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    Notre Dame Baseball returns to BIG EAST action against Cincinnati

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    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    April 22, 2010

    Notre Dame vs. Cincinnati Baseball Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

    The Matchup
    Notre Dame (15-21) vs. Cincinnati (18-17)
    April 23-25
    Frank Eck Stadium Jake Kline Field
    Notre Dame, Ind.

    Probable Pitchers
    Game-1, Friday (6:05 p.m.)
    RHP Brian Dupra (2-2, 4.82 ERA) vs. LHP Brian Garman (3-0, 1.14 ERA)

    Game-2, Saturday (3:30 p.m.)
    LHP Steve Sabatino (3-5, 5.76 ERA) vs. RHP Tyler Smith (1-6, 3.38 ERA)

    Game-3, Sunday (1:05 p.m.)
    RHP Eric Maust (0-3, 7.02 ERA) vs. RHP Nick Johnson (0-1, 4.63 ERA)

    Live Game Coverage
    Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp); UND.com
    Video: UND.com (Sunday only)
    Live Stats: UND.com

    Series History
    All-Time Series: Notre Dame and Cincinnati have met 35 times on the diamond, with the Irish holding a 21-14 lead in the series dating back to the 1948 season.

    Weather Report
    Friday, April 23
    PM Showers
    High 65, Low 50

    Saturday, April 24
    Sct T-Storms
    High 66, Low 51

    Sunday, April 25
    T-Storms
    High 57, Low 42

    For complete notes, see the PDF listed above.

    IN THE BATTERS BOX - Notre Dame returns to BIG EAST action against Cincinnati in a three-game series that opens at 6:05 p.m. on Friday at Frank Eck Stadium. The series resumes at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and concludes at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday. Live stats, live blog and a recap of each game will be available on UND.com. The live web stream will only be available for Sunday's series finale. Tickets for all Irish home contests this season are available through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), on-line at the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets), and at the Frank Eck Stadium ticket windows on game day.

    CINCINNATI INSIDER - The Bearcats, led by 14 year head coach Brian Cleary, enter the series with a 18-17 overall record and 4-8 mark in BIG EAST action.

    • Cincinnati is averaging 4.9 runs per game and hitting .240 with a .327 on-base percentage. The Bearcats have also totaled 40 stolen bases in 56 attempts.
    • Cincinnati has two players that are hitting over .300. Mikel Huston leads the team, batting at a .315 clip with four doubles and 10 RBI. T.J. Jones is hitting .302 with five doubles, one triple, three home runs and 23 RBI. Jimmy Jacquot is batting .276 with team-highs in doubles (eight), home runs (six) and RBI (28). Chris Peters is hitting .289 with five doubles, 16 RBI and nine stolen bases. Kevin Johnson is batting .230 with six doubles, five home runs and 22 RBI. Jamel Scott is batting only .218 with seven RBI, but has swiped a team-best 14 bases. Cincinnati has hit 18 home runs this season. The Bearcats have also struck out 267 times in 35 games or 7.6 per game.
    • The pitching staff has a 3.60 ERA and .268 opponents' batting average along with 243 strikeouts and 103 walks in 312.2 innings. Brian Sand (3-3, 2.29 ERA), Sam Slavik (1-1, 1.98 ERA), Cory Hough (1-0, 2.57 ERA), Andrew Strenge (2-1, 3.09 ERA) and Andrew Burkett (1-1, 3.29 ERA) headline the Cincinnati bullpen. Burkett has registered eight saves on the year.
    • The Bearcats have committed 51 errors in 35 games and is fielding .964.

    NOTRE DAME-CINCINNATI SERIES NOTES - Notre Dame and Cincinnati have met 35 times on the diamond, with the Irish holding a 21-14 lead in the series dating back to the 1948 season.

    • The Bearcats took two of three from Notre Dame for the third straight season in 2009 in the Queen City. Cincinnati ralled from a 4-2 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the 11th inning, thanks in part to three walks, to steal the series opener, 5-4. Junior Cole Johnson was masterful, but did not factor into the decision. The right-handed hurler went 9.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs on eight hits. Johnson struck out five and walked three. He became the first Notre Dame pitcher to work into the 10th inning since Aaron Heilman tossed 10.0 innings against West Virginia on April 15, 2000. Johnson has now tossed 9.0 or more innings in three consecutive stats. After Friday's contest was washed out, the Bearcats and Irish then split a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon (3-7, 6-2) to conclude the series.
    • In 2008 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.
    • Seven of the last 13 meetings have been decided by just a single run and one more by two runs and another by three runs.
    • Notre Dame holds a 12-3 lead over the Bearcats in games played at South Bend.
    • Dave Schrage has a 3-6 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 3-10 all-time record against Cincinnati.

    TALE OF THE TAPE (2010 STATS)

     Notre Dame Cincinnati
    Batting Average .282 .240
    Runs Per Game 5.72 4.86
    Home Runs 22 18
    Slugging Percentage .400 .331
    Batters' BB+HBP-SO Margin -60 -112
    On-Base Percentage .357 .327
    Stolen Bases 21-31 40-56
    Team ERA 5.74 3.60
    Opponent Batting Average .299 .268
    Pitchers' SO-BB Ratio 1.70 2.36
    Pitchers' SO Per 9 Innings 6.39 6.99
    Pitchers' BB Per 9 Innings 3.76 2.96
    Fielding Pct. (Errors) .959 (59) .964 (51)
    Double Plays Turned 31 32
    Record at Home 4-7 10-8
    Record on Road (including neutral) 11-14 8-9
    Record in One-Run Games 4-3 7-5
    Record in Extra Innings 2-1 0-3

    AROUND THE HORN ­

    • LOTS-O-LINEUPS: Notre Dame's first 36 games have featured 31 different batting orders.
    • YOU'RE 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 2-16 when out-hit.
    • DeSICO LOVES SOUTHPAWS: Freshman second baseman Frank Desico continues to feast on left-handed pitching. The second baseman is now batting .484 (15-for-31) on the season against southpaws. Desico made his 29th consecutive start at second base for Notre Dame against Michigan on April 21.
    • MILLS SACRIFICES FOR TEAM: The Irish finished with four sac flies against Oakland, added one on April 20 at Michigan, another against the Wolverines on April 21 and now have 23 on the season, which leads the BIG EAST. Notre Dame's school record is 41 set during the in 2002 campaign.
    • 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'S STREAK COMES TO AND END: Notre Dame senior left fielder Ryan Connolly saw his streak of consecutive games reaching base safely (via base hit, walk, or hit-by-pitch) end at 47 games after an 0-for-3 day against Michigan on April 21. The fifth-year senior had extended the streak in his last plate appearance on five different occasions, but he could not do so against the Wolverines, grounding out in his third and final at bat before being pinch-hit for in the eighth inning. The streak was the second-longest in NCAA Division I baseball this season, bested only by the current 50-game streak by Michael Choice of UT Arlington. Connolly's statistics during the streak.

    AVG PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI
    .347 212 167 43 58 14 2 10 39
    SLG BB HBP SO OBP SAC SF
    .635 20 19 49 .469 3 1

    • Connolly reached base in his first plate appearance (excluding sacrifice bunts) an astounding 25 times during the streak, despite being retired in his first trip the plate in each of the last five games. At one point, Connolly reached in his first plate appearance in five straight games, nine times in a 10-game span, 12 times in a 14-game stretch, and 17 times in a 22-game period.
    • Almost unbelievably, Connolly's longest streak of consecutive plate appearances reaching base safely during the streak was just three, although he did that nine different times.

    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 and added three more in the midweek series against Michigan. The Irish registered just 17 double plays over their first 26 games, but have turned 14 in their last 10 outings.

    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.

    Mills continued his success from both the plate and the mound, going 1-for-2 with a walk and tossing a scoreless inning against the Wolverines on April 21. He is now batting .474 (9-for-19) over his last five games and has notched five consecutive scoreless outings from the hill, running his scoreless stretch to 7.2 innings. Mills has also faced 56 consecutive batters without allowing a base on balls and has walked just three batters all season (22.2 innings) and 13 in his career. His career average of 1.92 walks per nine innings currently ranks eighth in school history (he just recently reached the minimum of 60.0 innings).

    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.

    Michigan's Coley Crank registered an RBI double in the second inning that ended the Notre Dame bullpen's scoreless streak at 17.1 innings. The pen combined to strike out 18 over that stretch (covering the last six games) while walking six and allowing just nine hits (.153 opponents' batting average).

    IF ONLY AN INNING ENDED WITH TWO OUTS: Notre Dame has been victimized with two outs the entire season. Irish opponents are hitting .337 (149-for-442) with two outs and have registered 112 two-out RBI this season, which is over three per game. Notre Dame has a mere 65 two-out RBI and hitting only .272. Rutgers plated an amazing 18 runs with two outs in the 25-5 victory over the Irish on April 10. Michigan added all 13 of its runs with two down in a 13-1 triumph over Notre Dame on April 21.

    The third out of an inning continues to elude sophomore Irish starter Steve Sabatino, who gave up four unearned runs against Michigan on April 21 in the first inning, all of which came with two outs. Opponents are batting .386 (27-for-70) this season against the lefty with two outs and are reaching base at a .506 (44-for-87) clip with two away. Of the 45 runs Sabatino has surrendered this season, 29 have crossed the plate with two outs, including 11 of the 15 unearned runs charged against the hurler.

    SPANO EPITOMY OF SITUATIONAL SOUTHPAW: Notre Dame sophomore Joe Spano made his 19th appearance on the mound in Wednesday's game against Michigan, giving up two earned runs in 0.1 innings. He has become the ultimate situational lefty of late, as the outing was the sixth straight in which he worked 0.2 innings or less. He has faced an average of 2.75 batters per game in his last four games and 3.58 per game for the season. Spano is on pace to crack the top-10 in appearances in Notre Dame single-season history (needs 28).

    IRISH PITCHING STAFF KEEPING FOES IN THE BALLPARK: Notre Dame held Michigan without a home run in both games of its midweek series, marking the seventh consecutive outing in which the Irish have held their opponent without a long ball. The last home run against Notre Dame came off the bat of Michael Lang of Rutgers on April 10, a grand slam and the last of seven Rutgers home runs on the day; since then, Irish pitchers have faced 291 batters without allowing a round tripper. Senior Eric Maust pitched 0.2 innings in relief against the Wolverines and extended his personal home run-free streak to 43.1 innings and 205 batters faced.

     

     

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