Feb. 24, 2011
IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame will trek to the Great Northwest this weekend for a three-game series against Seattle University. The Redhawks began the transition from NCAA Division II to Division I prior to the 2010 season. Seattle will compete as an independent in 2011, but hopes to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) this summer. The Irish and Redhawks were originally scheduled to play the three-game series at the Seattle Mariners' Safeco Field, but the plan was scrapped following a scheduling conflict at the stadium. The two teams were then scheduled to open the series at Everett Memorial Stadium, home of the Everett AquaSox (Class A affiliate of the Mariners), on Fri., Feb. 25, but inclement weather has forced the series to Husky Park on the campus of the University of Washington. The series will once again open on Fri., Feb. 25, at 1:00 p.m. PT. Seattle and Notre Dame will wrap up the weekend set with a doubleheader at Noon PT on Sat., Feb. 26.
Friday, February 25
Mostly Sunny & Cold
High 32, Low 20
Saturday, February 26
Mostly Sunny & Cold
High 36, Low 33
Game-1, Friday (1:00 p.m. PT)
RHP Brian Dupra (0-1, 2.57 ERA) vs. RHP Max Whieldon (0-1, 2.70 ERA)
Game-2, Saturday (12:00 p.m. PT)
RHP Cole Johnson (1-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Kizer (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Game-3, Saturday (3:00 p.m. PT)
RHP Todd Miller (1-0, 4.26 ERA) vs. RHP Seafth Howe (0-0, 6.23 ERA)
Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp); UND.com
IRISH TRAVELS TO THE GREAT NORTHWEST -- Notre Dame will make its first appearance in the State of Washington since 1996. The Irish and former head coach Pat Murphy regularly visited the The Evergreen State in the early to mid 1990s. Notre Dame participated in the College Baseball Classic in the former Seattle Kingdome from 1990-92 and 1994-96. The Irish went 16-5 in hose contests and captured the tournament in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1995.
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Notre Dame played the University of Washington on seven different occasions, but the Irish also faced Air Force three times. The Irish managed to upend the Falcons and eventual Notre Dame head coach (now LSU skipper) Paul Mainieri in all three meetings.
Notre Dame's trip to Seattle University and Bellevue will represent the second different Washington site visited by the Irish in the program's history (joining Seattle). Since 1957, Notre Dame has played in 35 different states (plus Washington, D.C.) and 148 cities.
WASHINGTON NATIVES -- Notre Dame's list of all-time baseball monogram winners includes 885 players who hail from 47 states, Washington, D.C., Panama and Ontario. Washington is the 18th-most common home state among the all-time letterwinners, with 13 (behind Illinois, New York, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, Kentucky, Florida, Connecticut and Missouri).
The most accomplished former Irish players from the state of Washington include Kris Billmaier (2000-03, OF, Woodinville/Woodinville HS, 731 AB, .271, 15 HR, 140 RBI), Allen Greene (1996-98, OF, Seattle/Bishop O'Dea HS, 511 AB, .327, 15 HR, 113 RBI), Pat Leahy (1990-92, RHP, Yakima/Eisenhower HS, 255.1 IP, 3.67 ERA, 25-7 (0), 192 K) and Brant Ust (1997-99, IF, Redmond/Eastlake HS, 660 AB, .368, 46 HR, 170 RBI).
BIG EAST/BIG TEN CHALLENGE RECAP -- For the second straight year, the BIG EAST topped the Big Ten in the BIG EAST/Big Ten Baseball Challenge, winning 14 of the 24 contests. Over the three years of the challenge, the BIG EAST owns a 40-38 advantage against the Big Ten. The BIG EAST won the challenge, 17-13, in 2010 before winning by a 14-10 margin this season.
Eight BIG EAST squads competed in this year's challenge, including Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Rutgers and West Virginia. Each of the eight schools registered at least one victory, while Louisville went undefeated with a 3-0 record.
Notre Dame established challenge records for both runs (19) and hits (25) in a game after thumping Purdue, 19-2, on the second day of the tournament. The Irish also recorded the largest margin of victory (17) in a Challenge game and registered the second-most runs in a single inning (11 in the fourth against the Boilermakers).
Four BIG EAST squads finished 2-1 including Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, St. John's and West Virginia. Pittsburgh, playing in its first year of the Challenge, was the final baseball-playing member of the two conferences to compete in the Challenge.
DUPRA SOLID IN DEFEAT -- Senior RHP Brian Dupra turned in a quality start, the 14th of his career, in the season opener against Michigan State on Feb. 18. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits in 7.0 innings of work. Dupra struck out five and did not issue a walk. He tossed 92 pitches, 72 of which were strikes.
SHERRY, DeSICO CARRY IRISH OFFENSIVELY -- Senior 3B Greg Sherry and sophomore 2B Frank DeSico combined for five base hits against the Spartans. Sherry went 3-for-4 with three singles, while DeSico went 2-for-2 with two singles, including a RBI base hit, and two sacrifice bunts.
The three-hit afternoon for Sherry was the 12th of his career and first since Apr. 26, 2009 at Louisville.
DeSico's two sacrifice bunts were a career-high and most by an Irish player in a game since David Mills had two against Villanova on Apr. 4, 2009 versus Villanova.
JAGIELO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ORDER -- Freshman 1B Eric Jagielo started at first base and batted third in the Irish lineup in the season opener. He is the first Notre Dame rookie to start at first base in a season opener since Feb. 23, 1989. Joe Binkiewicz started at first base in the first game of a doubleheader against Trinity (TX). Binkiewicz ranks eighth in Irish career history with 33 home runs.
Jagielo is the first Notre Dame rookie to bat third since at least 1988. Irish records unfortunately do not have complete box scores prior to the '88 season.
DeSICO CONTINUES FLAWLESS PLAY AT SECOND BASE -- Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico has started 50 straight games at second base for the Irish, 34 of which were error-free before he committed an error in the fourth inning of the game against Penn State on Feb. 20. He went 167 consecutive chances between errors. DeSico's previous error came in the first game of the doubleheader with USF on March 27, 2010. DeSico's fielding stats in his first 18 games of his career compared to his last 35:
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The 50 consecutive starts at second base are the most for an Irish player since Steve Sollman made 86 straight starts at second from Mar. 30, 2002 - Apr. 22, 2003.
IRISH OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION -- Notre Dame stranded seven on the base paths, including six in scoring position, in the one-run defeat to Michigan State on Feb. 18, but the Irish more than made up for their lack of clutch hitting in the 19-2 rout of Purdue on Feb. 19.
Notre Dame totaled 19 runs on 25 hits in the rout of the Boilermakers. The 19 runs bested the previous BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge record of 18 runs set by St. John's in 2009. The 25 hits bested the previous mark of 24 set by Louisville against Michigan State in 2010. The 17-run margin of victory also established a new challenge record.
The Notre Dame 11-run fourth inning was the second-largest scoring outburst in any inning in BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge history. St. John's had a 12-run frame in 2009. The Irish had not posted 10 or more runs in an inning since May of 2004. In fact, Notre Dame eclipsed 11 runs in a total game only five times during the entire 2010 season.
The 19 runs, 25 hits and 17-run margin of victory were all the best for the Irish since Mar. 20, 2008 against Georgetown. Notre Dame routed the Hoyas, 25-1, that afternoon and recorded 28 hits.
The 11-run inning marked the first inning with at least 10 runs since May 10, 2004 at Connecticut. The Irish plated 10 runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 16-8 victory over the Huskies.
DUPRA AMONGST RARE GROUP -- Senior RHP Brian Dupra is a two-time captain for the Irish. He has served in that leadership roll each of the past two seasons (2009 and 2010). Dupra is the 15th multi-year captain in the program's 118-year history. He is the 12th since the turn of century (as in 1900 not 2000) and 10th since the late 1970s.
Dupra also has the rare accomplishment of being named a captain as a pitcher and not an everyday position player. Over the last 32 seasons, Dupra is only the ninth pitcher to earn captain status. The others include Craig Allen ('96), Alex Shilliday ('99), Aaron Heilman ('00, '01), J.P. Gagne ('03), Chris Niesel ('04), Tyler Jones ('05), Tom Thorton ('06) and Cole Johnson ('09). In fact, Dupra and Heilman are the only known two-time captain pitchers in Notre Dame baseball history.
JOHNSON QUITE INVOLVED OFF THE FIELD AS WELL -- Senior RHP Cole Johnson, a co-captain in 2009, has the rare accomplishment of being named a captain as a pitcher and not an everyday position player. Over the last 32 seasons, Johnson is only the ninth pitcher to earn captain status. The others include Craig Allen ('96), Alex Shilliday ('99), Aaron Heilman ('00, '01), J.P. Gagne ('03), Chris Niesel ('04), Tyler Jones ('05), Tom Thorton ('06) and Brian Dupra ('10).
Johnson was one of 12 Irish student-athletes invited to join a faculty-mentoring program based on leadership, academic performance and athletic accomplishments. Johnson was selected from over 900 Notre Dame athletes, and the only sophomore inducted in 2009.
Johnson was selected for the Notre Dame Rosenthal Leadership Academy, which is a special four-month program of seminars and workshops to develop leadership strategies, initiatives and skills.
Johnson Selected As Candidate For Lowe's Senior Class Award -- Senior RHP Cole Johnson has been named one of 30 candidates for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in the baseball division. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The 2011 candidate class includes 15 student-athletes with cumulative grade point averages of better than a 3.5, including three with perfect 4.0 GPAs. Seven are from teams ranked in the Collegiate Baseball preseason top 35 poll.
Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the winner June 24 at the NCAA College World Series® in Omaha.
HUDGINS ALMOST IMMACULATE -- Junior RHP Will Hudgins picked up his first save of the season in the victory over Penn State on Feb. 20. He tossed a perfect inning of relief. Hudgins struck out the side on a total of only 10 pitches. Hudgins started the inning with seven consecutive strikes, including four swinging strikes, before finally missing the zone. All nine of his strikes were either called or swinging.
PETZOLD ULTIMATE EXAMPLE OF PAYING DUES -- Notre Dame fifth-year senior OF Herman Petzold entered this season with exactly three base hits and no RBI in 10 at-bats over 11 career games - all of the bench. In fact, when first-year Irish head coach Mik Aoki took over the program in June, Petzold was not even listed on the 2011 roster. Petzold contacted Aoki over the summer and expressed interest in returning. He had already taken care of his academic paperwork in order to be eligible as a fifth-year senior and Aoki offered him a spot on the roster.
Petzold also played exclusively as a middle infielder over his first four years, but he started the season opener against Michigan State on Feb. 18 in right field and performed as if he had played his entire career at the position. Petzold batted .417 (5-for-12) with a walk, hit by pitch, sacrifice bunt, two doubles, three runs scored and five RBI in three starts against Michigan State, Purdue and Penn State. He also played a flawless right field. He recorded four put outs without an error.
Without a doubt, Petzold's biggest hit of the weekend came in the 19-2 rout of Purdue on Feb. 19. With the Irish trailing 2-0 in the top of the third inning, Petzold drilled an 0-2 offering into the left centerfield gap for a one-out, three-run double to give Notre Dame a 3-2 lead. Notre Dame continued the momentum with an 11-run fourth inning and never looked back. He went 3-for-6 against the Boilermakers with two runs scored and four RBI - career-bests in hits, at-bats, runs scored and RBI.
NEXT MAN IN -- Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly has the motto "Next Man In" trademarked, but the Irish baseball squad put it into affect last weekend. Notre Dame entered the 2011 season with a pair of first-year starters in the outfield (really three when you consider sophomore OF Charlie Markson started just a total of four games in 2010). The two first-year starters, fifth-year senior Herman Petzold and sophomore Adam Norton, both moved to the outfield from infield. Petzold was a middle infielder over the last four years, while Norton started 31 games at shortstop and third base last year.
If that task, breaking in brand-new outfielders, was not daunting enough, the situation grew even more difficult following injuries to Markson and Norton in the season opener against Michigan State on Feb. 18. Markson was hit with a pitch and Norton strained an oblique, and both remain doubtful for this weekend.
Junior OF Alex Robinson replaced Markson in centerfield and promptly went 5-for-5 with three runs scored and one RBI. Robinson was the first Irish played with five hits in a game since Ryan Connolly had five against Cincinnati on April 24, 2010.
Freshman Eric Jagielo, who started the season opener at 1B, moved to left field to replace Norton. Jagielo had never previously played in the outfield. He not only went 4-for-6 with two runs scored and four RBI, including a three-run triple, but registered four putouts without an error.
Senior C/DH Matt Scioscia led Notre Dame in pinch hits (six) and pinch hit opportunities (14) in 2010. His .429 average as a pinch hitter also led the Irish. Scioscia has also proven to be a quality run producer in reserve duty. He has driven in 27 runs over the last two seasons in a total of 120 at bats. Scioscia continued that trend in the 19-2 rout of Purdue on Feb. 19. He replaced the previous day's starting designated hitter (senior David Casey) and went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI.
PITCHING THE NAME OF THE GAME -- Notre Dame might have scored 28 runs in its three games at the 2011 BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge, but the Irish pitching staff deserves serious kudos.
Notre Dame entered this season without two weekend starters from 2010 (junior LHP Steve Sabatino and graduated RHP Eric Maust). Sabatino, along with key junior LHP Irish relievers Joe Spano and Ryan Richter, will miss the entire 2011 campaign following offseason elbow injuries. All three have already begun the rehabilitation process following Tommy John surgery. The injuries left Notre Dame with exactly one scholarship LHP (freshman Anthony McIver). Despite the obvious setbacks, the Irish did not miss a beat in the opening weekend.
Notre Dame posted a 2.33 team ERA in 27.0 innings of work against Michigan State, Purdue and Penn State. All three Irish starting pitchers, senior RHP Brian Dupra, senior RHP Cole Johnson and senior RHP Todd Miller, registered quality starts. The trio scattered 19 hits over 19.1 innings. More importantly, the trio walked only two and registered 15 strikeouts.
The Irish bullpen was even more impressive. The quintet of McIver, freshman RHP Donnie Hissa, freshman RHP Dan Slania, freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald and junior RHP Will Hudgins combined to throw 7.2 scoreless innings. They also combined to punch out nine and walk two.
Notre Dame's 2.33 ERA was the lowest ERA through the opening weekend of a season since 2006 when the Irish staff posted a 2.00 ERA following four games at the Service Academies Classic. The four walks were the fewest over the first three games of a season since at least 1995 (and one of the walks was an intentional pass).
The Irish have not completed any three-game span with fewer than three unintentional walks since March 11-13, 2010 against Bradley, Gonzaga and Pacific in San Antonio.
TALE OF THE TAPE
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ON DECK -- After Notre Dame takes the red-eye flight back from Washington and returns early Monday morning, the Irish again hit the road next weekend for the Coca-Cola Classic hosted by Winthrop. Notre Dame opens the weekend with a split doubleheader against Manhattan at Noon ET and the host Eagles at 4:00 p.m. ET on Fri., March 4. The Irish return to action at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sat., March 5 against Winthrop before rounding out the weekend against the Jaspers at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sun., March 6. Every game of the tournament will be played on campus in Rock Hill, S.C. at The Winthrop Ballpark.
RANKINGS -- Notre Dame and Seattle are each unranked in all four major polls.
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 to Clearwater and Bright House Networks Field for the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament in May.
The Irish own a 76-69-1 all-time record (.524) 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 took two of three in Florida last weekend. The Irish went just 2-7 in the Sunshine State in 2010, including matching 1-2 records at the 2010 BIG EAST/Big Ten 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).
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, but 1-3 in season openers since 2008.
Notre Dame allowed just two runs in its season-opening defeat to Michigan State on Feb. 18. The Irish have not allowed fewer runs in a season opener since Feb. 23, 2006 when Notre Dame blanked Indiana State, 3-0.
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.
RECENT SEASON OPENERS -- The Irish have captured 10 of their last 14 season openers. Notre Dame suffered a tight loss to New Orleans in the 2001 season opener (7-6 at Mississippi State) and 2008, 2009 and 2011 in Florida (6-2 vs. Liberty in Clearwater; 2-0 vs. Ohio State in Dunedin and 2-1 vs. Michigan 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 and 2011 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 marked the 78th season and 21st 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 (10) 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)
DAWNING OF A NEW ERA -- Notre Dame played the first games under the direction of head coach Mik Aoki last weekend, in the familiar surroundings of Tampa/St. Petersburg and the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge.
Aoki arrived in South Bend after a four-year stint as the Eagles head coach. He brought the Boston College baseball program into the national forefront after leading the Eagles to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in 2009 and 2010 (the only two ACC Tournament appearances in school history) and their first NCAA Regional appearance in 42 years (2009).
In 2009, the Eagles nearly knocked off number-one national seed Texas in an NCAA-record 25-inning game that would have propelled them to the finals of the `09 Austin Regional and given Boston College a great chance at reaching its first Super Regional in program history.
The Eagles' 34-26 overall record qualified as their best since 2005 and their 13-15 record in ACC play marked the most league wins since joining the conference in 2006 (Boston College eclipsed that total in 2010 with 14).
IRISH COACHING DEBUTS -- Mik Aoki was looking to join Dave Schrage (2007; 15-7 vs. Prairie View A&M) and Pat Murphy (1988; 14-11 at Duke) as the only Notre Dame coaches since 1924 to win their first game with the Irish, but Notre Dame dropped its season opener against Michigan State on Feb. 18.
Here's a quick look at the first-game results of new head coaches dating back to the '14 season (5-5-1; previous seasons had rotating coaches who spent only part of the season with the team).
First-Year Head Coach Debuts
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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 last year's 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 20 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 did not hit a home run in its season opener against Michigan State on Feb. 18.
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).
The Irish managed just one home run last weekend. Freshman 1B Trey Mancini drilled a solo home run in the 8-5 victory over Penn State. Mancini's long ball was one of six hit during the entire BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge, which spanned 24 games.
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).
Mancini (vs. Penn State, in St. Petersburg in 2011) is one of seven from the 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), Brian Stavisky (at Memphis, in 2000) and 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)
RECENT OPENING-WEEK TEAM STATISTICS
SEE PDF FOR CHART
Note: Michalak also won in relief vs. Dartmouth in the opening week of 1991 (5.1 shutout IP, 4 Ks, BB, 2 H) and won the 1993 opener at Arizona State (9 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 4 Ks).
Oh Captain, My Captain -- Senior SS Mick Doyle and senior RHP Brian Dupra are serving as Notre Dame's team captains for the 2011 season. Each received the captain's honor following a preseason vote by their teammates. Dupra served as a team-captain in 2010.