May 3, 2012
Friday (3:45 p.m. ET)
Saturday (1:15 p.m. ET)
Sunday (12:15 p.m. ET)
LIVE GAME COVERAGE
IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame returns to BIG EAST action at Villanova for a three-game series that opens at 3:45 p.m. Friday at the Villanova Ballpark. The series resumes at 1:15 p.m. Saturday and concludes at 12:15 p.m. Sunday. All three games can be heard on WHME 103.1 FM and UND.com. Each contest can also be viewed at Villanova.com.
THIS WEEKEND'S STORY LINES -- Notre Dame enters its series with Villanova in seventh place at 9-9 in the BIG EAST - just one game ahead of the Wildcats (8-10), but also only two games behind Rutgers (11-7) and Seton Hall (11-7) for fifth. The Irish are three games clear of ninth place Pittsburgh and Georgetown (teams Notre Dame has already swept).
This weekend's series strongly resembles the tilt in 2010. Notre Dame came into that series one game ahead of Villanova for the final spot in the BIG EAST tournament with two weekends to play. The Irish took two of three from the Wildcats.
AROUND THE HORN -- Notre Dame's has struggled mightily with runners in scoring position over the last five games - only 13-for-56 (.232).
Notre Dame had its leadoff batter reach base in six of the first seven innings against Valparaiso, but only managed two runs over that span. In fact, the Irish had a leadoff base runner reach safely seven different times.
Notre Dame went 3-for-21 (.142) with runners on base against the Crusaders.
The Irish have struggled with the bases loaded all season. Notre Dame is just 19-for-74 (.256) with the sacks packed, while their foes are 17-for-37 (.459). Notre Dame has turned 48 double plays this season, which leads the BIG EAST and ranks tied for eighth in the NCAA.
Sophomore 3B Eric Jagielo gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning against Valparaiso. With the base hit, Jagielo extended his streak to 32 consecutive games reaching base safely.
Jagielo's base hit snapped a 0-for-10 streak for the Irish with the bases loaded.
Junior C Joe Hudson has registered back-to-back three-hit games. He has recorded three hits in a game on six separate occasions this year.
Freshman SS Kevin DeFilippis picked up his third career multi-hit game and second in three outings. He went 3-for-4 (first career three-hit game) with an RBI and run scored against Valparaiso.
VILLANOVA INSIDER -- The Wildcats, led by 11th-year head coach Joe Godri, enter the weekend with an overall record of 26-20 and 8-10 in the BIG EAST. Villanova has won six of its last seven games and the Wildcats have won back-to-back series on the road against both Seton Hall and USF.
Villanova averages 6.4 runs per game and hits .299 with a .388 on-base percentage. The Wildcats have also totaled 61 stolen bases in 83 attempts.
Villanova has three everyday players batting over .300.
Senior 2B Tyler Sciacca leads the team with a .376 batting average, which also ranks fourth in the BIG EAST. He leads or is tied for the team lead in the following offensive categories: hits (68), triples (six), walks (23) and stolen bases (15). Sciacca has also struck out 43 times. He has added 14 doubles (second), one home run and 34 RBI (third).
u Senior INF Kevin Wager is hitting at a .360 clip, which is second among everyday players. He leads the team in RBI (40) and tied in hits (68). Wager has added 32 runs scored, 10 doubles, one triple, 14 walks, two sacrifice flies, 10 sacrifice bunts and seven stolen bases (in 12 attempts).
Senior OF Matt Fleishman leads the Wildcats in runs scored (44), doubles (15), home runs (five), total bases (101) and slugging percentage (.540).
Villanova has struck out 365 times as a team this season. Ten different players have fanned at least 20 times.
The Wildcats' pitching staff has surrendered 15 home runs and struck out 287, but also walked 182. Villanova's team ERA is 4.52. The Wildcats have allowed 434 hits in 410.0 innings of work as their opponents are batting .278. Sophomore RHP Pat Young leads Villanova in strikeouts with 46, while six others have fanned 20 or more. Young also leads the staff in victories with five.
Senior LHP Kyle Helisek will start the series opener against Notre Dame. Helisek is 3-5 with a 5.88 ERA in 49.0 innings of work over 12 appearances, nine starts. He has allowed 46 runs, 32 earned, on 70 hits and his opponents are hitting .355. Helisek has struck out 27 and walked 27. Young will toe the rubber in game two. He is 5-3 with a 4.31 ERA in 64.2 innings of work over 11 appearances, all starts. He has allowed 47 runs, 31 earned, on 68 hits and his opponents are hitting .270. Young has struck out 46 and walked 26. Sophomore RHP Max Almonte will take the mound in the series finale. He is 1-3 with a 6.13 ERA in 39.2 innings of work over nine appearances, all starts. Almonte has allowed 34 runs, 27 earned, on 50 hits and his opponents are hitting .314. He has struck out 27 and walked 16.
Senior RHP Jerry Battipaglia (2-0, 1.06 ERA in eight relief appearances and one save), sophomore RHP Matt Meurer (3-1, 2.15 ERA in 15 relief appearances and one save), senior RHP Julian Diaz (3-2, 3.66 ERA in 16 relief appearances and three saves), sophomore RHP Matt Lengel (2-0, 3.89 ERA in 15 appearances, 13 out of the bullpen) and junior RHP Kevin MacLachlan (1-1, 4.30 ERA in 13 appearances, 12 out of the bullpen) makeup the Villanova relief corps.
The Wildcats have committed 60 errors in 46 games and field at a .967 clip.
TALE OF THE TAPE
NOTRE DAME-VILLANOVA SERIES NOTES -- Notre Dame has won 30 of 35 previous games against Villanova (18-2-1 over the last 21 meetings), with the Irish owning a 16-0-1 mark against the Wildcats at Frank Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame dropped the series opener in its last visit to Villanova Ballpark (2010), but rebounded with victories in each of the last two games of the series.
Notre Dame is 10-2 all-time against Villanova at Villanova Ballpark (moved from Ashburn Field after the 2002 season). The Irish swept the Wildcats in 2006 and 2008 in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., and took two of three from Villanova at Villanova Ballpark in 2003, 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.
Notre Dame's 33 victories against Villanova are the third-most for the Irish against any BIG EAST opponent. The Irish have knocked off West Virginia on 40 different occasions (40-22) and Georgetown 38 times.
Most Victories vs. BIG EAST
Notre Dame's all-time winning percetage against the Wildcats is .817, which also is the second-best for the Irish against a BIG EAST foe. Notre Dame owns a .826 winning percentage against Georgetown.
Highest Winning Percentage vs. BIG EAST
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 contest.
LAST HEAD-TO-HEAD SERIES -- Notre Dame took two of three from Villanova in a series in Plymouth Meeting in 2010. The Wildcats took the first game of the series before the Irish captured each of the final two games of the weekend.
Matt Fleishman hit two home runs, including a grand slam in a five-run sixth inning, and drove in six to lead Villanova past Notre Dame, 12-5, in the series opener in 2010. Fleishman, who entered the game with one home run, drilled a two-run home run off Irish starter Brian Dupra in the bottom of the fifth to give Villanova a 6-4 lead. Notre Dame tied the score, 4-4, in the top half of the inning. After the Irish fought back again and drew within a run, 6-5, Fleishman capped off a five-run explosion in the sixth with a towering grand slam off Notre Dame relief pitcher David Mills to make the score, 11-5. Mick Doyle and Frank DeSico each had two hits for the Irish. DeSico went 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Doyle went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Mills went 0-for-1 with four walks.
Casey Martin's line-drive solo home run in the top of the 11th inning proved to be the different as the Irish spoiled Villanova's senior day with a 3-2 victory. Martin's fifth home run of the year, a missile into the teeth of a 25 mph wind, made a winner out of Cole Johnson. Johnson tossed 3.2 scoreless innings of relief. He allowed just two hits. Johnson fanned two and walked one (intentional). Steven Mazur registered his sixth save of the season. Mick Doyle was the lone Irish player with more than one hit. He went 2-for-4 with a double, run scored and sacrifice fly. Frank DeSico went 1-for-3 with two walks and run scored. Joe Hudson went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Neither Steve Sabatino nor Kyle Helisek would factor into the decision. Sabatino limited the Wildcats to just two earned runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings. He punched out a career-best 11 and walked two. Helisek tossed a career-best 8.0 innings. He allowed just three hits and two earned runs. Helisek fanned four and walked three. The lefty allowed just one base runner after the fourth inning.
Eric Maust could not have picked a better time to register his first victory of the season and the bullpen tandem of Will Hudgins and Steven Mazur shut the door as the Irish held off Villanova, 4-1, in the rubber game. Maust limited the Wildcats to just three hits and one earned run in 5.1 innings of work. He struck out four and walked three. Hudgins and Mazur closed the door with 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, but not without some anxious moments. Hudgins retired the first eight batters he faced, four on strikeouts, including a punch out to open the ninth inning, but Matt Fleishman tripled to centerfield before the Irish sidewinder plunked back-to-back Wildcats, both on 1-2 counts, to set the stage for Mazur. With the bases loaded and only one out, Mazur struck out Villanova pinch hitter Steve Schrenk and induced a ground ball off the bat of Kevin Stephens to end the game. Mazur picked up his seventh save of the season. Mick Doyle and Joe Hudson each had three hits. Doyle went 3-for-5 with a run scored, while Hudson went 3-for-4 with his first career home run. David Casey added two hits and a key two-run single.
CURRENT VILLANOVA PLAYERS vs. Will Hudgins
Player AVG AB H RBI 2B 3B HR BB HBP SO GDP SF SH SB-ATT Matt Fleishman 1.000 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0 Kevin Wager .000 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0-0 Paul Rambaud .000 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0-0 Marlon Calbi .000 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0-0 Tyler Sciacca .000 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-0