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    Fighting Irish
    Irish Hit The Road For Pittsburgh

    FIGHTING IRISH Senior RHP Brian Dupra will get the ball on Friday afternoon in the series opener.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Senior RHP Brian Dupra will get the ball on Friday afternoon in the series opener.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    March 31, 2011

    Game Notes 

    THE MATCHUP
    Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh
    April 1-3
    Charles L. Cost Field
    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    PROBABLE PITCHERS
    Friday (3:00 p.m.)
    RHP Brian Dupra (2-2, 1.96 ERA) vs. RHP Corey Baker (2-1, 4.99 ERA)

    Saturday (1:00 p.m.)
    RHP Cole Johnson (2-4, 2.09 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Iannazzo (2-2, 2.43 ERA)

    Sunday (12:00 p.m.)
    RHP Todd Miller (2-2, 3.24 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Wotherspoon (2-0, 1.89 ERA)

    LIVE GAME COVERAGE
    Live Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp); UND.com
    Live Stats: UND.com

    WEATHER REPORT
    Friday, April 1
    Rain/Snow Possible
    High 46, Low 32

    Saturday, April 2
    Rain/Snow Possible
    High 46, Low 32

    Sunday, April 3
    Partly Sunny
    High 50, Low 34

    IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame opens its BIG EAST road portion of the schedule this weekend with a three-game tilt at Pittsburgh. The conference series is the first for the Panthers in the new Charles L. Cost Field. First pitch for the series opener on Friday is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday's games will begin at 1:00 p.m. and Noon. All three games can be heard on WHME 103.1 FM as well as UND.com.

    THIS WEEKEND'S STORY LINES -- Notre Dame will look for its first BIG EAST road opening series victory since 2008 when the Irish swept three games at Georgetown. The Irish dropped two of three at Pittsburgh in 2009 and were swept in three games at USF in 2010.

  • Notre Dame owns a 28-13 (.683) all-time record against Pittsburgh, but the Irish success dropped off significantly when the series moved to the Steal City, especially at the recently closed Trees Field. The Panthers own an all-time record of 10-7 against Notre Dame in Pittsburgh and went 10-5 all-time against the Irish in Trees Field.
  • The weather looks less than stellar this weekend, again, but the Irish should be accustomed to dipping temperatures. Notre Dame has already played three games against Seattle University earlier in the season where the temperature never rose above 32 degrees. In fact, the game time temperatures of Notre Dame's recent five-game homestand only surpassed 37 degrees in one game.

    IRISH AT A GLANCE -- Notre Dame enters this weekend with a 10-12-1 record overall and 2-1 in the BIG EAST. The Irish have won three of their last five games (all at home).

  • Notre Dame continues to play solid defense and benefit from quality pitching. The Irish have posted a .969 fielding percentage (fourth-best in the BIG EAST) with 27 errors over their first 23 games. Notre Dame owns a 2.68 ERA (second-best in the conference) and opponents are batting just .252 (fifth-best in the BIG EAST) against the Irish staff.
  • Notre Dame's starting rotation of senior RHP Brian Dupra, RHP Cole Johnson and RHP Todd Miller have registered 16 quality starts (at least 6.0 innings with three earned runs or less) in 2011, including nine consecutive to open the campaign. The Irish had not gone that many consecutive games with a quality start in nearly 10 years. Notre Dame also recorded nine straight quality starts from Mar. 31-Apr. 10, 2001. The starters that posted those nine straight quality starts: Aaron Heilman (2), Danny Tamayo (2), J.P. Gagne (2), Mike Naumann (2) and Peter Ogilvie.
  • Dupra, Johnson and Miller's 16 quality starts have come in 18 outings in 2011. Notre Dame's weekend rotation accounted for just 11 over the entire course of 2010 (54 games).
  • Notre Dame's starting pitchers averaged only 4.73 innings per start in 2010. The Irish starting staff is off to a remarkable start in 2011. Notre Dame's starting rotation of Dupra, Johnson, Miller, LHP Anthony McIver and RHP Adam Norton has averaged 6.84 innings per start.
  • Dupra, Johnson and Miller all rank among the top seven in the BIG EAST in innings pitched. Johnson (43.0) ranks second, Miller (41.2) fourth and Dupra (41.1) seventh. The Irish are the only school in the conference that can make such a claim.
  • Dupra (1.96) and Johnson (2.09) rank fifth and sixth respectively in the BIG EAST in ERA. Notre Dame and Louisville are the only two schools in the conference to have a pair of starting pitchers ranked among the top six in ERA.
  • Notre Dame's pitching staff has already totaled 14 starts of at least 7.0 innings in 2011. The Irish managed only seven such starts over the course of the entire 2010 campaign (54 games).
  • The Irish staff has been quite stubborn in 2011 in terms of issuing walks. Notre Dame has walked only 50 batters in 208.0 innings, good for a 2.16 average per nine innings. That would shatter the all-time school record for fewest walks per nine innings (2.48 in 2001).
  • The Irish lead the BIG EAST in fewest walks by a large margin. Notre Dame's 50 free passes is far ahead of second place Pittsburgh (61 walks).
  • Even more impressive when you consider Notre Dame averaged 3.65 walks per nine innings in 2010 and 3.73 per nine innings combined in 2009 and 2010. The 3.82 free passes per nine innings in 2009 was the highest for an Irish staff since 1999.
  • Notre Dame has already posted 17 games with two issued walks or less and 12 outings with one free pass or less over its first 23 games. By comparison, the 2010 staff totaled 19 games with two issued walks or less and 15 with one free pass or less over the course of the entire season (54 games).
  • Dupra, Johnson, Miller, McIver and Norton, the five Irish pitchers to start in 2011, have walked only 29 in 157.1 innings of work over 23 starts. Dupra, Johnson and Miller did not walk a single batter in 22.2 innings of work at the Coca-Cola Classic in Rock Hill, S.C. In fact, the entire Irish staff walked only three (and one was intentional) in 35.0 innings of work that weekend.

    TALE OF THE TAPE
    	                            Notre Dame     Pittsburgh
    Batting Average   	            .242           .298
    Runs Per Game                       3.5            6.4
    Home Runs                           5              11
    Slugging Percentage                 .323           .417
    Batters' BB+HBP-SO Margin           -44            -16
    On-Base Percentage                  .321           .387
    Stolen Bases                        21-38          32-48
    Team ERA                            2.68           3.94
    Opponent Batting Average            .252           .280
    Pitchers' SO-BB Ratio               3.30           2.23
    Pitchers' SO Per 9 Innings          7.14           6.80
    Pitchers' BB Per 9 Innings          2.16           3.05
    Fielding Pct. (Errors)              .969 (27)      .965 (29)
    Double Plays Turned                 14             8
    Record at Home                      3-2            4-3
    Record on Road (including neutral)  7-10-1         9-6
    Record in One-Run Games             5-5            2-1
    Record in Extra Innings             2-1-1          1-0
    

    SCOUTING PITTSBURGH -- The Panthers enter the weekend with a 13-9 record, but have lost four of its last five games, including two of three last weekend at UConn.

  • Pittsburgh has compiled a .298 batting average this season. The Panthers are led offensively by senior Kevan Smith. The No. 3 hole hitter is batting a robust .459 with five doubles, two triples, two home runs, 22 RBI, 22 runs scored and five stolen bases (five attempts). Smith is the only player in the BIG EAST hitting over .400 and leads the league in batting by over 60 points. He not only leads the conference in slugging percentage at .676, but ranks second in on-base percentage (.537), tied for fifth in hits (33), eighth in runs scored (22), tied for eighth in RBI and tied for ninth in total bases (49). Zach Duggan is hitting .356 on the year. He has registered 13 runs scored, four doubles, one triple and 11 RBI. Duggan has swiped six bases (seven attempts). David Chester is batting .346 with 18 runs scored, five doubles, two triples, five home runs and a team-best 25 RBI. John Schultz is the fourth Panther hitting over the .300 clip. He owns a .325 batting average with 19 runs scored, three doubles, one triple and seven RBI. Derik Wilson and Travis Whitmore are the final two Pittsburgh players hitting above the .300 mark. Wilson is batting .306 with 13 runs scored, three doubles, one triple, 12 RBI and four stolen bases (five attempts). Whitmore is hitting .305 with 10 runs scored, four doubles, two triples, three home runs and 18 RBI.
  • The Pittsburgh pitching staff has combined for a 3.94 ERA this season, yielding 3.05 walks per nine innings and a .280 opponents' batting average. RHP Corey Baker serves as the Panthers' Friday starter, as he has a 4.99 ERA and 2-1 record in five starts. Baker has allowed 37 hits in 30.2 innings of work and foes are batting .291 against him. He has issued 14 walks and struck out 23. LHP Matt Iannazzo (2-2, 2.43 ERA) and RHP Matt Wotherspoon (2-0, 1.89 ERA) round out the Panthers' weekend rotation. Alex Caravella (2-1, 2.16 ERA in nine appearances, one start), Ethan Mildren (2-2, 3.29 ERA in five appearances, four starts), Kevin Dooley (0-1, 2.70 ERA in two appearances, both starts), Casey Roche (0-0, 5.91 in eight appearances, one start) and David Kaye (0-1, 18.00 ERA in one appearance, one start) have started the other games this season for Pittsburgh. Roche, Ray Black and Caravella share the closer role. Roche has three saves. Black has two saves in six appearances out of the Pittsburgh bullpen and owns a 1-0 record with a 6.52 ERA. Caravella has one save. J.R. Leonardi (0-0, 0.00 ERA), Cole Taylor (0-0, 5.91 ERA), Lucas Ellex (0-0, 7.36 ERA), Jeff Kelly (0-0, 9.00 ERA) and Luke Novosel (0-0, 11.81 ERA) round out the Panthers' relieving corp.
  • Pittsburgh has committed 29 errors for a .965 fielding clip over their first 22 games.

    BIG EAST ROAD OPENERS -- Notre Dame is playing its 16th year as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. The Irish are 8-7 all-time in its BIG EAST road openers.

  • Including this weekend, Notre Dame's opening BIG EAST road trip has been to Pittsburgh three times over the last five years and four times overall since the Irish joined the league.

    BIG EAST ROAD OPENERS
    1996	W	9-0	at Boston College
    1997	L	4-5	at Seton Hall
    1998	W	5-2	at Boston College
    1999	W	4-1	at West Virginia
    2000	W	4-0	at Villanova
    2001	W	3-0	at Pittsburgh
    2002	L	3-4	at Connecticut
    2003	L	2-3	at Villanova
    2004	W	5-3	at West Virginia
    2005	L	3-5	at Rutgers
    2006	L	3-8	at Georgetown
    2007	L	2-4	at Pittsburgh
    2008	W	25-1	at Georgetown
    2009	W	5-4	at Pittsburgh
    2010	L	0-4	at USF
    Totals	8-7 (2-1 vs. Pittsburgh)
    

    BIG EAST ROAD OPENING WEEKENDS -- Notre Dame is 22-22 overall in BIG EAST road opening weekends, including a 3-4 mark against Pittsburgh. The Irish swept a two-game series in 2001, while the Panthers returned the favor in a rain-shortened series in 2007. Notre Dame took the series opener in 2009 before dropping the final two games of the weekend.

  • Including this weekend, Notre Dame's opening BIG EAST road trip has been to Pittsburgh three times over the last five years and four times overall since the Irish joined the league.
    BIG EAST OPENING WEEKENDS
    1996	3-1	at Boston College (2-0), at Providence (1-1)
    1997	0-3	at Seton Hall
    1998	3-0	at Boston College
    1999	2-0	at West Virginia
    2000	2-1	at Villanova
    2001	2-2	at Pittsburgh (2-0), at Virginia Tech (0-2)
    2002	0-3	at Connecticut
    2003	1-2	at Villanova
    2004	3-0	at West Virginia
    2005	0-2	at Rutgers
    2006	2-1	at Georgetown
    2007	0-2	at Pittsburgh
    2008	3-0	at Georgetown
    2009	1-2	at Pittsburgh
    2010	0-3	at USF
    Totals	22-22 (3-4 vs. Pittsburgh)
    

    FOR STARTERS -- Notre Dame's starting pitchers have registered a quality start in 18 of 23 games for the Irish this season. The trio of senior RHP Brian Dupra, senior RHP Cole Johnson and senior RHP Todd Miller have combined for 16 quality starts (sophomore RHP Adam Norton has the other two quality starts) and a 2.43 ERA (126.0 IP, 34 ER). Opponents are batting just .246 against Dupra, Johnson and Miller. The 18 quality starts is even more impressive when you consider Notre Dame totaled 11 over the course of the entire 2010 season (54 games).

  • The weekend rotation has struck out 101 batters and walked only 22 in their 126.0 innings of work. That equates to a 4.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 7.21 punch outs per nine innings and 1.57 walks per nine innings.
  • Notre Dame's weekend starting rotation of senior Dupra, Johnson and Miller registered nine straight quality starts. The Irish had not gone that many consecutive games with a quality start in nearly 10 years. Notre Dame recorded nine straight quality starts from Mar. 31 - Apr. 10, 2001. The starters that posted those nine straight quality starts: Aaron Heilman (2), Danny Tamayo (2), J.P. Gagne (2), Mike Naumann (2) and Peter Ogilvie.

    PITCHING THE NAME OF THE GAME ­-- Notre Dame enters this weekend with a 2.68 ERA, second-best in the BIG EAST. In fact, the Irish pitching staff ranks first, second or third in the following BIG EAST categories:

    Category	              ND       BIG EAST Rank
    Fewest Walks Allowed          50	1st
    Fewest Home Runs Allowed      3         t-1st
    Fewest Hit Batters            11	1st
    ERA                           2.68	2nd
    Fewest Earned Runs Allowed    62	2nd
    Strikeouts                    165	3rd
    Saves                         5         t-3rd
    Fewest Runs Allowed           80	3rd
    Fewest Wild Pitches           9         t-3rd
    Fewest Balks                  2         t-3rd
    
  • Notre Dame has already limited 10 opponents to two earned runs or less over its first 23 games. The Irish limited their foes to 13 such games over the entire 2010 season (54 games).
  • Dupra, Johnson and Miller's 16 quality starts have come in 18 outings in 2011. Notre Dame's weekend rotation accounted for just 11 over the entire course of 2010 (54 games).
  • Notre Dame's starting pitchers averaged only 4.73 innings per start in 2010. The Irish starting staff is off to a remarkable start in 2011. Notre Dame's starting rotation of Dupra, Johnson, Miller, LHP Anthony McIver and RHP Adam Norton has averaged 6.84 innings per start.
  • Dupra, Johnson and Miller all rank among the top seven in the BIG EAST in innings pitched. Johnson (43.0) ranks second, Miller (41.2) fourth and Dupra (41.1) seventh. The Irish are the only school in the conference that can make such a claim.
  • Dupra (1.96) and Johnson (2.09) rank fifth and sixth respectively in the BIG EAST in ERA. Notre Dame and Louisville are the only two schools in the conference to have a pair of starting pitchers ranked among the top six in ERA.
  • Notre Dame's pitching staff has already totaled 14 starts of at least 7.0 innings in 2011. The Irish managed only seven such starts over the course of the entire 2010 campaign (54 games).
  • The Irish staff has been quite stubborn in 2011 in terms of issuing walks. Notre Dame has walked only 50 batters in 208.0 innings, good for a 2.16 average per nine innings. That would shatter the all-time school record for fewest walks per nine innings (2.48 in 2001).
  • The Irish lead the BIG EAST in fewest walks by a large margin. Notre Dame's 50 free passes is far ahead of second place Pittsburgh (61 walks).
  • Even more impressive when you consider Notre Dame averaged 3.65 walks per nine innings in 2010 and 3.73 per nine innings combined in 2009 and 2010. The 3.82 free passes per nine innings in 2009 was the highest for an Irish staff since 1999.
  • Notre Dame has already posted 17 games with two issued walks or less and 12 outings with one free pass or less over its first 23 games. By comparison, the 2010 staff totaled 19 games with two issued walks or less and 15 with one free pass or less over the course of the entire season (54 games).
  • Dupra, Johnson, Miller, McIver and Norton, the five Irish pitchers to start in 2011, have walked only 29 in 157.1 innings of work over 23 starts. Dupra, Johnson and Miller did not walk a single batter in 22.2 innings of work at the Coca-Cola Classic in Rock Hill, S.C. In fact, the entire Irish staff walked only three (and one was intentional) in 35.0 innings of work that weekend.
  • 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.

    WALKING A TIGHTROPE -- Notre Dame has already played 10 games decided by one run in 2011. The Irish are 5-5 in those outings and it does not include Notre Dame's 3-3 (12 inning) tie with Gonzaga on March 20. Here is a look at all of the Irish one-run contests:

    Date (Opponent)	                Result
    Mar 29 (Central Michigan)	W, 3-2
    Mar 27 (Georgetown)	        L, 3-4
    Mar 26 (Georgetown)	        W, 1-0
    Mar 25 (Georgetown)	        W, 3-2
    Mar 17 (Iowa) 	                L, 3-4
    Mar 15 (UTSA)	                W, 5-4
    Mar 12 (Coastal Carolina)	L, 3-4
    Mar 05 (Manhattan) 	        W, 5-4
    Feb 26 (Seattle)	        L, 0-1
    Feb 18 (Michigan State)	        L, 0-2
    
  • Notre Dame has also played in three more games decided by two runs. In all, 14 of the 23 games for the Irish in 2011 have been decided by two runs or less.
  • Notre Dame played in 12 games decided by one run or less in 2010 (6-6) and four other games decided by two runs or less (2-2).

    PROBABLY GOING TO JINX IT, BUT -- Notre Dame has played one game this year that has exceeded three hours and it took 12 innings. The Irish and Gonzaga tied, 3-3, in 12 innings on March 20 in a game that lasted 3:18. Notre Dame has already played in 12 games this season that finished under two hours and 20 minutes, including two games at Winthrop, all three outings at Seattle and two of the three games last weekend against Georgetown.

  • The longest game of the series with the Redhawks was Friday's meeting, which lasted only two hours and 20 minutes. The final two games of the series took just one hour and 52 minutes and two hours and one minute to complete, respectively.
  • The first game of the doubleheader on Sat., Feb. 25, which lasted only one hour and 52 minutes, was the quickest nine-inning game for the Irish since Apr. 4, 2009 against Villanova. Notre Dame planked the Wildcats, 4-0, in one hour and 43 minutes.
  • Notre Dame's 23 games of 2011 have averaged out to a smidgen over 2:21 minutes in length.

    WHO SAID BASEBALL ENDS AFTER NINE INNINGS -- Notre Dame has already played four extra-inning games in 2011. Notre Dame had back-to-back extra-inning games on March 15 and 17 against UTSA and Iowa. The Irish had not participated in consecutive extra-inning games since May 27, 2001 when Notre Dame played in back-to-back 10 inning affairs on the same day of the South Bend NCAA Regional against FIU and UCSB.

    Not for the Faint of Heart -- Notre Dame and Seattle University played a three-game series on the campus of the University of Washington. The temperature never rose above freezing (32 degrees) at any point during any of the three games. In fact, the first pitch temperature of Saturday's opening game of the doubleheader was 23 degrees and the wind chill was 16 degrees.

  • The weather looks less than stellar this weekend, again, but the Irish should be accustomed to dipping temperatures. In addition to Notre Dame's series with Seattle, the game time temperatures of Notre Dame's recent five-game homestand only surpassed 37 degrees in one game.

    ON DECK -- Following this weekend's three-game series at Pittsburgh, Notre Dame opens a season-long eight-game homestand at 5:35 p.m. on Tuesday, Apr. 6 against Western Michigan.

    DUPRA AWFULLY GOOD EARLY -- Senior RHP Brian Dupra registered his only poor outing of the year on March 18 against Iowa, but rebounded with another stellar effort against Georgetown on March 25. He did not allow an earned run in 7.1 innings of work. Dupra struck out nine and walked two. He did scatter eight hits on the night, but kept the Hoyas scoreless until the seventh inning. Dupra worked into the seventh inning for the fourth time in six starts and registered his fifth quality start of 2011.

  • Dupra ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories:
    Category	       Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Home Runs Allowed      0 (t-1st)
    Strikeouts             44 (2nd)
    Strikeouts Looking     15 (3rd)
    ERA                    1.96 (5th)
    Pickoffs               2 (t-5th)
    Innings Pitched        41.1 (7th)
    Earned Runs Allowed    9 (t-8th)
    Runs Allowed           12 (t-9th)
    
  • Dupra was dominant in his two starts against Manhattan and Seattle. The co-captain struck out 10, did not issue a walk and allowed two earned runs in 8.0 innings against Manhattan on March 4. Dupra was the first Irish pitcher to register 10 or more strikeouts in back-to-back starts since David Phelps in 2007. He also was the first Notre Dame hurler to post 10 or more strikeouts in a game without a walk since Phelps in 2007.
  • Dupra picked up the victory in the series opener against Seattle on Feb. 25 and struck out a career-high 11. He blanked the Redhawks over 6.0 innings of work on just four hits. Dupra walked only one batter.
  • The 11 strikeouts were the most by an Irish pitcher since Steve Sabatino struck out 11 at Villanova on May 15, 2010. It was the most strikeouts by a Notre Dame right-handed pitcher since Phelps totaled 11 at Louisville on May 12, 2007. In fact, a Notre Dame pitcher, either right-handed or left-handed, has not posted more strikeouts in a game since Tom Thornton fanned 12 against Kent State on June 5, 2004. The last Irish righty to eclipse 11 strikeouts in a game was Chris Neisel (12 in relief vs. Ball State on May 5, 2004).
  • Dupra turned in a quality start 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.

    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 DOING HIS PART -- Senior RHP Cole Johnson carries a gaudy 2.09 ERA into this weekend's series at Pittsburgh, which ranks sixth-best in the BIG EAST. Despite quality starts in each of his six outings, Johnson owns just a 2-4 record. The righty has been handcuffed by minimal run. Notre Dame has scored a grand total of seven runs over Johnson's last five starts. The only game in which the Irish managed more than three runs of support for Johnson came on Feb. 19, when Notre Dame pounded out a season-high 25 hits and scored a season-high 19 runs. The Irish have scored one run of less in three of his six starts.

  • Senior Mick Doyle gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with an RBI single and Johnson pretty much did the rest as the Irish shut out Georgetown, 1-0, on March 26. He limited Georgetown to five hits, four of which were singles, in 8.0 shutout innings of work. Johnson struck out six and walked one. He retired 15 of the 18 Hoyas between the fourth and eighth innings. The only three Georgetown batters that reached base did so via a hit-by-pitch, infield single and bloop base hit to left field.
  • Johnson has tossed at least 7.0 innings in five straight starts and ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories:
    Category	        Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Home Runs Allowed	0 (t-1st)
    Innings Pitched	        43.0 (2nd)
    Strikeouts Looking	12 (t-5th)
    Strikeouts	        34 (6th)
    ERA	                2.09 (6th)
    Walks Allowed	        7 (t-7th)
    Opp. Batting Avg.	.215 (8th)
    
    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.

    MILLER MAKING THE MOST OF NEW ROLE -- Senior RHP Todd Miller made just two starts, and both were spot starts, over his first three years with Notre Dame. He predominantly served as a middle reliever and setup man before earning a spot in the weekend rotation this spring. Miller has recorded five quality starts in six outings to open 2011. He is 2-2 with a 3.24 ERA. Miller has struck out 23, walked six and allowed 37 hits in 41.2 innings of work (third-best in the BIG EAST).

  • Miller was charged with the loss in his last outing on March 27 against Georgetown. The starter was charged with four runs, all earned, on five hits in 6.1 innings. Miller fanned three and walked one. He was at the top of his game following a painful first inning, literally. Miller surrendered a leadoff double to Justin Leeson and Mike Garza followed with a missile back up the box that drilled Miller on the pitching hand. He managed to rebound and still record the out, but the ball left a serious welt on Miller's right hand. Leeson did advance to third on the liner and scored on Rand Ravnaas' ensuing sacrifice fly to give the Hoyas an early 1-0 lead. Erick Fernandez followed with a single and Dan Capeless lined another ball off Miller, this time off the leg, but Miller again was able to record the out. If either line drive hindered Miller, nobody could have noticed. He proceeded to retire the next 14 consecutive Georgetown batters before a meaningless one-out walk in the top of the sixth inning.
  • Miller ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories:
    Category	      Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Innings Pitched	      41.2 (t-4th)
    Walks Allowed	      6 (t-4th)
    
    DeSICO CONTINUES NEAR FLAWLESS PLAY AT SECOND BASE -- Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico has started 70 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 52:
    	        PO	A	E	FLD%
    First 18 games	33	51	5	.944
    Last 52 games	116	158	3	.989
    Total	        149	209	8	.978
    
  • The 70 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.

    JAGIELO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ORDER -- Freshman 1B/OF Eric Jagielo started at first base and batted third for the Irish in the season opener against Michigan State. He was 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 in a season opener since at least 1988. Irish records unfortunately do not have complete box scores prior to the '88 season.
  • Jagielo leads the Irish in runs scored (15), doubles (eight), triples (tied, one) and RBI (13). He is also hitting .371 (13-for-35) over the last 10 games for Notre Dame.

    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.
  • Petzold was the only Irish player to register a hit in each of the first six games this season. He has registered a hit in 17 of Notre Dame's 23 games.
  • Petzold had a career-best three hits in the victory over Central Michigan on March 29. He also drew a walk to reach base safely in each of his four plate appearances. Petzold added the eventual gamewinning RBI double.

    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 at the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. 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. Markson was available as a defensive replacement last weekend, while Norton was out. Both are fully cleared 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 30 runs over the last three seasons in a total of 142 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.

    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.

    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
    Mik Aoki	L, 1-2 vs. Michigan State	Feb. 18, 2011
    Dave Schrage	W, 15-7 vs. Prairie View A&M	Feb. 17, 2007
    Paul Mainieri	L, 6-10 vs. Texas	        Feb. 24, 1995
    Pat Murphy	W, 14-11 at Duke	        Feb. 25, 1988
    Larry Gallo	L, 7-8 at Delta State	        Mar. 16, 1981
    Tom Kelly	L, 3-4 vs. St. Bernard	        Mar. 14, 1976
    Jake Kline	L, 5-7 vs. Ohio State	        Apr. 13, 1934
    George Keogan	W, 4-3 at Georgia Tech	        Apr. 12, 1924
    Walter Halas	T, 3-3 vs. Wisconsin	        Apr. 15, 1921
    Gus Dorais	W, 4-3 vs. Wisconsin	        Apr. 19, 1919
    Jess Harper	W, 7-2 vs. Wisconsin	        Apr. 7, 1914
    
    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.

    Notre Dame On The Small Screen -- The Irish baseball team will make at least three national television appearances this spring. Notre Dame's series opener against West Virginia, which originally was scheduled at 5:35 p.m. ET on Fri., Apr. 15, will now take place at 7:00 p.m. ET and air on ESPNU. Notre Dame will travel to league foe Louisville to close the regular season and each of the final two games of the series will be featured on CBS College Sports. The first contest will air at 7:00 p.m. ET on Fri., May 20 (originally scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET), while the next meeting with the Cardinals will be broadcast at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sat., May 21.

  • ESPNU and CBS College Sports are each available to various cable sports-package subscribers.
  • What's more, the official Fighting Irish athletics web site (www.UND.com) is planning to produce free live webcasts of several home games that have not been picked up for commercial television broadcast.

    PLENTY OF WAYS TO FOLLOW THE IRISH -- Notre Dame baseball fans will have several options for tracking the 2011 season on a game-by-game basis, through live streaming video (Notre Dame home games only), live-audio broadcasts, Live Blogs, GameTracker live stats, free Irish Alert text messages and the Notre Dame/Notre Dame baseball Twitter & Facebook 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 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 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 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 and some select road contests.
  • 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.

    -- ND --
     

     

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