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    Irish Open 2012 With Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge

    FIGHTING IRISH Sophomore RHP Sean Fitzgerald will make his first career start in the season opener against Illinois.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Sophomore RHP Sean Fitzgerald will make his first career start in the season opener against Illinois.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Feb. 17, 2012

    Big Ten/BIG EAST Tournament NotesGet Acrobat Reader

    THE MATCHUP
    Notre Dame vs. Illinois (St. Petersburg, Fla., Walter Fuller Complex)
    Notre Dame vs. Iowa (Clearweater, Fla., Jack Russell Memorial Stadium)
    Notre Dame vs. Purdue (St. Petersburg, Fla., Al Lang Stadium)

    PROBABLE PITCHERS
    Friday (1:00 p.m.)
    RHP Sean Fitzgerald (1-2, 2.38 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Johnson (2-7, 4.54 ERA)

    Saturday (10:00 a.m.)
    RHP Adam Norton (2-2, 3.75 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Dermody (4-6, 4.15 ERA)

    Sunday (10:00 a.m.)
    RHP Will Hudgins (4-0, 1.73 ERA) vs. LHP Calvin Gunter (5-3, 6.75 ERA)

    LIVE GAME COVERAGE
    Live Video: None
    Live Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp); UND.com
    Live Stats: UND.com

    WEATHER REPORT
    Friday, Feb. 17
    Scattered T-Storms
    High 74, Low 59

    Saturday, Feb. 18
    Showers
    High 75, Low 56

    Sunday, Feb. 19
    Partly CLoudy
    High 67, Low 53

    IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame will open up the 2012 season in the fourth annual Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge this weekend. The Irish will play Illinois (Fri., 1:00 p.m., Walter Fuller Baseball Complex, St. Petersburg), Iowa (Sat., 10:00 a.m., Jack Russell Memorial Stadium, Clearwater) and Purdue (Sun., 10:00 a.m., Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg).

    BIG TEN/ BIG EAST CHALLENGE INSIDER -- The 2012 Challenge will feature Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue from the Big Ten and Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, St. John's, Seton Hall, USF and West Virginia from the Big East. The event will be played at current and former Major League facilities in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area, including Bright House Field and Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, the respective spring homes of the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays. Games will also be played at Clearwater's Jack Russell Memorial Stadium and St. Petersburg's Al Lang Stadium and Walter Fuller Baseball Complex.

  • The BIG EAST/Big Ten Baseball Challenge will be similar in format to the popular conference collegiate basketball challenges that have emerged over the past decade, with participating teams competing against schools from the opposing conference. However, this tournament is unique in that it provides teams from two northern-based conferences with an opportunity to travel to Florida and compete against one another in professional-quality venues located in a warm climate.
  • The 2012 Challenge will feature tripleheaders at Al Lang and Jack Russell on Friday and Saturday and doubleheaders on Sunday. Friday features an evening doubleheader at Florida Auto Exchange, while Bright House will host a twin bill on Saturday night. The Challenge also includes 10 games at Walter Fuller with doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday and six games on Sunday.
  • Tickets for the fourth annual BIG EAST-Big Ten Baseball Challenge, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, will be available on site at each venue. An all-tournament pass, which provides access to all 30 games of the Challenge, can be purchased for $25. Individual day passes are available for $10 and admit a spectator to all games at all venues for that day.
  • The Big Ten won the inaugural Challenge in 2009, 15-9, while the Big East was victorious in 2010, 17-13, and in 2011, 14-10.
  • Notre Dame has participated in each of the three previous challenges and sports an all-time mark of 5-4.

    SEASON OPENERS -- Notre Dame owns an all-time record of 84-33-2 (.714) in its season opener dating back to the 1892 season. The Irish are 17-7 (.708) in season openers dating back to the 1988 season, including back-to-back losses in 2008 and 2009. Notre Dame is 10-4 in its last 14 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 73 different opponents in season openers since 1892, including this year's foe Illinois. The Irish previously played the Fighting Illini to open the season on Apr. 8, 1939. Notre Dame was victorious, 4-2.
  • 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.
  • Notre Dame has played 36 all-time season openers against members of the Big Ten, including Wisconsin (10), Indiana (8), Michigan (6), Purdue (5), Ohio State (4), Northwestern (2), Michigan State (1)

    RECENT SEASON OPENERS -- The Irish have captured 10 of their last 14 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) and 2010 (12-4 at Mississippi Valley State).

  • 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.

    SEASON-OPENING SITES -- This year marks the 79th season and 22nd 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 (11) 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)

    BIG TEN/ BIG EAST RECORD BOOK -- Notre Dame set challenge records for highest team batting average/game (.490), runs scored/game (19), hits/game (25), RBI/game (tied 18) and total bases/game (tied 30) in a 19-2 rout of Purdue last season.

  • The Irish plated 11 runs in the third inning of the victory over the Boilermakers, which is the second-most runs in an inning in challenge history.
  • Senior OF Alex Robinson went 5-for-5 in the rout of Purdue. He is one of two players in challenge history to register five hits in a single game.
    Player	AVG	GP	GS	AB	R	H	2B	3B	HR	RBI	TB	SLG%	BB	HBP	SO	GDP	OB%	SF	SH	SB	ATT
    Trey Mancini	.500	3	2	8	3	4	0	1	1	3	9	1.125	0	1	2	0	.500	1	0	1	1
    Frank DeSico	.417	5	3	12	3	5	1	0	0	3	6	.500	2	0	0	0	.500	0	2	0	0
    Alex Robinson	.385	6	3	13	3	5	0	0	0	1	5	.385	1	0	2	0	.429	0	1	0	0
    Joe Hudson	.375	5	4	16	4	6	3	0	0	2	9	.563	1	0	1	0	.412	0	0	1	2
    Eric Jagielo	.333	3	3	15	4	5	0	1	0	4	7	.467	0	0	4	0	.333	0	0	0	0
    Adam Norton	.308	3	3	13	1	4	0	0	0	2	4	.308	0	0	3	0	.308	0	0	0	0
    Charlie Markson	.167	3	2	6	0	1	0	0	0	0	1	.167	0	1	1	0	.286	0	0	0	0
    Tommy Chase	.000	1	0	1	0	0	0	0	0	0	0	.000	0	0	0	0	.000	0	0	0	0
    

    Player ERA W L G GS CG SHO CBO SV IP H R ER BB SO 2B 3B HR AB B/Avg WP HBP BK Donnie Hissa 0.00 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.0 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 7 .286 0 0 0 Dan Slania 0.00 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 .000 0 0 0 Sean Fitzgerald 0.00 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 .000 0 0 0 Joe Spano 0.00 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3 .000 0 0 0 Ryan Richter 0.00 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .667 0 0 0 Steve Sabatino 2.25 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4.0 2 2 1 3 4 0 0 1 14 .143 0 0 0 Will Hudgins 3.86 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 1 4.2 3 2 2 1 4 1 0 1 15 .200 0 2 0 Adam Norton 9.00 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.0 3 1 1 0 2 1 0 0 6 .500 0 0 0

    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. In addition to this week's BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge, the Irish will hopefully travel to Clearwater and Bright House Networks Field for the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament in May.

  • The Irish own a 77-71-1 all-time record (.520) 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 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).

    FLORIDA NATIVES -- The 2012 Notre Dame baseball roster includes three players from Florida. Junior C Joe Hudson (Odessa/Tampa Jesuit H.S.), sophomore 1B Trey Mancini (Winter Haven/Winter Haven H.S.) and freshman C Alex Carter (Winter Park, FL/Orangewood Christian H.S.) 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.) and LHP Wade Korpi (Lake Worth/Santaluces H.S.).

    OPENING-DAY HOME RUNS -- Three members of the 2007 team (A.J. Pollock, Michael Wright and Mike Dury) smacked home runs in the `07 season opener vs. Prairie View A&M. Pollock (3-run) and Wright (solo) homered two batters apart in the second inning (their first career ABs with the Irish) and are believed to be the first Notre Dame freshmen ever to homer in a season opener.

  • Since 1989, Notre Dame players have combined for 19 home runs on opening day. The Prairie View A&M game was the first time since 1993 that the Irish had hit three home runs in an opener (Craig DeSensi, Paul Failla and Eric Danapilis all homered in the `93 opener, a 11-4 win at Arizona State). Notre Dame accomplished the same feat in the 2010 season opener at Mississippi Valley State as Ryne Intlekofer, Ryan Connolly and Casey Martin all went deep.
  • Notre Dame players had homered in six straight season openers before failing to do so in the 2008 opener against Liberty. The previous six opening day home runs included Matt Bok in 2002 (vs. Missouri, at University of New Orleans), Kris Billmaier in 2003 (vs. Dayton, at Arizona State), Matt Edwards in 2004 (vs. San Diego State, at USC), Steve Andres and Edwards in 2005 (vs. Florida A&M, in Orlando), Matt Bransfield in 2006 (vs. Indiana State, in Millington, Tenn.) and the above listed trio in 2007.
  • Edwards is the only player among those listed below to hit multiple opening-day homers in his Notre Dame career.
  • Of the program's 19 opening-day home runs in the past 23 seasons, 10 have come from seniors, five from juniors, two from sophomores (none since 1993, when DeSensi and Failla did it) and two from freshmen. The 19 have also included four first basemen (Edwards twice) and four leftfielders, three DHs, plus two catchers, two shortstops, a centerfielder, a rightfielder, a third baseman and a second baseman.

    Notre Dame Opening-Day Home Runs Since 1989
    Ed Lund (Jr., C, '89) - at Trinity (12-2)
    Craig DeSensi (So., DH, '93) - at Arizona State (11-4)
    Paul Failla (So., SS, '93) - at Arizona State (11-4)
    Eric Danapilis (Sr., CF, '93) - at Arizona State (11-4)
    Bob Lisanti (Sr., C, '96) - at Georgia Tech (4-12)
    Dan Leatherman (Jr., 1B, '98) - vs. Florida St., Orlando (10-1)
    Brant Ust (Jr., SS, '99) - vs. James Madison, Miami (8-4)
    Matt Bok (Sr., DH, '02) - vs. Missouri, New Orleans (7-6)
    Kris Billmaier (Sr., RF, '03) - vs. Dayton,Tempe (10-9)
    Matt Edwards (Jr., 1B, '04) - vs. San Diego State, Los Angeles (7-1)
    Steve Andres (Jr., LF, '05) - vs. Florida A&M, Orlando (18-3)
    Matt Edwards (Sr., 1B, '05) - vs. Florida A&M, Orlando (18-3)
    Matt Bransfield (Sr., LF, '06) - vs. Indiana State, Millington,TN (3-0)
    Michael Wright (Fr., LF, '07) - vs. Prairie View A&M, San Antonio (15-8)
    A.J. Pollock (Fr., 3B, '07) - vs. Prairie View A&M, San Antonio (15-8)
    Mike Dury (Sr., DH, '07) - vs. Prairie View A&M, San Antonio (15-8)
    Ryne Intlekofer (Sr., 2B, '10) - at Mississippi Valley State (12-4)
    Ryan Connolly (Sr., LF, '10) - at Mississippi Valley State (12-4)
    Casey Martin (Sr., 1B, '10) - at Mississippi Valley State (12-4)

    OPENING-WEEKEND LONG BALLS -- Notre Dame players combined to hit 39 opening-weekend home runs during the past 17 seasons (1995-11). Five players in that span hit multiple opening-week homers: infielder Brant Ust (two; 1998 and 1999), RF Kris Billmaier (three, in 2003), 1B Matt Edwards (two; 2004, 2005), LF/DH Steve Andres (two; 2003, 2005) and 1B Casey Martin (two; 2010). Billmaier is the only Notre Dame player among those listed below who had a multi-HR game during the opening weekend (vs. Newman, at Arizona State). Trey Mancini (vs. Penn State, in St. Petersburg in 2011) is one of seven from this list to homer during the opening week of their freshman season, as did A.J. Pollock (vs. Prairie View A&M,in San Antonio in 2007), Michael Wright (vs. Prairie View A&M, in San Antonio in 2007),Andres (at Arizona State in 2003), Ed Golom (as a pinch-hitter, at Florida International in 1999), OF Brian Stavisky (at Memphis, in 2000) and RF Cody Rizzo (in the second 2003 game at Arizona State). The position breakdown of the opening-weekend home run hitters since 1995 is as follows: 1B (7), RF (6), DH (5), SS (5), LF (5), C (3), 3B (3), CF (2), 2B (2) and PH (1).

    Opening-Week Home Runs Since 1995
    Rowan Richards (Jr., CF, '95) - game 3 vs. Pepperdine (14-5)
    Ryan Topham (Jr., RF, '95) - game 3 vs. Pepperdine (14-5)
    Bob Lisanti (Sr., C, '96) - game 1 at Georgia Tech (4-12)
    Justin Scholl (Sr., RF, '97) - game 2 vs. USC (4-14)
    Dan Leatherman (Sr., 1B, '98) - game 1 vs. Florida State (10-1)
    Brant Ust (So., 3B, '98) - game 2 vs. NC State (8-10)
    Jeff Wagner (Jr., C, '98) - game 2 vs. NC State (8-10)
    Brant Ust (Jr., SS, '99) - game 1 vs. James Madison (8-4)
    Ed Golom (Fr., PH, '99) - game 2 at Florida International (1-14)
    Alec Porzel (Jr., SS, '00) - game 3 at Memphis (4-3)
    Brian Stavisky (Fr., RF, '00) - game 3 at Memphis (4-3)
    Matt Bok (Sr., DH, '02) - game 1 vs. Missouri (7-6)
    Andrew Bushey (Sr., C/3B, '02) - game 2 at New Orleans (7-8)
    Kris Billmaier (Sr., RF, '03) - game 1 vs. Dayton (10-9)
    Steve Andres (Fr., DH, '03) - game 3 at Arizona State (3-16)
    Cody Rizzo (Fr., CF, '03) - game 4 at Arizona State (8-14)
    Kris Billmaier (Sr., RF, '03) - 2 HRs in game 2 vs. Newman (15-5)
    Matt Macri (So., SS, '03) - game 4 at Arizona State (8-14)
    Matt Edwards (Jr., 1B, '04) - game 1 vs. San Diego State (7-1)
    Steve Andres (Jr., LF, '05) - game 1 vs. Florida A&M (18-3)
    Matt Edwards (Sr., 1B, '05) - game 1 vs. Florida A&M (18-3)
    Matt Bransfield (Sr., LF, '06) - game 1 vs. Indiana State (3-0)
    Ross Brezovsky (So., 2B, '06) - game 2 vs. Air Force (8-2)
    Mike Dury (Jr., 1B, '06) - game 4 vs. Oklahoma (3-4)
    Michael Wright (Fr., LF, '07) - game 1 vs. Prairie View (15-8)
    A.J. Pollock (Fr., 3B, '07) - game 1vs. Prairie View (15-8)
    Mike Dury (Sr., DH, '07) - game 1 vs. Prairie View (15-8)
    Brett Lilley (Sr., SS, `08) - game 2 vs. Iowa (14-13, 10 innings)
    Jeremy Barnes (Sr., SS, '09) - game 2 vs. Illinois (14-7)
    Matt Grosso (Jr., DH, '09) - game 2 vs. Illinois (14-7)
    Ryne Intlekofer (Sr., 2B, '10) - game 1 at Miss. Valley State (12-4)
    Ryan Connolly (Sr., LF, '10) - game 1 at Miss. Valley State (12-4)
    Casey Martin (Sr., 1B, '10) - game 1 at Miss. Valley State (12-4)
    Casey Martin (Sr., 1B, '10) - game 2 at Miss. Valley State (8-3)
    Trey Mancini (Fr., 1B, '11) - game 3 vs. Penn State (8-5)

    NOTRE DAME-ILLINOIS SERIES HISTORY -- Notre Dame and Illinois will meet for the 63rd time in program history in the season opener on Friday, but only 11 of those meetings have happened in the last 47 years. The Illini lead the all-time series, 38-24, but the Irish have captured five of the last six meetings dating back to the start of the 2000 season.

  • Notre Dame was victorious in the first ever meeting with Illinois, 8-7, on May 9, 1895, but the Illini dominated the series during its infancy stages. Illinois won 23 of the first 27 meetings with the Irish, including 14 consecutive games from 1907-23.
  • Notre Dame grabbed a strangehold on the series in the 1930s and 40s. The Irish captured eight straight meetings with the Illini from 1930-49.
  • Notre Dame and Illinois have met once in NCAA tournament history. The Irish traveled to Champaign for the 1963 district playoffs. Notre Dame split its first two games with Western Michigan (1-2) and Valpariso (5-2), but the Irish were elimited by the host Illini (4-0).
  • Notre Dame and Illinois have split its previous two meetings in the Big 10/BIG EAST challenge. The Irish routed the Illini, 14-7, in 2009 (Bradenton, Fla.) and Illinois returned the favor, 11-1, in 2010 (Clearwater, Fla.).

    NOTRE DAME-IOWA SERIES HISTORY -- Notre Dame and Iowa will meet for the 69th time in program history on Saturday. The Irish lead the all-time series with the Hawkeyes, 40-27-1.

  • Iowa was victorious in the first ever meeting with Notre Dame, 2-1, on May 17, 1918, but the Irish followed with 12 victories in the next 13 games against the Hawkeyes.
  • After Iowa won four straight in the series (1926-29), the series pretty much bounced back-and-forth until a hiatus following the 1956 campaign. Over the 45 games between 1929-56, Notre Dame captured 23 meetings, Iowa took 21 and the two tied once (Apr. 13, 1953).
  • Iowa managed to sweep a pair of games from Notre Dame at the 2011 Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio (4-3, 11-2). In fact, the Hawkeyes have taken four of the last five meetings with Notre Dame's lone triumph coming on the same diamond the two rivals will play this weekend (Jack Russell Stadium). The Irish used a 10th inning, two-run walkoff single from Brett Lilley to secure a thrilling 14-13 victory.
  • The Notre Dame baseball program stretches back 119 seasons and even as far back as the 1860s, when baseball began to emerge as a popular diversion at the Northern Indiana school.
  • In the early years, this all-male university enrolled students from first grade through college and there was a heavy emphasis placed on recreational activities. For the next 24 years after its founding, the main athletic diversions of Notre Dame students were ice skating, swimming and cycling. Students also could be found playing team sports of European origin: cricket and soccer.
  • That all changed in 1866, when two young men from Marshalltown, Iowa - Sturgis and Adrian Anson - introduced a new sport to Notre Dame. The sport was base ball (it didn't become one word until much later) and it quickly became the biggest thing to hit the campus.

    NOTRE DAME-PURDUE SERIES HISTORY -- Notre Dame and Purdue will meet for the 121st time in program history on Sunday. The Irish lead the all-time series with the Boilermakers, 80-37-3.

  • Notre Dame enters this weekend's tilt riding a six-game winning streak in the series. In fact, the Irish have captured 11 of the last 12 and 16 of 18 in the series.
  • Purdue last defeated Notre Dame on Apr. 11, 2000 at Frank Eck Stadium. The Boilermakers held off a late Irish rally for a 7-5 victory.
  • Purdue took the first-ever meeting btween the intra-state rivals, 3-2, on May 22, 1894 in South Bend.
  • Notre Dame dropped only six of the first 34 games against the Boilermakers. The Irish outlasted Purdue, 25-14, on May 3, 1901 - a game that still ranks third in school history for most combined runs. The 25 runs are tied for sixth-most in single-game Notre Dame history.
  • Purdue did assert itself in the series with a seven-game winning streak over the Irish between 1984-88.
  • The Boilermakers' seven-game winning streak is their longest in the series, while Notre Dame has registered winning streaks of five (twice, 1992-94 and 1995-98), six (twice, 1962-81 and 2003-11), seven (1920-23) and nine (1907-19).
  • Notre Dame has upended Purdue in both of its previous meetings in the Big 10/BIG EAST challenge. The Irish rallied past the Boilermakers, 9-4, in 10 innings of the inaugural event (2009, Clearwater, Fla.). Notre Dame then demolished Purdue, 19-2, last season. The Irish set challenge records for highest team batting average/game (.490), runs scored/game (19), hits/game (25), RBI/game (tied 18) and total bases/game (tied 30).

    -- ND --
     

     

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