Battle-tested, fifth-year catcher who was poised to be veteran leader of 2007 team before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery on Feb. 7 (less than two weeks before the season opener) ... retained a season of eligibility and thus has returned to active status for the 2008 season (as a graduate student) ... will serve as 2008 team tricaptain, alongside a pair of seniors (leftfielder Ross Brezovsky and catcher Chris Soriano) ... the most recent Irish players who have returned for a fifth year as graduate students are infielder J.J. Brock ('94-'98) and catcher Bob Lisanti ('92-'96) ... both of those players went on to sign professionally as free agents (after their final season with the Irish) and each remains tied to sports - Brock as a college assistant coach (currently at Georgetown) and Lisanti as a sports agent, based in his hometown of Chicago ... Gaston's return gives the 2008 Irish squad invaluable leadership beind the plate and a learning resource for the team's three freshman catchers ...turned in backto- back strong summer seasons ('05, '06) playing for the Cotuit Kettleers of the prestigious Cape Cod League ... strong defensive catcher and clutch lefthanded hitter who could hit in the middle of the 2008 lineup ... has strong receiving and blocking skills while also making strides in the accuracy of his throws ... was rated by Baseball America as the BIG EAST's "top defensive catcher" for 2006 ... a classic contact hitter, with ability to drive both gaps ... backed up Javi Sanchez during 2004 season before serving as team's top catcher in '05 and '06 ... excellent catch-andthrow defensive player who has improved his footwork and transferto- throw ... a take-charge leader who earned national player-of-theweek honors in 2004, after starting his college career by batting 10-for- 12 ... a leading candidate for Academic All-America honors, after graduating from Notre Dame in May of 2007 with a 3.40 cumulative GPA (as a double major in political science and history) ... hit .307 in his first three seasons with the Irish, adding 69 RBI, 65 runs scored and 30 walks in 128 games played (100 starts) - plus 16 doubles, two triples, a pair of home runs, 11 sacrifice bunts and 12-of-14 stolen bases (only five times hit-by-pitch, as part of program that totaled 100- plus HBPs in each season of those three seasons) ... a .302 career batter in BIG EAST regular-season action (42-for-139, 20 RBI, 21 R, HR, 6 2B, 15 BB, 9 SB, 50 GP) ... has hit at a .315 clip in his career at Eck Stadium (50-for-159, 37 RBI, 24 R, 2 HR, 6 2B, 16 BB, HBP, 14 Ks, .390 slug., .366 OB, 7-9 SB, 57 GP/42 GS) ... played alongside former classmate Jeff Manship with Cotuit in summer of '05, helping Kettleers rally to make Cape Cod League four-team playoffs ... voted a starter for the '05 CCL midseason all-star team but started in right field, as Falmouth catcher Jon Still (who played at Stetson) also was one of the league's top catchers ... later joined Still as the two catchers named first team all-CCL at end of '05 summer ... hit .298 in the '05 wood-bat CCL season (12 RBI, 12 R, 3B, 3 2B, 16 BB, 33 GP) ... coached in Cotuit by former University of North Carolina head coach Mike Roberts (father of current big-leaguer Brian Roberts) ... returned for another all-star summer with Cotuit in 2006, finishing fifth on the team in hits (37), runs (20), RBI (17), doubles (5), on-base (.333) and slugging (.345), also ranking third on team in home runs (2) and first in sac. bunts (7) while batting .266 (10 points above the team avg.; also 11 BB, 3 HBP, 20 Ks, 1-4 SB in 39 GP) ... played for Waterloo (Iowa) Bucks of wood-bat Northwoods League in summer of 2004, ranking second on team with .268 batting (5 RBI, 13 runs, 2 2B, 8 BB, 25 GP) ... ended up a .256 career hitter in the Blue-Gold fall intrasquad series (12-for-42, 7 RBI, 10 R, 3B, 3 2B, 4 BB, K, SB) ... hit 2-for-11 for the Blue at the 2007 Blue-Gold Series (RBI 2 R, BB) ... went 2-for-7 for the Blue at the '06 BGS (R, 2B, 2 BB), with his walk in game-2 helping push across go-ahead run (4-3 win) ... hit 4-for-11 to help Blue win '05 BGS (team-high 4 RBI, 2 R, 2B), after being top hitter for Blue in '04 fall intrasquad game (3- for-5, 3 R, RBI, 3B, 2B, SB) and batting 2-for-10 in '03 as member of victorious Blue (RBI, 2 R, BB, K) ... he and 2007 Notre Dame classmate Mike Dury were roommates on the Indiana Bulls team that won the 2001 national title ... one of five Indiana natives on the 2008 Notre Dame roster ... noteworthy Irish players who have worn jersey #11 include pitchers Tom Bujnowski ('52, '56-'57) and Phil Donnelly ('61-'62).
AS A SENIOR: Did not play in 2007 season while recovering from preseason shoulder surgery.
AS A JUNIOR: Primary starting catcher in 2006, appearing in 55 games with 45 starts ... ranked fifth on team in batting avg. (.319), on-base pct. (.392) and walks (20) while striking out only 11 times in 163 ABs ... finished 40th among all D-I players in 2006 in category of "toughest to strike out" (14.8 ABs per K) ... was hit-by-pitch only once on team that had 100 HBPs ... his other '06 stats: 30 RBI, 27 R, .399 slugging (HR, 3B, 8 2B), 4- 6 SBs, 4 sac. bunts ... ranked as team's secondbest hitter vs. RHPs (.350; only .225 vs. LHPs) ... reached on 48.8% of leadoff plate appearances (third-best on team) and advanced runner 57.4% of the time (4th) ... also batted .325 with runners on base (.304 in scoring position) and .259 with 2- outs (10 RBI) ... totaled 13 multi-hit games (4 multi-RBI) ... made 41 starts behind the plate (4 as DH), with the bulk of his starts coming in the 5th (10), 6th (13) and 7th (13) spots in the lineup (also six as cleanup batter, two in 3-hole and a single start as the #2 batter) ... ranked as team's thirrdleading hitter (.357, 25-for-70) in BIG EAST play (16 RBI, 14 R, 5 2B, 429 slug., 432 OB, 10 BB, 5 Ks, 4-5 SB, 4 SAC, SF, 25 GP/18 GS) ... hit at a .354 clip in '06 home games (23-for-65, 19 RBI, 13 R, HR, 3 2B, 9 BB, 2 Ks, .446 slug., .427 OB, 2-4 SB, 3 SAC) - compared to only .296 in all games away from Eck Stadium (29-for-98, 11 RBI, 14 R, 3B, 5 2B, .367 slug., 11 BB, HBP, 9 Ks, .369 OB, SAC, 2-2 SB) ... hit 2-for-3 in early game with Oklahoma (R, BB; 3-4; in Millington, Tenn.) ... enjoyed 4-for-5 day in 6-2 win over Iowa (RBI, R, 2B; in San Antonio) ... help post early home win over Central Michigan (2-for-5, 3 RBI, R; 11-9) ... key factor in sweep at South Florida (9-5, 10-4, 10-1), going 4-for-10 (2 RBI, R, 2 2B, 2 K) ... followed with 5-for-8 series in sweep of St. John's (4 RBI, 4 R, 2B, 2 BB; 9-2, 13-7, 7-5) ... drew leadoff walk in the 9th and scored tying run moments later (after a Ross Brezovsky triple), as part of thrilling end to SJU series (Alex Nettey followed with the game-ending home run) ... did his part in game-2 slugfest with Rutgers (3-for-5, R, 2B; 14-12) ... had pair of 2-for-4 games in series with Louisville (4 RBI, 2B; 11-3, 4-5) ...closed regular season by batting 3-for-4 in 12-1 road win over Villanova (RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, SB, K) ... batted 7-for-14 at the BIG EAST Tournament in Clearwater, Fla., for one of the top BET marks in ND baseball history ... fellow catchers Sanchez (8-for-11/.727, in '03) and Paul O'Toole (6-for-10/.600, in '01) are the only Irish players to hit at a better clip at a BET ... helped edge USF in the opener (2-for-3, R, 2B; 3-1) and then hit 3-for-4 in 12-4 win over West Virginia (RBI, R, HBP) ... added RBI single and run scored in final versus Louisville (7-0) ... closed season batting 0-for-7 at NCAA Lexington Regional.
AS A SOPHOMORE: Served as starting catcher throughout 2005 season ... finished thirrd on team in sac. bunts (7), fourth in RBI (28) and fifth in batting (.293) ... totaled 12 multi-hit games (one 4-hit, four with 3-hits) ... ranked fourth on team in 2-out RBI (15) and batting with runners in scoring position (.322), plus fifthth in 2-out batting (.302) ... also finished fifth on team with .296 batting vs. RHPs (.282 vs. LHPs) ... advanced baserunners 59% of the time (drvond-best on team) ... compiled .347 leadoff on-base pct. while batting .293 with runners on ... delivered RBI 10- of-14 times (71%) with runners on third and fewer than 2-outs ... owned -8 plate-discipline ratio (5 BB+4 HBP-17 Ks) ... his other '05 stats (in 50 GP/43 GS) 48 H, 27 R, HR, 3B, 5 2B, .354 slugging, .326 OB, 4-of-4 SBs ... made all his starts at catcher while batting all over the lineup with 12 starts in 6-hole, eight each in #8 and #9 holes, plus starts in 2nd (2), 4th (2), 5th (4) and 7th (7) spots ... ranked fifth on team with .286 batting in BIG EAST regular season (13 RBI, 6 R, HR, 2B, 3 BB, 4 SB) ... hit 30 points higher in home games (.310, 14 RBI, 9 R, HR, 3 2B, 2 BB, 3 SB) than on the road (.280/4th on team, 14 RBI, 18 R, 3B, 2 2B, 3 BB, SB) ... ranked fourth on team with .310 batting in post-finals games (5 RBI, 3 R, 3B) ... hit .346 in his final 8 GP of '05 (9-for-26, 5 RBI, 3 R, 3B, 2B) ... back injury limited him to three post-finals starts in regular season ... batted 4-for-6 in 13-9 loss to Dayton (RBI, R), in Mesa, Ariz. ... hit 3-for-4 in second win over Southwest Missouri (RBI, 3 R, HBP), at Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio ... went 3-for-5 in comeback win over Northern Illinois (RBI, 3 R, 2B), at Evansville ... played lead role in 14-2 win over Bowling Green (3-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B) ... went 4-for-8 in doubleheader with Villanova (5 RBI, 2 R, BB, 3-run HR) ... hit 9th-inning single prior to Greg Lopez's three-run blast as Irish tied series finale against VU (ended 7-7) ... singled for key hit in comeback win over UConn (3-for-4, SB) ... ranked second on team with .333 batting at NCAA Gainesville Regional (3-for-9, RBI, R, HBP, K) ... hit 3-for-10 at BIG EAST Tournament (RBI, R, 3B, K) ... top postseason games included RBI single, triple and run scored to help deliver BIG EAST title-game win over Pitt (11-4) ... also had a HBP, run scored and RBI single in NCAA eliminationgame win over Stetson (7-4).
AS A FRESHMAN: Had strong start to college career - earning national hitter-ofthe- week - but later missed a month due to mononucleosis ... hit .316 in 23 games played (12 GS, 11 RBI, 11 R, 3 2B, 5 BB, 4 SB) ... batted .364 with runners on base ... named BIG EAST player of the week and national co-hitter of the week (per National Collegiate Baseball Writers) after batting 10- for-12 in second-week action at Florida Atlantic (6 RBI, 7 R, 3 2B, 2 SB) ... that threeday stretch ended up comprising 10 of his 18 hits for the season ... joined '02 outfielder Brian Stavisky as second Notre Dame freshman ever named BIG EAST player of the week ... five other recent ND players - RHP Aaron Heilman in 2000, Stavisky in '01, 2B Steve Sollmann and RHP Grant Johnson after the '02 NCAA regional, and Craig Cooper in '06 - have received a national player/pitcherof- the-week award ... saw first action off the bench in 19-6 win over Winthrop, at FAU Classic (1-for-1, 2 RBI, R) ... started next day in non-tournament game versus Florida Memorial (4-for-5, RBI, 3 R, 2B, SB; 12-3) ... entered prep career having never posted a four-hit game in competitive baseball ... went one better the next day at FAU versus Minnesota (19-7), hitting safely in first five ABs (3 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B, SB) before 8th-inning flyout prevented him from tying rish hit record ... batted in 7-hole versus Gophers, with: 2-out, opposite-field single to left in the 2nd; single through right side (SB/R) in the 4th (helping cut deficit to 4-2); 2-out-double to right-center as part of a four-run rally (6-6) in 5th; opposite-field RBI double to left-center as Irish exploded for seven runs in the 6th (13-6); and RBI single through the right side in 7th (15-6) ... first ND freshman with five-plus hits since Scott Sollmann in '94 (vs. Purdue) ... Joe Binkiewicz ('89, vs. Dayton) is the program's only other freshman ever to collect five hits in a game (current players Brett Lilley and A.J. Pollock have since joined that group) ... singled and scored as part of four Notre Dame 2nd-inning runs versus Penn State, in San Antonio (8-2) ... helped post 4-0 win at West Virginia, with RBI groundout, single and run scored ... hit 2-for-2 with pair of RBI versus Oakland (17-5) ... missed month of action (17 games) from April 22-May 20, due to mononucleosis ... caught final two innings in 9-0 win over Virginia Tech (ending Sanchez's streak of 92 straight innings caught) ... played final two innings of NCAA win over Kent State (7- 1).
PREP & PERSONAL: Runner-up for '03 Indiana Mr. Baseball Award, batting .478 (8 HR, 8 3B, 35 R) with stellar defense for Brownsburg High School state runner-up squad ... ranked by Baseball America as ninth-best prep prospect in Indiana ('03) ... selected by Chicago White Sox in 50th round of 2003 Major League Baseball draft (a token selection for the top prospect, due to his strong commitment to Notre Dame) ... set BHS career records for doubles (31), fielding pct. (.933), games played (113) and putouts (2nd with .453 career batting) ... threw out 78% of attempted basestealers in 2002 spring and summer season (opponents attempted onlysix steals in '03, one successful) ... hit .478 as a junior (12 RBI), .450 as a sophomore and .378 as a freshman ... named 2000 Metro West player of year (all-conference) ... member of 2002 Chicago White Sox Area Code Team ... hit .398 in '02 summer with Indiana Bulls (3 HR, 31 RBI, 7 SB, 43 GP), also starting for Bulls 2001 national champs ... named all-tournament at 2001 NABF Nationals ... a National Honor Society officer and member of student council, graduating with .0 GPA ... made official visit during 2002 NDPittsburgh football weekend (his first-ever visit to campus) ... born Feb. 12, 1985, in Indianapolis ... son of Keith and Patsy Gaston ... full name is Sean Patrick Gaston ... currently enrolled in graduate school at Notre Dame - after graduating in May of 2007 as a double major in political science and history, in the College of Arts and Letters.
Gaston's Career Bests