Notre Dame opens weekend with doubleheader at noon on Saturday
First Team All-BIG EAST Selection (2006)
Fifth-Round Major League Draft Selection (2006; Chicago Cubs)
Freshman All-American (2004; Collegiate Baseball magazine)
Football Consensus First Team All-American (2005)
Jeff Samardzija UPDATED BIO. CAPSULE (RHP; Jr.; Valparaiso, Ind.; as of June 19, 2006) - Selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 5th round of the 2006 MLB draft (the Cubs did not have a pick in the 2nd-4th rounds) ... was projected by Baseball America as the 20th-best overall prospect (including high school players) heading into draft day but fell to the 5th round due to his dual commitments to baseball and football ... Baseball America also listed Samardzija as the 2nd-best athlete among college prospects for the 2006 MLB draft, behind Texas centerfielder Drew Stubbs ... became the 10th Notre Dame player ever drafted in the first five rounds, despite not being drafted out of high school (when he starred more as a position player, batting .467 with 55 RBI, 7 home runs and 6 triples as an all-state centefielder during his senior season at Valparaiso HS) ... three of the four ND pitchers who have been drafted higher than him - Brad Lidge (1st round/17th pick; Astros, '98), Aaron Heilman (1st round/18th pick; Mets, '01) and Christian Parker (4th round; Expos, '96) - went on to pitch in the Major Leagues ... the other ND pitcher who has been drafted in the first five rounds - Grant Johnson (2nd round; Cubs, '04 - did not begin his pro career until 2005 ... six all-time ND position players have been picked in the 1st-5th rounds: C Ken Plesha (1st round/17th pick; White Sox, '65); CF Steve Stanley (2nd round; A's, '02); CF Dan Peltier (3rd round; Rangers, '89); SS Paul Failla (3rd round; Angels, '94); OF Ryan Topham (4th round; White Sox. '95) and 3B Matt Macri (5th round; Rockies, '04) ... just one previous pitcher/position player combination in ND history - the 2004 duo of Johnson (2nd rd; Cubs) and Macri (5th rd; Rockies) - has been drafted higher than Samardzija and senior 1B Craig Cooper (7th rd; Padres) ... the only other pair of ND teammates to go higher in the draft than Samardzija/Cooper were OFs Stanley and Brian Stavisky in '02 (2nd and 6th rounds, both to the A's) ... Samardzija and Cooper are the seventh pair of ND teammates to each be drafted in the first 10 rounds (also '96, '98, '99, '01) ... joined with fellow junior RHP Jeff Manship (14th rd; Twins) and senior LHP Tom Thornton (21st rd; Tigers) in marking the first time that three ND pitche4s have been selected in the same draft ... ND's five draft picks in '06 (also SS Greg Lopez in 33rd round to the Blue Jays) has been bested just once in the program's history (6, in '01) ... ND players (including the incoming signees who joined the Irish) now have been drafted or signed as a free agents a total of 125 times and the Cubs have drafted/signed the most ND players from that group (11; all since 1996) ... ND's other noteworthy Cubs draft picks have included: C Mike Amrhein ('97; 10th rd), Stavisky ('01; 33rd rd; draft-eligible soph./returned to ND), C Paul O'Toole ('02; 21st round) and RHP Grant Johnson ('04; 2nd rd) ... on pace to possibly graduate at the end of the 2006 fall semester ... one of 21 ND baseball players who posted a GPA of 3.0-plus in the 2005 semester and then was one of 24 Irish baseball players to top the 3.0 GPA mark in the 2006 spring (in-season) semester ...
his 15 starts this season in 2006 drew an average of nearly 2,000 fans per game (1,918) ... four of the largest crowds in Eck Stadium history came with him on the mound, led by the record-setting pre-sellout crowd of 3,507 for the opener vs. Rutgers on Friday, April 21 ... other top Eck Stadium crowds with him pitching included: 3,052 for Thursday doubleheader vs. St. John's (April 13); 3,028 for the Friday-night opener vs. Pittsburgh (March 31); and 2,714 for the Saturday matchup with Louisville (May 6) ... the attendance for the Pittsburgh game briefly set the Eck Stadium record, only to be eclipsed by six crowds later in the 2006 season ... joined Manship to form just the seventh pairs of pitchers from the same team who have been first team all-BIG EAST selections in the same season (since '85) ... only two other pairs of starting pitchers since 1992 (including ND's Aaron Heilman and Danny Tamayo in 2001) have been named first team all-BIG EAST ... compiled 21-6 record in his three seasons with the Irish ... just 12 pitchers in the 114-year history of Notre Dame baseball have won more games in their careers (each with 22-plus wins) ... his other career stats include a 3.82 ERA in 50 appearances (31 starts), with 159 strikeouts, 84 walks and 236 hits allowed (.256 opp. batting avg.; 11 HRs) in 240.1 innings (11 wild pitches, 18 hit batters, plus a save in '04) ... ended up with 15th-best overall ERA (4.33) among "regular" pitchers (at least 1.0 IP per team game) in the 12-team BIG EAST while also ranking 3rd in the BIG EAST for innings (97.2) and starts (15), 4th in wins (8-3) and 8th in Ks "looking" (24) ... his 59.2 innings during league action ranked 6th-most among BIG EAST pitchers ... led Notre Dame's 2006 staff in innings pitched (97.2) and games started (15) while ranking 2nd in wins (8-2), 3rd in strikeouts (61) and Ks "looking" (20), and 5th in appearances (15) ... his other 2006 season statistics included 37 walks, 101 hits allowed (3 home runs), a .272 opp. batting avg., 5 hit batters and 5 wild pitches ... led team with 115 groundball outs, as 60% of his outs (176 of 293) came via Ks or GOs (10.60 per 9 IP; 5th-most on staff) ... compiled 1.16 groundout-to-flyout ratio ... averaged team-best 6.2 innings per outing while his 9-inning averages included 5.62 Ks, 3.41 walks, 9.31 hits and 39.26 batters faced ... owned 2nd-best opponent 2-out batting avg. on the staff (.211) while holding lefthanded hitters to .234 batting (5th-best) ... his other situational stats included a .388 opp. leadoff on-base pct., .267 opp. batting with runners on base and .291 by RH hitters ... 10 of his 15 starts in 2006 came as the game-1 starter (in series or tournament) ... reached the 7th inning in eight of his starts while pitching 6-plus innings 11 times ... failed to reach the 5th inning only once in '06 season ... his top games during the 2006 season included keeping the Irish within striking distance versus then-#15 Texas A&M, in San Antonio during Spring Break (5.1 IP, R, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 Ks; no-decision as ND rallied for 5-4 win) ... delivered 6-1 win in his 2006 home debut, logging career-high 8.0 innings and totaling career-best 8 Ks as Irish set Eck Stadium attendance record of 3,028 (R, 8 H, BB), with that attendance mark later bested six times in a record-setting season at "The Eck" ... had solid outing to help beat St. John's in 9-2 opener of showdown series (7 IP, 2 R, 11 H, 3 BB, 5 Ks) ... improved to 6-1 the next week with 11-5 win over rival Rutgers (7.1 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 6 Ks) ... closed regular season with his strongest outing of the season, notching 3-1 road win over Villanova in duel with fellow top prospect Kevin Mulvey (8.1 IP, R, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 Ks) ... totaled 16 Ks and just 3 walks over his final three appearances of the 2006 season ... won key winners-bracket game at BIG EAST Tournament vs. West Virginia (12-4), with a 3-run blast from Stan Posluszny - brother of Penn State standout football linebacker Posluszny - accounting for most of WVU's runs (8 IP, 4 R, 9 H, BB, 6 Ks) ... another mistake pitch yielded a game-tying, 3-run HR in the NCAA opener vs. the College of Charleston as the Cougars forged a 4-4 tie in the 7th and ultimately won, 5-4 in 16 innings (8 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 Ks).
Elite two-sport athlete whose 2005 calendar year included posting 8-1 record with Irish baseball team in the spring and turning in record-setting football season as All-America receiver in the fall (when he totaled 77 catches for 1,249 yards and 15 TDs) ... has improved each season in the baseball program and now returns alongside senior lefthander Tom Thornton and fellow junior righthander Jeff Manship to form strong weekend rotation ... tremendous competitor with workmanlike approach and athletic versatility to thrive on the mound in any role ... named by league's coaches to 2006 preseason all-BIG EAST Conference team while Baseball America rated him the No. 6 pro prospect in the BIG EAST ... has seen his velocity increase while adding a quality changeup to his pitch arsenal ... his wide-reaching athleticism includes earning all-state honors as a prep centerfielder ... again will face challenge of making transition to baseball without benefit of summer or fall ball - in addition to maintaining first priority in the spring at football practice ... became Notre Dame's first baseball/football athlete since Scott Sollmann in the mid-'90s ... joins freshman infielder/quarterback Evan Sharpley in giving the Irish two scholarship football players on the baseball team for the first time in the 12-year Paul Maineri era ... could join Moose Krause (basketball,), heavyweight wrestlers Dick Arrington and Bob Golic and Raghib "Rocket" Ismail (track) as fifth Notre Dame football All-American to earn All-America honors in a second sport ... earned nickname of "Shark" from one of his teammates during '04 Irish baseball season ... his major upside is based on strong, tall frame (6-5, 215 pounds), tremendous athleticism (he was an all-state centerfielder as a prep senior), arm strength, clean delivery and quality offspeed pitches...throws a
high-80s fastball, breaking ball and splitter (plus the new changeup) ... his first two seasons with the Irish produced a 3.47 ERA, 13-4 record and 98 strikeouts in 142.2 innings and 35 appearances (16 starts, 135 hits
allowed/.245 opp. batting avg., 47 walks and a save) ... has demonstrated a high level of confidence and mound presence ... brings a fun-loving personality to the ballpark ... earned 2004 Freshman All-America honors
while compiling a 2.95 season ERA that ranked second-best among BIG EAST regulars ... earned first letters with ND football team as '03 and `04 reserve wide receiver, with best game in the `04 Insight Bowl ... see p. 10 for more on the ND baseball program's multi-sport players ... inherited No. 45 jersey worn previously by RHP Brandon Viloria ('03) ... one of 21 Notre Dame players to post GPA of 3.0-plus (3.05) in 2005 fall semester.
AS A SOPHOMORE: Showcased his tremendous athleticism and competitiveness while delivering several clutch outings as both a starter and reliever during 2005 season (in addition to undergoing first spring season under new football coach Charlie Weis) ... led staff in wins (8-1; 4th among
BIG EAST pitchers) and strikeouts (56), also ranking 2nd on team in starts (10) and innings per outing (5.1), 3rd in innings (78.2) and groundouts
(90) and 5th in ERA (3.89) ... ranked 4th on staff in lefthanded opp. batting (.288), opp. leadoff on-base pct. (.386) and opp. batting with runners on (.263) ... given ball as starter in season opener and picked up win over Florida A&M (5 IP, 4 H, R, 3 BB, K, 10 groundouts), at UCF ... added win in San Antonio over Southwest Missouri (5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 Ks; 5-1) and beat Seton Hall with complete game in first BIG EAST weekend,
allowing two late runs (7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, career-best 8 Ks) ... caught up with the Irish on Saturday night in Brockton , Mass., and came out of the bullpen for six shutout innings - combining with Manship to shut out Boston College in series finale (3 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 76 pitches) ... he and Manship did not allow a BC runner to reach third base all game (none reached scoring position until the 8th) ... picked up relief win over UConn (6.1 IP, 4 R/3 ER, 6 H, BB, K, 11 GO), after Manship was knocked out of the game with a finger injury ... rescued the Irish again out of the bullpen vs. Cleveland State, logging 7.0 shutout innings (4 H, BB, 8 Ks; 7-6 in 13) ... delivered three straight big-game efforts (with a 2.29 ERA, 14 Ks, 6 BB and .227 opp. batting in those games) - the first coming at Pittsburgh (6 IP, 2 H, R, 3 BB, 4 Ks; 21-1) as the Irish were battling for a BIG EAST Tournament spot ... next helped clinch postseason spot in 7-3 win over West Virginia (7 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 4 Ks, 73 of 105 pitches went for strikes) ... followed with winners-bracket victory over Pittsburgh at BIG EAST Tournament (6.2 IP, 2 R/1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K; 4-2) and had no-decision versus Stetson at NCAA Gainesville Regional (5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 Ks; 7-4), leaving with the score 2-2.
AS A FRESHMAN: Named Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine, after posting 2.95 ERA that ranked 2nd among BIG EAST pitchers (min 1.0 IP/team game) behind West Virginia ace Zac Cline
(2.65) ... owned 2nd-best opponent batting avg. (.209) in BIG EAST, behind BC 1st-rounder Chris Lambert (.196) ... compiled 5-3 record as starter and top long reliever (42 Ks, 17 BB, 50 H in 64 IP) ... season highlights included 22-inning scoreless streak (2nd-longest by ND pitcher in Mainieri era) and
late 4-0 win over #20 Central Florida (7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, HB, 4 Ks, 10 GO, 2 popups, 25 batters faced) ... took perfect game into 4th inning of that game (UCF lefthanded hitters hit just 1-for-14) ... helped salvage season as Irish
overcame injuries to three top pitchers (including Manship) ... twice played in ND football scrimmage and flew that night to join baseball team before pitching next day ... first taste of double duty saw him gut out 9-6 relief win at Georgetown (4.2 IP, 3 R/2 ER, 6 H, 5 Ks) ... one week later, he caught a TD in Blue-Gold scrimmage but struggled next day in 8-6 loss as starter at Pittsburgh (4 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 2 BB, 4 Ks) ... excluding that tough doubleduty in late April, he posted a 1.95 ERA and allowed just .180 opp. batting in 19 other outings ... his .209 opponent avg. ranked 3rdbest
ever by ND freshman while his 20 appearances were 5th ... finished 3rd among ND regulars (20-plus IP) in opp. batting, innings and groundouts (85), 4th among regulars in ERA and GP, 5th in wins and Ks ... owned staff's best opp. batting avg. by LH hitters (.160), 4th in opp. 2-out batting (.228) and opp. leadoff on-base (.288) ... his 9- inning avg. included 11.95 GOs (2nd on staff), 2.39 BBs and 7.03 H (both 4th), plus 5.91 Ks ...
averaged 17.9 outs per 9 IP via Ks or GOs (2nd on staff with 1.5 groundout-flyout ratio) ... had unique distinction of ranking 4th on staff in relief appearances (14, closed 4) and 5th in starts (6) ... allowed 1-of-6 inherited baserunners to score ... made debut as closer vs. Florida Memorial, at FAU (2 IP, 2 Ks; 12-3) ... helped Irish rally to 12-11 win over Southern Illinois, in San Antonio (2.1 IP, R, BB, K, 8 BF) ... saved 4-2 win over Penn State in Round Rock (4 IP, BB, K, 13 BF) ... picked up 5-3 win at WVU in 7-inning opener that extended to 10 (2 IP, BB, K, 5 GO, 7 BF; 5-3) ... came back next day for 1.2 shutout IP in 6-2 series finale (2 H,BB, K) ... had tough-luck loss in first start, taking no-hitter into 7th before St. John' scored 2
unearned runs for 2-1 win (7.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 Ks, 11 GOs, 26 BF, 85 pitches, retired first 14) ... beat Manchester (7 IP, 5 H, 3 Ks; 10-0) ...
notched 7-3 win over Michigan in Grand Rapids, as starter in planned rotation (4 IP, H, R, 3 BB, 3 Ks) ... ended regular season with 2.45 ERA (47th in nation) ... closed with no-decision in 6-5 NCAA Tournament loss to
Arizona, after taking no-hitter into the 4th ( 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 6 Ks).
WITH NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL: Totaled just 24 catches for 327 yards and no touchdowns in first two seasons with the Irish football team but burst onto the scene with record-setting '05 season that earned him consensus All-America honors ... also one of three finalists for Biletnikoff Award (given to college football's top receiver) ... set ND season record for TD catches (15) while tying Tom Gatewood's 1970 record for receptions (77) and ranking third in the ND record book with 1,249 receiving yards ... ... set ND record for consecutive games with a TD catch (8, at start of `05) ... made highlightreel, 19-yard TD catch in opener vs. Pittsburgh ... tied ND record with three TD catches vs. Michigan State ... his 153 receiving yards vs. Purdue included one-handed, leaping grab for 41-yard gain and two TD
catches (one a 55-yard play that saw him slip five tackles) ... latched onto six passes for 99 yards and 32-yard TD (on third-down play, for 14-14 tie) in showdown with USC ... had 10 catches for 154 yards and pair of TDs
vs. BYU ... combined with Maurice Stovall (14) as first ND duo to have 10-plus catches in same game ... 127-yard day vs. Tennessee (7 catches) included 73-yard play on short pattern, sparking go-ahead march to break 21-21 tie (he scored the TD) ... made eight catches for 191 yards and pair of TDs at Stanford, including 80-yard play after short catch ... second on `04 team with 16.1 yards per catch (17 for 274, in 12 GP) ... enjoyed big night versus Oregon State in Insight Bowl (5 catches, 89 yards) to end 2004 season ... first lettered as a freshman in `03 (7 catches, 53 yards) ... also served as 2005 place-kick holder and played as deep safety on defense in two '05 games.
PREP & PERSONAL: Earned all-conference, all-area and all-state
(as centerfielder) at Valparaiso HS (.467, 55 RBI, 7 HR, 6 3B) ... had
stellar '03 season on mound (3.28, 6-3, 50 Ks, 27 BB) ... struck out 13 in 1-hit shutout at rival Laporte ... played in north-south all-star game ... three-year baseball letterwinner ... never missed a start in final three seasons of football, basketball and baseball (160-plus games) ... runner-up for Indiana Mr. Football Award and named top receiver in state ... honorable mention on Detroit Free Press "Best of the Midwest" football team ... named football All-American as junior, three times all-state, twice team MVP ... caught 50 passes for 1,044 yards, 9 TDs as senior, helping 12-2 team reach state semifinals ... named to Indiana AP all-state first team ... 40 tackles, 3 interceptions as '02 free safety ... caught 55 passes for 1,197 yards and 10 TDs in `01, helping team reach state title game ... played in football state all-star game ... earned one letter in basketball ... full name
is Jeffrey Alan Samardzija ... born Jan. 23, 1985, in Merrillville, Ind. ... a marketing major, enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business.
Samardzija's Career Stats (prior to 2006 season; see final career stats listed above)