Sean Fitzgerald is slated as the started for Saturday's opening game
Feb. 15, 2013
Notre Dame vs. Florida Gulf Coast (Ed Smith Stadium)
Notre Dame vs. Ohio State (Ed Smith Stadium)
Notre Dame vs. Mercer (Buck O'Neil Complex)
Saturday (2:30 p.m.)
RHP Sean Fitzgerald vs. RHP Zack Tillery
Saturday (6:00 p.m.)
RHP Adam Norton vs. LHP Brian King
Sunday (11:00 a.m.)
RHP David Hearne vs. LHP Forrest Garrett
Live Game Coverage
Live Video: None
Live Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp); UND.com
Live Stats: UND.com
Saturday, Feb. 16 Sunday, Feb. 17 Sunday, Feb. 19
Partly Cloudy / Wind Sunny Partly CLoudy
High 68, Low 43 High 59, Low 39 High 67, Low 53
IN THE BATTERS BOX
Notre Dame opens the 2013 season in the Snowbird Challenge this weekend. The Irish play Florida Gulf Coast (Sat., 2:30 p.m.), Ohio State (Sat., 6:00 p.m.) and Mercer (Sun., 11:00 a.m.). Ed Smith Stadium, Spring Training home of the Baltimore Orioles, will play host to Saturday's doubleheader. Sunday's contest will take place a the nearby Buck O'Neill Complex.
Notre Dame owns an all-time record of 85-33-2 (.717) in its season opener dating back to the 1892 season. The Irish are 18-7 (.720) in season openers dating back to the 1988 season, despite back-to-back losses in 2008 and 2009. Notre Dame is 11-4 in its last 15 openers.
The most runs ever scored in a season opener by the Irish was 21 in a victory over Chicago on Apr. 10, 1943 (21-1). The 20-run margin of victory is also the largest by Notre Dame in a season opener. Notre Dame has twice surrendered 15 runs in a season opener (May 7, 1896, 15-6 loss vs. Northwestern; Mar. 15, 1982, 15-3 loss at Oklahoma). The largest margin of defeat in a season opener came on Apr. 22, 1895 when the Irish were blanked by Michigan, 13-0.
Notre Dame has played 74 different opponents in season openers since 1892.
Wisconsin is most common foe in season openers with 10 all-time meetings (Notre Dame went 7-2-1). Indiana and the Irish have met eight times in season openers with the Irish owning a 5-3 advantage.
This year marks the 80th season and 23rd straight that Notre Dame opened its season away from home. The 1990 Irish team played a rare Feb. 5 home game against Goshen to open the year.
Florida (12) is the site of the second-most season-opening games in the history of Notre Dame baseball. Tennessee ranks third with seven games and Texas and Georgia are tied for the fourth-most common site for an Irish season-opener (six). Other states that have been the site of multiple Irish openers include: Kentucky and Louisiana (five), California (four), Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma and Mississippi (all with three), Alabama, Michigan, Missouri and North Carolina (two). Obviously, Indiana leads all states with 13.
The most common sites for a Notre Dame road season opener have included: Indiana University (six), Purdue (four), Georgia Tech (three) and USA Baseball Stadium in Millington, Tenn. (three)
RECENT SEASON OPENERS
The Irish have captured 11 of their last 15 season openers. Notre Dame suffered one-run defeats to New Orleans in the 2001 season opener (7-6 at Mississippi State) and to Michigan State in the 2011 season opener (2-1 at BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge). The Irish also dropped season openers in 2008 and 2009 in Florida (6-2 vs. Liberty in Clearwater; 2-0 vs. Ohio State in Dunedin), but have opened season with victories in 1998 (10-1 vs. Florida State in Orlando), 1999 (8-4 vs. James Madison at FIU), 2000 (6-0 vs. Air Force in Millington,Tenn.), 2002 (7-6 vs. Missouri at New Orleans), 2003 (10-9 vs. Dayton at Arizona State), 2004 (7-1 vs. San Diego State at USC), 2005 (19-8 vs. Florida A&M at UCF), 2006 (3-0 vs. Indiana State in Millington,Tenn.), 2007 (15-8 vs. Prairie View in San Antonio), 2010 (12-4 at Mississippi Valley State) and 2012 (13-12 vs. Illinois).
The 2001-03 openers each produced one-run games (the Missouri game in 2002 went 10 innings), but Notre Dame won the 2004-07 opening games by a combined 44-17 margin. The 19-8 rout of Florida A&M in 2005 was Notre Dame's largest margin of victory and most runs in a season opener since the 1963 squad won 20-3 at Indiana. The Irish were nearly as dominant in the 2010 opener, routing Mississippi Valley State, 12-4, in Itta Bena.
WARMING UP IN FLORIDA
The Notre Dame baseball team has made regular visits to Florida, including trips to Boca Raton, Ft. Myers, DeLand, Gainesville, Homestead, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Santaluces, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Winter Park, Tampa and Clearwater, but this is the first-ever trip for the Irish to Sarasota. In addition to this week, the Irish will hopefully travel to Clearwater and Bright House Networks Field for the 2013 BIG EAST Tournament in May.
The Irish own a 82-76-1 all-time record (.519) in the state of Florida, but found the Sunshine State to be an especially welcome home-away-from-home site between 2000-07, racking up a 41-14 record (.732).
Notre Dame split its 10 games in Florida in 2012. The Irish opened the year with a 2-1 record at the 2012 BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge, dropped two of three at USF in the regular season and closed the year with a 2-2 mark at the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament.
Notre Dame split its six games in Florida in 2011. The Irish opened the year with a 2-1 record at the 2011 BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge and closed the season with a 1-2 mark at the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament.
Notre Dame went 2-7 in the Sunshine State in 2010, including matching 1-2 records at the 2010 Big Ten/ BIG EAST Challenge and Stetson Invitational before falling victim to a three-game sweep at USF.
Notre Dame took two of three games in the 2009 BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. The Irish dropped their season opener to Ohio State, 2-0, but rebounded with victories over Illinois, 14-7, and Purdue, 9-4. Notre Dame returned to the Sunshine State for the 2009 BIG EAST Tournament. The Irish went 3-2 and fell just one game shy of the championship game.
In 2008, Notre Dame took part in the Winning Inning Invitational (Clearwater) and Palm Beach Challenge (Santaluces). The Irish posted a 4-4 mark in those tournaments. Notre Dame then dropped five straight to close the season -- all played in the State of Florida (three at USF, two at the 2008 BIG EAST Tournament).
In 2007, Notre Dame participated in the Stetson Invitational (DeLand), Clearwater Classic and Florida Gulf Coast Classic (Ft. Myers). The Irish posted a 6-5 record in those tournaments, including a 16-6 victory over #7 Nebraska on March 4.
The 2006 team swept a series at then-BIG EAST newcomer South Florida (9-6, 10-4, 10-1) and then won the program's fifth straight BIG EAST Tournament title by going 4-1 in action at Brighthouse Networks Field, in Clearwater.
The 2005 team opened 3-1 in games played at Central Florida (18-3 vs. Florida A&M, 1-2 vs. UCF, 4-3 vs. FAMU, 4-2 vs. UCF) and then ended its season at the NCAA regional played at the University of Florida (1-5 vs. North Carolina, 7-4 vs. Stetson, 3-0 vs. UNC and 3-23 vs. UF).
In addition to participating in the 2000 (7-1 record) and 2003 (6-1) Kennel Club Classics, the Irish recently have played three series at Miami (1-2 in 1992 and 1995, 0-3 in 1998) while participating in the first ACC/Disney Blast in Orlando (1998; 1-2 with win over FSU) and winning the 2004 Florida Atlantic Classic.
Notre Dame nearly advanced to the 1992 and 1993 College World Series, after competing in NCAA regionals at Miami and Florida State (the Irish upset the host schools and reached the final day of competition in both years). The 2002 Irish team won their NCAA Super Regional series at Florida State to earn a College World Series spot (Florida native Chris Niesel picked up the decisive win over FSU).
The program's first Florida trip came in 1956 (2-5 in games around the Tallahassee area). Other early Notre Dame trips to Florida included a 5-2 loss at FSU in 1958, three wins at Rollins in 1967, tournaments at Miami in 1970 (1-5) and Rollins in 1978 (3-5-1), seven games around the state in 1979 (2-5) and six games played at Rollins and Miami in 1989 (4-2).
The 2013 Notre Dame baseball roster includes three players from Florida. Junior 1B Trey Mancini (Winter Haven/Winter Haven H.S.), freshman INF Jack Flaherty (Orlando/Dr. Phillips H.S.) and freshman C Ricky Sanchez (Miami/Flanagan) all hail from the Sunshine State.
The Irish baseball program's list of all-time monogram winners includes 20 Florida natives, among them Academic All-America first baseman and Tampa native Henry Valenzuela (Jesuit H.S.; 1979-82, hit .314 with 15 HR, 123 RBI) ... pitching ace Chris Niesel (Plantation; 2002-04, 3.21 ERA, 21-4, 2 SV, 233 Ks and just 57 BB in 272. IP) joined other noteworthy RHPs such as Mike Pasilla (Windemere/Bishop Moore H.S.; 1987-89), David Sinnes (Miami/Palmetto H.S.; 1990-93, 2.91 career ERA, 32-8 record, 315 Ks in 297.1 IP), closer John Corbin (Hollywood Hills H.S.; 1998-00, 20 saves) and Danny Tamayo (Miami/Ransom Everglades H.S.; 1998-01, 3.27 ERA, 141 Ks in 160 IP) ... Sinnes held the Notre Dame record for career win percentage and strikeouts (bested by Aaron Heilman in 2001) while Corbin remains the Irish career saves leader and Tamayo formed a potent 1-2 punch with Heilman ... other noteworthy Irish players from Florida have included: SS Daniel Cunha (St. Petersburg; 1933-35), IF Joe LaRocca (Ft. Lauderdale/Gibbons H.S.; 1970-72), OF Mike Galloway (Cocoa Beach H.S.; 1975-77), DH Ken Meyer (Ft. Myers/Verot H.S.; 1999-02), catcher Javi Sanchez (Miami/Columbus H.S.), RHP Joey Williamson (Lantana/Santaluces H.S.; 2005-07), OF Ross Brezovsky (Naples/Collier H.S.), LHP Wade Korpi (Lake Worth/Santaluces H.S.) and C Joe Hudson (Odessa/Tampa Jesuit H.S.)