The Irish defeated the Seminoles in three games to advance to the program's second College World Series.
Veteran first baseman who has made shift to the mound, entering 2004 as one of team's top starting pitchers ... made name for himself as one of college baseball's top defensive first basemen during '01-'03 seasons while struggling with his offensive consistency ... trained exclusively as a pitcher in 2003 fall season, with impressive stretch of outings capped by his win in game 1 for victorious Blue squad in Blue-Gold intrasquad series ... staked Blue to 2-1 lead after pitching the maximum four innings (opposed by ace Chris Niesel), scattering five hits and no walks while striking out three batters in eventual 9-7 win ... accomplished two-way player as a prep who had expressed desire to pitch earlier in his Irish career ... brings several intangibles to the mound, including battle-tested maturity, tremendous athleticism, elite defensive skills and a hitter's mentality - allowing for key pitch-to-pitch adjustments ... senior season at St. Louis University High School included a 3.23 ERA, 7-1 record, 57 strikeouts and 25 walks in 45 innings ... labeled a "strike machine" during fall ball, with ability to pound the zone with all his pitches ... showed great work ethic and excitement during position shift ... still could see some time as a late-inning defensive replacement or pinch-hitter ... streaky lefthanded hitter who delivered several clutch performances in '01-'03 seasons, compiling a .279 career batting avg. with 81 RBI, 28 doubles and 9 home runs ... was one of six lefthanded hitters in ND's 2002 College World Series starting lineup ... has tremendous footwork and agility around the bag, with 6-4 frame providing a big target ... latest in string of talented Irish defensive first basemen (Jeff Felker in `97, `99-'00; Dan Leatherman in `98) ... his career bests with the Irish include 3 hits (5 times, last vs. Rutgers in '03 BIG EAST Tournament), 4 RBI (4 times, last at St. John's on 4/6/03), 3 runs ('02 NCAAs vs. South Alabama) and a 12-game hitting streak ('01) ... played alongside current senior catcher Javi Sanchez and junior pitcher Tyler Jones on Madison (Wis.) Mallards of the Northwoods League (summer '03), with St. John's SS Mike Rozema also a member of the Mallards ... played alongside former Irish pitcher J.P. Gagne on Hays (Kan.) Larks team that reached title game of National Baseball Congress World Series (summer '01) ... one of 13 Missouri natives who have lettered with ND baseball ... posted 3.52 GPA in 2003 fall semester.
AS A JUNIOR: Opened season as starting first baseman before sharing time with sophomore Matt Edwards ... hit .280 in 45 games played (28 starts), with 23 RBI and 11 runs scored (HR, 2 3B, 7 2B, 6 BB, HBP) ... finished third on team in sacrifice bunts (7) and fifth in two-out batting (.300) ... helped turn 25 double plays ... hit 4-for-8 in extra innings, including single up the middle to beat Wake Forest at Minnesota Metrodome (2-1, in 13), a leadoff triple at Villanova (left stranded, in 7-inning opener that VU won in 13) and two singles in 19-inning marathon at Rutgers (3-5) ... helped beat Dayton in opener (2-for-5, 2 RBI; 10-9, at ASU) ... plated four runs in 18-3 win at St. John's (2-for-4, R) ... hit 2-for-5 in wild 13-12 win at Creighton (RBI, R, 2B) ... closed regular season 8-for-17, including 2-for-4 in final game at Rutgers (2B; 3-5), 3-for-4 vs. Cincinnati (RBI; 9-6) and 2-for-3 vs. Butler (R; 4-1) ... his 2-run shot capped 13-5 win over Rutgers in BIG EAST title game (3-for-4, 3 RBI) ... named to all-tournament team at NCAA Fullerton Regional, after batting 5-for-13 (2 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B, 3B, 2 BB) to go along with stellar defense (33 chances with 0 errors, 6 assists and 7 double plays) ... hit pair of opposite-field doubles to left-center in NCAA opener vs. Arizona, the first sparking seven-run explosion in top of 2nd (2 RBI, 2 R, BB; 13-5) ... also hit 2-for-2 in 4-3 loss to host Cal State Fullerton (3B, BB) and singled in 6-3 win over San Diego.
AS A SOPHOMORE: Hit .272 while appearing in 62 games (58 GS, 33 RBI, 43 R, 6 HR, 6 2B, 24 BB) ... led team with 13 sacrifice bunts ... posted .984 fielding pct. (9 Es) ... helped turn 53 of team-record 66 double plays ... hit mostly in 9th spot (52 games) ... hit four home runs in five-game lateseason stretch, including blasts in both games of doubleheader vs. Villanova and grand slams in back-to-back games vs. Boston College (he had just four HRs in 104 career games and 230 at-bats before that 14-AB flurry) ... hit .354 at Eck Stadium (22 RBI) ... tied for second on team in 2-out RBI (15) ... hit .339 with runners in scoring position (fifth on team) ... stroked 2-run double before ending 7-5 win over Arkansas-Little Rock, drilling 1-out, full-count pitch from Brad Cherry over rightfield fence at San Antonio's Wolff Stadium ... earned spot on Irish Baseball Classic all-tournament team (3-for-8, 4 RBI, 2 R) ... drew two walks, singled and scored twice in pivotal 10-6 comeback at West Virginia ... went 2-for-5 in sweep of Virginia Tech, with winning single that plated Matt Bok in 2-1, 11-inning thriller ... pulled full-count pitch over rightfield fence (3 RBI) before adding double and run vs. Ball State (10-1) ... his 2-out, 0-2 single through left side kept alive rally in 4-run, 7th-inning finish that beat Rutgers (6-5) ... scored twice in 7-2 win over RU (1B, BB) ... named BIG EAST player of the week after batting 4-for-6 vs. Villanova (3 RBI, 4 R, 2 HR, 3 BB, SB) ... hit solo shot in 8-1 win over VU (1B, 2 R), adding 2-run blast in 9-5 game (1B, BB) ... capped 8-2 win over Boston College on Friday-night game at Eck Stadium, drilling 1-0 pitch from Mark Sullivan over rightfield fence for 8th-inning grand slam ... reprised that effort in dramatic fashion next day, capping 7-run bottom of 4th as Irish erased 6-0 deficit en route to 10-6 win (on 2-out, 1-2 pitch from BIG EAST pitcher of year Chris Lambert) ... doubled, singled and scored twice in 8-3 BIG EAST Tournament win over Rutgers ... 5-for-10 in NCAA Regional (2 RBI, 5 R, BB) ... singled and scored in 5-run, 7th-inning rally vs. Ohio State (8-6) ... scored after three singles in 25-1 win over South Alabama, capping Regional with single, run and RBI in 9-6 win over OSU ... drew 3rd-inning walk and scored first run in clinching win at Florida State (3-1) in Super Regional.
AS A FRESHMAN: Hit .366 in first 12 games, finishing at .284 (25 RBI, 2 HR, 29 R, 10 BB, 3B) ... appeared in 61 of 63 games (60 starts) ... posted .990 fielding (6 Es), with 550 putouts ranking second in ND history ... helped turn 31 double plays ... posted 57 error-free games ... made error in third game before 30 straight (308 chances) without an E ... hit 9th in 30 starts ... batted .274 in BIG EAST play ... his midseason 12-game hitting streak was second-longest by Irish player in '01, behind Andrew Bushey (13) ... sent opposite-field double into leftfield corner (2-2 pitch) for 3-2 lead in 11th inning at Mississippi State (4-2; slated to end in tie after 11 innings) ... named all-tournament at Alamo Invitational (5-for-12, 3 RBI, 2 R, 4 2B) ... collected six doubles in first seven hits ... had chance to visit with various big leaguers at first base during exhibition vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays, in St. Petersburg ... hit 2-for-3 vs. Florida Atlantic (R; 3-0) ... drilled solo home run for insurance run (4-2) in 8th inning vs. Eastern Michigan (4-3) ... hit 3-for-5 (RBI, 2B) in 4-4 tie vs. Navy, adding 2-run single in 9-5 win over Illinois (both at Fresno State) ... played part in 8-run 6th (RBI double, R) while hitting 2-for-4 in 8-2 win over Rutgers ... went 4-for-6 in sweep of Georgetown (5 R, RBI, HBP) and 5-for-12 in UConn series (4 R, 2 RBI, 3B, HR, HBP), including 2-for-5 in 13-12 win (2 R) ... solo home run in series finale vs. UConn (2 R, 2 RBI; 12-19) ... hit 2-for-11 at BIG EAST Tournament (2 RBI), 5-for-17 in NCAA South Bend Regional (RBI, 3 R, 2B, BB) ... sparked 7th-inning NCAA rally vs. Florida International, with single up the middle and run for 6-6 game (FIU won 7-6, in 10) ... his 2-out walk preceded Steve Stanley's 9th-inning, game-tying hit in 11-10, 10-inning elimination-game win vs. UC Santa Barbara (1B, R) ... his sac. bunt helped fuel three-run 3rd inning for 3-1 lead in 5-2 win over FIU.
PREP & PERSONAL: Three-sport athlete at St. Louis University High School, playing four baseball seasons as first baseman and pitcher ... senior stats included .420 batting, 3 HR and 30 RBI for 23-4 team (3.23 ERA, 7-1, 57 Ks, 25 BB in 45 IP) ... set school record by batting .578 as junior (conference-best 42 H, plus 34 RBI, 11 2B, 3 3B, HR; 2.44, 3-1, 17 Ks, 8 BB) ... first team all-conference as junior, making just one error for 20-5 team ... three-year member of conference all-academic team ... hit .300 with 20 RBI as sophomore on state quarterfinal team (17-5) ... honorable mention all-conference as sophomore, second team as freshman (.370, 15 RBI on 14-9 state semifinalists) ... received SLUHS freshman scholar-athlete award ... led St. Louis Comets to 5th at `97 AAU national tournament (.467; 3.92, 0 Es in 35-5 season) ... all-star pitcher with `98 Crestwood Junior Legion ... played for Midwest Prospects in summer of `99, hitting .370 (HR, 35 RBI) on 3rd-place team at AAU national tournament (Norman, Okla.) ... led football team to four conference and two regional titles (`99, `00) ... football team captain, all-state as senior ... totaled 45 receptions (575 yards, 9 TDs) before missing final three games due to injury (11-2 team lost in state semifinals) ... twice all-conference, all-city in football ... started at receiver and punter, setting school record with 175 receiving yards vs. McCluer as a junior ... his junior stats included 35 catches for 655 yards, 12 TDs ... led `99 football team to state semi's (19-14 loss to Melville; 11-2 record) ... lettered in basketball as sophomore ... member of student council ... sister Kate Thaman played softball at Maryville University ... born Nov. 1, 1981, in St. Louis ... son of Joseph and Karen Thaman ... full name is Joseph Benjamin Thaman ... marketing major in Mendoza College of Business.