Live Game Coverage
Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Sean Stires, pbp); UND.com
Live Stats: UND.com
Saturday, March 6
High 65, Low 41
Sunday, March 7
High 68, Low 41
IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame returns to the State of Florida this weekend for the 2010 Bright House Invitational at Melching Field at Conrad Park on the campus of Stetson University. The Irish will play Harvard (Sat., 11:00 a.m.), Kansas State (Sat., 3:00 p.m.) and Stetson (Sun., 4:00 p.m.). All three games can be heard on WHME 103.1 FM and UND.com. Saturday's doubleheader will be streamed live on CollegeBaseball360.com, while Sunday's matchup will be streamed live on GoHatters.com.
WARMING UP IN FLORIDA -- The Irish own a 73-63-1 all-time record (.536) 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 struggled in Florida during the 2008 season, posting a 4-9 mark, including five straight losses to close the season, but rebounded with a 5-3 mark a year ago. The Irish opened their Florida action last weekend with a 1-2 mark at the 2010 Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge.
NOTRE DAME IN THE SUNSHINE STATE -- The Notre Dame baseball team has made regular visits to Florida, totaling a 73-63-1 record against various top teams in games played in Boca Raton, Ft. Myers, DeLand, Gainesville, Homestead, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Santaluces, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Winter Park, Tampa and Clearwater. In addition to last week's Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, the Irish return to DeLand and this weekend's Stetson Classic, as well as Clearwater and Bright House Networks Field for the 2010 BIG EAST Tournament in May.
Notre Dame dropped its first two games of the 2010 Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge to Illinois and #13 Ohio State. The Irish did rebound with a 10-inning, 9-8 victory over Penn State.
Notre Dame took two of three games in last season's 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 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 Bright House 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 2010 Notre Dame baseball roster includes one player from Florida. Freshman C Joe Hudson (Odessa/Tampa Jesuit H.S.) hails from the Sunshine State.
The Irish baseball program's list of all-time monogram winners includes 18 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) ... recent 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 ND record for career win pct. and Ks (bested by Aaron Heilman in 2001) while Corbin is the Irish career saves leader and Tamayo formed a potent 1-2 punch with Heilman ... other noteworthy ND 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.).
RECAPPING THE BIG TEN/BIG EAST CHALLENGE - Notre Dame struggled mightily in all three major facets of the game during its weekend trip to Clearwater, Fla. The Irish dropped its first two games of the 2010 Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge to Illinois and #13 Ohio State. The Irish did rebound with a 10-inning, 9-8 victory over Penn State.
In the victory over the Nittany Lions, Notre Dame not only overcame a pair of three-run deficits (3-0 and 4-1) in the game, but also six errors and 14 runners left on base. The six errors were the most by an Irish squad since April 28, 2004 when they had six in a 12-5 loss to Cleveland State. They had six errors in a game earlier that season on March 7 against Texas-San Antonio (losing 17-9). In fact, no Notre Dame club has committed more errors since May 5, 2002 when the Irish had seven in an 11-0 loss at Rutgers.
Notre Dame had not won a game with six or more errors since April 27, 1997. The Irish had six errors in the first game of a doubleheader at Pittsburgh. Notre Dame eventually won, 11-8, in eight innings (game was scheduled for seven).
The Irish finished the weekend with 13 errors and 36 runners left on base - at least 10 in all three contests. The 13 errors were the most by Notre Dame in any three-game span since April 4-6 (the Irish had 13 in games against Rutgers, Toledo and Ball State).
Notre Dame averaged just over 3.8 walks per nine innings in 2009, the highest by an Irish staff since 1999, but Irish pitchers walked just seven batters in 27.0 innings of work in the three-game series against Mississippi Valley State - good for just 2.3 walks per nine innings. The Irish slipped back into 2009 form last weekend. Notre Dame issued 20 free passes in its games against Illinois, Ohio State and Penn State - good for an average of 6.7 per contest.
RECAPPING THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE SERIES - The Notre Dame baseball team opened its season with a three-game series sweep of Mississippi Valley State this past weekend. The Irish outscored the Delta Devils, 39-10, along the way and secured their first 3-0 start to a season since 2004. In fact, it is the first ever three-game series sweep away from home to open a season in the 118-year history of Irish baseball.
Notre Dame came into the season with the mantra, "898 committed to win ... one team rock solid." The coaching staff generated the number 898 by adding up every player's jersey number on the roster. The message being pushed by the coaches and players since the opening of practice has been it will take contributions from every player to have a winning season. Well, the Irish mantra was in full effect this weekend.
Notre Dame used 32 players this weekend in the series sweep, including 12 pitchers. The Irish had seven different players with at least one hit in each of the first two victories and then topped that total in the series finale when 11 different players had base hits in the 19-3 rout of Mississippi Valley State. In fact, Notre Dame also had 15 separate players account for its 19 runs scored. The team effort was also evident with the Irish pitching staff. Those 12 pitchers combined to make 14 appearances and nine of which were scoreless outings.
The Irish pitching staff also displayed significant improvement in control. Notre Dame averaged just over 3.8 walks per nine innings in 2009, the highest by an Irish staff since 1999. Notre Dame's pitchers walked just seven batters in 27.0 innings of work over the weekend - good for just 2.3 walks per nine innings.
HARVARD INSIDER -- The Crimson will open their 2010 season against the Fighting Irish after finishing 13-28 (10-10 Ivy League) in 2009. Head coach Joe Walsh returns for his 15th season at Harvard, where he has amassed a 319-296-2 record.
The Crimson batted .288 with 32 home runs a year ago and swiped 50 bags (tops in the Ivy League) in 78 attempts. The top three hitters from last season (in terms of batting average) are gone in Harry Douglas (.342), Taylor Meehan (.331), and Matt Rogers (.324). Returning to lead the Crimson is catcher and captain Tyler Albright, who was recently named the league's top catcher in a poll released by the College Baseball Insider. Albright hit .267 with 14 RBI in 2009, but made just one error all year (.996 fielding percentage) and tossed out 17 of 47 potential base-stealers (36.1%). Junior outfielder Dillon O'Neill batted .322 with a .410 on-base percentage last season in 152 at bats, leading the team in runs (32), triples (2), walks (19), and stolen bases (8). Also back are senior first baseman Dan Zailskas and junior shortstop Sean O'Hara. The duo notched identical batting averages a year ago (.219, 23-for-105), with Zailskas clearing the fence three times and O'Hara notching seven doubles and six stolen bases without being caught.
The pitching staff struggled last season, posting an 8.00 ERA (267th out of 288 Division I teams), but 40 of the 41 starts return. Sophomore left-hander Brent Suter went 3-4 with a 5.77 ERA last year and ranked third in the conference with 53 strikeouts in 53.0 innings (his 9.00 strikeouts per nine innings ranked second). Sophomore Conner Hulse went 1-5 with a 6.11 ERA in eight starts a year ago, while sophomore Jonah Klees went 2-3 with a 6.55 ERA in 34.1 innings, mostly in relief. Daniel Berardo and Zailskas each started six games last year and notched ERAs of 7.80 and 7.91, respectively. The rest of the staff, apart from these five, combined for a 10.35 ERA in 120.0 innings in 2009.
Harvard committed 63 errors for a .957 fielding clip (sixth out of eight Ivy League teams), but tossed out 22 base-stealers (most in the conference).
THE NOTRE DAME-HARVARD SERIES -- The Irish and Crimson have met only twice in school history. Harvard blanked Notre Dame, 4-0, in 2007. The Irish captured the first meeting with the Ivy League foe in 1928, 20-1.
KANSAS STATE INSIDER -- Kansas State brings a 6-2 record into the Bright House Invitational, losing only to East Tennessee State in the Citadel Memorial Challenge and Villanova in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. Head coach Brad Hill is in his seventh season at the helm of the Wildcats, where he has a 199-148-3 record.
The Wildcats have a .328 batting average and are scoring 10.13 runs per game, thanks in large part to a 27-run outburst against Western Michigan. Kansas State also has an impressive .454 on-base percentage, as a consequence of 50 walks and 21 HBP (57 strikeouts). Freshman catcher Blair DeBord leads the offense with a .500 average (13-for-26), a .581 on-base percentage, and four doubles. Junior Carter Jurica and senior Daniel Dellasega have also excelled in the early going; Jurica has a .394 average with 10 runs scored and 14 RBI, and Dellasega is batting .379 with a .513 on-base percentage. Sophomore outfielder Nick Martini is tied for the team lead with 14 runs batted in, and senior Adam Muenster has walked nine times in eight games.
The story for Kansas State in the first few games of the season was the pitching staff, which recorded a 3.40 ERA through the first five games (the mark has since risen to 4.50). The weekend starting rotation has been particularly impressive, as senior right-hander Ryan Daniel, sophomore righty Evan Marshall, and sophomore lefty Kyle Hunter have each started two games and have ERAs of 2.45, 2.57, and 2.92, respectively. The three have combined for 23 strikeouts to just two free passes. In fact, the entire staff has walked just 12 batters all season, 11 of which have come in the past two games. The 118th opposing batter Kansas State faced on the season was the first to reach base via a walk (in the fourth game). Sophomore closer James Allen has a win and two saves in four appearances and has not allowed a run (6.1 innings, four hits, no walks, seven strikeouts), while Thomas Rooke (4.26 ERA, 6.1 innings, eight strikeouts), Jake Doller (7.71 ERA, 4.2 innings, four strikeouts), and Matt Applegate (13.50 ERA, 4.0 innings, four strikeouts) have each made three appearances out of the KSU bullpen.
Kansas State has a .972 fielding percentage this season (nine errors). Opponents have been successful on just 3 of 8 stolen base attempts.
THE NOTRE DAME-KANSAS STATE SERIES -- The Irish opened the 1983 season in a tournament on the campus of Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to a pair of games with the host Golden Eagles, Larry Gallo's bunch twice faced Kansas State. The Wildcats took the first meeting, 9-0, and then earned a 5-3 triumph the following day.
STETSON INSIDER -- The Hatters enter the weekend with a 3-5 record on the season. After being swept in the season-opening series at Georgia, Stetson took three out of four in a home set with Siena before losing at Bethune Cookman 11-10 on Tuesday.
Stetson has a .306 batting average through eight games and has been involved in high-scoring games to date (Hatters are averaging 7.50 runs per game to their opponents' 8.38). Pete Dunn's club has smacked seven home runs and notched 16 stolen bases in 19 attempts. Leading the offensive attack so far this season are junior left fielder Jeff Simpson, senior designated hitter Aaron Crittenden, sophomore center fielder Spencer Theisen, sophomore third baseman Mark Jones, and sophomore second baseman Robert Crews. Simpson has a .450 average (9-for-20) and a .633 on-base percentage, due to eight walks and two HBP. Crittenden is batting .429 (15-for-35) with a pair of bombs and 15 RBI (second in the Atlantic Sun), while Theisen sits at .353 (12-for-34) with 10 RBI and nine runs scored and Jones is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with three doubles and 10 RBI. Crews leads the team with three home runs (second in the league) to go along with a .343 (12-for-35) average. Freshman first baseman Ryan Lashley (.318) is also over .300 on the season.
The Hatters pitchers have a 7.90 ERA this season but have recorded an impressive 2.68 strikeout-to-walk ratio (67 strikeouts, 25 walks). Senior righty Kyle Maulbetsch, senior lefty David Burns, and sophomore right-hander Lindsey Caughel have each started two games for Stetson; Maulbetsch has a 3.48 ERA and a 1-1 record in 10.1 innings, Burns is 1-0 but with an 11.25 ERA, and Caughel is 0-1 with a 12.00 ERA (the last two have combined to allow 35 hits in 17.0 innings for a .417 opponents' average). Leading the bullpen are junior Jacob deGrom, who has held batters hitless and has walked no one in 3.1 innings (two saves, six strikeouts), and sophomores Tucker Donahue (6.1 scoreless innings with eight punchouts) and Robbie Powell (6.0 innings, six strikeouts).
Stetson has committed just nine errors this season, good for a .969 fielding percentage (best in the conference). This comes after the Hatters had 108 errors in 57 games last season (second-most errors in the Atlantic Sun).
THE NOTRE DAME-STETSON SERIES -- Stetson holds a slight, 3-2, edge in the all-time series with Notre Dame. The Hatters upended the Irish, 5-4, in their most recent meeting in 2007. The two prior meetings both came in NCAA regional action (a 7-6 Stetson win in 1996, at Alabama, and a 7-4 Notre Dame win in a 2005 elimination game, at Florida). Prior to the 2007 matchup, the teams had not met in the regular season since 1979 (a 19-11 Irish win, at Stetson) and 1978 (Stetson beat Notre Dame 6-2 in 1978, at Rollins).
TALE OF THE TAPE (2010 STATS)
Notre Dame +Harvard Kansas State Stetson
Batting Average .311 .288 .328 .306
Runs Per Game 8.50 5.54 10.13 7.50
Home Runs 5 32 5 7
Slugging Percentage .434 .426 .472 .448
Batters' BB+HBP-SO Margin +1 -81 +14 -19
On-Base Percentage .407 .361 .454 .389
Stolen Bases 7-8 50-78 17-21 16-19
Team ERA 4.83 8.00 4.50 7.90
Opponent Batting Average .264 .339 .287 .326
Pitchers' SO-BB Ratio 1.59 1.56 4.75 2.68
Pitchers' SO Per 9 Innings 7.17 5.72 6.93 8.82
Pitchers' BB Per 9 Innings 4.50 3.66 1.46 3.29
Fielding Pct. (Errors) .934 (17) .957 (63) .972 (9) .969 (9)
Double Plays Turned 7 24 6 6
Record at Home 0-0 8-4 0-0 3-1
Record on Road (including neutral) 4-2 5-24 6-2 0-4
Record in One-Run Games 1-0 4-3 1-0 1-2
Record in Extra Innings 1-0 3-0 1-0 0-0
CAREER STATS VS. STETSON
Player AVG GP-GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SF SH SB
Ryan Connolly .000 1-1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0-1
CAREER STATS VS. HARVARD
Player AVG GP-GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SF SH SB
Billy Boockford .333 1-1 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0-0
Brayden Ashdown .000 1-1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0
HARVARD CAREER STATS VS. NOTRE DAME
Player ERA W-L G GS CG SHO SV IP H R-ER BB-SO B/AVG
Max Perlman 0.00 1-0 1 0 0 0/1 0 4.2 2 0-0 2-1 .133
Eric Eadington 0.00 0-0 1 1 0 0/1 0 4.1 3 0-0 6-3 .188
NOTRE DAME CAREER STATS VS. EADINGTON
Player AVG AB H RBI 2B 3B HR BB HBP SO GDP SF SH SB
Billy Boockford .500 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0
Brayden Ashdown .000 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0
NOTRE DAME CAREER STATS VS. PERLMAN
Player AVG AB H RBI 2B 3B HR BB HBP SO GDP SF SH SB
Billy Boockford .000 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0-0
ON DECK -- After Notre Dame hits the road this weekend (March 6-7) for the Stetson Tournament, the Irish remain on the road and fly out for Texas and its spring break trip. Notre Dame will play a two-game series at Texas-Pan American on March 9-10 before hosting the 2010 Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio at Wolff Stadium on March 11-14. Notre Dame will play Bradley (Thursday, March 11, 4:00 p.m. CT), Pacific (Friday, March 12, 3:00 p.m. CT) and Gonzaga (Saturday, March 13, 12:00 p.m. CT).
RANKINGS -- Notre Dame, as well as all three opponents this weekend, are unranked in all four polls.
CASEY AT THE BAT -- Notre Dame senior 1B Casey Martin was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Monday, Feb. 22. He paced the Irish offensive attack in a three-game sweep of Mississippi Valley State. It marked Notre Dame's first 3-0 start since 2004 and its first ever road three-game series sweep to open a season in the 118-year history of Irish baseball. Martin batted .500 (8-for-16) for the weekend with two home runs and seven RBI. He homered on consecutive days to open the year becoming the first Notre Dame player to do so since Kris Billmaier hit three long balls over the first two games of the 2003 campaign. Martin went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI in the season opener, 2-for-5 with a solo home run in game two of the series and closed the weekend with a double, run scored and four more RBI (also went 2-for-6). The four RBI were one shy of his career high. Martin registered a .938 slugging percentage and a .529 on-base percentage.
Martin added another four-hit game in the come-from-behind victory over Penn State on Feb. 28. The senior went 4-for-5 with a walk and run scored.
The four-hit contest was Martin's third of his Notre Dame career and second over a four-game span. Martin leads the Irish in batting (.520), slugging (.800), on-base (.556), OPS (1.356), runs scored (tied with five), hits (13), RBI (seven) and home runs (two).
McCONNELL UP FOR THE BENCH -- Notre Dame junior Cameron McConnell was one of 53 catchers to be named to the watch list for the 2010 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award by The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. The award is given annually to the top division one collegiate catcher.
McConnell has played in five games this season with four starts behind the plate. The junior is batting .400 (6-for-15) with three runs scored and two RBI. McConnell has yet to commit an error or pass ball this season and has already gunned down two would be base stealers.
McConnell saw action in 54 games in 2009 and started 50. He hit .289 (54-for-187) with three home runs and 37 RBI. McConnell added seven doubles, two triples, 23 runs scored, six walks, four sacrifice flies and six sacrifice bunts. He committed just three errors and four pass balls over the entire season. McConnell also threw out 26 attempted base stealers, which led the BIG EAST, ranked fifth-best in the entire country and was the most by an Irish catcher since 1996.
The watch list will be narrowed down to ten semifinalists, whom will be announced May 19, 2010. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 2, 2010 prior to the NCAA Regionals and Major League Baseball Draft. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 13th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on July 1, 2010.
JOHNSON NAMED PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM -- Notre Dame placed junior RHP Cole Johnson on the preseason All-BIG EAST squad. Johnson, who earned second-team all-BIG EAST in 2009, went 7-3 with a 4.56 ERA last season. He struck out 64 in 94.2 innings of work and opponents batted just .252 against him.
IRISH PICKED FIFTH BY BIG EAST COACHES -- The University of Notre Dame baseball team was picked to finish fifth in the 2010 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 84 points.
PLENTY OF WAYS TO FOLLOW THE IRISH -- Notre Dame baseball fans will have several options for tracking the 2010 season on a game-by-game basis, through live streaming video (Notre Dame home games only), live-audio broadcasts, GameTracker live stats, free Irish Alert text messages and the Notre Dame Twitter page.
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 lower left corner 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 (three per game) are available to your cell phone or other mobile devices. See link on the right side blue sidebar on the baseball page at und.com.
GameTracker live stats are provided for all home games and most road games (based on phone-line 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.
Complete coverage of each and every Irish home game through live streaming video.