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    Irish Baseball Heads To Queen City, Cincinnati

    FIGHTING IRISH Sophomore Cole Johnson will look to throw his third consecutive complete game on Thursday night in the series opener.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Sophomore Cole Johnson will look to throw his third consecutive complete game on Thursday night in the series opener.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    April 8, 2009

    Notre Dame vs. Cincinnati
    Records:
    Irish (19-10, 5-4 BIG EAST) vs. Bearcats (14-14, 3-6 BIG EAST)
    When: Thur., Apr. 9 - 6:30 p.m.
    Fri., Apr. 10 - 6:30 p.m.
    Sat., Apr. 11 - 1:00 p.m.
    Where: Marge Schott Stadium - Cincinnati, Ohio
    Pitching Matchup: ND: RHP Cole Johnson (4-0, 2.40)
    UC: RHP Billy Welsh (0-0, 6.65)
    ND: RHP Brian Dupra (3-3, 5.01)
    UC: LHP Brian Garman (3-3, 7.68)
    ND: RHP Eric Maust (3-2, 5.93)
    UC: RHP Michael Hill (0-3, 7.91)
    Game Notes:

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    Coverage: Thursday:
    GameTracker | Audio
    Friday:
    GameTracker | Audio
    Saturday:
    GameTracker | Audio

    IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame returns to BIG EAST action this weekend with a three-game series against Cincinnati at Marge Schott Stadium. First pitch for Thursday's opener is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., while Friday's game will begin at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday's finale is slated for 1:00 p.m. All three games can be heard on WHME 103.1 FM as well as UND.com.

    CINCINNATI INSIDER -- The Bearcats come into the series with the Irish losers in six of their last seven games, but did manage to salvage the final game of their series with Louisville last weekend (the victory snapped Cincinnati's season-high six-game losing streak). The Bearcats dropped the first two games of the series with the Cardinals, 13-3 and 12-7, before rallying for a 10-9 victory last Sunday. Cinci trailed both 5-0 and 8-6. The Bearcats have also dropped two of three against other BIG EAST foes Rutgers and Pittsburgh. Cincinnati did take three of four from both Bradley and Western Michigan.

    SCOUTING THE BEARCATS -- Cincinnati, led by 13th year head coach Brian Cleary, enter the series with a 14-14 overall record and 3-6 mark in BIG EAST play.

  • The Bearcats are averaging 7.1 runs per game and hitting .282 with a .381 on-base percentage. Cincinnati has also totaled 17 stolen bases in 27 attempts.
  • The Bearcats have three everyday players that are hitting over .300, but also have a pair batting below .240. Lance Durham leads the attack with a team-best .427 batting average. He has added 20 runs scored, a team-high 47 hits and 19 walks. Durham also has five doubles, four home runs, 28 RBI and a .511 on-base percentage. Mike Spina is hitting .342 with 27 runs scored, 38 hits, two doubles, 11 home runs and 38 RBI. Justin Riddell is batting .324 with seven doubles, a triple, four home runs and 15 RBI. He has also added 22 runs scored. Jamel Scott is hitting .273 with 25 runs scored, 30 hits, five doubles, one triple, 11 RBI and team-high eight stolen bases. Cameron Satterwhite is batting just .216 with 10 doubles, five home runs and 19 RBI, but has also struck out 36 times. Cincinnati has hit 33 home runs this season as a team and has struck out 230 times.
  • The pitching staff has a 6.65 ERA and .319 opponents' batting average along with 208 strikeouts and 94 walks in 246.1 innings. Jake Geglein is 2-1 with a 3.78 ERA in 13 appearances over 16.2 innings, while Brian Sand (0-0, 3.65), Dan Jensen (2-1, 3.71), Andrew Burkett (1-2, 5.84) and Dan Glozer (2-0, 6.39) are other options out of the Bearcats' bullpen. Cincinnati has committed 42 errors in 28 games and is fielding .962.

    SERIES NOTES -- Notre Dame and Cincinnati have met 32 times on the diamond, with the Irish holding a 20-12 lead in the series dating back to the 1948 season.

  • Last year at Notre Dame, Cincinnati took two of the three games. The Irish and Bearcats split a doubleheader on Saturday, 3-5, 4-3 (Friday meeting was rained out). The Bearcats then held off the Irish, 4-3, in the series finale.
  • In 2007 at Cincinnati, the Bearcats won two of three games, including wins by identical scores of 4-3 and 4-3 before Notre Dame won the third game, 9-5. It marked the first ever meeting between the two schools as members of the BIG EAST Conference. The Irish had captured the previous seven meetings and 13 of 16.
  • Six of the last 10 meetings have been decided by just a single run and one more by two runs and another by three runs.
  • The Bearcats hold a 9-8 lead over the Irish in games played at Cincinnati.
  • Dave Schrage has a 2-4 record against Cincinnati as Notre Dame's head coach. Schrage was 0-4 against the Bearcats as Northern Illinois' head coach, meaning he has a 2-8 all-time record against Cincinnati.

    TALE OF THE TAPE (2009 STATS)

                                        Notre Dame      Cincinnati
    Batting Average                           .311            .282
    Runs Per Game                              6.8             7.1
    Home Runs                                   18              33
    Slugging Percentage                       .435            .452
    Batters' BB+HBP-K Margin                    +4             -68
    On-Base Percentage                        .400            .381
    Stolen Bases                             36-53           17-27
    Team ERA                                  4.75            6.65
    Opponent Batting Average                  .261            .319
    Pitchers' K-BB Ratio                       1.4             2.2
    Pitchers' Ks Per 9 Innings                 5.8             7.6
    Pitchers' BB Per 9 Innings                 4.1             3.4
    Fielding Pct. (Errors)               .966 (38)       .962 (42)
    Double Plays Turned                         21              19
    Record at Home                             8-3            10-7
    Record on Road (including neutral)        11-7             4-7
    Record in One-Run Games                    4-2             3-2
    Record in Extra Innings                    1-0             0-0
    

    PROBABLE POSITION STARTERS

    Pos.	# Player	B-T	Cl.	GP-GS	Avg.	HR	RBI
    C	Cam McConnell	R-R	So.	26-22	.288	2	20
    Served as the primary backup catcher last season; 10 of 20 RBI have either tied the game or given the Irish the lead
    -or-	Matt Scioscia	R-R	So.	16-12	.222	1	10
    Son of former major league catcher and current manager of L.A. Angels Mike Scioscia
    1B	Casey Martin	R-R	Jr.	24-9	.325	1	7
    Starts predominantly vs. LHP; picked up first career four-hit game against UTPA (3.15)
    -or-	David Casey	L-L	So.	16-8	.371	0	8
    Will start predominantly vs. RHP; career-best three hits and four RBI against Toledo (4.1)
    2B	Mick Doyle	R-R	So.	21-17	.271	0	9
    Athletic player that can play any infield position
    -or-	Ryne Intlekofer	R-R	Jr.	18-11	.256	1	8
    Opened season as starting 2B after exceptional fall season; home run, triple and two RBI against Pitt (3.29)
    3B	Greg Sherry	R-R	So.	28-28	.363	0	10
    Spent most of 2008 in the nine-hole; was first ND player to hit over .300 in that spot of the order since `04
    SS	Jeremy Barnes	R-R	Sr.	29-29	.346	6	37
    Four-year starter (last three at 2B); named All-BIG EAST 2nd team in `06
    LF	Golden Tate	L-L	So.	27-27	.336	0	7
    Two-sport standout led ND football team in rec. (58), rec. yds (1,080), rec. TDs (10) and total TDs (11) in `08
    CF	A.J. Pollock	R-R	Jr.	29-29	.370	4	28
    Led ND in hitting in `07 and `08; preseason Baseball America first team All-American in `09; `08 Cape Cod League MVP
    RF	David Mills	L-L	Jr.	26-25	.370	1	18
    Two-way player that doubles as situational lefty in Irish bullpen; all-BIG EAST first team in `08
    -or-	Brayden Ashdown	R-R	Jr.	16-4	.294	0	7
    Played in 76 career games and started 33; registered clutch pinch-hit 2-run 1B and go-ahead RBI 1B against Purdue (2.22)
    DH	Matt Scioscia	R-R	So.	16-12	.222	1	10
    Son of former major league catcher and current manager of L.A. Angels Mike Scioscia
    -or-	Evan Sharpley	L-R	Sr.	22-17	.189	1	3
    Led Irish in home runs last season (20th player in ND history to hit 10+ homers); ranked fourth in the BIG EAST
    -or-	Matt Grosso	L-L	Jr.	17-9	.171	1	4
    High school teammate of A.J. Pollock; started career at Maine before transferring to UConn before transferring again to ND
    

    ON DECK -- After this weekend's series, Notre Dame will face Western Michigan on Tuesday, April 14 at C.O. Brown Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Irish will then travel to U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago to play Northwestern on Wednesday, April 15. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m. Notre Dame will then host West Virginia in a three-game BIG EAST series over Blue-Gold weekend.

    RANKINGS -- Notre Dame and Cincinnati are unranked in each of the four polls.

    FREEBIES UPDATE -- Over his years as a head coach, Notre Dame skipper Dave Schrage has utilized a formula to measure how many free bases a team allows during a given year. The formula adds walks allowed, errors, stolen bases allowed, hit batters, wild pitches, passed balls, and balks and divides that total by the number of games played. In 2007, the Irish allowed nearly 8.7 "freebies" per game. By comparison, Notre Dame's 2006 team allowed just 6.2 per game en route to totaling 45 wins. The Irish made tremendous strides a year ago, allowing just 7.4 per game.

  • Notre Dame took two of three games in the season opening weekend despite a below-par performance in terms of "freebies." The Irish walked 12 batters and hit four more en route to an average of 8.7 per game.
  • Ironically, the Irish dropped two of three games last weekend despite a positive performance in terms of "freebies." The Irish walked just four batters en route to an average of 5.7 per game.
  • Notre Dame captured 10 of 12 games (March 6-20), but the "freebies" formula would not be consistent with the Irish success. Notre Dame averaged 8.1 per game over the stretch.
  • Notre Dame has dropped both of its BIG EAST series against Seton Hall and Pittsburgh. The Irish struggled mightily with "freebies." Notre Dame is averaging 9.7 "freebies" per game, while the Pirates and Panthers averaged just 6.7.
  • Notre Dame was just about as good as possible in the "freebie" department in the series sweep of Villanova. The Irish issued only 11 "freebies" over the entire weekend -- good for a 3.7 average per game (down almost 5.0 per game from what Notre Dame averaged entering the series).
    Freebies	2009	       2008	       2007	       2006
    Walks Allowed	 116	        178	        191	        170
    Errors	          38	         54	         83	         68
    SB Allowed	  33	         62	         73	         65
    Hit Batters	  28	         47	         61	         50
    Wild Pitches	  18	         35	         45	         23
    Passed Balls	   1	          8	         27	          6
    Balks	           1	          9	          5	          7
    TOTAL	235 (8.1/gm)   393 (7.4/gm)    485 (8.7/gm)    389 (6.2/gm)
    

    AROUND THE HORN ­--

  • RBI BY COMMITTEE: Notre Dame has six players with 10 or more RBI, but have 12 in the order with at least seven RBI.
  • IN THE CLUTCH: The Irish are batting .322 with runners in scoring position (.328 in 2008), led by sophomore David Casey (.600, 6-for-10), junior A.J. Pollock (.368, 14-for-38), sophomore Mick Doyle (.353, 6-for-15), junior David Mills (.364, 12-for-33), junior Casey Martin (.412, 7-for-17), sophomore Cameron McConnell (.310, 9-for-29) and senior Jeremy Barnes (.457, 21-for-46).
  • RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME: Notre Dame is hitting .346 (168-for-485) with runners on base, but just .276 (134-for-486) with the bases empty.
  • CONTROLLING THE RUNNING GAME: Notre Dame sophomore catcher Cameron McConnell might be the most improved player on the Irish roster this season. Not only does McConnell have two home runs and 20 RBI, third best on the club, but also he has already thrown out 13 base stealers. In fact, opponents have only recorded 23 stolen bases in 36 attempts (.639) against McConnell. Notre Dame's catchers last season, Sean Gaston and McConnell, only pegged 10 the entire year.
  • TEAM NOTES: Notre Dame is 13-2 this season when scoring six or more runs and 6-8 when scoring five or fewer runs ... the Irish are now 14-2 when scoring the game's first run, but 5-8 when the opponent scores first ... Notre Dame is 17-0 when taking a lead to the ninth inning despite being outscored 18-10 in the ninth inning ... the Irish are 13-2 when holding their opponent to five runs or less, but just 6-8 when the foe scores more than five runs ... Notre Dame is 15-1 when out hitting its opponent and 3-6 when out-hit ... Interestingly, the Irish are 15-7 when committing an error and 4-3 when not committing an error.
  • INDIVIDUAL NOTES: Senior Jeremy Barnes leads Notre Dame with 37 RBI, which also ranks fifth in the BIG EAST ... no Irish player reached the 37 RBI mark until the 40th game in 2008 (A.J. Pollock) ... the 37 RBI are the most for a Notre Dame player over the first 29 games of the season since Matt Edwards had 44 to open the 2005 season ... Barnes is on pace for 71 RBI in the regular season, which would rank tied for seventh in Irish single-season school history ... Junior A.J. Pollock ranks second on the Irish in batting average (.368) ... if he were to win the Notre Dame batting title against in 2009, Pollock would be the second Irish player to ever win three straight team batting titles ... Pollock's career .363 batting average ranks ninth best in school history ... Sophomore Cameron McConnell might be the most improved player on the Notre Dame roster in 2009 ... he ranks third on the team with 20 RBI ... even more impressive, of McConnell's 20 RBI, 10 have either tied the game or given the Irish the lead ... Sophomore Golden Tate, who had a career-high nine-game winning streak snapped against Oakland on March 25, opened the year with hits in five consecutive games (so he has a hit in 22 of his 27 starts) ... Tate has also reached base in 24 of his 27 starts ... Junior David Mills also had a nine-game hit streak snapped against Oakland ... he has recorded a hit in 54 of his 67 career games started.

    DUPRA, DOING MORE -- Sophomore RHP Brian Dupra had his best outing as a collegiate pitcher last week against Villanova. The Rochester, N.Y. native was named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week for his efforts. He tossed a three-hit shutout with no walks and a career-high tying six strikeouts to lead the Irish past Villanova, 4-0, on April 4. Dupra also became the first Notre Dame pitcher to throw a complete game shutout in over two years. Former All-American David Phelps was the last to accomplish the feat, blanking South Florida 1-0 at Eck Stadium on March 23, 2007. Dupra needed just 108 pitches to finish off the Wildcats. The righty retired the first 14 Villanova batters on just 48 pitches before allowing a single with two outs in the fifth inning. Dupra proceeded to retire the next five before allowing a double in the seventh (which was the furthest any Villanova hitter reached on base the entire afternoon). He did surrender another double in the ninth, but that was it for the Wildcats. Dupra was so dominant that he worked with a three-ball count just twice the entire afternoon and the first did not come until the fifth inning. He faced just four over the minimum on the afternoon (he also plunked one batter). Dupra's complete game effort without a walk was the first for an Irish pitcher since Tom Thorton's complete game no free pass outing against Southern Illinois on March 18, 2006.

    COLE FAR FROM COLD -- Sophomore starting pitcher Cole Johnson had a phenomenal fall season that pushed him to the front of the Irish rotation. However, his status at the beginning of the year was in question after a bike accident on campus. Johnson was riding his bike to class when he lost control on a patch of ice. He landed on his throwing shoulder, leaving him out for nearly an entire month (January), but Johnson rehabilitated and has established himself as the one of the starters in the BIG EAST. He enters this weekend with a 4-0 record and a 2.40 earned run average. Johnson has struck out 30, walked 17 and allowed only 29 hits in 45.0 innings of work (opponents are hitting just .191 against him). Johnson has tossed at least 6.0 innings in each of this last five starts, including 6.0 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball against Oral Roberts on March 6 and back-to-back complete game victories over Pittsburgh on March 27 and Villanova on April 3. He could become the first Irish pitcher to toss three straight CGs since Dan Kapala in 2005 (West Virginia, Pittsburgh and St. John's).

  • Johnson allowed just two earned runs in his first career complete game victory to lead the Irish past Pittsburgh, 5-4. He was the first opposing pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game at Trees Field since May 13, 2006. Johnson kept the high powered Pittsburgh attack grounded for much of the afternoon. The Panthers entered the contest hitting .321 as a team and averaging 8.5 runs per game. In fact, Pittsburgh was even more impressive over its first four home games, plating nearly 10 runs a game, but Johnson was in control from the opening pitch. The right-handed hurler scattered seven hits, issued just two walks and struck out four. Johnson became the first Notre Dame pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game since David Phelps went the distance against Villanova on May 23, 2007. With Notre Dame holding a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Panthers took advantage of a pair of Irish errors, plated two unearned runs and had the tying run in scoring position, but Johnson escaped the jam with the Irish still clinging to a one run lead, 5-4, and proceeded to retire the final seven Panthers of the game.
  • Johnson threw his second consecutive complete game, and the Irish scored all three of their runs in the first inning to defeat the Villanova Wildcats, 3-1, on April 3. Johnson became the first Irish pitcher since Dan Kapala in 2005 to throw back-to-back complete games. Johnson cruised through the first three innings, retiring the first nine batters on only 35 pitches with three strikeouts. Johnson gave up one run on seven hits, striking out five and walking just one. Johnson has now thrown at least seven innings in four consecutive starts and is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his past five outings.

    NOW THAT'S STARTING PITCHING -- Notre Dame's pitching staff entered last weekend averaging just a little over 5.1 innings per start, but the weekend rotation of sophomore Cole Johnson, sophomore Brian Dupra and junior Eric Maust all worked into the ninth inning. In fact, Maust nearly followed Johnson and Dupra with a third straight complete game victory. He fell just two outs shy of his first career 9.0 inning complete game. The Irish were forced to use just four pitchers the entire series with Villanova.

  • Sophomores Cole Johnson and Brian Dupra become the first Irish pitchers to throw complete games in back-to-back games since Tom Thornton went the distance on April 22, 2005, and Dan Kapala repeated the effort on April 25.

    LIGHTS OUT -- Notre Dame approached numerous pitching records in the three-game series sweep of Villanova. The Irish posted a 1.33 earned run average and limited the Wildcats to a .172 batting average. Villanova managed just four runs (all earned) the entire weekend.The four runs were tied for the fourth fewest ever allowed by a Notre Dame pitching staff over a three-game BIG EAST series. Even more impressive,all of the previous series marks for fewest runs, with the exception of last season's sweep of Georgetown, included a seven-inning game (BIG EAST used to play a seven-inning game as the first game of a doubleheader).

  • Ironically, three of the top eight series for fewest earned runs allowed have come against Villanova (2006, 2008 and 2009).
    Fewest Runs Allowed Over BIG EAST Series (3 games)
    2   at Georgetown      2008
    2   vs Georgetown      1997
    3   vs Seton Hall      1996
    4   vs Villanova       2009
    4   at Villanova       2008
    4   vs Seton Hall      2001
    4   vs Rutgers         2004
    4   at Villanova       2006
    5   at St. John's      2001
    5   at West Virginia   2004
    5   vs West Virginia   2005
    

    IRISH FINDING THEIR HOME RUN STROKE -- Notre Dame entered the series against Pittsburgh with just eight home runs over its first 22 games. In fact, the Irish hit only four long balls over their first 18 games.

  • Notre Dame exploded for six home runs in the series with the Panthers, including a season-best four in Sunday's finale. The four home runs were the most in a single game by Notre Dame since April 21, 2007 against West Virginia.
  • The Irish continued the stretch of long ball success with three solo shots in the 4-0 victory over Villanova on April 4.
  • Notre Dame has hit 10 home runs over its last seven games and 14 over the last 11 games.

    SHINING UNDER THE GOLDEN DOME -- Sophomore Golden Tate blossomed into one of the most improved wide receivers in the country this past fall. He led the Irish in receptions (58), receiving yards (1,080), receiving touchdowns (10) and total touchdowns (11). Tate ranked tied for 83rd in the NCAA FBS in receptions per game (4.46), 28th in receiving yards per game (83.08), 22nd in total receiving yards (1,080) and tied for 16th in receiving touchdowns (10). He became the fifth Irish wideout (sixth time) to ever eclipse 1,000 yards in a single season. Tate recorded 1,754 all-purpose yards (third-most in Notre Dame history), the most by an Irish player since Tim Brown in 1987.

  • Tate has made a similar impact on the diamond this spring. After playing in 18 games, including nine starts, and hitting .262 with three doubles, four RBI and three stolen bases in 2008, Tate has emerged as one of the top leadoff hitters in the BIG EAST Conference. He is batting .336 with five doubles, a triple and seven RBI. Tate also is a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases. He carried a career-best nine game hitting streak into the March 25 matchup with Oakland, but went 0-for-3. The nine-game hitting streak was tied with senior Jeremy Barnes and junior David Mills (also ended against Oakland) for the second-longest by a Notre Dame player this season. Junior A.J. Pollock posted a 10-game hitting streak.

    NOTRE DAME LOVES ITS R & R -- Freshman reliever and South Bend native Ryan Richter has not wasted much time in making an impact for his hometown Irish. Richter, who missed most of his senior season with an injury, has made five appearances for Notre Dame and sports a 3-0 record with a 1.38 earned run average in 13.0 innings of work. He has yielded 11 hits and five walks, along with 10 strikeouts, while opponents are batting just .220 against him. Richter attended St. Joseph's High School, mere minutes from the Notre Dame campus. He could become the 21st South Bend native to monogram with the Irish baseball team and seventh from St. Joe, including the likes of Matt Nussbaum (1999-00), Tony Zappia (1970-71), Marty DeGraff (1993-94), Joe Kernan (1967-68), Nick Mainieri (2004-05) and Michael McNeill (1985).

    SHERRY QUITE MERRY LATELY -- Sophomore Greg Sherry had a solid rookie campaign in 2008. The third baseman batted .315 with two home runs and 14 RBI, primarily hitting out of the Irish nine-spot. In fact, Sherry was first Notre Dame player to hit over .300 in that spot of the order since 2004, but he has taken his game to another level. Sherry is third on the team with a .363 batting average. He had exploded recently with three consecutive multi-hit games, a .476 batting average over a five-game stretch and .425 average over a 10-game span before going hitless in seven at bats last weekend against Villanova.

    AS BARNES GOES, SO GO THE IRISH -- Notre Dame senior Jeremy Barnes has had a remarkable start to the 2009 season. Barnes is hitting .346 with seven doubles, five triples, six home runs and 37 RBI, but his performance in victories is even more impressive. Barnes leads the Irish with a .451 batting average (32-for-71), .789 slugging percentage and .529 on-base percentage in their 19 victories. On the other hand, he is hitting just .139 (5-for-36) with a .444 slugging percentage and .262 on-base percentage in Notre Dame's 10 losses. In fact, the Irish are 18-4 when Barnes has a hit and 10-1 when he has a multi-hit affair.

    MILLS MAKES MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS FROM THE BUMP -- Notre Dame junior David Mills got plenty of recognition in 2008 for his efforts at the plate. The outfielder was named first team all-BIG EAST after hitting .349 with six triples, two home runs and 26 RBI. However, Mills did not experience the same type success on the mound. He went 1-0 in 11 relief appearances, but posted a 6.23 ERA and opponents batted .450 against him. In 2009, Mills has not only continued his tear at the plate, but has become a reliable option out of the Notre Dame bullpen. He is 1-0 with a 1.04 ERA in six relief appearances. Mills has struck out six, walked three and surrendered six hits in 8.2 innings of work. In fact, opponents are batting just .200 against him.

    SLINGING Sam Elam -- Senior Sam Elam has experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows over his career with the Irish. Elam, considered the top-pitching prospect in the entire BIG EAST conference following the summer of 2007, made just one appearance in 2008 dealing with major control problems. He walked four, uncorked three wild pitches and allowed two earned runs on no hits in 1.0 inning. This from the same pitcher that took a no-hitter into the eighth inning (two outs) against Purdue on April 18, 2007. Elam went the distance that night and blanked the Boilermakers on just one hit with nine strikeouts. He has shown signs of regaining the form of 2006 and 2007. Elam fanned a pair in his scoreless inning of work against Dayton on Feb. 28 and tossed 3.0 more effective innings of relief against Central Michigan on March 24. The southpaw allowed just a pair of infield hits and one earned run, but struck out five and walked two. The outing was Elam's longest of the season and longest since going 4.1 innings on April 24, 2007 against Rutgers.

    FRESHMEN ARMS ACTING FAR FROM IT -- Notre Dame entered this season with tremendous depth in its pitching staff and much of it was due in part to a large contingent of freshmen. LHP Ryan Richter, LHP Dustin Ispas, RHP Will Hudgins, LHP Steve Sabatino and LHP Joe Spano have each made their respective contributions early in 2009. The quintet owns a combined 5-2 record with a 4.18 ERA in 71.0 innings of work and opponents are batting .279 against the group.

    IF ONLY AN INNING ENDED WITH TWO OUTS -- Notre Dame had allowed 37 runs and a .220 batting average (39-for-177) with two outs over its first 17 games, but Seton Hall registered 19 runs, 16 RBI and a .440 batting average (22-for-50) with two outs over the three-game series.

  • In fact, 15 of those runs and 13 of those two out RBI came over the last two games of the series. The Pirates also hit .486 (18-for-37) with two down in Saturday and Sunday's victories.
  • It was déjà-vu all over again against Central Michigan. After Notre Dame plated three runs in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 3-0 lead, the Chippewas followed with six runs in the top of the second inning. The six runs were not only all unearned, but also all scored with two outs.
  • Over those four games, Notre Dame's opponents plated an astounding 28 runs with two outs. In fact, the Irish had allowed 35 two-out RBI over their first 18 games, but surrendered 23 in those four contests.

    FIGHTING FOR A CURE -- Senior Ryan Connolly has faced adversity over his career at Notre Dame. The outfielder/catcher has seen limited playing time over the past two years due to a reoccurring shoulder injury -- an injury that caused him to miss his entire freshman season in 2006. But, this adversity all pails in comparison to what Connolly faced in 2002 as a 15-year old sophomore in high school.

  • Connolly's father, Michael, passed away after a two-year battle with lung cancer despite never smoking a cigarette over his entire life. Connolly, and his mother Penny, along with the assistance of Dr. Leslie Kohman (Michael's surgeon), began the Michael E. Connolly Endowment for Lung Cancer Research.
  • The goal was to raise $500,000. The Connollys and the Board of Directors are responsible for all the groundwork fundraising efforts. After just three years of diligently collecting pledges and hosting golf tournaments and other fundraising events, they reached their goal. The Connolly Endowment issued its first grant of $10,000, which was then matched by the Hendrick's Fund at Upstate Medical University, to a group of researchers trying to determine if lung cancer patients who had surgery would also benefit from a cancer-inhibiting drug.
     

     

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