Notre Dame vs. Rutgers
Frank Eck Stadium
Notre Dame, Indiana
Game-1, Friday (5:05 p.m.)
RHP Brian Dupra (2-2, 5.01 ERA) vs. RHP Jerry Elsing (2-0, 3.20 ERA)
Game-2, Saturday (1:05 p.m.)
LHP Steve Sabatino (2-3, 5.05 ERA) vs. RHP Casey Gaynor (3-3, 5.70 ERA)
Game-3, Sunday (12:05 p.m.)
TBA vs. LHP Dan O'Neill (1-0, 5.90 ERA)
Live Game Coverage
Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp); UND.com
Live Stats: UND.com
For complete notes, see the PDF listed above.
IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame will host Rutgers in a three-game BIG EAST series this weekend at Frank Eck Stadium. First pitch for Friday's series opener at Jake Kline Field is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. Saturday's contest will get underway at 1:05 p.m., while Sunday's series finale is slated to begin at 12:05 p.m. All three contests will be broadcast on WHME 103.1 FM and UND.com. Saturday and Sunday's games will also be streamed live on UND.com.
RUTGERS INSIDER -- The Scarlet Knights, led by 27th year head coach Fred Hill, enter the series with a 15-12 overall record, 5-1 mark in BIG EAST action and having lost two of their last three.
Rutgers is averaging 7.3 runs per game and hitting .291 with a .372 on-base percentage. The Scarlet Knights have also totaled 40 stolen bases in 51 attempts.
Rutgers has six everyday players that are hitting over .300. Steve Nyisztor leads the team, batting at a .375 clip with 8 doubles and 21 RBIs. Pat Biserta is the main power threat with a team-leading 10 home runs to go with a .339 batting average and 30 RBIs. Brandon Boykin and Jayson Hernandez are tied for third on the club, each batting .333. Boykin has added 17 RBIs and four round-trippers, in addition to leading the team with nine stolen bases on 11 attempts, while Hernandez is second on the roster with a .412 on-base percentage. Ryan Knapp is hitting .327, while slugging .618 thanks to 10 extra-base hits on the campaign. Rounding out the offensive leaders is Michael Lang, who bats .315, while reaching base at a .394 clip.
The pitching staff has a 6.84 ERA and .330 opponents' batting average along with 159 strikeouts and 124 walks in 231.2 innings. The weekend rotation for the Scarlet Knights will be made up of Jerry Elsing (2-0, 2 starts), Casey Gaynor (3-3, 7 starts) and Dan O'Neill (1-0, 4 starts). Gaynor leads the team in ERA (among pitchers who have qualified with 1 IP/game), with a 5.70 mark to go along with 13 walks and 28 strikeouts in 42.2 innings. O'Neill is right behind Gaynor with a 5.90 ERA, 13 walks and 15 strikeouts in 29.0 innings. Elsing comes in sporting a 3.20 ERA. In 19.2 innings, he has walked nine and notched 15 strikeouts. Tyler Gebler is the Rutgers closer. The stopper has made 14 appearances and recorded six saves, while recording a 1.84 ERA, striking out nine and walking four in 14.2 innings.
Rutgers has committed 31 errors in 27 games and is fielding .968.
RUTGERS-NOTRE DAME ALL-TIME SERIES -- Notre Dame holds a 28-16 series edge against Rutgers (14-4 at Notre Dame, 9-7 at Rutgers and 5-5 at the BIG EAST Tournament). The Irish swept the Scarlet Knights in Notre Dame over a three-game series in 2008. Notre Dame also took two of three from the eventual BIG EAST regular season champ in 2007. Notre Dame has actually swept each of the last three series with Rutgers in Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish took all three in the 2006 series (11-5, 15-3, 14-12) and 2004 series (1-0, 7-1, 5-3). The teams met six times in both 2002 (Notre Dame won four) and 2003 (3-3). The BIG EAST Tournament series history between the teams includes title games won by Rutgers in 1998 and by Notre Dame in 2002 and 2003. The series has featured its share of blowouts (12 games decided by eight-plus runs), tense finishes (21 decided by 1-2 runs, with 13 won by Notre Dame) and shutouts (Notre Dame 2, Rutgers 3). The 12 previous Notre Dame-Rutgers season series include eight won by Notre Dame and three by Rutgers (split in 1999, rained out in 1998).
ON DECK -- After Notre Dame hosts Rutgers this weekend for three games, the Irish conclude their seven-game homestand with a pair of non-confernce titlts against Chicago State and IPFW on April 13 and 14 (both are scheduled to start at 6:05 p.m.).
RANKINGS -- Notre Dame, as well as Rutgers, are both unranked in all four polls.
AROUND THE HORN --
LOTS-O-LINEUPS: Notre Dame's first 27 games have featured 25 different batting orders.
YOUR UP: 12 different Irish players have already started at least 10 games this season.
IT'S ALL ABOUT HITS: Notre Dame is 9-2 when it out-hits its opponent, but 1-13 when out-hit.
DeSICO LOVES SOUTHPAWS: Freshman second baseman Frank Desico continues to feast on left-handed pitching. The second baseman is now batting .591 (13-for-22) on the season against southpawks.
MILLS SACRIFICES FOR TEAM: Senior outfielder David Mills had two sacrifice flies in the victory over Oakland on April 6, which moved him into fifth place in Notre Dame history for total sacrifices in a career with 39 (28 sacrifice flies, 11 sacrifice bunts).
ND SACRIFICES: The Irish finished with four sac flies against Oakland, bringing their BIG EAST-leading total to 21 (school record is 41, in 2002).
RECAPPING THE GEORGETOWN SERIES - The Notre Dame baseball team finished last week with a 1-2 record after its BIG EAST weekend series at Georgetown. The Irish rallied from a five-run deficit in the top of the ninth inning to tie the score, 9-9, only to have the Hoyas answer with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to secure a 10-9 victory in the opener. Notre Dame responded with a 12-8 triumph on Friday to even the series. The Irish battled back from an early 7-0 deficit, drew within two runs, 9-7, and brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning, but four errors and three unearned runs proved to be too much to overcome as Georgetown held on for a 11-7 victory in the series finale.
Notre Dame hit .287 as a team over the weekend. Leading the way at the plate was junior shortstop Mick Doyle, who hit .400 (6-for-15) with four runs scored, two home runs and seven RBI. Doyle hit three-run bombs on consecutive games against the Hoyas. Senior outfielder Ryan Connolly went 5-for-13 on the week, hitting .385 with four RBI, two home runs, a double and six runs scored. Connolly registered his second leadoff home run of the season. Freshman third baseman Adam Norton hit .308 in three games with a home run, three doubles, four RBI and two runs scored.
The Notre Dame pitching staff posted an 8.17 earned run average over the weekend. Senior RHP Billy Boockford retired the only batter he faced over the weekend. Sophomore RHP Will Hudgins allowed an earned run on three hits in 2.1 innings of work. Sophomore LHP Ryan Richter yielded two earned runs on five hits in 4.2 innings of relief
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.