Irish Set For Familiar Trip To The Alamo City Notre Dame takes part in the 11th Irish Baseball Classic beginning Friday afternoon (1:00 p.m. CT) when the Irish play Buffalo (2-9) in Wolff Stadium in San Antonio.
IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame returns to the state of Texas for the annual Irish Classic at Wolff Stadium in San Antonio. The Irish will play Buffalo (Fri., 1:00 p.m. CT), Southern Illinois (Sat., 1:00 p.m. CT) and Texas-Pan American (Sun., 12:00 p.m. CT). All three games can be heard on ESPN Radio 1490 and UND.com.
IRISH CLASSIC INSIDER -- Notre Dame takes part in the 11th Irish Baseball Classic beginning Friday afternoon (1:00 p.m. CT) when the Irish play Buffalo (2-9) in Wolff Stadium in San Antonio. The Irish Baseball Classic began in 1995. The tournament was held each season after that through 1999. After a two-year hiatus (the Irish played in the Alamo Invitational in 2001), Notre Dame hosted the Irish Baseball Classic in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Notre Dame is 22-7 all-time in the Irish Baseball Classic, including championships in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2006. Last year, the Irish lost to Texas State twice and defeated Prairie View A&M.
THE STARTING PITCHERS -- Notre Dame will start junior right-hander David Phelps (1-2, 5.09 ERA) against Buffalo in the opening game of the Irish Classic. The Hazelwood, Missouri native has made three starts for a total of 17.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 18 hits and eight walks while striking out 20. Phelps has not allowed a home run and opponents are batting .265 against him. He struggled in the season-opening loss to Liberty on Feb. 22, but rebounded with a seven-inning shutout effort (with 10 strikeouts) against Mount St. Mary's on March 1. Phelps has gone at least 5.0 innings in 18 of his last 19 starts.
Senior southpaw Wade Korpi (1-1, 6.75 ERA) will take the mound against Southern Illinois. Korpi has made three starts for a total of 17.1 innings pitched. The Santulucces, Florida native has allowed 23 hits and 10 walks with 15 strikeouts. He has allowed a team-high five home runs and opponents are batting .319 against him. Korpi, who went 7-2 in 2006 with a 2.00 earned run average, picked up his first victory since Feb. 17, 2007 (a span of 10 starts and 14 appearances) in his last start against South Alabama on March 8.
The Irish will turn to sophomore righty Eric Maust (0-0, 2.89 ERA) for their match-up with Texas-Pan American. The Alpharetta, Georgia native has made four appearances (all out of the bullpen) for a total of 9.1 innings. Maust, who made three starts last year, has allowed seven hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts. He has allowed one home run and opponents are batting .219 against him.
REMEMBER THE ALAMO - Notre Dame's 2008 trips to Corpus Christi and San Antonio will mark the 21st time in the past 30 seasons (dating back to 1969) that the Irish baseball team has visited the state of Texas. Notre Dame owns an 81-54 all-time record (.600) in games played within the confines of the nation's largest state, including 46-23 (.667) since 1995. The Irish have travelled to San Antonio, specifically, 11 times over the past 13 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 2003 Irish squads are the only teams since 1995 to not visit the state of Texas. This year's trip to San Antonio is just the third time the trip did not coincide with Spring Break (2001, 2007). Notre Dame has posted an impressive 28-9 mark in their previous 37 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, Texas A&M, Dell Diamond (Round Rock), Whataburger Field (Corpus Christi) and the University of Dallas.
TEXAS NATIVES - The 2008 Notre Dame baseball roster includes four players from Texas. Junior 2B Jeremy Barnes (Garland/South Garland H.S.), junior LHP Sam Elam (Mesquite/Poteet H.S.), senior RHP Tony Langford (Fort Worth/Fort Worthy Country Day H.S.) and sophomore RHP Steven Mazur (Round Rock/Stony Point H.S.) all hail from the Longhorn State.
The Irish baseball program's list of all-time monogram winners includes 17 Texas natives, former All-American Jeff Manship (`06). Manship 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. 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 ND from their native Houston ... other early ND baseball players who hailed from Texas include C/OF William Allison (Georgetown, '17) and pitcher George Murphy (Oaklawn; '16-'17), who tossed a no-hitter vs. St. Viator in 1917 ... just two Texans lettered with ND baseball in the 72-year stretch from 1918-1989: RHP Leo Linbeck (Houston/St. Thomas HS; '54) and LH and P John Ebert (Dallas/Marion OH Catholic HS; '82) ... three early-90s players were Texas natives: C Matt Krall (Bedford/Trinity HS; '90-'91), OF Dan Bautch (Houston/Stanford HS; '90-'92; 68 career SB) and OF Edwin Hartwell (Forth Worth/Country Day HS; '90-'93; .354 career hitter, 18 HR, 100 RBI) ... recent players from Texas include LHP Pat Davis (San Antonio/Texas Military Inst.; '96, '98) and RHP Matt Laird (Bellaire HS; '00-'03) ... 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.
BUFFALO SET TO BECOME OPPONENT #297 - Buffalo (from the Mid-American Conference) will become the 297th different opponent faced by Notre Dame in 116 seasons of Division I baseball.
THE NOTRE DAME SERIES AGAINST SOUTHERN ILLINOIS - The Irish own an all-time record of 9-4 against Southern Illinois. Notre Dame has captured its last three meetings with the Salukis, including twice in San Antonio during the 2006 Irish Classic. The Irish and Southern Illinois have actually faced one another on seven different occasions in the Alamo City. Notre Dame has swept all seven meetings in San Antonio (1996, 1998, twice in 2002, 2004, and twice in 2006). The two first met during the 1970 NCAAs in Columbus, Ohio (SIU took each meeting, 10-2 and 1-0). Interestingly, Notre Dame and SIU have only played two games on either schools campus (2004 in Carbondale; teams split two games).
THE NOTRE DAME SERIES AGAINST TEXAS-PAN AMERICAN - The series is tied 4-4 and all eight previous meetings have taken place in San Antonio. The Broncos have actually taken three of the past four meetings. Notre Dame has knocked off UTPA on March 15, 1995 (7-6), March 16, 1995 (13-4), March 9, 1997 (5-4) and Feb. 24, 2001 (14-9).
DOUBLE TAKE -- Notre Dame freshman RHP Ryan Sharpley and junior 3B Evan Sharpley became the first set of brothers to start the same game (vs. Lehigh) 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. The Irish have had 13 sets of brothers who both have earned monograms with ND baseball. Of those, only four earned monograms for the same season:
1968 - OF/1B Frank Orga and OF Bill Orga (Pittsburgh natives)
1939 - OF Roy Pinelli and SS Ray Pinelli (San Francisco)
1913 - SS Samuel Newning and 3B Harry Newning (Houston)
1908-09 - LHP Francis Scanlan and C Ray Scanlan (Syracuse)
There have been only two sets of monogram-winning baseball brothers at Notre Dame since the early 1980s and all four were drafted (Scott and Steve Sollmann/Ryan and Tim Kalita). Scott's career started three years after Steve's final season at Notre Dame and Ryan narrowly missed pitching on the same staff as Tim (who signed in '99, Ryan was a freshman that following fall).
LILLEY LITTERED THROUGHOUT IRISH RECORD BOOKS - Notre Dame senior SS Brett Lilley is all over the Irish career record book. Lilley ranks second all-time in career on-base percentage (.485), seventh in sacrifice bunts (28) and tied for seventh in total sacrifices (35). He is also on pace to finish his career among the top time all-time in the following categories: games played, games started, consecutive games started, at-bats, hits, runs scored, walks and assists.
MR. DURABLE -- Senior SS Brett Lilley takes the term "everyday player" to another level. Lilley has started 187 consecutive games (every game in which he has played over his career). He has started 67 consecutive games at shortstop.
DOUBLE DUTY -- The Irish baseball team has historically featured a number of student-athletes that also competed in football. The 2008 season is no different. Junior 3B/DH Evan Sharpley (QB), sophomore RHP Eric Maust (P) and freshman OF Golden Tate (WR/KR) will each make major contributions this spring.
A handful of Notre Dame baseball varsity monogram winners also have been starting quarterbacks with the Irish football team. Sharpley became only the second Notre Dame baseball player since the early 1940s to quarterback the Irish football team.
Sharpley is first Notre Dame student-athlete since Paul Failla (1993-94) to throw a TD pass and hit a home run in same academic year. Failla had one TD pass in fall of '93 (vs. USC) and then had one HR the following spring ('94). He also hit five HR in '93 and one in '92.
Tate was drafted by Arizona Diamondbacks scout and former Notre Dame player Matt Haas (who picked him in the 42nd round of the '07 MLB draft).
The most recent Notre Dame baseball player to start at quarterback
for the Irish was Paul Failla, in the 1993 win over USC (31-13, at Notre Dame Stadium; Irish were ranked #2, USC was unranked). It was Notre Dame's 11th straight win over USC.
Prior to Failla, one has to go way back to the World War II era to find a Notre Dame starting quarterback who also was a monogram winner
with the Irish baseball team. That era featured two such multiple-sport
talents who were Notre Dame's first Heisman Trophy winners - Anglo Bertelli (1943 Heisman) and Johnny Lujack (1947 Heisman).
Bertelli earned a varsity monogram with the Notre Dame baseball
team in the spring of 1943, as a catcher and first baseman. He also was
known at the time for being one of the best hockey players on the Notre
Lujack was a baseball monogram winner in 1944, as an outfielder. He also earned varsity monograms in basketball and track-and-field (as a high jumper) during his time at Notre Dame.
Also of note, three Notre Dame quarterbacks have been selected in
the Major League Baseball draft, despite never earning a varsity monogram with the Irish baseball team. Those players include Joe Theismann (Minnesota Twins; 1971; 39th round), Tony Rice (California Angels; 1990; 50th round) and Carlyle Holiday (Cincinnati Reds; 2003; 44th round). Each of those players ultimately pursued a professional football career and never played pro baseball.
For more information on Irish multi-sport athletes, check out page 10 of 2008 Notre Dame baseball media guide.
FIRST TIME A CHARM, LITERALLY -- Junior 3B/DH Evan Sharpley could not have picked a better time to drill his first career home run. Sharpley's solo, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning capped off a come-from-behind 11-10 victory over Maine on March 4.
MOST RECENT IRISH WALK-OFF BOMBS --
Apr. 17, 1997: ND 8, Indiana Tech 7 (10) ... fr. 1B Jeff Felker (LH hitter) with 1-out, to RF, vs. fr. RHP Jason Bullinger
Apr. 2, 1998: ND 6, Bowling Green 4 (11) ... so. 2B Brant Ust (RH) with 2-out, 2-1 count, scores Jeff Wagner, down RF line, vs. so. RHP Ryan Streb
May 3, 1998: ND 5, West Virginia 3 (15) ... fr. LF Alec Porzel (RH) with 2-out, 2-1 count, scores Ust, to LF, vs. jr. David Kloes
April 11, 1999: ND 9, Pittsburgh 8 ... so. 2B Porzel (RH), 0 outs, 1st pitch, to LF, vs. jr. RHP Steve Vickroy
April 30, 2000: ND 9, St. John's 8 ... sr. 1B Jeff Felker (LH), 1 outs, 1st pitch, to deep CF, vs. fr. RHP Tom Klemm
May 6, 2000: ND 11, Pittsburgh 8 ... jr. SS Porzel (RH), 2-out, 1st pitch, scores Kris Billmaier and Ken Meyer, to LF, vs. jr. RHP Lou Kammermeier
May 13, 2000: ND 4, Rutgers 3 ... fr. RF Brian Stavisky (LH), 0 outs, 0-1 count, scores Billmaier, to deep RC, vs. jr. LHP Buddy Gallagher
April 19, 2001: ND 6, Central Michigan 4 ... jr. DH Meyer (RH), 2-out, 0-2 count, scores Billmaier, Paul O'Toole and Andrew Bushey, to LF, vs. jr. LHP J.D. Wheeler
March 15, 2002: ND 7, Arkansas-Little Rock 5 ... so. 1B Joe Thaman (LH), 1-out, full-count, scores Bushey, to RF, vs. so. RHP Brad Cherry
June 17, 2002: ND 5, Rice 3 ... jr. LF Stavisky (LH), 1-out, 1-2 count, scores Steve Sollmann, to RF, vs. sr. LHP Justin Crowder
April 20, 2005: ND 9, Purdue 7 ... jr. RF Craig Cooper (RH), 1 out, 2-2 count, scores Brett Lilley, to RF, vs. so. RHP Andrew Groves
April 15, 2006: ND 9, St. John's 5 ... sr. CF Alex Nettey (RH), 0 out, 0-0 count, scores Ross Brezovsky, to LF, vs. fr. RHP Rich Armento
March 4, 2008: ND 11, Maine 10 ... jr. 3B Evan Sharpley (RH), 0 out, 1-1 count, to LF, vs. jr. RHP Will Carroll
IRISH DONE IN BY LONG BALL -- Notre Dame has already surrendered 16 home runs on its first 11 games (on pace to give up nearly 80 long balls). The Irish have allowed a home run in eight of their 11 games. In fact, Notre Dame has yielded multi-home runs on six different occasions. The Irish allowed just 20 and 18 home runs, respectively, during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The most home runs ever allowed by a Notre Dame squad is 55 set during the 1999 season. Ironically, the Irish went 43-18, captured the BIG EAST regular season title and reached the NCAA Regionals.
AROUND THE HORN -
RBI BY COMMITTEE: Notre Dame has no players with 10 or more RBI, but have six in the order with at least five RBI.
LOTS-O-LINEUPS: Notre Dame's first 11 games have featured 10 different batting orders.
FREQUENT FLYERS - Notre Dame has already done its fair share of travelling over its first 11 games of the season. The Irish, who recently finished off an eight-game, nine day swing of games in Florida and Texas, return to the Longhorn State for three more games this weekend. Notre Dame is about to embark on a stretch of eight more games in nine days (including six on the road. The Irish have logged more than 10,939 miles of total team travel this season (listings indicate round trip miles):
Tampa, Fla. 2,346 (238)
Palm Beach, Fla. 2,630 (244)
Corpus Christi, Texas 2,709 (96)
San Antonio, Texas 2,484 (192)
TOTAL round trip MILES 10,939 (770)
Who's Hot -- Senior SS Brett Lilley enters this weekend with a five-game hitting streak ... Lilley actually has a hit in 10 of Notre Dame's 11 games this season (hitless against Boston College on March 2) ... Eight of the 11 games Lilley has just a single hit ... Junior RHP Kyle Weiland has fanned 11 batters this season over just 6.0 innings ... Weiland has actually struck out seven of the last 11 batters he has faced.