The Irish defeated the Seminoles in three games to advance to the program's second College World Series.
Fourth-year starting second baseman who already ranks as one of top players in program's history ... one of just 42 all-time Notre Dame student-athletes - and one of 11 non-seniors - to earn All-America and Academic All-America in same season (`03) ... elected to return for senior season, after being selected by Oakland Athletics in 32nd round of `03 Major League draft ... top candidate for CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year honors in `04, with 3.38 cumulative GPA as a marketing major (3.75 in `03 fall semester) ... one of top all-time hitters (.370) in ND history but has performed at even higher level in postseason, batting .487 (38-for-78) in 18 NCAA Tournament games during `01-'03 (21 R, 17 RBI, HR, 3 3B, 2B, 8 SB, 7 BB) ... only `94 grad. Matt Haas (.514, 19-for-37) has hit at better clip in NCAAs, among Irish players with 20-plus ABs ... rated by Baseball America in college preview as No. 12 senior prospect for `04 draft (second among senior middle infielders, behind South Florida SS Myron Leslie) ... one of four position players to be consensus 1st/2nd-team preseason All-Americans for `04 (joined Florida OF Ben Harrison as only seniors among BA preseason All-Americans) ... tremendous opposite-field hitter with compact, level swing and ability to hit with power to all fields ... tough out with no weaknesses ... hit mostly in 2-hole his first two seasons before assuming leadoff role in `03 ... excellent bunter and quality basestealer, with good jumps and fearless attitude on bases ... converted centerfielder who has developed into high-level infielder, rated by BA as BIG EAST's "best defensive second baseman" in `03 and `04 (also "best baserunner") ... ironically plays for coach (Paul Mainieri) with history of converting middle infielders into outfielders ... few players at college/pro level have made successful move from outfield to middle infield (among them Dodgers SS Bill Russell, Cubs 2B Chad Myers) ... 11th multi-year captain (`03-'04) in program's 112-year history (8th since turn of century, 6th since late `70s) ... tabbed by BIG EAST coaches and BA as BIG EAST `04 preseason player of year ... his 255 career hits already are 8th in ND record book (41 shy of 2nd) and were 3rd-most by Irish junior (behind Steve Stanley's 266, Dan Peltier's 257) while his .370 career batting ranks 5th, behind his brother Scott's .372 (plus Peltier's .406, Eric Danapilis' .405 and Stanley's .384) ... 5th in ND history with 501 fielding assists (118 behind J.J. Brock's record), 6th with 67 SBs (34 behind his brother, 49 shy of Stanley's record) and 11th in runs (172; 47 out of 3rd) and triples (11; 5 out of 2nd, behind brother's 24) ... other career stats include 33 doubles, 11 home runs, more walks (77) than Ks (7), 16 sac. bunts, 8 hit-by-pitch, .498 slugging pct. and .433 on-base ... follows in footsteps of brother Scott (`94-'96), an all-conference CF who signed with Detroit Tigers as 7th-round pick in `96, as one of 15 brother pairs to letter with ND baseball ... the lefthanded-hitting Scott (.372, 238 H, 187 R, 101 SB, 24 3B, .522 OB, .484 slugging, 3 HR, 15 2B, 84 RBI) and Steve - easily the top brother combination in program's history - both played in 181 games and started 179 during first three ND seasons ... the Sollmann brothers combined career stats (pre-'04): .371 batting, 494 H, 359 R, 207 RBI, 168 SB, 48 2B, 35 3B, 14 HR ... rare junior-year recipient of ND's Francis Patrick O'Connor Award (recognizing student-athletes who most embody "team spirit, inspiration, courage," etc.) ... first player ever named BIG EAST player of week three times in same season (tying BIG EAST career mark) ... set several NCAA and ND records in `02 Regional vs. South Alabama (6-for-7, 7 RBI, 6 R, HR, 2 3B) ... joined `64 shortstop Rich Gonski as program's only middle infielders to be All-America ... he and `03 teammate J.P. Gagne followed Peltier (`89) as only Irish baseball players to earn All-America and Academic All-America ... his 15-game hit streak in `03 is longest by ND player since `00 ... all-star in wood-bat Cape Cod League (summer `01), with Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (played with YDR in `02) ... could face former YDR teammates Ryan Leahy (BC) and Jim Brauer (Michigan) in `04, plus Oakland's Dominic Carmosino (St. Xavier HS) and Kurt Rosenacker (Midland Redskins) and BC's Ryan Morgan (Midland).
AS A JUNIOR: Completed rare double of All-America (2nd team from coaches association, 3rd team from writers) and Academic All-America honors (2nd team, CoSIDA), also 2nd team all-BIG EAST and team co-MVP with Gagne ... 7th in nation with 38 stolen bases (2nd BIG EAST) ... BIG EAST leader in hits (98; 4th ND history), runs (67) and total bases (136), also 2nd among BIG EAST players in triples (5), 7th in batting (.384; 27th ND history) ... 2nd on team in doubles (16), slugging (.533), on-base (.438) and walks (25; just 23 Ks), 3rd in HR (4) and RBI (40) ... totaled just eight errors (.974 fielding) to help post record for team fielding (.970; 21st in nation) ... added team-best .550 leadoff on-base while grounding into just two double plays ... delivered RBI 13-of-16 times with runners on 3rd and fewer than 2 outs (.812, 2nd on team) ... averaged 11 ABs per K ... hit .388 vs. LHPs, .383 vs. RHPs ... totaled 53 error-free games, helped turn 41 of 57 double plays ... led team with 33 multi-hit games (three 4-hit, nine 3-hit), 3rd on squad with 10 multi-RBI games ... started all 61 games at second, batting leadoff 54 times (2-hole other seven) ... hit .319 in BIG EAST regular season (20 RBI, 26 R, 3 HR, 9 2B, 10 BB, 12 Ks, 11 SB, 4 Es) ... first player ever named BIG EAST player of the week three times in same season ... endured just one three-game hitless streak ... BIG EAST player of week after starting 8-for-17 in games played at ASU, including 3-for-5 vs. Dayton (3 R, 3B, SB; 10-9) ... made shift to leadoff while batting 13-for-27 on Spring Break in Jacksonville, Fla. (6 RBI, 8 R; BIG EAST player of week for 11-for-23 in final 6 GP), including single to right-center and go-ahead run in 10th vs. Vanderbilt (2-for-4, 2 R; 3-1) and inside-the-park home HR that produced all ND runs vs. Eastern Illinois (2-for-2, 2 BB; 3-2) ... hit booming, opposite-field home runs in both games of dominating doubleheader at St. John's (3-for-11, 7 RBI, 3 R, 2B; 18-3, 11-3) ... hit 2-for-4 vs. Creighton at Rosenblatt Stadium, home of the CWS (R, BB, SB; 2-1) ... saw 18-game errorless streak end vs. UConn, with career-best 15-game hit streak from April 10-29 ... hit opposite-field, 2-run shot for 2-1 lead in 6th inning of finale at Rutgers (2-for-8, 2B; 3-5, in 19) ... closed regular season with another BIG EAST player-of-week showing (10-for-19), including 4-for-5 vs. Cincinnati (3 RBI, 2 R, 3B, 2B; 9-6) and 5-for-10 at Virginia Tech (2 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B, SB) ... hit 8-for-22 (.364) at BIG EAST Tournament, with 4-for-6 in opener vs. West Virginia (RBI, R, SB; 9-1) before hitting 2-for-5 in winners-bracket game vs. RU (R, SB; 9-3) ... added single and run in each of final games vs. RU (11-15, 11-3) ... completed 13-game hit streak by batting 10-for-17 at NCAA Regional (3 RBI, 3 R, BB, 5 SB), including 3-for-5 vs. Arizona (2 RBI singles on 0-2 pitches, R, BB, 2 SB; 13-4) ... also 1-for-3 in loss to host Cal State Fullerton (RBI, R, BB, SB; 3-4), 3-for-5 vs. San Diego (R, 2 SB; 6-3) and 3-for-4 in final loss to CSF (1-8).
AS A SOPHOMORE: Named 2nd team all-BIG EAST before batting .448 in postseason ... key player in two classic postseason endings: scoring 10th-inning run that won BIG EAST Tournament (3-2; 2-out, 1-2 single to right-center before scoring on Brian Stavisky hit into leftfield corner; 2-for-5, BB) before reaching out vs. LHP Justin Crowder to single up middle and plate Stanley for tying run in 9th-inning College World Series rally vs. Rice (scored on Stavisky's game-ending HR, 5-3; 2-for-4, BB) ... overcame nagging quad injury (hit .171 first 20 games, missing nine), recovering for .362 final avg. (3rd on team) ... among BIG EAST leaders (all 2nd ND) in hits (77, 5th), runs (53, 5th) and triples (4, 4th), plus .420 on-base (3rd on team; 22 BB), 47 RBI (4th on team), 2 HR, 8 2B, 6 SB, just 8 Es (.969 fielding) ... 2nd on squad in runners advanced (62%), batting with RBI chances (.431) and 2-out RBI (15), plus 3rd in batting with runners on (.383), 5th in leadoff on-base (.500) ... hit .429 vs. LHPs ... the Irish were 45-11 in games he started (5-6 in others) ... appeared in 59 games, with 56 of 57 starts at second (DH vs. WVU) ... made 33 starts in 2-hole, plus starts in 6th (12), 9th (6), 3rd (3), 5th, 7th and 8th ... drew full-count walk and scored in 2-out, 5-run rally in 7th inning at West Virginia (10-6, 10 inn.) ... hit 7-for-11 at Seton Hall (2 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB) ... had 2-out, 2-2 hit to cap wild 6-5 win over Rutgers, with bases-loaded single that fell into center and brought home all three runs (CF walked away from the ball) ... added 4 RBI in 7-2 win over RU (2-for-4, R) ... had RBI single and scored in BIG EAST Tournament opener vs. Rutgers (8-3) ... hit .561 in NCAAs (23-for-41, 12 RBI, 15 R, 0 Ks, 1 E) ... went 3-for-4, with bases-loaded single in 5-run 7th, of 8-6 win over Ohio State (RBI, 2 R, BB) ... had 13-base game (6-for-7, 7 RBI, 6 R, 3-run HR, 2 3B) in 25-1 win over South Alabama - setting NCAA Tournament record for runs (tied ND record) and tying NCAA and ND hit records (tied NCAA triple mark) ... named national player of week after batting 13-for-16 in regional (8 RBI, 10 R, 20 TB) ... hit 7-for-12 in Super Regional at top-ranked Florida State ... went 3-for-4 in opening 10-4 win (RBI, 3 R, 2B), stroking first-pitch double to center (vs. lefty Matt Lynch) before scoring on Stavisky's towering shot (2-0) ... had 2 RBI in 3-1 clincher at FSU, sending Matt LaMacchia's first pitch up the middle in 4th (scoring Joe Thaman, 2-0) before 7th-inning sac. fly to score Paul O'Toole (3-0).
AS A FRESHMAN: Consensus 1st team Freshman All-American, BIG EAST rookie of year and first team all-BIG EAST ... completed switch from outfield to second base, with 61 starts ... 3rd on squad with .362 batting, 4th among BIG EAST players in SBs (23-of-34), 5th in runs (52), 6th in hits (80), 7th in walks (30), 9th in on-base (.440) ... his 80 hits were 2nd-most ever by ND freshman ... 10th freshman ever named first team all-BIG EAST ... added 36 RBI, 2 3B, 9 2B, 29 Ks, 6 sac. bunts ... hit .351 in BIG EAST regular season, with 26 runs (2nd BIG EAST), 16 RBI, 3 HR ... hit 9th (20 games) before shifting to 2-hole (between Stanley and Alec Porzel) ... 3rd on team with 16 two-out RBI ... combined with Stanley as second pair of ND teammates with 20-plus SBs ... hit 4-for-5 vs. New Orleans (2 RBI, R, SB; 6-7) and then 3-for-4 in 4-2, 11-inning win at Mississippi State (2B, BB, SB) ... batted .519 (14-for-27) on Spring Break ... singled down leftfield line and scored winning run vs. hosts at Fresno State Classic (5-4, 10 inn.) ... went 3-for-4 vs. Miami of Ohio (2 RBI, game-tying single in 7th; 3-2 in 11) and then 3-for-4 in title game vs. Portland (3 RBI, 3 R, game-tying 2B in 8th, HR) ... his 5-for-13 in sweep at Rutgers included 3-for-4 in 10-2 win, opening 8-run 6th with single and homering later in inning ... hit 2-for-2 in RU series finale (2 R; 5-4, in 11), including gapper to help force extra innings with 3-run 9th (scored go-ahead on Kris Billmaier single to right) ... hit 7-for-13 vs. Villanova (6 RBI), including 4-for-5 in 15-2 win (3 RBI, 2 R, HR, 3B) ... had key home run to left-center in 4-run 1st vs. Bowling Green (3 RBI, 2B; 5-2) ... completed 3-run 9th to beat UConn, with sac. fly to center plating Stanley (13-12) ... went 5-for-13 at Boston College ... hit on hand with 9th-inning pitch in 4-3 BIG EAST Tournament loss to Virginia Tech ... missed two games before returning for NCAAs (5-for-20, 2 RBI, 3 R, 3B, 3 BB, SB, 3 Ks) ... hit two-run triple past centerfielder for 3-1 lead in NCAA win over Florida International (R, BB; 5-2).
PREP & PERSONAL: Received Buddy LaRosa Male Athlete of the Year Award for Cincinnati tri-state area, after stellar three-sport career at St. Xavier High School ... among St. Xavier's top 10 career batting leaders (.427), hitting .418 in `00 (1st team all-city, all-state) ... hit .429 as junior team MVP (5 HR, 18 SB, 20 RBI) on 20-4 sectional finalists (all-city), .301 (8 SBs) on `98 section finalists ... starting point guard on basketball state champs (alongside current Irish junior Jordan Cornette), averaging 10 points and connecting on 42% of 3-point shots (beat Cleveland Bedford for title) ... all-league in basketball, honorable mention all-region and all-city ... starting point guard on four conference-title teams (all-league three times) ... led Bombers to `98 state-title basketball game, losing to Canton McKinley ... drew interest from college football recruiters (1st team all-state, regional player of year) ... set school football records for career rushing yards (nearly 4,000) and TDs (60, besting brother Scott's 58), plus season record of 1,450 rushing yards in `98 and single-game rushing (316, vs. Colerain in `98 regional) and TD records (6, vs. St. Ignatius in `99) ... had 260 rushing yards, two rushing TDs and passing TD in first round of `99 state playoffs, vs. Moeller (49-32) ... first team all-league three times ... captained `99 football team (10-1) to state tournament round of 16 and USA Today No. 12 national ranking ... received "That's My Boy Award," recognizing all-around excellence in academics, extracurricular involvement and football achievement ... posted team-best .442 batting and 39 SBs for `00 Midland Redskins summer squad (50-10) that placed third at nationals (all-tournament) ... played in Team One National Showcase, Team USA Tournament of Champions ... member of National Honor Society ... third child in family to play college sports (sister Stacey played soccer at West Virginia) ... father Rich Sollmann participated in football and track at Wooster ... born April 1, 1982, in Cincinnati ... son of Rickey and Kathleen Sollmann ... full name is Steve Richard Sollmann ... marketing major in Mendoza College of Business.