IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame returns to BIG EAST action this
weekend with a three-game series against
Villanova at Frank Eck Stadium. First pitch
for Friday's opener is scheduled for 5:05
p.m., while Saturday's game will begin at
1:05 p.m. and Sunday's finale is slated for
12:05 p.m. All three games can be heard on
WHME 103.1 FM as well as UND.com
(which will also provide live webcasts).
VILLANOVA INSIDER -- The
Panthers come into the series with the Irish
riding a two-game winning streak. Villanova
routed Coppin State, 21-3, on Wednesday
night after racing past Temple, 14-10, on
Tuesday. The Wildcats dropped two of three
last weekend to West Virginia after getting
swept by St. John's to open the BIG EAST
campaign. Villanova did, however, own an
eight-game winning streak heading into
that series with the Red Storm.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS --
Villanova, led by eighth year head coach Joe
Godri, enter the series with a 14-12 overall
record and 1-5 mark in BIG EAST play.
The Wildcats are averaging 7.3 runs per
game and hitting .295 with a .409 on-base
percentage. Villanova has also totaled 58 stolen bases in 74 attempts.
The Wildcats have five everyday players that are hitting over .300, but
also have three everyday players batting below .240. Matt Szczur leads the
attack with a team-best .400 batting average. He has added 24 runs
scored, a team-high 36 hits and team-best 14 stolen bases. Szczur also has
four doubles, a triple, home run and 12 RBI. David Korczirka is hitting
.397 with 13 runs scored, 29 hits, eight doubles, two triples, a home run
and 21 RBI. Matt McFolling is batting .388 and leads Villanova with 25
RBI and three home runs. He has also added 21 runs scored, seven doubles
and two triples. Dain Hall and Joe Cotter are the final two Wildcats
hitting above .300. Hall owns a .319 batting average, while Cotter is hitting
.318. Hall leads Villanova with 10 doubles and 25 runs scored. Cotter
leads the Wildcats with four triples. The tandem has swiped 19 bases (10
for Hall and nine for Cotter). Villanova has hit just 11 home runs this season
as a team and has struck out 178 times.
The pitching staff has a 5.50 ERA and .293 opponents' batting average
along with 165 strikeouts and 103 walks in 224.0 innings pitched.
Mike Francisco is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 13 appearances over 22.0
innings, while Will Hebard (0-0, 6.43), Kyle McMyne (1-2, 8.53),
Thomas Tesauro (1-1, 8.71), Kyle Carver (0-0, 9.35) and Jerry Battipaglia
(0-0, 9.64) are other options out of the Wildcats' bullpen. Villanova has
committed 28 errors in 26 games and is fielding .972.
SERIES NOTES -- Notre Dame has won 25 of 29 previous games
against Villanova (13-1-1 over the last 15 meetings), with the Irish owning
a 13-0-1 mark against the Wildcats at Frank Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame is 8-1 all-time against Villanova at Villanova Ballpark
(moved from Ashburn Field after the 2002 season).
The Irish beat the Wildcats in a 1996 BIG EAST Tournament elimination
game (7-3), but Villanova posted a pair of tournament wins over
Notre Dame in 1997 (10-5, 4-4).
The Wildcats again were a thorn in the Irish side come BIG EAST
Tournament in 2007, slipping past Notre Dame, 3-2, in an elimination
The Irish swept Villanova in 2006 and 2008 at Villanova Ballpark in
Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
Notre Dame also took 2-of-3 from the Wildcats in 2003 in Plymouth
Meeting, with that series starting a day late due to wet field conditions.
The late finish of the first game then pushed the rest of the series to
a rare Monday doubleheader.