaled three RBI and three runs scored in the two games ... Alex Shilliday went the distance in the opener for his first career complete game (8 H, 4 BB, 9 K) while Chris McKeown turned in one of his best efforts of the season in the nightcap, picking up the win in relief after allowing just two unearned runs on five hits and two walks over six innings (four Kís).
SCOUTING THE EAGLES: Boston College is 9-5-1 overall (0-1 BIG EAST) after losing this week to Tufts (6-7), playing to a 17-17 tie at Providence and routing Northeastern (18-1) ... the Eagles went 20-23 last season while finishing fifth in the BIG EAST American Divison (8-17) ... BC's team stats: .396 batting avg., 14.4 runs per nine innings, 19 home runs, 25-for-31 stolen bases, 5.00 ERA, .948 fielding (24 errors) ... top hitters: sophomore 1B Steve Langone (.532, 3 HR, 21 RBI), junior 1B Sean McGowan (.479, 5 HR, 23 RBI) and senior OF Brendan Levesque (.412, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 9-9 SB) ... likely starting pitchers: LHP Langone (2-1, 2.81, 16 IP, 16 K/1 BB, 19 H), sophomore LHP Andy Sullivan (2-0, 4.67, 17.1 IP, 10 K/3 BB, 17 H), junior RHP Paul Bibbo (2-0, 4.70, 15.1 IP, 9 K/6 BB) and freshman RHP Erik Olson (1-2, 6.00, 15 IP, 7 K/7 BB) ... other wins: St. Anselm (14-1, 15-2), New Hampshire College (9-1, 8-1), Valparaiso (6-5), Bryant (11-1), @Bentley (13-1, 24-1) ... other losses: Valparaiso (5-6, 4-5), Northwestern (14-15, 1-10).
IRISH WIN STREAK HITS SEVEN: Notre Dame's current seven-game winning streak equals the longest by an Irish squad since the 1996 team won 10 straight in midseason ... the Irish turned in three seven-game winning streaks last season ... the longest winning streak during the four-year tenure of head coach Paul Mainieri came in his first season, a 11-game run from April 13-23 of 1995 ... top hitters during the current streak are: sophomore 3B Brant Ust (.548, 4 HR, 6 2B 10 RBI), senior SS J.J. Brock (.483, 3 HR, 15 RBI), sophomore RF/DH Jeff Felker (.444, 2 HR, 12 RBI) and senior 1B Dan Leatherman (.435, 7 RBI, 9 R).
CLEARING THE COBWEBS: Notre Dame has been outscored 25-9 in the first inning this season, despite outscoring the opposition 182-163 overall ... Notre Dame's most productive innings have been the second (33 runs), sixth (27) and fourth (26) while the best run differential has been +15 in the sixth inning (27-12).
IRISH GET BEST OF CRAFTY LEFTHANDERS: Notre Dame is 4-1 vs. lefthanded starters this season, with wins in games started by Purdue's David Gassner (12-6), BYU's Matt Rex (15-4) and Georgetown's Randy Erwin (19-7) and Derek Pines (10-2) ... the Irish lost the Indiana Tech game started by Warriors' lefthander Ken Fischer (2-7) ... Notre Dame is hitting .355 in 186 at-bats vs. lefthanders, a full 48 points above the team's overall batting average ... the Irish regular starting lineup includes three switch-hitters: senior 2B Todd Frye, junior CF Allen Greene and sophomore RF Jeff Perconte while freshman reserve Ben Cooke also bats from both sides of the plate.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES: Notre Dame is 5-1 in games decided by one run or in extra innings this season, posting victories over Indiana (6-5), Southern Illinois (4-3), Cincinnati (3-2), Georgetown (7-6) and Bowling Green (6-4 in 11 innings) ... the Irish beat IU when Jeff Perconte's single plated Todd Frye in the bottom of the 9th ... Notre Dame jumped out to a 4-1 lead on SIU--highlighted by J.J. Brock's solo home run in the 1st and single and run scored in the 3rd ... Jeff Wagner brought home Perconte and beat Cincinnati with an 8th-inning home run ... Brock's two-out double in the 7th (and final) inning scored Frye to end the first game with Georgetown ... Wagner hit a two-out single vs. Bowling Green in the 11th and Brant Ust followed with a game-ending, opposite-field home run ... the Irish lost a 4-3 game in 11 innings at New Orleans.
HOME SWEET HOME: Notre Dame is 34-4 at home over the past two seasons, losing last year to Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1-2) and Northwestern (3-12) and this season to Indiana Tech (2-7) and Northeastern Illinois (4-10) ... the Irish were 8-2 in the recent 10-game homestand, hitting .349 with 16 home runs, four triples, 25 doubles and 85 runs scored ... the Irish pitching staff posted a 3.45 ERA during those 10 games, with 86 strikeouts in 86 innings and a .227 opponent batting average.
K'S CONTINUE TO MOUNT: The Notre Dame pitching staff is riding its three-biggest strikeout games of the season, totaling 13 in the series finale vs. Georgetown, 14 vs. Western Michigan and 15 vs. Bowling Green ... the staff has totaled 217 strikeouts in 226 and two-third innings, which factors out to 8.62 K's per nine innings--third-best in Irish history and best in 35 years (the 1958 staff averaged 9.89 while the '63 staff averaged 8.68) ... the Notre Dame pitchers are on pace to total 501 K's over a 60-game season, which would blow away the record total of 399 set last season ... freshman RHP Aaron Heilman has 31 K's and just six walks in 24.1 innings, for team-best totals in K's/9 IP (11.5) and K/BB ratio (5.2) ... junior RHP Alex Shilliday owns impressive ratios in those areas as well (10.7, 4.6), after totaling 51 K's and just 11 walks in 43 innings ... junior RHP Brad Lidge has 39 K's in 31.1 IP (11.2) while sophomore LHP Tim Kalita has 30 in 28.2 (9.4).
STATS CAN BE DECEIVING: Notre Dame's season ERA still remains somewhat skewed by the three-game series at the potent University of Miami, when the Hurricanes totaled 52 earned runs in 24 innings ... the current team ERA of 4.76 is close to last year's final ERA (4.51) but Notre Dame's team ERA is just 2.93 when excluding the Miami series ... junior RHP Alex Shilliday has a 2.93 overall ERA but 1.91 when throwing out his Miami game ... another junior RHP, Brad Lidge, would see his ERA drop from 4.88 to 2.40 when not counting his Miami outing ... two lefthander--junior Chris McKeown (5.29/2.93) and sophomore Tim Kalita (4.08/2.16)--also would see their ERA take a major drop without their Miami outings ... opposing batters are hitting .265 vs. the Irish this season and just .233 when not counting Miami's 58-hit barrage.
PICKING UP THE PACE: After totaling 16 home runs, 25 doubles and a .349 team batting average in the recent 10-game homestand, Notre Dame is back on pace to challenge many of the offensive records it set last season ... based on a 60-game season. Notre Dame is on pace for 76 home runs and 132 doubles--both ahead of last year's record totals (66 and 127) ... the Irish are averaging 26.91 at-bats per home run (ahead of the 1991 record, 30.53) and 1.27 home runs per game (the record of 1.10 was set last season) ... the current .503 team slugging pct. would rank third in Irish history behind the 1993 (.519) and '97 totals (.529).
A NEW BIG THREE: Jeff Wagner (17), Mike Amrhein (14) and Brant Ust (11) last season became the first Notre Dame threesome each to hit 10-plus home runs in the same season but it appears that--following the graduation of Amrhein--Wagner, Ust and senior SS J.J. Brock could best the 42 home runs totaled by last season's big trio ... Wagner and Ust both have eight home runs this season, putting them on pace for 19 each over 60 games, while Brock's seven bombs--one shy of his total from the previous three season--has him on track for 16 home runs, which would give the current threesome an impressive 54 combined home runs.
GREENE STILL MEANS GO: Junior CF Allen Greene has settled in as Notre Dame's leadoff hitter, a spot he has occupied for 13 of the 26 games this season ... Greene has hits in 22 games this season, including a seven-game hitting streak and an 11-game streak that ended last week vs. Western Michigan.
FELKER FILLS THE 3-HOLE: Sophomore rightfielder/DH Jeff Felker has settled in as Notre Dame's #3 hitter while washing away the memories of his 9-for-50 start ... Felker has raised his season batting average to .298, including a team-best .471 batting average during the recent 10-game homestand (16-for-34, 12 RBI, 8 R, 2 HR).
WAGNER RESUMES ASSAULT ON BIG EAST RECORD BOOK: Junior C Jeff Wagner heads into this week ranked 2nd on the BIG EAST all-time batting average list (.423), behind Seton Hall's Marteese Robinson (.432, 1985-87) ... Wagner's 35 career home runs are two shy of equaling the Notre Dame all-time record while Wagner's 17 home runs in BIG EAST games are tied for fourth in BIG EAST history, nine shy of the record set by Seton Hall's Mo Vaughn (1987-89) ... Wagner has posted some impressive career numbers vs. Boston College, going 8-for-14 in four games with one home run, two doubles, three RBI and six runs scored ... senior SS J.J. Brock ranks 9th in BIG EAST history with a .407 career average in BIG EAST play ... Brock is 7-for-15 in four career games vs. BC, with five doubles, four RBI and six runs scored.
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.
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 472-346 (.577), including 142-67 (.679) 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.
Notre Dame's Probable Starting Lineup
Pos Player Yr. Ht./Wt. Hometown
1998 Stats Notes
CF #Allen Greene Jr. 6-1/195 Seattle, WA
.333, 19 RBI, 23 R, 3 HR, 2 3B, 7 2B, 11 BB/16 K, 2-6 SB, 2 E Reached on 37.0% of leadoff ABs
SS J.J. Brock Sr. 6-0/175 Colo. Springs, CO
.352, 29 RBI, 27 R, 7 HR, 1 3B, 8 2B, 12 BB/17 K, 3-5 SB, 14 E Hitting .483 in 7-game win streak
DH *Jeff Felker So. 6-5/185 Ellicott City, MD
.298, 19 RBI, 14 R, 2 HR, 2 3B, 7 2B, 5 BB/15 K, 2 E Hit .471 in 10-game homestand
C Jeff Wagner Jr. 6-3/220 Louisville, KY
.340, 27 RBI, 19 R, 8 HR, 5 2B, 14 BB/11 K, 6 E 35 career HRs, two shy of ND record
3B Brant Ust So. 6-1/190 Redmond, WA
.396, 24 RBI, 27 R, 8 HR, 12 2B, 7 BB/16 K, 5-9 SB, 9 E Hitting .548 with 4 HR in last 7 games
RF #Jeff Perconte So. 5-10/180 Arlington Hts, IL
.275, 12 RBI, 12 R, 2 3B, 7 2B, 13 BB/8 K, 5-6 SB, 2 E Hitting just .192 with 2 outs
LF Alec Porzel Fr. 6-0/180 Lisle, IL
.229, 8 RBI, 13 R, 2 HR, 1 3B, 3 2B, 15 K, 3-5 SB, 0 E Ended 2-18 slump vs. WMU (2-4, HR)
2B #Todd Frye Sr. 5-11/170 Aledo, IL
.212, 7 RBI, 13 R, 6 SAC, 1 3B, 1 2B, 8 BB/8 K, 1-3 SB, 4 E BIG EAST-best 12 sac bunts in '97
1B *Dan Leatherman Sr. 5-11/170 Orland Park, IL
.324, 12 RBI, 17 R, 3 HR, 5 2B, 8 BB/8 K, 2-2 SB, 5 E Hitting .435 in 7-game win streak
*ñlefthanded hitter; #ñswitch hitter
RHP Alex Shilliday Jr. 6-1/205 Dunwoody, GA
2.93, 4-2, 8 GS, 43.0 IP, 51 K/11 BB, .229 opp. batting 10.7 K's/9 IP, 4.6 K's per BB
LHP Tim Kalita So. 6-1/220 Oak Park, IL
4.08, 1-0, 8 GP/4 GS, 28.2 IP, 30 K/18 BB, .292 opp. batting No decision vs. G'town (4.2 IP)
RHP Brad Lidge Jr. 6-3/200 Englewood, CO
4.88, 3-2, 7 GS, 31.1 IP, 39 K/16 BB, .260 opp. batting 11.2 K's/9 IP, #31 preseason prospect
LHP Chris McKeown Jr. 6-3/205 Arlington Hts, IL
5.29, 1-1, 10 GP/1 GS, 17.0 IP, 13 K/12 BB, .266 opp. batting Beat Georgetown last week
RHP Aaron Heilman Fr. 6-4/200 Logansport, IN
1.85, 3-0, 12 GP/1 GS, 24.1 IP, 31 K/6 BB, .186 opp. batting 11.5 K's/9 IP, 5.2 K's per BB
RHP Scott Cavey So. 6-5/200 Omaha, NE
9.00, 0-0, 6 GP, 6.0 IP, 6 K/4 BB, .333 opp. batting Tallest player on team
RHP Steve Szczepanski So. 6-2/180 Lombard, IL
4.24, 2-2, 9 GP/1 GS, 23.1 IP, 13 K/6 BB, .253 opp. batting Third on team in appearances
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
5.40, 1-0, 3 GP, 5.0 IP, 6 K/2 BB, .294 opp. batting Recorded two K's to beat BG
LHP Mike Naumann Fr. 5-11/175 Tucson, AZ
1.42, 0-0, 4 GP/1 GS, 6.1 IP, 2 K/2 BB, .357 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)
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