THE MATCHUP Notre Dame (5-1) vs. Texas State (5-3)
PROBABLE PITCHERS Friday, Game-1 (6:30 p.m. CT)
RHP Sean Fitzgerald (1-0, 11.05 ERA) vs. LHP Colton Turner (0-0, 0.66 ERA)
Saturday, Game-2 (6:30 p.m. CT)
RHP Will Hudgins (1-0, 2.84 ERA) vs. RHP Travis Ballew (2-0, 2.38 ERA)
Sunday (Noon p.m. CT)
RHP Adam Norton (2-0, 3.94 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Finnegan (2-0, 0.75 ERA)
LIVE GAME COVERAGE Live Video: txstatebobcats.com
Live Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Sean Stires, pbp); UND.com
Live Stats: txstatebobcats.com
WEATHER REPORT Friday, Mar. 2
Partly Sunny, Warm
High 84, Low 44
Saturday, Mar. 3
High 68, Low 38
Sunday, Mar. 4
High 72, Low 41
IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame hits the road for a three-game series at Southland Conference power Texas State this weekend. The Irish and Bobcats open the series at 6:30 p.m. CT Fri., Mar. 2, at Bobcat Baseball Park in San Marcos, Texas. Notre Dame and Texas State will return at 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday before concluding the series at Noon CT Sunday. All three games can be heard on WHME 103.1 FM and UND.com.
WEEKEND STORY LINES -- Notre Dame improved to 5-1 thanks to its three-game sweep of Hofstra last weekend. The Irish have not opened a season with a better record through six games since 2004 when Notre Dame began 6-0.
Notre Dame collected 10 or more hits in only 14 of its 53 games in 2011, but the Irish have already registered 10+ hits in five of their first six contests.
Sophomore Trey Mancini has already recorded 12 RBI this season. It is the most RBI by an Irish player over the first six games of a season since Ryan Topham had 12 to open the 1995 campaign. In fact, only Tim Hutson has registered more RBI over the first six games of a season since 1988 (Hutson had 13 RBI to open '88).
Notre Dame enters its series with Texas State as one of the most prolific offensive teams in the BIG EAST. The Irish rank among the top three in the conference in on-base percentage (.458, 1st), hit-by-pitch (17, 1st), batting average (.335, 2nd), doubles (15, 2nd), walks (35, 2nd), slugging percentage (.459, 3rd), runs scored (47, 3rd) and RBI (43, 3rd).
The Bobcats, on the other hand, enter the series sporting one of the top pitching staffs in the Southland Conference. Texas State ranks among the top three in the conference in ERA (1.78, 1st), strikeouts (79, 1st), fewest runs allowed (22, 2nd), fewest earned runs allowed (15, 2nd), opposing batting average (.229, 3rd) and fewest home runs allowed (1, t-3rd).
Texas State (5-3), ranked No. 4 in the latest College Baseball Daily Mid-Major Top 25, are coming off a midweek win against No. 18 TCU on Tuesday. The Bobcats have won three consecutive games entering the weekend, the last two of which were shutout victories.
Texas State starting pitchers have not allow an earned run in its last four games. The quartet of Colton Turner, Travis Ballew, Kyle Finnegan and Mitchell Pitts have combined to throw 23.1 combined scoreless innings with 28 strikeouts.
NOTRE DAME-TEXAS STATE SERIES HISTORY -- Texas State owns a 4-3 (.571) all-time record against Notre Dame and all seven meetings took place on a neutral field, six in San Antonio and one in Round Rock. The Bobcats have won each of the last three matchups against the Irish.
The first four meetings in series came when Texas State was called Southwest Texas State. In 2003, the school's name was officially changed to Texas State University-San Marcos.
Notre Dame trails 3-4
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium
TEXAS STATE INSIDER -- The Bobcats, led by 13th year head coach Ty Harrington, enter the series with a 5-3 record and riding a three-game winning streak.
Texas State is averaging 4.38 runs per game and hitting .248 with a .342 on-base percentage. The Bobcats have also totaled 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts.
Senior OF Jeff McVaney leads the team with a .324 batting average, six runs scored, 11 hits and five doubles. He has also added one home run, five RBI, two walks, one hit by pitch and one stolen base (in one attempt). Junior INF Nick Smelser is hitting .321 with five runs scored, nine hits, four doubles and three RBI. He has collected six walks and swiped two bases (in two attempts). He leads the Bobcats in on-base percentage (.457).
Senior C Casey Kalenkosky is batting .281 with four runs scored, nine hits, two doubles, two triples, three home runs and eight RBI. He has drawn four walks, but has also struck out six times. Kalenkosky leads Texas State in triples, home runs, RBI, total bases (24) and slugging percentage (.750).
Seven Bobcats have fanned at least four times in 2012 and Texas State has struck out 50 times this season as a club.
The Bobcat pitching staff has been dominant to this point of the season. Texas State has a 1.78 ERA and .229 opponents' batting average along with 79 strikeouts and 29 walks in 75.2 innings of work. The Bobcats average 3.45 walks and a robust 9.40 strikeouts per nine innings. Junior LHP Colton Turner will start the first game of the series for Texas State. He is 0-0 with a 0.66 ERA in 13.2 innings of work over two appearances, both starts. Turner has allowed three runs, one earned, on 11 hits and his opponents are hitting .224 against him. He has struck out 17 and walked only five. Junior RHP Travis Ballew will take the mound in the second game of the series. He is 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA in 11.1 innings of work over two appearances, both starts. Ballew has allowed four runs, three earned, on 14 hits and his opponents are hitting .333 against him. He has struck out 12 and walked eight. Sophomore RHP Kyle Finnergan will get the nod in the series finale. He is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in 12.0 innings of work over two appearances, both starts. Finnergan has allowed two runs, one earned, on nine hits and his opponents are hitting .200 against him. He has struck out 10 and walked only five.
Senior RHP Dylan Adamek (0-1, 0.00 ERA in five relief appearances), junior RHP Louis Head (0-0, 0.00 ERA in three relief appearances), senior LHP Jeff McVaney (0-0, 0.00 ERA in three relief appearances and one save), sophomore RHP Hunter Lemke (0-0, 0.00 ERA in two relief appearances), junior RHP Garrett Shepperd (0-0, 0.00 ERA in two relief appearances) and freshman RHP Austen Williams (0-0, 2.25 ERA in two relief appearances and one save) makeup the Bobcat bullpen. The group has fanned 22 and walked five in 23.2 innings of work.
Texas State has committed 12 errors in eight games and field at a .963 clip.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Runs Per Game
Batters' BB+HBP-SO Margin
Opponent Batting Average
Pitchers' SO-BB Ratio
Pitchers' SO Per 9 Innings
Pitchers' BB Per 9 Innings
Fielding Pct. (Errors)
Double Plays Turned
Record at Home
Record on Road (including neutral)
Record in One-Run Games
Record in Extra Innings
TEXAS NATIVES -- The 2012 Notre Dame baseball roster includes two players from Texas. Senior OF Alex Robinson (Dallas/First Baptist Academy) and freshman OF Conor Biggio (Houston/St. Thomas) each hail from the Longhorn State.
The Irish baseball program's list of all-time monogram winners includes 19 Texas natives, highlighted by former All-American RHP Jeff Manship (`06) and SS Jeremy Barnes ('09). Manship (San Antonio/Reagan) was named 2006 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year after going 9-2 with a 3.26 ERA. He struckout 111, good for third-best in Irish history. He now pitches with the Minnesota Twins. Barnes (Garland/South Garland) ended Irish career among the top 10 all-time in games played, games started, at bats, hits, RBI, triples, walks and fielding assists. He now plays in the Philadelphia Phillies minor-league system.
Two of the program's first all-time monogram winners were Texas natives: LF Joseph Combe (Brownsville; 1892) and 1B Angus McDonald (Houston; 1897-1900) ... brothers Samuel (SS; '13) and Harry (3B; '13-14) Newning then made the journey to Notre Dame from their native Houston ... other early Irish baseball players who hailed from Texas include C/OF William Allison (Georgetown, '17) and P George Murphy (Oaklawn; '16-'17), who tossed a no-hitter vs. St. Viator in 1917.
Just two Texans monogrammed with Notre Dame baseball in the 72-year stretch from 1918-89: RHP Leo Linbeck (Houston/St. Thomas) in 1954 and LHP John Ebert (Dallas/Marion OH Catholic HS) in 1982.
Three early-1990s players were Texas natives: C Matt Krall (Bedford/Trinity) in 1990-91, OF Dan Bautch (Houston/Stanford; 68 career stolen bases) in 1990-92 and OF Edwin Hartwell (Forth Worth/Country Day; .354 career hitter, 18 HR, 100 RBI) in 1990-93.
Recent players from Texas include LHP Pat Davis (San Antonio/Texas Military Institute) in 1996-98, RHP Matt Laird (Bellaire /Bellaire) in 2000-03, LHP Sam Elam (Mesquite/Poteet), RHP Tony Langford (Fort Worth/Fort Worthy Country Day) and RHP Steven Mazur (Round Rock/Stony Point).
Davis - whose father Ben serves as tournament coordinator for the Alamo City Irish Baseball Classic - now serves as the baseball coach and athletic director at TMI.
REMEMBER THE ALAMO -- Notre Dame's 2012 trips to San Marcos and San Antonio will mark the 25th time in the past 34 seasons (dating back to 1969) that the Irish baseball team has visited the state of Texas. Notre Dame owns an 94-64-1 all-time record (.594) in games played within the confines of the nation's largest state, including 59-33-1 (.640) since 1995. The Irish have travelled to San Antonio, specifically, 15 times over the past 17 years. Notre Dame's players actually spend the weekend with host families and numerous players have developed lasting friendships with the residents of the Alamo City. The 2000 and '03 Irish squads are the only teams since 1995 to not visit the state of Texas. Notre Dame has posted an impressive 41-19-1 mark in their previous 61 games in the Lone Stare state (dating back to the middle of the 1999 spring break trip). The Irish have made previous trips to the University of Texas, Rice University, Texas A&M, Dell Diamond (Round Rock), Whataburger Field (Corpus Christi) and the University of Dallas.
HUDGINS ADAPTING WELL TO NEW ROLE -- Notre Dame senior captain RHP Will Hudgins made 63 appearances, all out of the bullpen, over his first three years with the Irish. He is just six appearances shy of entering the top 10 for all-time games pitched, but the Richmond, Va., native earned a weekend starting role and has made a pretty quick adjustment.
Hudgins tossed a career-best 7.2 innings and limited Hofstra to an earned run on five hits. He struck out six and walked four. Hudgins improved to 1-0 on the year and more impressively 11-1 over his career. He would rank tied for the school record in career winning percetage (.917, Herb Kelly 1912-14), but needs four more decisions to qualify.
Hudgins went 5.0+ innings in his first career start vs. Purdue on Feb. 19. He allowed one run over the first five innings, but was forced to throw a large number of extra pitches due in part to five Irish errors (Notre Dame would add four more later in the contest). Hudgins ultimately was charged with three runs, all earned, on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks.
NORTON GOES THE DISTANCE -- Notre Dame junior RHP Adam Norton tossed his first career complete game victory to lead Notre Dame to a 5-2 victory over Iowa on Feb. 18. He tossed the first complete game in Big 10/BIG EAST tournament history - a total of 108 games. Norton allowed just two earned runs on seven hits (three of which never left the infield), struck out four and walked only one. Norton blanked the Hawkeyes over the final 7.1 innings of the contest.
His complete game was the first for an Irish hurler in a season's opening week of the year since Tom Price on Mar. 5, 1994.
Norton entered the season ranked sixth in career striekout-to-walk ratio (3.56). He has moved into the top 10 in fewest career walks per nine innings pitched.
Fewest Walks Per 9 IP (min. 60 IP) BB/9 IP (BB/IP)
HUDSON HOT OUT OF THE GAME -- Junior C Joe Hudson is a completely different hitter in 2012. He is batting .591 with three doubles, two home runs and nine RBI. Hudson has a 1.000 slugging percentage and .700 on-base percentage. He has already registered five multi-hit games in six outings.
In 2011, Hudson batted just .239 with no home runs and 14 RBI in 53 games (51 starts). Hudson had a .325 slugging percentage and .322 on-base percentage. He collected only nine multi-hit games all season.
Hudson's throwing prowess has never wavered. He has thrown out 36.4% (28 of 77 attempted) over his career, including 42.2% (19 of 45) in 2011.
-- Notre Dame junior C Joe Hudson was not only named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Feb. 20, but he also earned CollegeBaseballInsider.com Northeast Player of the Week.
Hudson not only equaled the tournament record for batting average, but he also set records for single-game total bases (11 in the victory over Illinois), single-tournament total bases (16) and single-tournament slugging percentage (1.600). Hudson also tied tournament records for single-game home runs, single-game doubles and single-tournament home runs.
If his prowess at the plate was not enough, Hudson was dynamic behind the dish as well. He gunned down two of the three attempted base stealers over the weekend.
In the season-opening victory over defending Big Ten tournament champion Illinois, Hudson went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, two home runs and seven RBI, including the a solo home run in the 8th inning that broke up a 12-12 tie and ultimately gave the Irish a 13-12 victory over the Illini. He was the first Irish player to ever hit multiple home runs in a season opener. Hudson also was the first Irish player with a multi-home run game since Brayden Ashdown had two against St. John's on April 30, 2010.
Hudson is the first Notre Dame player to be named BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week since Casey Martin on Feb. 22, 2010 - ironically enough also following the opening week of the season.
TREY "BOOM-BOOM" MANCINI -- Sophomore 1B Trey Mancini has opened 2012 on fire. He is batting .565 with 10 runs scored, three doubles, one home run and 12 RBI over Notre Dame's first six games. Mancini has recorded an .826 slugging percentage and .600 on-base percentage.
The 12 RBI are the most for an Irish player over the first six games of a season since Ryan Topham had 12 to open the 1995 campaign. In fact, only Tim Hutson has registered more RBI over the first six games of a season in the last 25 years (Hutson had 13 RBI to open '88).
Mancini was named to the BIG EAST honor roll this week following his performance in the sweep of Hofstra. He batted .700 (7-for-10) with two doubles and six RBI. Mancini added four runs scored, three walks and one hit by pitch. He registered a slugging percentage of .900 and posted an on-base percentage of .786. Mancini reached based in 11 of his 14 plate appearances. He collected a pair of three-hit games in the series and only struck out once in 14 plate appearances.
Mancini has four multi-hit games over Notre Dame's first six contests, including a four-hit affair and two three-hit games.
Mancini went 4-for-7 with a double, three walks (two intentional), three runs scored and four RBI in the doubleheader against the Pride. Mancini went 3-for-3 with an RBI single, two-run single, two walks and two runs scored in the opener and then added an RBI double and run scored in the nightcap. In the series finale, he went 3-for-3 with an RBI single in the first inning and RBI double in the third. Mancini added another single and also scored a run in a 5-4 victory.
Mancini was named 2011 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year after leading Notre Dame in Notre Dame in batting (.323), hits (61), doubles (15), triples (three), home runs (nine), RBI (34), total bases (109), slugging percentage (.577), on-base percentage (.385), multiple hit games (17), multiple RBI games (nine) and runs scored (33).
Mancini was the first Irish rookie and eighth player in program history to lead Notre Dame in all three triple-crown categories (batting average, home runs and RBI). He also was named third team all-BIG EAST and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.
MORE ON THE OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION -- Notre Dame batted .239 in 2011 - the lowest batting average for an Irish squad since 1978 (the last year when the NCAA still used wooden bats). Notre Dame had 12 or more hits in just five games last season, yet the Irish have already four such games in 2012, including all three contests at the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge.
Notre Dame collected at least 10 hits in its first five games this season. The Irish had not opened a season with five consecutive games of 10 or more hits since 1988.
u The surge has been led by the top five hitters in the Notre Dame lineup, especially the 3-4-5 trio of sophomore LF Eric Jagielo, sophomore 1B Trey Mancini and junior C Joe Hudson.
In addition to Jagielo, Mancini and Hudson, junior 2B Frank DeSico and freshman OF Mac Hudgins, who hit second and first in the Irish lineup, are batting .407 and .333 respectively.
Player avg gp-gs ab r h 2b 3b hr rbi tb slg% bb hbp so gdp ob% sf sh sb-att
Desico, Frank .407 6-6 27 9 11 2 0 0 3 13 .481 4 1 2 0 .500 0 0 1-1
Hudgins, Mac .333 6-6 24 8 8 1 0 0 3 9 .375 6 2 4 1 .500 0 2 1-1
IRISH DEFENSE OUT OF THE ORDINARY AGAINST PURDUE -- Notre Dame comitted a season-high (and likely to remain) nine errors in the 15-8 loss to Purdue on Feb. 19. The nine miscues are the most by the Irish since Apr. 18, 1987 when Notre Dame had nine in a 6-2 loss to Detroit (second game of the doubleheader).
The Irish have comitted just three in their other five games of 2012 - good for an impressive .985 fielding percentage.
Notre Dame finished 2011 with a .972 fielding percentage. The Irish committed 59 errors in 2,075 fielding chances. Notre Dame was tied for first in the BIG EAST in fielding percentage. The Irish also committed the second-fewest errors in the conference.
The .972 fielding percentage is the best by a Notre Dame squad since 2008 (.973) and tied for second-best since 1982.
BIG EAST/BIG TEN CHALLENGE RECAP -- The 2012 challenge ended in a tie, 15-15, for the first time in the four-year history of the event. The BIG EAST still owns a slim lead in the all-time head-to-head standings, 55-53.
Notre Dame was one of three squads to capture each of its first two contests, joining Purdue and USF - both of whom finished the weekend undefeated.
Here is a run down of the '12 participants and their respective records over the weekend:
BIG EAST Big Ten USF 3-0 Purdue 3-0
West Virginia 3-1 Indiana 2-1
Louisville 2-1 Michigan 2-1
Notre Dame 2-1 Ohio State 2-1
Seton Hall 2-2 Iowa 1-2
Connecticut 1-2 Michigan State 1-2
St. John's 1-2 Minnesota 1-2
Pittsburgh 1-3 Northwestern 1-2
Cincinnati 0-3 Illinois 1-2
Penn State 1-2
BIG TEN/ BIG EAST RECORD BOOK -- Notre Dame, which hit .379 (44-for-116) last weekend, nearly bested the tournament record for team batting average. St. John's still holds the record for single tournament batting average when they hit .387 in 2009. The 44 hits for the Irish also approached the Red Storm's record of 48 hits in 2011. Notre Dame drew 17 walks - the second-most ever in a single tournament - and did set a tournament record with 11 batters hit by a pitch
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 in 2010.
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.
Diamond to the Hardwood -- Freshman RHP Pat Connaughton also is a guard/forward on the Irish men's basketball team. Connaughton is the 66th Notre Dame student-athlete to compete in both baseball and basketball and the first to do so since Tom Hansen during the 1973-74 academic year.
Baseball America ranks Connaughton as the 29th best freshman in the country. He is rated as the #4 Major League Baseball draft prospect in the BIG EAST according to Perfect Game, which ranks him as a 1-3 round draft pick in 2014.
Connaughton has played in 30 games and started 14 on the hardwood. He is averaging 7.0 ppg and 4.6 rpg in 23.6 mpg. Connaughton was 7-for-12 from three-point range in a come-from-behind victory at Villanova on Feb. 18. The seven treys were the most for an Irish freshman since Chris Thomas had seven against Rutgers on Feb. 6, 2002. Connaughton's seven three-pointers also are the most for any Irish player this season.
Connaughton's 21-point performance against Villanova marked his third 20-plus point effort of the season (second in BIG EAST play).
Jean Dubuc was one of the top players on Notre Dame's third varsity basketball team in 1907. He later pitched nine years in Major League Baseball. As a baseball scout, he signed future Detroit Tigers' Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. In 1909, Clement Ulatowski was a starter for the Irish hoops squad. He became a MLB catcher and played in Weeghman Park before it was named Wrigley Field.
Rupert Mills and Dutch Bergman were team stalwarts for basketball from 1912-14. Each reached MLB. In 1914, they became the first two Notre Dame men to earn four varsity monograms in the same academic year. Only two other Irish athletes have earned that distinction, George Ratterman and Johnny Lujack.
Joe Jachym was a two-time basketball captain in the late 1920s (including the 1927 Helms' Foundation National Championship team). After his Minor League baseball career ended, Jachym became the batting practice pitcher for the Detroit Tigers.
Lancelot "Yank" Terry came to Notre Dame to play basketball in the early 1930s, but was cut from the squad. He went out for the baseball team as a shortstop and was also cut. Ten years later, he was a pitcher in MLB. Around that same time, Billy Reed came to Notre Dame. He left Notre Dame after one year, but played Pro Basketball in the late 1940s and was a second baseman for the Boston Braves in 1952.
Jim Gibbons was a three year starter at guard for Notre Dame (1950-52). He was also a pitcher/outfielder on the diamond. One of his two-sport teammates was Dick Rosenthal, who later played in the NBA. A few years after graduation, Gibbons was the part-time assistant coach for both basketball and baseball. He was the primary recruiter for both teams. Partly because of his own two-sport background and partly because baseball had only two scholarships to divide up to fill their roster, Gibbons looked for basketball players who could also play baseball.
Gibbons came up with his best recruit for the class of 1961 ... a guy named Carl Yastrzemski. He was a shortstop in baseball but actually thought he was a better basketball player (as a sweet-shooting guard). Gibbons and "Yaz" remain friends to this day, taking long fishing trips every summer. A half dozen years ago, Yastrzemski made 23 special baseball rings, one for each year he spent in MLB, and gave them to 23 important people in his life. Gibbons received one. He wears it along with his 1960 MLB World Series ring, which he earned as a Minor League Manager in the Pittsburgh Pirates system.
Not long after Yastrzemski, Gibbons brought in a trio of 6-foot-6 basketball players who were also pitchers. Two signed out of high school and bypassed Notre Dame for minor league baseball, but the third player was Ron Reed. He was a first round draft pick and played two years with the Detroit Pistons before starting a 19-year career in MLB.
Bob Arnzen was a three-year starter, two-year captain and all-american for Notre Dame in basketball. In addition to his five-year career in the ABA and NBA, Arnzen spent three seasons as a pitcher in the minor leagues.
FRESHMAN FORCE -- Notre Dame's 2012 opening-day lineup included one senior, three juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen. It marked the most freshman in an Irish starting lineup since three appeared in the 2007 starting nine. The only season opener over the last 18 years with more than three freshman starters was 2003.
YOUNG & THE HOPEFULLY NOT RESTLESS -- Notre Dame's 31-man roster consists of 13 freshmen and six sophomores or 19 underclassmen. The Irish have already had four different rookies start multiple games (Mac Hudgins, Phil Mosey, Ryan Bull and Jason McMurray).
Seven other freshman have seen playing time and that does not include RHP Pat Connaughton, who has yet to join the squad due to his basketball responsibilities.
SSenior SS Tommy Chase was the lone senior in Notre Dame's opening day lineup. The Irish have not had that few of seniors start an opener since 2005 when Matt Edwards was the lone senior.
MLB CONNECTIONS -- In addition to several current Major League players who honed their craft with the Irish baseball program, a number of Notre Dame graduates have served as top executives in Major League Baseball: Cleveland Indians owner and CEO Lawrence Dolan ('54, '56 Notre Dame Law), Indians president Paul Dolan ('83), MLB senior VP of operations/former Arizona Diamondbacks GM/VP Joe Garagiola, Jr. ('72), Oakland A's president Mike Crowley ('85), retired Los Angeles Dodgers VP of External Affairs Tommy Hawkins ('59, Notre Dame basketball star), MLB Executive VP of Administration John McHale ('71), MLB Director of Special Events Brian O'Gara ('89) and former Tampa Bay owner/CEO/VP Vince Naimoli ('59).
SBrad Lidge ranked as one of MLB's top rookies in his first full season with the Houston Astros and was the winning pitcher in the historic no-hitter versus the New York Yankees on June 11, 2003 - the first no hitter versus the Yankees since 1958 (6,980 games). Lidge set the NL record for strikeouts by a reliever in 2004 and currently pitches for the Washington Nationals. Six other recent Irish hurlers have pitched in MLB, including Aaron Heilman ('01) with the N.Y. Mets, Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks, Jeff Samardzija ('06) with the Chicago Cubs, Jeff Manship ('06) with the Minnesota Twins, John Axford with the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers, Christian Parker with the Yankees and Kyle Weiland ('09) with the Boston Red Sox, while two early-1990s Notre Dame players - INF Craig Counsell ('92) and LHP Chris Michalak ('93) - have played for multiple MLB teams.
SNotre Dame had seven former players appear in a MLB game in 2011, including Axford (Brewers), Counsell (Brewers), Heilman (Diamondbacks), Lidge (Phillies), Manship (Twins), Samardzija (Cubs) and Weiland (Red Sox).
SThe remaining 11 members of the BIG EAST Conference had 11 former players participate in an MLB game in 2011.
SA total of 71 all-time former Notre Dame players have suited up in an MLB uniform - more than any other BIG EAST school and seventh-most in Division I history.
NOTABLE ALUMNI -- Notre Dame's 895 baseball monogram winners include several in successful administrative careers: recently retired Notre Dame Alumni Association executive director Chuck Lennon (C; 1960-61); former Notre Dame assistant vice president for special events Jim Gibbons (P/OF; 1952-53); former U.S. Congressman from Ohio Ron Mottl (RHP; 1955); former Mid-American Conference commissioner Rick Chryst (OF; 1981-83); Xavier associate vice president/athletic director Mike Bobinski (P; 1978-79); recent Indiana governor Joe Kernan (C; 1967-68); Major League Baseball executive John McHale (1B; 1943); and former Notre Dame athletics director Dick Rosenthal (1B; 1952-53).
DOUBLE TAKE -- Notre Dame freshman OF Mac Hudgins and senior RHP Will Hudgins became the second set of brothers to start the same game (Feb. 19 vs. Purdue) for the Irish since at least 1968.
Frank and Bill Orga each earned monograms during the `68 season, but archives can't confirm whether or not they started in the same game.
There have been only three sets of monogram-winning baseball brothers at Notre Dame since the early 1980s and five of the six players were drafted (Scott and Steve Sollmann/Ryan and Tim Kalita/Evan Sharpley).
The Irish have had 13 sets of brothers who both have earned monograms with Notre Dame baseball. Of those, only five earned monograms for the same season:
1968 - OF/1B Frank Orga and OF Bill Orga (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
1939 - OF Roy Pinelli and SS Ray Pinelli (San Francisco, Calif.)
1913 - SS Samuel Newning and 3B Harry Newning (Houston, Texas)
1908-09 - LHP Francis Scanlan and C Ray Scanlan (Syracuse, N.Y.)
COACHING CONNECTIONS -- Two recent Notre Dame assistant coaches - Brian O'Connor (1995-2003) and Cory Mee (1995-99) - are serving as ninth-year Division I head coaches in the 2012 season at the University of Virginia and University of Toledo, respectively, while another recent Notre Dame assistant coach, Terry Rooney (2004-06), embarks on his fourth year at Central Florida. Three recent Notre Dame players - John Corbin ('00) at Bradley, Javi Sanchez ('04) at LSU and Eddie Smith ('06) at Santa Clara - currently are assistant coaches on the Division I level. Ryan Connolly ('10) serves as a volunteer assistant at Virginia Tech, while Ross Brezovsky ('08) is the coordinator of baseball operations at LSU. Brant Ust ('99) carries the title of Director, Alumni Relations & 18U USA National Team.
FRESHMAN BATTING CHAMPS -- Sophomore Trey Mancini's breakout 2011 season saw him become the fifth freshman to ever lead Notre Dame in batting average. He actually led the Irish in all three triple crown categories (.323, 9, 34). Mancini was the first rookie to lead the Notre Dame in hitting since A.J. Pollock in 2007. Pollock's .372 mark ranked as the third-best by a Notre Dame freshman and tops since Scott Sollmann hit .404 in his 1994 rookie season. Pollock and Mancini each collected third team all-BIG EAST honors. Mancini was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, while Pollock ranked fourth on the BIG EAST batting charts, trailing only a pair of senior outfielders and Rutgers junior shortstop Todd Frazier (the 2007 BIG EAST player of the year).
GRADUATION RATE -- In addition to their onfield success, the past 17 Notre Dame baseball teams (1995-2011) have combined for a 100-percent graduation rate (107-of-107), among players who completed their eligibility. Twenty-two other players who signed professionally after their junior seasons have returned to complete or near completion of their degree requirements.
Notre Dame baseball compiled a graduation rate of 100 percent, according to the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) measurements developed by the NCAA, for the seventh consecutive year. The Irish are one of five Division I baseball programs to register a perfect score of 100 on each of the seven GSR reports.
Notre Dame and Boston College are the only two programs among the five with seven straight years of perfect scores to compete in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) conference.
The Irish were one of 18 NCAA Division I baseball programs to record a perfect GSR score in the most recent report and one of four from a BCS conference. Joining Notre Dame with perfect GSR scores from a BCS conference, Stanford, Wake Forest and Boston College.
TRIPLE CROWNS 2.0 -- Sophomore Trey Mancini was the first Notre Dame rookie and eighth player in program history to lead Notre Dame in all three triple-crown categories (batting average, home runs and RBI).
SThe other seven players to accomplish the feat since 1948 include: Ryan Connolly (2010), Dan Peltier (1989), Mike Trudeau (1985), George Sefcik (1962), Dick O'Leary (1961) and Elmer Kohorst (1956, although tied for home run lead).
IRISH PICKED SIXTH BY BIG EAST COACHES -- The University of Notre Dame baseball team was picked to finish sixth in the 2012 BIG EAST preseason baseball poll as determined by a vote of the league's 12 head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams. The Irish received a total of 69 points.
Team Points 1. St. John's (8) 118
2. Louisville (4) 110
3. Connecticut 105
4. USF 88
5. Seton Hall 77
6. Notre Dame 64
8. Pittsburgh 60
9. Rutgers 42
10. West Virginia 39
11. Villanova 19
12. Georgetown 14
Favorite Conference Foes -- Notre Dame owns all-time winning records against nine of the 11 members of the BIG EAST. The only conference members with a winning record against the Irish are Louisville and USF.
Seton Hall 32-13
St. John's 26-18
West Virginia 40-22
PLENTY OF WAYS TO FOLLOW THE IRISH -- Notre Dame baseball fans will have several options for tracking the 2012 season on a game-by-game basis, through live streaming video (home games), live-audio broadcasts, Live Blogs (home games), GameTracker live stats, free Irish Alert text messages and Twitter (@NDBaseball, @NDsidBertschy) & Facebook (NDBaseball) pages.
Live radio broadcasts are available in the South Bend area on WHME 103.1 FM (Notre Dame baseball is part of a small percentage of programs in the nation with its entire season airing live on a commercial station). All games are streamed live on und.com, with the links posted on the bottom of the und.com main page. The online broadcasts are free of charge, as part of a quick signup with Fighting Irish All-Access (which includes archives or all audio and video content). See All-Access signup link via the multimedia gold button at the top of each und.com page
Irish ALERT free text-message updates are available to your cell phone or other mobile devices. See link at the top of the baseball page under multimedia tab at und.com.
GameTracker live stats are provided for every game (based on internet availability). When Notre Dame is on the road, the home team typically provides the live stats - with bonus GameTracker stats also provided by the Notre Dame SID office for select road games.
Live Blogs are provided for all home games.
Complete coverage of each and every Irish home game through live streaming video.
Irish On Your Radio Dial -- Beginning with the 2008-09 athletics year, the Notre Dame athletics department announced it had partnered with the LeSEA Broadcasting Network, making WHME / Harvest 103.1 FM the new radio home of Notre Dame baseball in the South Bend market.
Baseball game broadcasts also continue to be streamed live and free of charge on Notre Dame's official athletics web site (www.UND.com) through the Fighting Irish All-Access multimedia package.