Notre Dame (15-19) vs. Michigan (22-12)
Wilpon Baseball Complex
Frank Eck Stadium
Game-1, Tuesday (6:35 p.m.)
LHP Ryan Richter (1-0, 7.78 ERA) vs. LHP Eric Katzman (2-1, 6.00 ERA)
Game-2, Wednesday (6:05 p.m.)
RHP Adam Norton (1-0, 5.56 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Miller (0-2, 7.01 ERA)
Live Game Coverage
Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp); UND.com
Video: BigTenNetwork.com; UND.com
Live Stats: UND.com
For complete notes, see the PDF listed above.
IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame returns to action with a two-game midweek series against Michigan. The Irish and Wolverines will open the home-and-home set at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday in Ann Arbor. The two rivals will then meet at 6:05 p.m. on Wednesday in South Bend.
MICHIGAN INSIDER -- The Wolverines, led by sixth year head coach Rich Maloney, enter the series with a 22-12 overall record and 6-3 mark in Big Ten action.
Michigan is averaging 8.4 runs per game and hitting .326 with a .402 on-base percentage. The Wolverines have also totaled 56 stolen bases in 71 attempts.
Michigan has five players that are hitting over .300. Chris Berset leads the team, batting at a .408 clip with 12 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 35 RBI. Patrick Biondi is hitting .397 with 10 doubles, six triples, two home runs and 25 RBI. He has also swiped a team-best 23 bases. Mike Dufek is batting .350 with 37 RBI and a team-best 14 doubles. Coley Crank is hitting .324 and leads the Wolverines in RBI (38) and home runs (six). Anthony Toth is batting .309 with a home run and 20 RBI. Michigan has hit 25 home runs this season. Ryan LaMarre, who missed nearly two months with injury, has returned to the Wolverine lineup and hit .500 with a home run and 14 RBI (in just 13 games). Nick Urban is hitting .291 with nine doubles, two triples, one home run, 23 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
The pitching staff has a 5.19 ERA and .300 opponents' batting average along with 256 strikeouts and 135 walks in 298.0 innings. Tyler Burgoon, Matt Gerbe, Brandon Sinnery and Kolby Wood headline the Michigan bullpen. The quartet owns an 11-1 record and eighth saves. Burgoon is 5-1 with six saves and a 3.10 ERA. He has struck out 44 and walked only eight in 40.2 innings of work. Gerbe is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 18.0 innings, while Sinnery is 3-0 with a 3.62 ERA in 32.1 innings and Wood is 2-0 with a 5.01 ERA in 23.1 innings of work.
Michigan has committed 45 errors in 34 games and is fielding .966.
NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN SERIES NOTES -- Notre Dame and Michigan are set to meet for the 124th and 125th time this week. The Irish and Wolverines have played one another 16 times over the last 16 seasons, including a regular season game and NCAA matchup in 1999 (matchup was rained out in 2007).
Michigan leads the all-time series, 79-44, and has captured four of the last five meetings. The Irish had won four of five and six of eight prior to losing the 2005 meeting.
Notre Dame has not played in Ann Arbor since 1977. In fact, Michigan and Notre Dame had played on a neutral site in 15 of its last 17 meetings before last year's doubleheader in South Bend.
Notre Dame's first varsity baseball game came against Michigan on April 21, 1892 (a 6-4 Irish win).
Notre Dame is 8-8 again Michigan during the previous 15 previous seasons, including a 6-6 mark at Old Kent/Fifth Third Park.
The Wolverines won an epic game at Old Kent Park in 1996 (7-6, in 16 innings) while the Irish posted an 8-3 home win over the Wolverines late in the 1996 season. Michigan won the 1997 game at OKP (5-3), with all the Wolverine runs being unearned after Notre Dame made three errors in the seventh inning.
The 9-1 victory for the Irish in 1998 featured Tim Kalita's dominating 7.1 innings (2 H, UER, 3 BB, 5 Ks).
Notre Dame then won the 1999 game at OKP (14-4) before Michigan beat the Irish in the 1999 NCAAs (11-5) at Eck Stadium.
In 2000, the Notre Dame's victory (5-4, in 11 innings) saw Matt Nussbaum plate the tying run in the 9th before making the game-ending tag at the plate.
Peter Ogilvie's complete game (5 H, R, BB, 6 Ks) won the 2002 game, 9-1, for the Irish.
Michigan then won in 2003 (8-4) before Notre Dame took the 2004 meeting (7-3), with the Wolverines then edging the Irish in 2005 (7-6) and again in 2006 (3-1).
AROUND THE HORN --
LOTS-O-LINEUPS: Notre Dame's first 34 games have featured 29 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 12-2 when it out-hits its opponent, but 2-15 when out-hit.
DeSICO LOVES SOUTHPAWS: Freshman second baseman Frank Desico continues to feast on left-handed pitching. The second baseman is now batting .517 (15-for-29) on the season against southpaws.
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 and now have registered 21 this season, which leads the BIG EAST. Notre Dame's school record is 41 set during the in 2002 campaign.
CONNOLLY REACHES FOR A MILESTONE: Senior outfielder Ryan Connolly extended his streak of reaching base to 46 consecutive games on Sunday against Seton Hall. Connolly has now driven in 39 runs during the streak to go along with 10 home runs, 14 doubles, and averages of .353 (batting average), .660 (slugging), and .479 (on-base).
Active NCAA Streaks for Reaching Base Safely (via base hit/walk/hit by pitch)
49 games Michael Choice (UT Arlington) Jr./CF (5/1/09-Present)
46 games Ryan Connolly (Notre Dame) Sr./OF (5/3/09-Present)
TWIN KILLINGS: Notre Dame registered four double plays in the victory over Chicago State on April 13. The four double plays were the most for the Irish since they turned four last season against Western Michigan; the feat is so rare, however, that it has now been accomplished by a Notre Dame team just four times in the last 12 seasons. Notre Dame posted three in the series finale at Seton Hall.
NOT SO RUN OF THE MILLS: David Mills did it all for Notre Dame last week as the Irish went 4-0, including a three-game series sweep at Seton Hall. Notre Dame had not swept the Pirates in South Orange since 2002. In fact, Seton Hall had not been swept in a BIG EAST series at home by anyone since April of 2007. Mills not only registered two saves, pitched in all four games, but did not allow a run in 5.0 scoreless innings of relief. He also batted .444 (8-for-18) for the week with four runs scored and two RBI. In fact, both RBI came with two outs, including his game-winning RBI single in the top of the ninth inning in Sunday's series finale with the Pirates to secure the sweep. In the sweep of Seton Hall, Mills hit .500 and tossed 4.2 scoreless innings of relief with a save. Despite his prowess at the plate, Mills most critical service came on the mound. With the Irish clinging to a two-run lead over Chicago State and the tying run at the plate, the southpaw came on and retired the only batter he faced to record his first save of the season. Then, in the series opener at Seton Hall, Mills not only tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless relief to keep the game tied, 5-5, but went 3-for-5 and scored the game-winning run. The senior then went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the 2-1 victory over the Pirates on Saturday. In the victory, Mills also registered his second save of the week. He came on with two on, two out and the tying run in scoring position, but fanned Ryan Sullivan to end the eighth. Mills then retired Seton Hall 1-2-3 in the ninth. He still managed to overshadow those performances in the series finale with the Pirates. Mills went 3-for-5 with the game-winning RBI and two runs scored. He also added 1.2 scoreless innings of relief in his third relief appearance of the weekend. The southpaw struck out two and yielded one hit.
BULLPEN CARRIES THE IRISH TO PERFECT WEEK: Notre Dame's depth of pitching, especially in the bullpen has been challenged in 2010 due in part to a number of injuries to key contributors, but sophomore Will Hudgins, senior David Mills, sophomore Joe Spano and senior Steven Mazur have carried the load and the quartet was instrumental in last week's perfect 4-0 mark and series sweep at Seton Hall. Hudgins, Mills, Spano and Mazur tossed 9.2 scoreless innings of relief in the series against the Pirates. They combined to punch out 11 Seton Hall batters and walked only three. The Pirates managed just five hits and batted only .147 against them all weekend.
OHHH, BILLY, BILLY, BILLY: Notre Dame senior outfielder Billy Boockford entered his senior campaign with 59 career starts in the outfield, but figured to see exclusive action on the mound this spring. Well, Boockford got his call back to the outfield on April 18 against Rutgers and promptly went 3-for-5 with a couple runs scored in his first start in the field in almost one full calendar year. He has since recorded a hit in every Irish game and owns Notre Dame's longest current hitting streak at six games. Boockford is hitting .368 with four walks, four runs scored and four RBI since his return. In fact, he had the eventual game-winning RBI in each of the first two games at Seton Hall and added a critical game-tying two-run single in the top of the sixth in the series finale.
RECAPPING THE SETON HALL SERIES - Notre Dame senior outfielder Billy Boockford collected a critical two-strike, two-out RBI single in the top of the 10th inning to give the Irish a one-run lead and fellow senior closer Steven Mazur made it stand as the Irish rallied past Seton Hall, 6-5, in the series opener. Mazur picked up the victory and improved to 1-0 on the season. He tossed 2.1 scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts. Mazur retired Seton Hall 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 10th, including the final two Pirates of the game via strikeout. Notre Dame's top three batters in the order, senior left fielder Ryan Connolly, freshman second baseman Frank Desico and senior designated hitter David Mills combined to go 7-for-14 (.500) with three runs scored and four RBI. Connolly went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBI and a triple. DeSico went 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Mills went 3-for-5 with a run scored.
Notre Dame got a quality start from sophomore Steve Sabatino and the bullpen tossed 2.2 hitless and scoreless innings of relief to lead the Irish to a 2-1 victory over Seton Hall in the second game of the series. Sabatino equalled his season-long outing with 6.1 innings and improved to 3-4. The southpaw allowed one earned run on just five hits. Sabatino struck out four and walked three. He walked the final two batters he faced in the seventh and left the game with a 2-1 lead with two on and one out, but the trio of sophomore Will Hudgins, sophomore Joe Spano and senior David Mills made the lead stand. Hudgins relieved Sabatino and got a ground out and fly out to end the seventh; stranding the tying and go-ahead run in scoring position. Spano posted a strikeout and fly out, but walked a pair. Mills came on with two on, two out and the tying run in scoring position, but fanned Ryan Sullivan to end the eighth. Mills remained in the game and sent down the Pirates 1-2-3 in the ninth to pick up his second save of the week and the year.
Notre Dame senior designated hitter David Mills dropped in a two-out, go-ahead RBI single and fellow senior first baseman Casey Martin followed with a two-run base hit to give the Irish a 7-4 lead in the top of the ninth inning and sophomore reliever Will Hudgins tossed a perfect ninth inning to secure a BIG EAST series sweep of Seton Hall. With the game knotted at 4-4 and two outs in the top of the ninth inning, senior Ryan Connolly ripped a single to left field. The base hit not only extended his streak of reaching base safely to 46 games, but also started a two-out Notre Dame rally. Mike Genovese fell behind freshman second baseman Frank Desico 2-0. Seton Hall catcher Frank Esposito then registered a pass ball, which not only allowed Connolly to advance into scoring position, but also forced the Pirates to internally walk DeSico. Mills followed with a single just over the out-stretched arm of Pirates; shortstop A.J. Rusbarsky in shallow centerfield to give the Irish a 5-4 lead. Both DeSico and Mills moved up a base when Seton Hall center fielder Michael Rogers threw wildly to the plate. Seton Hall turned to ace closer Matt Singer and he was greeted rudely by Martin, who ripped his first offering into right field for a two-run single and give Notre Dame a three-run lead, 7-4. The three-run cushion was more than enough for Hudgins. The right-handed sidewinder, who retired the only batter he faced on one pitch in the eighth inning, sent down the Pirates in order in the ninth inning. Hudgins improved to 3-1 on the season with the victory. He tossed 1.1 scoreless and hitless innings of relief. Hudgins retired all four batters he faced. Mills also added 1.2 scoreless innings of relief in his third relief appearance of the weekend. The southpaw struck out two and yielded one hit.
The outings by Hudgins and Mills capped off an incredible weekend for the Notre Dame bullpen. The quartet of Hudgins, Mills, sophomore Joe Spano and senior Steven Mazur tossed 9.2 scoreless innings of relief in the series.