Matt Bransfield feature story from Irish Eyes (Mar. 18, 2006)
Potential leading long-ball threat and key RBI producer who will be looking to return to his form of 2004, after being hampered throughout `05 season due to early broken hand injury ... led BIG EAST in RBI (33; 58 overall) during big sophomore season ... served primarily as a righthanded DH in
his first three seasons but expected to be among top options in `06 for leftfield duty, alongside lefthanded-hitting classmate Steve Andres ... coming off an all-star summer playing in the competitive Alaska League ... a leading candidate for Academic All-America honors, with his 3.36 cumulative GPA as a sociology major, including a 3.67 in the '04 fall semester (3.53 in fall of `05) ... great competitor who has worked to improve his plate discipline ... has grown into confident, aggressive hitter who attacks the baseball ... saw a big boost in his power game during sophomore season, after building up his body and improving his allaround
hitting ... has tremendous work ethic and approach to weight training ... part of eight-man senior class that includes six regulars among the position players ... proven winner, leader and all-around athlete, after stellar prep career as third baseman, pitcher and quarterback ... enters '06 as .308 career hitter in 124 GP (100 GS, 71 R, 21 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR, 84 RBI, .477 slugging, 35 BB, 19 HBP, .388 on-base) ... 7-for-19 as pinch-hitter in ND
career ... a .292 career hitter vs. BIG EAST teams (36 RBI, 8 HR) and .250 career hitter in the NCAAs (6-for-24, RBI, 3 R, 2B, 4 BB, HBP, 7 Ks) ... latest in long line of Cherry Creek High School prospects, including former ND pitcher and current Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge ... named to Alaska League all-star team during summer of `05, after strong season with the wood-bat Mat-Su Miners (where he played alongside classmate Cody Rizzo) ... led Miners with .469 slugging and 15 doubles (3B, HR), 2nd in RBI (23) and 3rd in batting (.312) and on-base (.409; 17 BB), plus 22 runs in 39 GP ... played for Waynesboro (Va.) Generals of wood-bat Valley League in summer of '04 ... had big `03 summer as cleanup hitter with Colorado
Sox of wood-bat Rocky Mountain League, leading 16-league National Baseball Congress with nine regularseason HRs (12 total), also 4th among all NBC players in RBI (36) , 9th in batting (.381) ... helped Sox advance to prestigious NBC World Series, where he hit 4-for-11 (2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB) ... led Gold with .571 batting (4-for-7) in '03 Blue-Gold fall intrasquad series, reaching base 10 times (6 RBI, 4 R, 2 2B, 3 BB, 2 HBP, SB) ... doubled twice with 3 RBI to help Gold win `04 Blue-Gold fall game (2-for-5, 2 R; 10-9) ... continued strong intrasquad series in fall of `05 with Blue team (2-for-5, 4 R, RBI, 3 BB, 2 HBP, SF, SB) ... could face former Connie Mack teammates Mark Melancon (Arizona), Chase Kliment (Illinois) and Nick Rudden (Michigan) in '06 ... four of his Mat-Su teammates also play for teams on ND's `06 schedule: Oklahoma LHP Kevin Duke, Georgetown's Matt Johnson and Louisville's B.J. Rosenberg and Nick Haley ... fourth
Colorado native to monogram with ND baseball, the most recent including Lidge and mid-1990s infielder J.J. Brock (Colorado Springs) ... inherited No. 12 jersey worn previously by third baseman Andrew Bushey.
AS A JUNIOR: Missed 18 games after suffering broken hand in '05 season opener but returned to rank 4th on '05 team in batting avg. (.313) and on-base pct. (.409) while playing in 32 games (29 starts) ... led team
with .448 batting vs. LHPs, 2nd on team in leadoff on-base pct. (.542) and 4th in batting with runners on base (.321) ... hit .286 with 2-outs (6 RBI), .314 with runners in scoring position, 2-for-7 with bases loaded, 2-for-3 as
pinch-hitter ... had even plate-discipline ratio (10 BB+7 HBP-17 Ks) ... other '05 stats included 30 hits and 16 RBI, (6 2B, .375 slugging, .409 on-base) ... 21 of his starts came at DH (6 at C, 2 at 1B) ... made 10 starts batting cleanup ... hit .273 in BIG EAST regular season (5 RBI, 6 R) ... batted 77 points higher in home games than on the road (.345 to .268) ...
had leadoff pinch-hit single and scored in rally to force extra-innings vs. UConn (3-2) ... scored three times in finale at Rutgers (H, BB) ... had 2 RBI to help beat Cleveland State (7-6) and had 3 RBI vs. Valparaiso (9-8)
... hit 2-for-7 at NCAA Gainesville Regional (R, 2B, BB, 3 Ks), including 2-for-3 in win over Stetson (BB, 2B, R; 7-4).
AS A SOPHOMORE: First player since '93 to lead BIG EAST in RBI in league games (33) and not earn all-BIG EAST honors, also ranking 3rd in runs (22), 4th in home runs (6) and total bases (53) in league games ... finished 3rd overall among BIG EAST players with 58 RBI, also 5th in HRs (12) and 3Bs (3), 7th in TBs (117), 10th in slugging (.568) and 12th in OPS (.956 on-base plus slugging) ... led '04 team in RBI, 2nd in HRs, 3rd in runs
(44), 3Bs, TBs and GP (59), 4th in slugging, hits (63) and ABs (206), 5th in starts (54) ... 2nd on team with .356 batting vs. LHPs, 4th in 2-out RBI (15) ... hit .306 overall with 12 2B, 22 BB, 9 HBP ... hit .282 with runners in scoring position, 2-for-13 with bases loaded, 0-for-3 as pinch-hitter ... delivered RBI 67% of time with runner on 3rd and fewer than 2 outs (20-of-30) ... made 48 starts at DH (3 at 1B; single starts at 3B, LF and C) ... hit mostly in 3-hole (19) and cleanup (17) ... 2nd on team with 15 multi-RBI games, 5th with 17 multi-hit ... had matching .306 batting avg. at Eck Stadium (28 RBI, 5 HR) and on road (30 RBI, 7 HR) ... combined with Cooper (.470) and junior 3B Matt Macri (7 HR) as first teammates ever to lead BIG EAST in batting, HRs and RBI during conference games ... followed Alec Porzel ('00, '01), Paul O'Toole ('02) and Edwards ('03) as fifth straight ND player to lead BIG EAST in conference RBI ... hit 2-for-3 in early win at USC (3-1) ... first two home runs came at Southern Illinois (4-8; bases-loaded walk in 5-3 win) and in home opener vs. Central Michigan (1-4) ... added another long ball vs. Detroit (3 RBI; 16-6) ... hit opposite-field
shot in 12-3 win over Western Michigan (3-for-4, 2 RBI; 4th HR in 7-game hit streak) ... started at third vs. Hillsdale ... hit 5-for-12 in sweep of Villanova (7 RBI, 3 R, HR, BB), including early 3-run HR in 15-7 opener ...
added key 2-out RBI single in nightcap (6-5, in 10) and had 3 RBI game in finale (13-1) ... smacked sixth HR over 12-game span (to right-center), vs. Chicago State (15-5) ... doubled twice vs. Valparaiso (RBI, 2 R; 9-3),
... hit 3-for-6 in split with Boston College (2 R, HBP; 4-7, 6-4) ... batted 4-for-9 with 7 RBI at Georgetown (18-7, 11-4), with pair of HRs in game-2 ... had leadoff home run, RBI double and run scored in rally from 5-0 deficit at Pittsburgh (8-6 loss) ... sent 2-run blast to dead-center for 5-2 lead in game-2 (6-7) ... had 7-RBI series in sweep at UConn (5-for-13, 2 R, HR, 2 2B) ... his solo shot down leftfield line set off 10-hit, 10-run explosion in top of first inning of series finale at UConn (Cooper followed with a HR, as did Edwards two batters later) ... added 2-run double and RBI single in that 16-8 win ... his sac. fly and RBI single helped beat #20 Central Florida (3-2) ... hit 5-for-14 to help win third straight BIG EAST Tournament title (4 RBI, 2 R, HR, 3B, 2B) ... went 3-for-5 in winners-bracket game vs. St. John's (RBI, R, 3B/near-HR; 9-2) ... homered over 25-foot secondary wall in left field as Irish scored six in first inning of title game vs. BC (2B; 11-
5) ... hit 2-for-11 in NCAA South Bend Regional (R, RBI, 3 BB, HBP, 4 Ks).
AS A FRESHMAN: Emerged as righthanded DH, platooning with the lefty Andres ... made late starts in 5-hole ... appeared in 33 games, with 14 of 17 starts at DH (two 1B, one RF) ... 4th on team with .310 batting (13 R, 10 RBI, 3 2B, 3 BB) ... 5-for-13 as pinch-hitter ... a .348 hitter in BIG EAST play (3 RBI, 3 2B) ... his 3-for-5 effort helped sweep UConn (RBI, R, 2B) ... hit 2-for-6 in both the BIG EAST and NCAA tournaments ... key role in winners-bracket win over Rutgers (2-for-4, RBI, R, BB; 9-3), with 2-out single scoring Cooper ... later singled to loading bases in 6-run bottom of 6th ... had pinch-hit single vs. Arizona at NCAA Fullerton Regional (13-
5) before starts vs. the host Titans (0-for-2; 3-4) and San Diego (1-for-3, R; 6-3).
PREP & PERSONAL: Accomplished baseball and football player at Cherry Creek High School, also starring for national power Cherry Creek Connie Mack team ... hit .380 as senior captain, team MVP, first team all-league and all-state performer on league co-champs (6 HR, 34 RBI; 2.31 ERA, 10-1, 84 Ks) ... batted .354 with '02 Connie Mack (35 RBI, 4 HR, 13 2B, 17 BB), leading team with 1.71 ERA and 7-1 record (58 Ks, 8 BB, 53.1 IP) ... hit .360 as second team all-league 3B and top pitcher for '01 CCHS state runner-up ... hit .434 with 10 HR for '01 Connie Mack team that reached regional round of national tourney (.434, 10 HR; 2.93, 8-1) ... 4-for-4 with 2 RBI in '01 state title-game vs. Smoky Hill (6-8) ... received CCHS Male Honor Athlete award ... selected for state All-Star Game (at Coors Field) ... played in '02 USA Connie Mack Tournament ... all-tournament at '02 Connie Mack regional (Houston) ... winner in '99 and '00 (1-hitter) Connie Mack state-title games ... started at third for '00 team (3rd at regional finals) ... selected for '99 Regional and '00 National Team One Showcases ... played with Rocky Mountain Baseball Academy in '99 (6th place) and '00 Jr. Olympics (Tucson, Ariz.) ... rare CCHS two-year
starting QB, earning first team allleague and honorable mention all-state as
senior captain ... set school records for career passing yards (2,300) and TD passes ... completed 70 for 11 TDs as junior, 127 for 25 TDs in '01 (3 INTs) ... senior swingman in basketball, helping '01-'02 squad reach state semi's ... made campus visit on weekend of '01 ND-West Virginia football game ... member of National Honor Society (3.9 GPA) ... from same high school as former ND tennis player Alicia Salas ('04) ... great-grandfather
Thomas O'Neil ('13), grandfather Charles Bransfield ('40), aunt Maria O'Meara ('76), five great uncles and a second cousin all are Notre Dame grads ... great-uncle Fred Miller captained 1928 ND football team ... born Oct. 9, 1983, in Denver ... son of Chuck and Carol Bransfield ... full name is Matthew Miller Bransfield ... sociology major, in College of Arts and Letters.
Bransfield's Career Stats
|Year ||GP/GS||AB||R||H||2B||3B ||HR||RBI||BB||HP||SO ||SF/SH||SB-SBA||OB ||SLG||AVG|