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    Fighting Irish
    Irish Prepare for Three-Game Big East Series with Rutgers

    FIGHTING IRISH Greg Sherry
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Greg Sherry
    FIGHTING IRISH

    May 7, 2011

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    IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame and Rutgers open a three-game BIG EAST series with a doubleheader at 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 7 at Bainton Field. Sunday's series finale will begin at Noon. All three games can be heard in South Bend on WHME / Harvest 103.1 FM and around the world at UND.com.

    THIS WEEKEND'S TOP STORY LINE -- Notre Dame (7-10) enters this weekend's series with Rutgers (7-11) just a half game ahead of the Scarlet Knights and Seton Hall for eighth place in the BIG EAST standings. The top eight teams qualify for the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament in Clearwater, Fla. Cincinnati (10-8) is 2.5 games ahead of the Irish and St. John's (10-7) is 3.0 games. Louisville (11-7) and USF, Notre Dame's final two oppoents of 2011, are forged in a three-way tie with West Virginia for third place.

    AROUND THE HORN ­-- Notre Dame has already played 16 games decided by one run in 2011. The Irish are 7-9 in those outings and it does not include three other extra-inning contests where Notre Dame either tied (Gonzaga, March 20) or lost by two runs (West Virginia, April 15; Michigan, May 4).
    • Notre Dame has had two BIG EAST series in which all three games were decided by one run (vs. Georgetown and vs. Seton Hall).
    • Notre Dame has played in seven games decided by two runs and seven more decided by three runs. In all, the 30 of Notre Dame's 40 games have been decided by three runs or less.
    • Notre Dame enters this weekend with a 2.90 ERA, which would be best by an Irish staff since 1975. Notre Dame owns a 2.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is light years better than the total of 1.73 from 2010. Notre Dame has walked only 99 batters in 363.1 innings, good for a 2.45 average per nine innings. That would best the all-time school record for fewest walks per nine innings (2.48 in 2001).
    • The Irish lead the BIG EAST in fewest walks by a large margin. Notre Dame's 99 free passes is far ahead of second place Rutgers (126 walks).
    • Notre Dame's starting pitchers have registered a quality start (pitcher completes at least six innings and permits no more than three earned runs) in 27 of 40 games for the Irish this season and own a 3.02 ERA. The five-man rotation of senior RHP Brian Dupra, senior RHP Cole Johnson, senior RHP Todd Miller, sophomore RHP Adam Norton and freshman LHP Anthony McIver have struck out 197 and walked only 60 in 265.0 innings of work.
    • The 27 quality starts is even more impressive when you consider Notre Dame totaled 11 over the course of the entire 2010 season (54 games).
    • Dupra, Johnson and Miller have combined for 23 quality starts (Norton, three, and McIver, one, have the other four) and a 3.00 ERA (215.2 IP, 72 ER). Opponents are batting just .255 against Dupra, Johnson and Miller.
    • Dupra, Johnson and Miller's 23 quality starts have come in 32 outings in 2011. Notre Dame's weekend rotation accounted for just 11 over the entire course of 2010 (54 games).
    • Dupra and Johnson have been saddled with awful run support the entire season. Dupra (2.42) and Johnson (2.78) rank sixth and 11th, respectively, in the BIG EAST in ERA, but the duo has combined for a 5-11 record. Notre Dame has scored a grand total of 66 runs over Dupra and Johnson's 22 combined starts or just 3.00 per game. That even includes the 19 runs the Irish managed in Johnson's first start of 2011. Taking out that start, Notre Dame has averaged 2.24 runs in games started by the senior tandem.
    • Johnson, who received 19 runs of support in his first start of 2011, has benefitted from a total of 19 runs over his last 10 starts of the season combined.
    • The lack of run support has been worse in BIG EAST action for Dupra. He has surrendered 12 earned runs in 44.0 innings over six appearances (good for a 2.45 ERA), but owns an 0-3 record.
    • Notre Dame's starting pitching has continued to carry the Irish. The staff has a 3.02 ERA in 265.0 innings of work and opponents are batting just .257, but the bullpen has been even better. The Irish relief corps has posted a 2.56 ERA in 98.1 innings and opponents are hitting just .246. In fact, the bullpen tossed 21.1 consecutive scoreless innings before surrendering a run last weekend against Seton Hall. Notre Dame's bullpen posted a 1.32 ERA over the 14 games (41.0 innings) following the late inning collapse against Pittsburgh on April 1. The Irish surrendered an eighth inning, 5-1, lead en route to a 6-5 loss to the Panthers. The quartet of junior RHP Will Hudgins (1-0, 0.00 ERA in six appearances over 8.1 IP), freshman RHP Dan Slania (1-0, 1.80 ERA in four appearances over 5.0 IP), freshman LHP Anthony McIver (0-2, 0.90 ERA in seven appearances over 10.0 IP), freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald (1-0, 1.93 ERA in nine appearances over 14.0 IP) and sophomore RHP Adam Norton (0-0, 3.38 ERA in two appearances over 2.2 IP) limited foes to a .208 batting average.
    • Fitzgerald was charged with the loss out of the bullpen against Michigan on May 3. He allowed a pair of hits in his inning of relief. With the score tied, 1-1, Fitzgerald yielded a solo home run to Coley Crank in the bottom of the eighth inning. The round tripper was only the second home run allowed by the Irish bullpen in 98.1 innings of work this season. It was the first home run allowed by the pen since Fitzgerald surrendered one on March 5 against Winthrop - a span of 78.1 innings.

    RUTGERS INSIDER -- The Scarlet Knights, led by 28th year head coach Fred Hill, enter the series with a 16-25 overall record and 7-11 mark in BIG EAST action.
    • Rutgers is averaging 4.73 runs per game and hitting .247 with a .330 on-base percentage. The Wolverines have also totaled 28 stolen bases in 43 attempts.
    • Senior OF Michael Lang leads the team with a .329 batting average, 35 runs scored, 50 hits, right doubles and five triples. He has also added one home run, nine RBI and five stolen bases (in five attempts). Senior 3B D.J. Anderson is hitting .294 with 26 runs scored, 47 hits, four doubles, one home run and 23 RBI. He has swiped three bases (in six attempts). Senior OF Brandon Boykin is batting .260 with 13 runs scored, 26 hits, five doubles, two home runs and 16 RBI. Freshman 2B Michael Favatella is hitting .259 with 15 runs scored, five doubles, one triple, one home run and nine RBI. Junior 3B Russ Hopkins is batting .227 with 19 runs scored, 32 hits, eight doubles, two triples, two home runs and 21 RBI. He has also struck out a team-high 39 times. In fact, four Scarlet Knights have fanned at least 30 times. Rutgers has struck out 329 times this season.
    • Rutgers' pitching staff has a 4.48 ERA and .283 opponents' batting average along with 240 strikeouts and 126 walks in 370.0 innings of work. The Scarlet Knights average 3.06 walks and 5.84 strikeouts per nine innings. Sophomore RHP Tyler Gebler will start the first game of the series for Rutgers. Gebler is 3-4 with a 2.99 ERA in 81.1 innings of work over 11 appearances, all starts. He has allowed 29 runs, 27 earned, on 80 hits and his opponents are hitting .261 against him. Gebler has struck out 43 and walked 18. He has tossed thre complete games and ranks second in the BIG EAST in innings pitched. Gebler scattered nine hits with five strikeouts. Sophomore LHP Rob Smorol will take the mound in the nightcap of the doubleheader. He is 3-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 69.0 innings of work over 11 appearances, all starts. Smorol has allowed 41 runs, 34 earned, on 76 hits and his opponents are hitting .286 against him. He has struck out 51 and walked 22. Freshman RHP Ryan Fasano, who started this past Tuesday against Temple, will get the nod in the series finale. He is 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA in 34.1 innings of work over 11 appearances, three starts. Sophomore LHP Rob Corsi (3-3, 1.78 ERA in 18 appearances), sophomore LHP Dan O'Neill (1-2, 4.29 ERA in 11 appearances), freshman RHP Joe Esposito (0-1, 4.40 ERA in 13 appearances), sophomore RHP Jerry Elsing (0-1, 5.52 ERA in 14 appearances) and junior RHP Willie Beard (2-1, 6.75 ERA in 11 appearances) makeup the Wolverine bullpen. Elsing has collected all three saves this season for the Skarlet Knights.
    • Rutgers has committed 51 errors in 41 games and fields .968.

    NOTRE DAME-RUTGERS SERIES NOTES -- Notre Dame holds a 29-18 series edge against Rutgers (15-6 at Notre Dame, 9-7 at Rutgers and 5-5 at the BIG EAST Tournament). • Notre Dame captured the series opener in 2011 (9-8), but dropped the final two games of the weekend (25-5 and 8-6 in 11 innings).
    • 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 swept three straight series with Rutgers in Frank Eck Stadium before the 2010 series. 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 (13 games decided by eight-plus runs), tense finishes (23 decided by 1-2 runs, with 14 won by Notre Dame) and shutouts (Notre Dame 2, Rutgers 3). The 13 previous Notre Dame-Rutgers season series include eight won by Notre Dame and four by Rutgers (split in 1999, rained out in 1998).

    LAST MEETINGS (ND 9-8, April 9; RU 25-5, April 10; RU 8-6, April 11) -- After waiting through a lengthy delay for an illegal Rutgers substitution in the eighth inning, David Casey delivered a two-out, game-tying single and Adam Norton followed with an RBI triple over the head of a diving Jarred Jimenez in centerfield to give the Irish a 9-8, come-from-behind victory over Rutgers in the series opener. The controversy began when Rutgers, leading 8-7, attempted to bring its closer, Tyler Gebler, into the game with two outs in the eighth and Brayden Ashdown on second base after reaching on an error. Gebler, who normally wears #43, was wearing jersey #4 for the contest, but #41 was crossed out (and #4 written next to it) instead of #43 on the lineup card. The umpires thenceforth deemed Gebler (who has a 1.84 ERA and six saves on the season) ineligible because he was incorrectly listed on the lineup card, and the Scarlet Knights had to turn to Kevin Lillis instead, who promptly blew the save and took the loss (0-2) after giving up the final two Irish hits.
    • Pat Biserta and Michael Lang each collected two of Rutgers' seven home runs as the Scarlet Knights took advantage of fierce winds blowing out to power past the Irish, 25-5 in the second game of the series. Biserta upped his conference-leading home run total to 12 and drove in four, while Lang finished with seven RBI and Ryan Kapp added five RBI. The loss snapped Notre Dame's 10-game home winning streak over Rutgers. Steve Sabatino (2-4) shouldered the loss in the shortest outing of his career, lasting 2.2 innings and giving up eight earned runs. Sabatino had worked at least 5.0 innings in five straight starts, and in his only other start this season he worked 3.0 innings of no-hit ball against Mississippi Valley State. Nine of the 13 base runners he allowed (including all four walks) reached with two outs, leading to seven two-out tallies. In all, Rutgers (16-13, 6-2 BIG EAST) used 13 two-out hits to register 18 two-out RBI.
    • Rutgers tallied a pair of runs in the top of the 11th inning to grab an 8-6 come-from-behind victory over Notre Dame and secure a series victory at Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame was two outs away from one of the more remarkable turn-around victories in recent memory. Just 24 hours following a 25-5 loss to Rutgers, the Irish cligned to a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the ninth. Steven Mazur fanned Brandon Boykin to open the ninth, but Michael Lang and Pat Biserta followed with back-to-back bloop singles to put runners on the corners. The Irish closer then induced Steve Nyisztor into a potential game-ending double play ground ball, but it was not hit hard enough to nail the speedy Scarlet Knights second baseman and Lang scored to tie the score at 6-6. Mazur fanned Jaren Matthews to end the inning and keep the score tied. Notre Dame provided drama in the bottom of the ninth. Gebler retired David Mills and Casey Martin to open the frame, but Mick Doyle got a 3-1 fast ball and belted it to left field. Biserta raced back to the base of the wall and hauled in the potential game-winning home run. Rutgers regained the lead in the top of the 11th inning off Will Hudgins. Lang opened the frame with a single, giving him four hits for the second consecutive game. After Biserta executed a sacrifice bunt, Nyisztor golfed a single to centerfield to plate Lang and give Rutgers a 7-6 lead. Joe Spano replaced Hudgins and walked Matthews. Jayson Hernandez followed with a ground out that allowed both Nyisztor and Matthews to advance into scoring position. Spano then uncorked a wild pitch that clearly bounced in the dirt and ricocheted off Jimenez, which should have been a hit batter and dead ball, and Nyisztor scampered home for the ever important insurance run to make the Scarlet Knights lead, 8-6.

    TALE OF THE TAPE
    *See PDF for full coverage.

    FOR STARTERS -- Notre Dame's starting pitchers have registered a quality start (pitcher completes at least six innings and permits no more than three earned runs) in 27 of 40 games for the Irish this season and own a 3.02 ERA. The five-man rotation of senior RHP Brian Dupra, senior RHP Cole Johnson, senior RHP Todd Miller, sophomore RHP Adam Norton and freshman LHP Anthony McIver have struck out 197 and walked only 60 in 265.0 innings of work.
    • The 27 quality starts is even more impressive when you consider Notre Dame totaled 11 over the course of the entire 2010 season (54 games).
    • Dupra, Johnson and Miller have combined for 23 quality starts (Norton, three, and McIver, one, have the other four) and a 3.00 ERA (215.2 IP, 72 ER). Opponents are batting just .255 against Dupra, Johnson and Miller.
    • Dupra, Johnson and Miller's 23 quality starts have come in 32 outings in 2011. Notre Dame's weekend rotation accounted for just 11 over the entire course of 2010 (54 games).
    • The weekend rotation has struck out 157 batters and walked only 46 in their 215.2 innings of work. That equates to a 3.41 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 6.55 punch outs per nine innings and 1.92 walks per nine innings.
    • Dupra, Johnson and Miller registered nine straight quality starts to open 2011. The Irish had not gone that many consecutive games with a quality start in nearly 10 years. Notre Dame recorded nine straight quality starts from Mar. 31 - Apr. 10, 2001. The starters that posted those nine straight quality starts: Aaron Heilman (2), Danny Tamayo (2), J.P. Gagne (2), Mike Naumann (2) and Peter Ogilvie.
    • Notre Dame's starting pitchers averaged only 4.73 innings per start in 2010. The Irish starting staff is off to a remarkable start in 2011. Notre Dame's starting rotation of Dupra, Johnson, Miller, McIver and Norton has averaged 6.63 innings per start. In fact, Dupra, Johnson and Miller have averaged 6.74 innings per start on the weekend.
    • Dupra and Johnson each rank among the top 10 in the BIG EAST in innings pitched. Dupra (78.0) ranks fourth and Johnson (74.1) ranks tied for seventh. The Irish are the only school in the conference that has two pitchers ranked among the top 10 in innings pitched.
    • Dupra (2.42) and Johnson (2.78) rank sixth and 11th respectively in the BIG EAST in ERA. Notre Dame, UConn, Seton Hall and Louisville are the only schools in the conference to have a pair of starting pitchers ranked among the top 12 in ERA.
    • Notre Dame's pitching staff has already totaled 20 starts of at least 7.0 innings in 2011. The Irish managed only seven such starts over the course of the entire 2010 campaign (54 games).

    PITCHING THE NAME OF THE GAME ­-- Notre Dame enters this weekend with a 2.90 ERA, which would be best by an Irish staff since 1975. Notre Dame owns a 2.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is light years better than the total of 1.73 from 2010. Notre Dame has walked only 99 batters in 363.1 innings, good for a 2.45 average per nine innings. That would best the all-time school record for fewest walks per nine innings (2.48 in 2001).
    • Here is where the Irish would rank among the top five in a number of single-season pitching categories:

    Rank SO/BB Ratio Year Rank BB Allowed/9 IP Year
    *See PDF for full coverage.

    Rank WP Allowed/Game (since 1969) Year Rank HR Allowed/Game Year
    *See PDF for full coverage.

    Rank ERA (since 1957) Year Rank ERA (since 1971) Year
    *See PDF for full coverage.

    • Notre Dame owns a 2.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is light years better than the total of 1.73 from 2010. Here is an interesting comparison between the 2011 pitching staff and those from 2007-10.

    Category 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 School Record (Year)
    *See PDF for full coverage.

    • The Irish pitching staff ranks first, second or third in the following BIG EAST categories:

    Category ND BIG EAST Rank
    *See PDF for full coverage.

    • Notre Dame has already limited 16 opponents to two earned runs or less over its first 40 games. The Irish limited their foes to 13 such games over the entire 2010 season (54 games).
    • The Irish staff has been quite stubborn in 2011 in terms of issuing walks. Notre Dame has walked only 99 batters in 363.1 innings, good for a 2.45 average per nine innings. That would best the all-time school record for fewest walks per nine innings (2.48 in 2001).
    • The Irish lead the BIG EAST in fewest walks by a large margin. Notre Dame's 99 free passes is far ahead of second place Rutgers (126 walks).
    • Even more impressive when you consider Notre Dame averaged 3.65 walks per nine innings in 2010 and 3.73 per nine innings combined in 2009 and 2010. The 3.82 free passes per nine innings in 2009 was the highest for an Irish staff since 1999.
    • Notre Dame has already posted 25 games with two issued walks or less and 17 outings with one free pass or less over its first 40 games. By comparison, the 2010 staff totaled 19 games with two issued walks or less and 15 with one free pass or less over the course of the entire season (54 games).
    • Dupra, Johnson, Miller, McIver and Norton, the five Irish pitchers to start in 2011, have walked only 60 in 265.0 innings of work over 40 starts. Dupra, Johnson and Miller did not walk a single batter in 22.2 innings of work at the Coca-Cola Classic in Rock Hill, S.C. In fact, the entire Irish staff walked only three (and one was intentional) in 35.0 innings of work that weekend.
    • Notre Dame entered this season without two weekend starters from 2010 (junior LHP Steve Sabatino and graduated RHP Eric Maust). Sabatino, along with key junior LHP Irish relievers Joe Spano and Ryan Richter, will miss the entire 2011 campaign following offseason elbow injuries. All three have already begun the rehabilitation process following Tommy John surgery. The injuries left Notre Dame with exactly one scholarship LHP (freshman Anthony McIver).

    Series Pitching Breakdown
    *See PDF for full coverage.

    THE IRISH PEN FAR FROM FOUL -- Notre Dame's starting pitching has been outstanding all season and its bullpen has not disappointed either. The bullpen carries a 2.56 ERA into this weekend's series with Rutgers. The bullpen owns a 6-7 record with seven saves and has limited its opponents to a .246 batting average. Irish relief pitchers have struck out 67 and walked 39 (nine of those walks came in one game against Iowa on March 18). Here is an interesting comparison between the 2011 bullpen and those from 2007-10.

    Category 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
    *See PDF for full coverage.

    • The Irish relief corp has been even better in BIG EAST action. The Notre Dame bullpen has posted a 2.05 ERA in 44.0 innings. In fact, the bullpen tossed 21.1 consecutive scoreless innings before surrendering a run last Sunday against Seton Hall.
    • Notre Dame's bullpen posted a 1.32 ERA over the 14 games (41.0 innings) following the late inning collapse against Pittsburgh on April 1. The Irish surrendered an eighth inning, 5-1, lead en route to a 6-5 loss to the Panthers. The quartet of junior RHP Will Hudgins (1-0, 0.00 ERA in six appearances over 8.1 IP), freshman RHP Dan Slania (1-0, 1.80 ERA in four appearances over 5.0 IP), freshman LHP Anthony McIver (0-2, 0.90 ERA in seven appearances over 10.0 IP), freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald (1-0, 1.93 ERA in nine appearances over 14.0 IP) and sophomore RHP Adam Norton (0-0, 3.38 ERA in two appearances over 2.2 IP) limited foes to a .208 batting average.
    • Even more impressive, three of Notre Dame's top four relief pitchers to this point of 2011 are all freshmen. LHP Anthony McIver (1-2, 0.55 ERA), RHP Sean Fitzgerald (1-1, 2.35 ERA with one save) and RHP Dan Slania (1-3, 2.42 ERA with three saves) have been nearly untouchable out of the bullpen. The rookie trio has posted only a 3-6 record, but have combined for a 1.91 ERA in 61.2 innings of work. They have punched out 43 and walked only 19.
    • Fitzgerald was charged with the loss out of the bullpen against Michigan on May 3. He allowed a pair of hits in his inning of relief. With the score tied, 1-1, Fitzgerald yielded a solo home run to Coley Crank in the bottom of the eighth inning. The round tripper was only the second home run allowed by the Irish bullpen in 98.1 innings of work this season. It was the first home run allowed by the pen since Fitzgerald surrendered one on March 5 against Winthrop - a span of 78.1 innings.

    FIRST INNING EXPLOSION ­-- Notre Dame plated five runs in the bottom of the first inning en route to a 14-4 rout of Connecticut on April 10. The five runs were the most for the Irish in any first inning this season. The last time the Irish scored five runs in the first inning came on March 4, 2007 against Nebraska in Deland, Florida. Notre Dame went on to upset #7 Nebraska, 16-6.
    • The last time Notre Dame scored more than five runs in the first inning came on March 22, 2006 against Central Michigan. The Irish used a seven-run first inning to beat the Chippewas, 11-9.
    • Notre Dame has struggled to score runs in 2011, but has managed to registered innings with 11 runs (vs. Purdue on Feb. 19) and five runs (vs. Connecticut on Apr. 10, vs. Pittsburgh on Apr. 3 and vs. Penn State on Feb. 20).

    WALKING A TIGHTROPE -- Notre Dame has already played 16 games decided by one run in 2011. The Irish are 7-9 in those outings and it does not include three other extra-inning contests where Notre Dame either tied (Gonzaga, March 20) or lost by two runs (West Virginia, April 15; Michigan, May 4). Here is a look at all of the Irish one-run contests:

    Date (Opponent) Result
    *See PDF for full coverage.

    • Notre Dame has had two BIG EAST series in which all three games were decided by one run (vs. Georgetown and vs. Seton Hall).
    • Notre Dame has played in seven games decided by two runs and seven more decided by three runs. In all, the 30 of Notre Dame's 40 games have been decided by three runs or less.
    • Notre Dame played in 12 games decided by one run or less in 2010 (6-6) and four other games decided by two runs or less (2-2).

    ON DECK -- Following this weekend's series with Rutgers, Notre Dame opens a BIG EAST series at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 13, against USF at Frank Eck Stadium.

    PROBABLY GOING TO JINX IT, BUT -- Notre Dame has played two games this year that have exceeded three hours and both took went into extra innings. The Irish and Gonzaga tied, 3-3, in 12 innings on March 20 in a game that lasted 3:18. Notre Dame and Michigan went 10 innings on May 4 abd the game lasted 3:10. The Irish have already played in 18 games this season that finished under two hours and 20 minutes, including two games at Winthrop, all three outings at Seattle and two of the three games against Georgetown.
    • The longest game of the series with the Redhawks was Friday's meeting, which lasted only two hours and 20 minutes. The final two games of the series took just one hour and 52 minutes and two hours and one minute to complete, respectively.
    • The first game of the doubleheader on Sat., Feb. 25, which lasted only one hour and 52 minutes, was the quickest nine-inning game for the Irish since Apr. 4, 2009 against Villanova. Notre Dame planked the Wildcats, 4-0, in one hour and 43 minutes.
    • Notre Dame's two games in its doubleheader at St. John's last 1:49 and 2:19.
    • Notre Dame's 40 games of 2011 have averaged out to just over 2:24 minutes in length.

    Oh Captain, My Captain -- Senior SS Mick Doyle and senior RHP Brian Dupra are serving as Notre Dame's team captains for the 2011 season. Each received the captain's honor following a preseason vote by their teammates. Dupra served as a team-captain in 2010.

    IRISH COACHING DEBUTS -- Mik Aoki was looking to join Dave Schrage (2007; 15-7 vs. Prairie View A&M) and Pat Murphy (1988; 14-11 at Duke) as the only Notre Dame coaches since 1924 to win their first game with the Irish, but Notre Dame dropped its season opener against Michigan State on Feb. 18.
    • Here's a quick look at the first-game results of new head coaches dating back to the '14 season (5-5-1; previous seasons had rotating coaches who spent only part of the season with the team).

    First-Year Head Coach Debuts
    Mik Aoki L, 1-2 vs. Michigan State Feb. 18, 2011
    Dave Schrage W, 15-7 vs. Prairie View A&M Feb. 17, 2007
    Paul Mainieri L, 6-10 vs. Texas Feb. 24, 1995
    Pat Murphy W, 14-11 at Duke Feb. 25, 1988
    Larry Gallo L, 7-8 at Delta State Mar. 16, 1981
    Tom Kelly L, 3-4 vs. St. Bernard Mar. 14, 1976
    Jake Kline L, 5-7 vs. Ohio State Apr. 13, 1934
    George Keogan W, 4-3 at Georgia Tech Apr. 12, 1924
    Walter Halas T, 3-3 vs. Wisconsin Apr. 15, 1921
    Gus Dorais W, 4-3 vs. Wisconsin Apr. 19, 1919
    Jess Harper W, 7-2 vs. Wisconsin Apr. 7, 1914

    MANCINI GOES BOOM BOOM -- Freshman 1B Trey Mancini leads Notre Dame in batting (.319), runs scored (25), hits (45), triples (two), home runs (seven), RBI (26), total bases (81) and slugging percentage (.574).
    • With Notre Dame trailing Seton Hall, 4-2, in the bottom of the eighth inning and two outs, the Pirates called upon closer Matt Harvey. He entered the contest with 46 strikeouts in 27.2 innings of work, including five punch outs in 2.2 innings of work en route to his fourth save of the season on Friday night, but Mancini hammered a 1-0 fast ball over the batter's eye in left centerfield to give the Notre Dame its first lead of the game and ultimately a 5-4 come-from-behind victory on May 1 at Frank Eck Stadium.
    • Mancini was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the second time this season on Apr. 11. He batted .533 (8-for-15) with six runs scored, two doubles, one home run and seven RBI in four games last week. He is the only rookie to earn the nomination twice this season.
    • Mancini ranks among the freshman leaders in the NCAA in home runs and slugging percentage:

    Category Total (NCAA Rank)
    Slugging Percentage .574 (6th)
    Home Runs 7 (t-7th)

    • Of the six freshmen with more home runs than Mancini, none have played as few games (38) as the Irish first baseman.
    • Mancini ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories in all games:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Slugging Percentage .574 (6th)
    Home Runs 7 (5th)

    • Mancini ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories in league games only:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Home Runs 5 (2nd)
    Slugging Percentage .594 (7th)
    Total Bases 38 (10th)

    • Here is how Mancini ranks among all BIG EAST freshman in a number of offensive categories:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Freshman Rank)
    Batting Average .319 (1st)
    Slugging Percentage .574 (1st)
    Home Runs 7 (1st)
    RBI 26 (1st)
    On Base Percentage .380 (2nd)
    Doubles 11 (2nd)
    Hits 45 (2nd)
    Runs Scored 25 (2nd)

    • Mancini would be the first Notre Dame player to lead the Irish in all three triple crown categories (batting average, home runs and RBI) since Brant Ust in 1998. Only six players have accomplished the feat since 1948. The other players to lead Notre Dame in all three categories included Dan Peltier (1989), Mike Trudeau (1985), George Sefcik (1962), Dick O'Leary (1961) and Elmer Kohorst (1956, although tied for home run lead). Here is the breakdown on those players and their respective offensive totals.

    *See PDF for full coverage.

    • Here is a situational breakdown of Mancini this season:

    *See PDF for full coverage.

    JAGIELO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ORDER -- Freshman Eric Jagielo started at first base and batted third for the Irish in the season opener against Michigan State. He was the first Notre Dame rookie to start at first base in a season opener since Feb. 23, 1989. Joe Binkiewicz started at first base in the first game of a doubleheader against Trinity (TX).
    • Jagielo delivered a two-out, walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Irish a 2-1 victory over Seton Hall on April 30 at Frank Eck Stadium. He slapped a 1-0 offering from George Fernandez into left field to plate senior SS Mick Doyle.
    • Jagielo is the first Notre Dame rookie to bat third in a season opener since at least 1988. Irish records unfortunately do not have complete box scores prior to the '88 season.
    • Jagielo has already started games in 2011 at four different positions. He has started at first base, third base, left field and center field. Jagielo played shortstop in high school and exclusively in the infield.
    • Jagielo has hit third in the lineup over all 40 games in 2011.
    • Jagielo ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories in league games only:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Steal Attempts 7 (9th)
    Walks 11 (t-9th)

    • Here is how Jagielo ranks among all BIG EAST freshman in a number of offensive categories:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Freshman Rank)
    Doubles 12 (1st)
    Runs Scored 24 (3rd)
    Hits 40 (4th)

    • Here is a situational breakdown of Jagielo this season:

    *See PDF for full coverage.

    PETZOLD ULTIMATE EXAMPLE OF PAYING DUES -- Notre Dame fifth-year senior OF Herman Petzold entered this season with exactly three base hits and no RBI in 10 at-bats over 11 career games ­-- all of the bench. In fact, when first-year Irish head coach Mik Aoki took over the program in June, Petzold was not even listed on the 2011 roster. Petzold contacted Aoki over the summer and expressed interest in returning. He had already taken care of his academic paperwork in order to be eligible as a fifth-year senior and Aoki offered him a spot on the roster.
    • Petzold earned a starting spot in right field and has not looked back. He is tied or leads the team outright in sacrifice bunts (10), hit-by-pitch (five), on-base percentage (.396), games played (40) and games started (40). Petzold, one of two Irish players hitting over .300, ranks second in batting average (.307), hits (42) and RBI (18). He was the only Irish player to register a hit in each of the first six games this season and has registered a hit in 27 of Notre Dame's 40 games. Petzold also ranks second on the team with 11 multi-hit games, including a team-best four games with at least three hits.
    • Petzold had a career-best three hits in the victory over Central Michigan on March 29. He also drew a walk to reach base safely in each of his four plate appearances. Petzold added the eventual gamewinning RBI double.
    • Petzold had a three-run double and drove in career-best four in the victory over Connecticut on April 10.
    • Petzold also played exclusively as a middle infielder over his first four years, but he started the season opener against Michigan State on Feb. 18 in right field and performed as if he had played his entire career at the position. Petzold batted .417 (5-for-12) with a walk, hit by pitch, sacrifice bunt, two doubles, three runs scored and five RBI in three starts against Michigan State, Purdue and Penn State. He also played a flawless right field. He recorded four put outs without an error.
    • Without a doubt, Petzold's biggest hit of the weekend came in the 19-2 rout of Purdue on Feb. 19. With the Irish trailing 2-0 in the top of the third inning, Petzold drilled an 0-2 offering into the left centerfield gap for a one-out, three-run double to give Notre Dame a 3-2 lead. Notre Dame continued the momentum with an 11-run fourth inning and never looked back. He went 3-for-6 against the Boilermakers with two runs scored and four RBI - career-bests in hits, at-bats, runs scored and RBI.
    • Petzold ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Sacrifice Bunts 10 (t-3rd)

    • Here is a situational breakdown of Petzold this season:

    *See PDF for full coverage.

    Johnson, Petzold Earn Academic All-District Baseball Honors -- Senior RHP Cole Johnson and senior RF Herman Petzold were selected to the Capital One Academic All-District V team. Their names will now appear on the national ballot for a chance to be voted as Academic All-Americans.
    • Already a finalist for the 2011 Lowe's Senior Class Award and recent recipient of the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete, Johnson maintains a 3.68 grade-point average in the College of Science as a double major in pre-professional studies (pre-medicine) and Spanish language and literature. He was named to the Dean's List for the second time this past fall. Johnson has also been honored as a BIG EAST academic all-star each of the last three years.
    • Johnson, a right-handed pitcher, has rebounded from an injury-plagued 2010 season with a stellar campaign in '11. Johnson has pitched far better than his 3-6 record would indicate. Notre Dame has managed to score just 19 runs over his last 10 starts. He has a 2.78 ERA in 11 starts over 74.1 innings of work. He has struck out 57 and walked 19. Johnson leads the Irish pitching staff with nine quality starts. He ranks tied for third in the BIG EAST among starting pitchers in fewest home runs allowed (one), fifth in strikeouts looking (21), seventh in opposing batting average (.214), tied for seventh in innings pitched, tied for eighth in punchouts and tied for 11th in ERA.
    • Petzold, who maintains a 3.319 grade-point average in the Mendoza College of Business as a double major in finance and mathematics, entered this season with exactly three base hits and no RBI in 10 at-bats over 11 career games -- all off the bench. In fact, when first-year Irish head coach Mik Aoki took over the program in June, Petzold was not even listed on the 2011 roster. He contacted Aoki over the summer and expressed interest in returning. Thankfully, Petzold had already taken care of his academic paperwork in order to be eligible as a fifth-year senior and Aoki offered him a spot on the roster.
    • Petzold earned a starting spot in right field and has not looked back. He is tied or leads the team outright in sacrifice bunts (10), hit-by-pitch (five), on-base percentage (.396), games played (40) and games started (40). Petzold, one of two Irish players hitting over .300, ranks second in batting average (.307), hits (42) and RBI (18). He was the only Irish player to register a hit in each of the first six games this season and has registered a hit in 27 of Notre Dame's 40 games. Petzold also ranks second on the team with 11 multi-hit games, including a team-best four games with at least three hits.

    Johnson, DOYLE EARN AWARDS -- The Notre Dame Department of Athletics held its annual O.S.C.A.R.S. (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements & Recognition Showcase) on Wednesday evening, May 3 inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center and senior RHP Cole Johnson and senior SS Mick Doyle were both recognized.
    • Johnson captured the The Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete. It has been given annually since 1926 to senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as both students and leaders. Chosen by the University's Faculty Board on Athletics, the awards are named in honor of the 1904 Notre Dame graduate who was a member of the baseball team as an undergraduate. Kanaley went on to a successful banking career in Chicago and served the University as a lay trustee until his death in 1960.
    • One of 10 finalists for the 2011 Lowe's Senior Class Award, Johnson has rebounded from an injury-plagued 2010 season with a stellar campaign in 2011. Johnson has pitched far better than his 3-6 record would indicate. Notre Dame has managed to score just 19 runs over his last 10 starts. He has a 2.78 ERA in 11 starts over 74.1 innings of work. He has struck out 57 and walked 19. Johnson leads the Irish pitching staff with nine quality starts. He ranks tied for third in the BIG EAST among starting pitchers in fewest home runs allowed (one), fifth in strikeouts looking (21), seventh in opposing batting average (.214), tied for seventh in innings pitched, tied for eighth in punch outs and tied for 11th in ERA.
    • In the classroom, Johnson maintains a 3.68 GPA in the College of Science as a double major in pre-professional studies and Spanish language and literature. He was named to the Dean's List for the second time this past fall. Johnson has also been honored as a Big East academic all-star each of the last three years.
    • Doyle was one of seven student-athletes that received the Leaders of Distinction award, which is presented to those individuals deemed exceptional leaders by their coaches and teammates.
    • A two-time team captain and four-time monogram winner, Doyle has started all 38 games for the Irish in 2011. While he has struggled at the plate, Doyle has been nearly flawless in the field. He has committed just three errors in 146 fielding chances - good for a .979 fielding percentage. Doyle has played in 160 games and started 142 over his Irish career.
    • Off the diamond, Doyle maintains a 3.461 GPA as a finance major in the Mendoza College of Business. He recently participated in the Rosenthal Leadership Academy, which develops, challenges, and supports student-athletes and coaches in their continual quest to become world-class leaders in athletics, academics, and life. The Notre Dame Leadership Academy provides comprehensive and cutting edge leadership development programming through interactive workshops, 360-degree feedback, one-on-one coaching, peer mentoring, and educational resources. Doyle has also served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council.
    • Johnson and Doyle have been involved with the Notre Dame team and its community-service efforts throughout his years with the Irish program. Through Fighting Irish Fight for Life, he and the team recently adopted five-year old Brady Burkhart, who has been diagnosed with leukemia. Johnson has also worked with Habitat for Humanity, Center for the Homeless, Memorial Hospital Pediatric Cancer Center and other works in the local community. They each participated in the Life Works Dream Team program at McKinley Primary School, which was a five-week program where he spent an hour a week teaching students about setting goals and overcoming obstacles. Johnson has also volunteered, independently from the team's programs, weekly at La Casa de Amistad, a local South Bend Hispanic community center. He participated in varied programs in an effort to edify Hispanic youth and adults in development of leadership skills, increase knowledge and appreciation of their own culture, and develop stronger self-esteem, encouraging fuller participation as community members.

    JOHNSON DOING HIS PART -- Senior RHP Cole Johnson carries a 2.78 ERA into this weekend's series against Rutgers. Despite quality starts in nine of his 11 outings, Johnson owns just a 3-6 record. The righty has been handcuffed by minimal run support. Notre Dame has scored a grand total of 19 runs over Johnson's last 10 starts. In fact, four of those runs did not cross the plate until after he left the contest at Pittsburgh on April 2, versus Connecticut on April 10 and against Seton Hall on April 30. The only game in which the Irish managed more than three runs of support for Johnson came on Feb. 19, when Notre Dame pounded out a season-high 25 hits and scored a season-high 19 runs. The Irish have scored one run or less in four of his 11 starts.
    • Johnson did not factor in the decision against Seton Hall on April 30, but was lights out once again. He tossed his fourth career outing of 9.0 innings or more and first since April 9, 2009, against Cincinnati (9.2 innings). Johnson allowed just one earned run on three hits, two of which were singles, in 9.0 innings of work. He struck out two and walked three.
    • Johnson actually took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He issued a leadoff walk to Zack Granite to open the contest, but proceeded to retire the next 10 Pirates before another free pass with one out in the fourth. Johnson sent down the next five Seton Hall batters before running into a little bit of trouble in the sixth. The Pirates had runners on first and second with just one out after an Irish error and hit batsman, but Johnson induced a 5-4-3 double play to take the no-hitter into the seventh inning. He retired six of the last seven Pirates he faced to send the game into extra innings.
    • Johnson, who received 19 runs of support in his first start of 2011, has benefitted from a total of 19 runs over his last 10 starts of the season combined.
    • Senior Mick Doyle gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with an RBI single and Johnson pretty much did the rest as the Irish shut out Georgetown, 1-0, on March 26. He limited Georgetown to five hits, four of which were singles, in 8.0 shutout innings of work. Johnson struck out six and walked one. He retired 15 of the 18 Hoyas between the fourth and eighth innings. The only three Georgetown batters that reached base did so via a hit-by-pitch, infield single and bloop base hit to left field.
    • Johnson has tossed at least 7.0 innings in six of his last 10 starts and ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST pitching categories:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Home Runs Allowed 1 (t-3rd)
    Strikeouts Looking 21 (5th)
    Opp. Batting Avg. .214 (7th)
    Innings Pitched 74.1 (t-7th)
    Strikeouts 57 (t-8th)
    ERA 2.78 (11th)

    • Johnson ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories in league games only:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Opp. Batting Avg. .204 (5th)
    Strikeouts Looking 12 (t-7th)
    Strikeouts 29 (11th)
    Runs Allowed 14 (11th)

    JOHNSON GETS REVENGE AGAINST WEST VIRGINIA -- Senior RHP Cole Johnson allowed just one earned run in 6.1 innings of work to lead Notre Dame past West Virginia, 5-2, in the second game of a day-night doubleheader on April 15. He limited the Mountaineers to just two runs, one earned, on four hits. Johnson struck out six and walked two. He collected his eighth quality start of 2011. He issued a leadoff walk in the first inning, but proceeded to register back-to-back strikeouts before a catcher's interference put two West Virginia runners on base. Jeremy Gum followed with a two-run double to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead. Johnson would blank the Mountaineers over the next 5.2 innings.
    • Johnson surrendered 11 runs on ten hits in 5.0 innings of work in his last start against West Virginia on April 17, 2009.

    JOHNSON QUITE INVOLVED OFF THE FIELD AS WELL -- Senior RHP Cole Johnson, a co-captain in 2009, has the rare accomplishment of being named a captain as a pitcher and not an everyday position player. Over the last 32 seasons, Johnson is only the ninth pitcher to earn captain status. The others include Craig Allen ('96), Alex Shilliday ('99), Aaron Heilman ('00, '01), J.P. Gagne ('03), Chris Niesel ('04), Tyler Jones ('05), Tom Thorton ('06) and Brian Dupra ('10).
    • Johnson was one of 12 Irish student-athletes invited to join a faculty-mentoring program based on leadership, academic performance and athletic accomplishments. Johnson was selected from over 900 Notre Dame athletes, and the only sophomore inducted in 2009.
    • Johnson was selected for the Notre Dame Rosenthal Leadership Academy, which is a special four-month program of seminars and workshops to develop leadership strategies, initiatives and skills.

    Johnson Selected As Candidate For Lowe's Senior Class Award -- Senior RHP Cole Johnson is one of 10 Division I college baseball players to be selected as a finalist for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The award honors student athletes who excel both on and off the diamond and has notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
    • An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
    • Joining Johnson on the list of baseball finalists are: P Chris Dennis (Portland), CF Brandon Eckerle (Michigan State), C Clint Ewing (Louisiana Tech), P Cole Green (Texas), FB/DH Frazier Hall (Southern), 1B Paul Hoilman (East Tennessee State), OF Chris Slater (Baylor), OF Cory Tilton (UNC Charlotte) and P Tyler Wilson (Virginia). .
    • Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the winner June 24 at the NCAA College World Series® in Omaha.

    DUPRA AWFULLY GOOD -- Senior RHP Brian Dupra has registered eight quality starts over his 11 outings in 2011. He has worked into the seventh inning in nine of his 11 starts this season.
    • Dupra ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories in overall games:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Sacrifice Bunts Allowed 10 (t-1st)
    Strikeouts Looking 24 (t-3rd)
    Innings Pitched 78.0 (4th)
    Strikeouts 70 (4th)
    Pickoffs 3 (t-4th)
    ERA 2.42 (6th)
    Doubles Allowed 9 (t-7th)
    Earned Runs Allowed 21 (t-10th)

    • Dupra ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories in league games only:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Sacrifice Bunts Allowed 5 (t-8th)
    Strikeouts 35 (t-6th)
    Innings Pitched 44.0 (5th)
    Strikeouts Looking 10 (t-10th)
    ERA 2.45 (10th)

    • Dupra has allowed more than two earned runs in a start only three times this season. He has allowed no earned runs on four different occasions, one earned run once and two earned runs three times.
    • Dupra has a 2.45 ERA over six starts and 44.0 innings of work in BIG EAST action, but owns an 0-3 record.
    • Notre Dame wasted another stellar pitching performance from Dupra against Seton Hall on April 29. Despite the Irish going 4-for-18 with runners on base and just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, Dupra did everything that could have been asked to keep the Irish in the game. The right-handed hurler tossed Notre Dame's first complete game of the season. He limited the Pirates to a pair of earned runs on seven hits and punched out 10. Dupra retired 11 of the last 12 Seton Hall hitters, including the final nine of the contest, but was charged with the loss. The complete game was the third of his career and first since April 18, 2009, against West Virginia. Dupra also recorded his third game of the season with 10 or more strikeouts.
    • Dupra was charged with the loss against UConn on Apr. 8. He limited the Huskies to just two runs, one of which was unearned, on six hits in 7.1 innings. Dupra fanned four and walked three.
    • He allowed exactly one earned run over his first 21.0 innings of work in BIG EAST starts.
    • Dupra was dominant in his two starts against Manhattan and Seattle. The co-captain struck out 10, did not issue a walk and allowed two earned runs in 8.0 innings against Manhattan on March 4. Dupra was the first Irish pitcher to register 10 or more strikeouts in back-to-back starts since David Phelps in 2007. He also was the first Notre Dame hurler to post 10 or more strikeouts in a game without a walk since Phelps in 2007.
    • Dupra picked up the victory in the series opener against Seattle on Feb. 25 and struck out a career-high 11. He blanked the Redhawks over 6.0 innings of work on just four hits. Dupra walked only one batter.
    • The 11 strikeouts were the most by an Irish pitcher since Steve Sabatino struck out 11 at Villanova on May 15, 2010. It was the most strikeouts by a Notre Dame right-handed pitcher since Phelps totaled 11 at Louisville on May 12, 2007. In fact, a Notre Dame pitcher, either right-handed or left-handed, has not posted more strikeouts in a game since Tom Thornton fanned 12 against Kent State on June 5, 2004. The last Irish righty to eclipse 11 strikeouts in a game was Chris Neisel (12 in relief vs. Ball State on May 5, 2004).
    • Dupra turned in a quality start in the season opener against Michigan State on Feb. 18. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits in 7.0 innings of work. Dupra struck out five and did not issue a walk. He tossed 92 pitches, 72 of which were strikes.

    DUPRA AMONGST RARE GROUP -- Senior RHP Brian Dupra is a two-time captain for the Irish. He has served in that leadership roll each of the past two seasons (2009 and 2010). Dupra is the 15th multi-year captain in the program's 118-year history. He is the 12th since the turn of century (as in 1900 not 2000) and 10th since the late 1970s.
    • Dupra also has the rare accomplishment of being named a captain as a pitcher and not an everyday position player. Over the last 32 seasons, Dupra is only the ninth pitcher to earn captain status. The others include Craig Allen ('96), Alex Shilliday ('99), Aaron Heilman ('00, '01), J.P. Gagne ('03), Chris Niesel ('04), Tyler Jones ('05), Tom Thorton ('06) and Cole Johnson ('09). In fact, Dupra and Heilman are the only known two-time captain pitchers in Notre Dame baseball history.

    DUPRA MOVING UP THE CHARTS -- Senior RHP Brian Dupra will make his 48th career start on Saturday in the opener of a doubleheader with Rutgers. The 48 career starts ranks fifth all-time. He has also logged 289.0 career innings on the mound, which ranks just outside the top 10. Dupra also ranks ninth all-time in fewest walks per nine innings.
    • Here is a look at the top 10 in school history in each category:

    Rank Player (Years) BB/9 IP
    *See PDF for full coverage.

    PENCIL IN DeSICO AT SECOND BASE -- Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico started 85 straight games at second base for the Irish. The 85 consecutive starts at second base were the most for an Irish player since Steve Sollman made 86 straight starts at second from Mar. 30, 2002 - Apr. 22, 2003.
    • The streak ended on Tuesday night against Michigan. DeSico injured him hamstring in the third inning of Sunday's victory over Seton Hall. He did remain in the game until the eighth inning, but will likely sit the two games against the Wolverines in hopes of returning to action this weekend at Rutgers.
    • DeSico ranks as one of the toughest players in the BIG EAST to strikeout. The sophomore has fanned just 11 times in 168 plate appearances and 145 official at bats in 2011. He ranks tied for second in the BIG EAST in fewest strikeouts by an everyday player.

    Rank Player, School Strikeouts
    1. A.J. Rusbarsky, Seton Hall 9
    2. Frank DeSico, Notre Dame 11
    Kevan Smith, Pittsburgh 11

    MILLER MAKING THE MOST OF NEW ROLE -- Senior RHP Todd Miller made just two starts, and both were spot starts, over his first three years with Notre Dame. He predominantly served as a middle reliever and setup man before earning a spot in the rotation in 2011. Miller has recorded six quality starts in 10 outings to open the year. He is 3-3 with a 3.98 ERA. Miller has struck out 30, walked eight and allowed 66 hits in 63.1 innings of work.
    • Notre Dame owns a 6-3-1 record in Miller's starts.
    • Miller scattered seven hits over his career-long 8.0 innings of work en route to the victory over Kent State on March 13. Miller struck out one and walked one. He danced around trouble most of the afternoon. He allowed one-out doubles in each of the first two innings, but kept the Golden Flashes off the scoreboard each time. Miller then surrendered back-to-back one out singles in the third inning, but got Kent State's No. 3 and No. 4 hitters to fly out and ground out to end the threat. The Golden Flashes tagged Miller with a two-out double in the fourth inning, but the Irish starter induced a ground ball out to keep the game scoreless. Miller plunked a Kent State batter in the fifth with one out, but evaded any damage. He ran into trouble again in the Golden Flashes sixth inning. Miller retired the leadoff batter, but David Lyon walked and T.J. Sutton singled to put runners on first and second with one out. He got an infield fly and Kent State pinch hitter Nick Hamilton grounded out to end the inning. Miller, after sending down Kent State in order for the first time in the game in the seventh inning, worked around a leadoff hit in the eighth.
    • Miller was charged with the loss on March 27 against Georgetown. The starter was charged with four runs, all earned, on five hits in 6.1 innings. Miller fanned three and walked one. He was at the top of his game following a painful first inning, literally. Miller surrendered a leadoff double to Justin Leeson and Mike Garza followed with a missile back up the box that drilled Miller on the pitching hand. He managed to rebound and still record the out, but the ball left a serious welt on Miller's right hand. Leeson did advance to third on the liner and scored on Rand Ravnaas' ensuing sacrifice fly to give the Hoyas an early 1-0 lead. Erick Fernandez followed with a single and Dan Capeless lined another ball off Miller, this time off the leg, but Miller again was able to record the out. If either line drive hindered Miller, nobody could have noticed. He proceeded to retire the next 14 consecutive Georgetown batters before a meaningless one-out walk in the top of the sixth inning.
    • Miller ranks among the leaders in the following NCAA categories:

    Category Total (NCAA Rank)
    Walks Per Nine Innings 1.14 (t-29th)

    • Miller ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Walks Allowed 8 (t-2nd)

    • Miller ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST categories in league games only:

    Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)
    Walks Allowed 3 (t-2nd)

    IRISH OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION -- Notre Dame stranded seven on the base paths, including six in scoring position, in the one-run defeat to Michigan State on Feb. 18, but the Irish more than made up for their lack of clutch hitting in the 19-2 rout of Purdue on Feb. 19.
    • Notre Dame totaled 19 runs on 25 hits in the rout of the Boilermakers. The 19 runs bested the previous BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge record of 18 runs set by St. John's in 2009. The 25 hits bested the previous mark of 24 set by Louisville against Michigan State in 2010. The 17-run margin of victory also established a new challenge record.
    • The 25 hits still rank as the most by a BIG EAST team in 2011 and the 19 runs are the second-most by a league member.
    • The Notre Dame 11-run fourth inning was the second-largest scoring outburst in any inning in BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge history. St. John's had a 12-run frame in 2009. The Irish had not posted 10 or more runs in an inning since May of 2004. In fact, Notre Dame eclipsed 11 runs in a total game only five times during the entire 2010 season.
    • The 19 runs, 25 hits and 17-run margin of victory were all the best for the Irish since Mar. 20, 2008 against Georgetown. Notre Dame routed the Hoyas, 25-1, that afternoon and recorded 28 hits.
    • The 11-run inning marked the first inning with at least 10 runs since May 10, 2004 at Connecticut. The Irish plated 10 runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 16-8 victory over the Huskies.

     

     

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