Live Game Coverage
Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp); UND.com
Live Stats: UND.com
All-Time Series: Michigan State leads the all-time series over the Irish, 72-53. The series began on May 7, 1907 when Notre Dame blanked the Spartans, 1-0, in South Bend. Michigan State and Notre Dame have not faced off since 1998. In fact, that meeting has been the only between the two regional rivals since 1988.
2009 Results: Notre Dame and Michigan State were scheduled to play last season, but the game was canceled due to rain.
Saturday, March 20
High 54, Low 41
Sunday, March 21
High 41, Low 28
IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame will play Michigan State in a three-game series to open the Irish home schedule this weekend. First pitch at Frank Eck Stadium for Saturday's doubleheader is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. Sunday's series finale is slated to begin at 1:05 p.m. All three contests will be broadcast on WHME 103.1 FM and UND.com.
MICHIGAN STATE INSIDER -- The Spartans, led by second year head coach Jake Boss, Jr., enters the series with a 9-4 overall record and three-game winning streak.
Michigan State is averaging 8.4 runs per game and hitting .311 with a .407 on-base percentage. The Spartans have also totaled 33 stolen bases in 40 attempts.
Michigan State has five everyday players that are hitting over .330. Jonathan Roof, Bo Felt and Jeff Holm lead the attack each with a team-best .364 batting average. Roof has 16 runs scored, four doubles, one triple, two home runs and 10 RBI. He has also swiped three bases. Felt has 11 runs scored, one double, one triple and a team-high 19 RBI. Holm has 15 runs scored, one double, two triples and eight RBI. He has also stolen a team-best 10 stolen bases. Eli Boike is hitting .360 with 13 runs scored, one double, three home runs and 13 RBI. Brandon Eckerle is batting .333 with 18 runs scored (team-high), three doubles, one triple, and seven RBI. He has also registered nine stolen bases. Andrew Carpenter and Chris Roberts have each smacked a pair of home runs. Carpenter is hitting .295 with three double, one triple and 14 RBI, while Roberts is hitting .265 with four doubles and 11 RBI. The Spartans have hit nine home runs this season, but has also struck out 80 times.
The pitching staff has a 6.13 ERA and .273 opponents' batting average along with 91 strikeouts and 44 walks in 116.0 innings. Joe Zwierzynski is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three appearances over 5.0 innings, while Kurtis Frymier (2-0, 2.70), Trey Popp (2-0, 4.76), Andrew Waszak (1-0, 7.36), Tim Simpson (0-0, 7.71), Tony Wieber (0-0, 40.50) and Kyle Corcoran (0-1, 50.14) are other options out of the Spartans' bullpen. Frymier has registered two saves.
Michigan State has committed only eight errors in 13 games and is fielding .984.
TALE OF THE TAPE (2010 STATS)
Notre Dame Michigan State
Batting Average .302 .311
Runs Per Game 6.40 8.38
Home Runs 7 9
Slugging Percentage .406 .442
Batters' BB+HBP-SO Margin -25 +2
On-Base Percentage .377 .407
Stolen Bases 11-15 33-40
Team ERA 5.11 6.13
Opponent Batting Average .283 .273
Pitchers' SO-BB Ratio 1.85 2.07
Pitchers' SO Per 9 Innings 6.68 7.06
Pitchers' BB Per 9 Innings 3.61 3.41
Fielding Pct. (Errors) .955 (27) .984 (8)
Double Plays Turned 9 15
Record at Home 0-0 1-0
Record on Road (including neutral) 7-8 8-4
Record in One-Run Games 1-1 1-0
Record in Extra Innings 1-0 0-0
HOME OPENERS -- Notre Dame owns a record of 18-3-1 in home openers dating back to the 1988 season. The Irish are 7-2-1 in their last 10 openers. Notre Dame is 12-3-1 in home openers at Frank Eck Stadium.
W, 8-7 (12)
W, 3-0 v
ON DECK -- After Notre Dame hosts Michigan State this weekend for three games, the Irish conclude a five-game homestand with contests against Ball State on Tuesday, March 23 and UIC on Wednesday on March 24. First-pitch for each game is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.
RANKINGS -- Notre Dame, as well as Michigan State, are each unranked in all four polls.
AROUND THE HORN --
RBI BY COMMITTEE: Notre Dame has 17 different players with at least one RBI. Senior 1B Casey Martin leads the Irish with 16 RBI.
LOTS-O-LINEUPS: Notre Dame's first 15 games have featured 15 different batting orders.
YOUR UP: 15 different Irish players have already started at least four games and 12 have started at least seven games this season.
NOTRE DAME IN A PINCH: The Irish are batting .385 (10-for-26) in pinch hit chances this season. Freshman OF Charlie Markson is a perfect 3-for-3, while junior DH Matt Scioscia is 3-for-4 and senior OF Brayden Ashdown is 2-for-2. Senior OF Matt Grosso leads Notre Dame in pinch hit opportunities with five (1-for-5, but the one hit was a solo home run against Penn State).
IT'S ALL ABOUT HITS: Notre Dame is 7-1 when it out-hits its opponent, but 0-7 when out-hit.
PITCHING STAFF UNDER CONTROL: Notre Dame entered the Irish Baseball Classic with 47 walks over its first 96.0 innings of work, including 14 free passes in the two games at Texas-Pan American, but the staff walked only six in the four games of the tournament.
WHO'S HOT -- Senior OF Ryan Connolly enters this weekend's series with a career-best 11-game hitting streak ... Senior 1B Casey Martin carries a career-best nine-game hitting streak.
DUPRA FINDING A GROOVE -- Notre Dame junior Brian Dupra struggled down the stretch of 2009 and it continued over his first two starts of 2010. He went 1-1 with a 12.27 ERA and surrendered 40 hits in just 18.1 innings over his final four starts of last season. Dupra then opened this year with consecutive poor outings (0-1 with a 10.13 ERA) against Mississippi Valley State and Ohio State, but has since rebounded with two quality starts against Stetson and Gonzaga. The right-handed hurler is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA over his last two strats. Dupra has tossed at least 7.0 innings in each contest and has fanned 13, including a career-high eight in his last start against Gonzaga. Much of Dupra's success has come from the continued development of a split finger fast ball, which he has added to his repitorie under first uear Irish pitching coach Dave Dengler.
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 (.434), slugging (.679), on-base (.475), OPS (1.154), runs scored (tied with 11), hits (23), doubles (tied with four), RBI (16) and home runs (three).
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 12 games this season with 11 starts behind the plate. The junior is batting .308 (12-for-39) with six runs scored and seven RBI. McConnell has yet to commit an error or pass ball this season and has already gunned down six 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.
RECAPPING THE SPRING BREAK TRIP - Notre Dame finished last week with a 2-4 record after dropping both games at Texas-Pan American before splitting its four games at the 2010 Irish Baseball Classic. The Irish lost 9-7 and 10-4 to the Broncos. In San Antonio, Notre Dame opened the tournament with a 10-6 victory over Bradley, then lost to Pacific, 8-4, but rebounded with a 6-3 triumph over Gonzaga. The Irish closed the weekend with a 3-2 defeat in the title game against Pacific.
As a team, Notre Dame hit .299 over the spring trip. Senior David Mills hit .471 (8-for-17) in five starts over the trip. He added three runs scored, a double, four RBI and two stolen bases. Senior Ryan Connolly posted a .421 (8-for-19) batting average with a home run, five RBI, four runs scored, four walks and a stolen base. He extended his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games. Freshman Adam Norton hit .391 (9-for-23) on the week with three runs scored, two doubles and two RBI. Senior Casey Martin hit .368 (7-for-19) with five runs scored, two doubles, a home run and eight RBI.
For the season, Martin leads the team with a .434 batting average, three home runs and 16 RBI. He is also tied for the team-lead in runs scored and doubles. Mills is hitting .370 on the season with four doubles and nine RBIs. He also has registered a team-leading eight stolen bases.
The Notre Dame pitching staff compiled a 5.11 earned run average on the week. Notre Dame's junior Brian Dupra and senior Eric Maust each turned in solid outings. Dupra, who improved to 2-1, tossed 7.0+ innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits. He struck out a career-high eight and did not issue a walk. In fact, Dupra went to a three-ball count on just three occasions. He did not allow a Gonzaga batter to advance into scoring position until the sixth inning.
Maust scattered nine hits and yielded two earned runs in 6.1 innings of work, but did not factor in the decision against Pacific. He struck out three and walked a pair
Notre Dame placed four players on the 2010 Irish Baseball Classic All-Tournament team. Dupra, Martin, Connolly and Mills earned the honor
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.
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.
2009 BIG EAST
1. Louisville (9)
2. USF (3)
4. St. John's
5. Notre Dame
6. West Virginia
10. Seton Hall
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.