May 26, 2012
Clearwater, Fla. (Bright House Networks Field)
Irish Baseball Eliminated By St. John's, 2-1, In BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals
No. 7 seed Notre Dame, the BIG EAST's youngest squad by a wide margin, went toe-to-toe with No. 2 seed and regular season co-champion St. John's, but came up just a little short. The Red Storm used a pair of sacrifice flies and the stellar right arm of junior Kyle Hansen to hold off the Irish, 2-1, in the BIG EAST tournament semifinals Saturday morning at Bright House Field. Notre Dame closes the 2012 campaign with a 31-27 record, but did reach the tourney final four for the first time since 2009.
IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Notre Dame opens its three-game BIG EAST series with a doubleheader against St. John's at noon Saturday at Jack Kaiser Stadium. Sunday's series finale is slated for 1 p.m. All three games will be televised. Saturday's twin bill will be available on ESPN3.com, while Sunday's game will air on the CBS Sports Network. All three games can be heard on Harvest Radio WHME 103.1 FM locally in South Bend and worldwide at UND.com.
PLAYING THE BEST -- Notre Dame has played nine games against top-25 opponents (No. 25 Virginia Tech, No. 7 UCLA, No. 10 Oklahoma and three games against both No. 20 Cal Poly and No. 10 Louisville). The Irish have captured four of those nine meetings.
Notre Dame also defeated unranked Florida Gulf Coast, 6-5, in 10 innings in the season opener and the Eagles have since moved into the top 25.
The Irish played nine top-25 foes over their first 25 games.
THIS WEEKEND'S STORY LINES -- Notre Dame (8-10) enters this weekend's series with St. John's just two games behind Rutgers (10-8) for fifth place in the BIG EAST standings. Connecticut (9-12) and the Red Storm (7-11) stand seventh and eighth, respectively. The top eight teams qualify for the 2013 BIG EAST Tournament in Clearwater, Fla.
Notre Dame closes the BIG EAST regular season next weekend at Cincinnati.
May 10-12 May 16-18
USF at Seton Hall Connecticut at George Mason
Villanova at Pittsburgh Notre Dame at Cincinnati
Georgetown at Rutgers Pittsburgh at Louisville
Louisville at Connecticut Rutgers at USF
Notre Dame at St. John's St. John's at Seton Hall
Santa Clara at Cincinnati Villanova at Georgetown
The Irish were ranked No. 31 in the most recent NCAA RPI. Louisville (No. 23) was the only BIG EAST school with a higher RPI than the Irish. Here is a breakdown of the league by NCAA RPI:
NOTRE DAME-ST. JOHN'S SERIES NOTES -- Notre Dame owns a 26-23 (.531) all-time record against St. John's, including a 7-8 mark at Jack Kaiser Stadium.
The Red Storm have captured nine straight meetings in the series, including all five matchups in 2012. St. John's took two of three from Notre Dame in 2010. The Irish upended St. John's in the '10 series opener, but dropped the last two games of the series. The Red Storm swept a doubleheader from Notre Dame in its last trip to Queens in 2011.
Prior to the last nine meetings, Notre Dame had captured six of the previous seven and 10 of 14. The Irish took two of three from the Red Storm in Queens in 2009 and then twice in the '09 conference tourney.
Notre Dame swept the Red Storm over a three-game series at Frank Eck Stadium during the 2006 regular season.
St. John's had captured four of the previous five in the series with the Irish (three one-run wins and a two-run margin), including a series sweep in Queens during the 2005 campaign.
St. John's (2005, 2012), Seton Hall (1996, 2012), Connecticut (2002), Louisville (2007, 2010, 2013), USF (2008, 2010), Pittsburgh (2013) and West Virginia (2010) are the only teams ever to sweep a three-game BIG EAST series from the Irish.
The Irish won 9-of-10 in the series from 2000-2004.
STREAKING THE WRONG WAY AGAINST ST. JOHN'S -- Notre Dame's nine-game losing streak to St. John's is the longest active streak of any Irish opponent. In fact, it is the sixth-longest losing streak in school history. Notre Dame dropped 14 consecutive meetings with Illinois (1907-23), 11 straight to Miami, Ohio (1971-83), 11 consecutive to Michigan State 1987-2012, 10 straight to Indiana 1984-89 and 10 consecutive to Michigan (1944-49).
The Irish snapped their 11-game losing streak to the Spartans earlier this season.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Notre Dame St. John's
Batting Average .275 .262
Runs Per Game 4.83 5.62
Home Runs 20 17
Slugging Percentage .384 .360
Batters' BB+HBP-SO Margin -100 -51
On-Base Percentage .352 .350
Stolen Bases 50-71 54-72
Team ERA 3.61 4.72
Opponent Batting Average .258 .268
Pitchers' SO-BB Ratio 2.23 1.14
Pitchers' SO Per 9 Innings 5.84 6.07
Pitchers' BB Per 9 Innings 2.62 5.30
Fielding Pct. (Errors) .970(57) .950 (99)
Double Plays Turned 41 43
Record at Home 14-6 11-9
Record on Road (including neutral) 14-13 9-21
Record in One-Run Games 11-6 5-6
Record in Extra Innings 4-3 1-2
NO SECRET TO PROBLEMS IN 2012 SERIES WITH ST. JOHN'S -- Notre Dame was swept at home by St. John's in the 2012 regular season. The Irish struggled mightily defensively and simply could not produce with runners in scoring position.
2012 St. John's Series
Batting Average With Runners On-Base .250 (11-for-44)
Batting Average With Runners in Scoring Position .200 (6-for-30)
Runners Left On Base 27
Runners Stranded in Scoring Position 17
Fielding Percentage .944
Earned Run Average 3.00
Unearned Runs Allowed 6
All three losses for the Irish were decided by exactly two runs.
The Red Storm then knocked off Notre Dame twice in the '12 BIG EAST tournament. St. John's routed the Irish, 12-2, in the opener before eliminating Notre Dame, 2-1.
AOKI, IRISH SEEN THE 19TH BEFORE -- Notre Dame and USF not only played the longest game in BIG EAST history, but the 19-inning contest on May 3 was the longest in the histories of both programs. The Irish have played baseball for 120 years.
Notre Dame played into the 19th inning at Rutgers on May 11, 2003, but the Scarlet Knights collected a walk-off victory with two outs in the bottom half of the inning. Thus, the game officially lasted 18.2 innings.
The game lasted exactly five hours, featured 36 different players and a total of 540 pitches.
NCAA Division I baseball has not seen a longer regular-season game since March 26, 2011 when San Diego and Fresno State played a 22-inning contest. Only 16 games in NCAA history have ever reached the 20th inning.
The longest game in NCAA history was 25 innings between Boston College and Texas on May 30, 2009, in the Austin Regional. The Eagles were coached in that game by current third-year Irish skipper Mik Aoki.
WALKING A TIGHTROPE -- Notre Dame has played in 17 games decided by one run. The Irish own an 11-6 record in those outings. The 11 one-run victories equals the most in single-season school history.
The nip-and-tuck battles are nothing new to Notre Dame. The Irish played 18 games decided by one run in 2012. Notre Dame went 11-7 in those outings. In fact, the Irish also played in 20 such games in 2011 as well (going 10-10).
In all, Notre Dame has played in 55 different one-run contests since third-year head coach Mik Aoki arrived on campus. That's 55 of 157 games or 35 percent of Aoki's tenure in an Irish uniform. Notre Dame is 32-23 in one-run games under Aoki.
The 11 wins by a single run in 2012 and 2013 are tied for the most in single-season school history (1990, 1981).
Notre Dame established the school record for most games decided by a single run in 2011. The 2001 squad also played in 18 games decided by the slimmest of margins.
Here is a look at the top 10 seasons in terms of most games decided by a single run and those teams records in those contests.
Notre Dame played in nine more games decided by two runs in 2012. In all, 27 of Notre Dame's 58 games were decided by two runs or less.
Over the last three seasons, 75 of Notre Dame's 157 games (nearly 48 percent) have been decided by two runs or less.
Notre Dame topped No. 20 Cal Poly, 1-0, on Mar. 15. The previous 1-0 victory for the Irish came almost a year to the date. Notre Dame defeated Kansas, 1-0, on Mar. 16, 2012 in San Antonio at the Irish Baseball Classic. Notre Dame has captured 40 games by a score of 1-0 over the 120-year history of the program, including four under third-year head coach Mik Aoki. The Irish have not captured a 1-0 game on the road since Apr. 1, 1989 when Notre Dame upended Saint Louis.
COULD-A, SHOULD-A, WOULD-A -- Notre Dame had a myriad of scoring chances throughout the first two games of the series with USF and simply was not able to take advantage.
The Irish had the lead-off batter reach base in 11 different innings in the two defeats, yet Notre Dame collected a run on just two of those opportunities.
Notre Dame stranded 31 base runners over the first two games of the series, including an astounding 21 in scoring position alone.
The Irish advanced a runner into scoring position with less than two outs on 23 occasions on May 3-4, yet Notre Dame scored a run on just three of those chances. In fact, the Irish were 2-for-23 (.087) in the first two games of the series once a runner reached second base with less than two outs.
is a breakdown of Notre Dame's difficulties this compared to USF's success in games one and two:
Notre Dame USF
With Runners on Base: .133 (6-for-45) .319 (15-for-47)
With Bases Loaded: .000 (0-for-4) .333 (2-for-6)
With Runners in Scoring Position: .067 (2-for-30) .367 (11-for-30)
On May 4, Notre Dame left the bases loaded in the second, eighth and 10th innings. In fact, the Irish stranded 16 on the day, including an astounding 12 in scoring position.
The Irish were 1-for-28 with runners in scoring position in the series before senior 2B and co-captain Frank Desico came through with a two out, two strike RBI single in the bottom of the 10th to cut the USF lead to 4-2 on May 4. After DeSico stole second, sophomore LF Mac Hudgins drew a walk to load the bases for freshman CF Kyle Richardson. The defensive replacement ultimately drew a bases loaded walk to make the score, 4-3, but junior 1B and All-American candidate Trey Mancini grounded out sharply to the pitcher to stand the bases loaded.
After Notre Dame pushed its lead to 2-0 on Hudgins' pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the seventh on May 3, the Irish appeared as though they added another insurance run in the eighth. junior 3B and All-American candidate Eric Jagielo ripped a single and was in the process of cruising home on Mancini's ensuing RBI double, but the junior tripped a few steps shy of home plate and laid on the ground before being tagged out.
The unfortunate mishap proved costly in the top of the ninth inning. Kyle Copack led off the Bulls ninth inning with a bloop single, but Slania collected back-to-back strikeouts. Notre Dame was one out away from victory when Mendez stroked a 0-1 offering from Slania into the left centerfield gap to tie the game, 2-2.
The defeat was Notre Dame's first when taking a lead to the ninth inning in 2013. In fact, the Irish had not blown a ninth-inning lead since March 20, 2011.
The Irish were 22-0 in such games entering May 3. In fact, Notre Dame was 67-1-1 when leading after the eighth inning since the arrival of closer and All-American candidate Dan Slania in 2011.
IRISH STAFF PRETTY DARN GOOD AGAINST USF -- Notre Dame dropped two of three to league-leading USF, but it had nothing to do with the pitching staff. The Irish allowed just five earned runs in 38.0 innings over the series - good for a 1.18 ERA. Notre Dame fanned 24 and walked seven. The Irish yielded only four extra-base hits the entire weekend. The Bulls registered a slugging percentage of .288.
The 1.18 ERA is the lowest for Notre Dame in a three-game BIG EAST series since March 20-22, 2008. The Irish posted a 0.67 ERA in a three-game sweep of Georgetown (two earned runs in 27.0 innings).
Despite playing a total of 38.0 innings in the series, Notre Dame was forced to use just seven different pitchers. USF, on the other hand, was forced to use 10 different pitchers. The Irish used only four in the first two games alone (29 innings).
IRISH STAFF MAKES YOU EARN IT -- Notre Dame not only leads the BIG EAST in fewest walks per nine innings (2.62), but also ranks 16th in the NCAA. Notre Dame ranks third in the league in WHIP (1.27), which ranks 39th in the country. Louisville leads the league and ranks eighth in the NCAA in WHIP (1.12). The Irish (2.23), who rank 66th in the nation, trail only the Cardinals (3.01, ninth in the NCAA) in the BIG EAST for the top strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Notre Dame has walked two or less batters in 21 different games this season. The Irish have issued one free pass or less in 12 outings, including three games without a single walk.
As an entire staff, Notre Dame issued 160 walks in 511.2 innings in 2012. The Irish posted a 2.61 strikeout-to-walk ratio and averaged just 2.81 free passes per nine innings pitched.
Notre Dame walked two or less in 30 different games in 2012. The Irish did not walk a single batter in a game six times.
Notre Dame led the BIG EAST in fewest walks in 2012. The Irish also led the league in the same category in 2011.
Notre Dame is one of nine NCAA Division I schools that has averaged fewer than 3.00 walks per nine innings pitched over each of the last three seasons.
Notre Dame is one of four NCAA Division I schools that has ranked in the top 30 nationally in fewest walks per nine innings pitched over the last three seasons.
The Irish have averaged 2.707 free passes per nine innings over the last three years combined, which is only bested by Cal State Fullerton (1.94), Dartmouth (2.36), Valparaiso (2.51) and UC Irvine (2.706).
MANCINI, JAGIELO FORM ARGUABLY THE NATION'S TOP HITTING DUO -- Notre Dame junior All-American candidates Eric Jagielo and Trey Mancini have hit in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the Irish lineup since their freshman campaigns in 2011. The tandem has been downright destructive in 2013.
Jagielo and Mancini are one of four sets of teammates in the NCAA hitting above .385. The other tandems are Clayton Brown and Brent Graham of Campbell, Kyle Schwarber and Dustin DeMuth of Indiana and D.J. Peterson and Mitch Garver of New Mexico.
Jagielo and Mancini also rank first and second, respectively, in the BIG EAST in batting average. No players from the same school have finished the season ranked 1-2 in hitting since 2000. Darren Fenster and Joe B. Cirone of Rutgers batted .433 and .405, respectively, to league the conference.
The duo has combined to hit .387 (130-for-336) on the campaign with 61 runs scored, 25 doubles, seven triples, 12 home runs, 86 RBI and 205 total bases.
NO JAGIELO, SOMETHING NEW FOR THE IRISH -- Notre Dame 3B and All-American candidate Eric Jagielo missed the first game of his three-year career on May 4. He had started each of Notre Dame's previous 156 games. Jagielo had batted third in the order since the very first game of his career in 2011. In fact, the Irish featured someone other than Jagielo in the No. 3 hole for the first time since May 22, 2010.
Notre Dame sophomore Ryan Bull batted third on May 4 against USF, while junior 1B and All-American candidate Trey Mancini manned the spot against the Bulls on May 5.
Notre Dame sophomore Phil Mosey manned the hot corner on May 4, but Mancini made his first career appearance at third base on May 5. Mancini had not played third base since his freshman year of high school.
JAGIELO EARNS RAVE REVIEWS -- Third-year Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki raved about the hitting prowess of junior 3B Eric Jagielo as a rookie in 2011, but the Downers Grove, Ill., native had an up-and-down first year. Jagielo batted .269 with 13 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 28 RBI, but has taken off the last two seasons.
Jim Callis of Baseball America recently posted his initial 2013 MLB First-Year Player mock draft. He projected Jagielo to get chosen by the New York Yankees with the 26th overall selection of the first round.
Only six players in the country have both a higher batting average (.389) and more home runs (eight) than Jagielo.
Jagielo was named by USA Baseball to its 60-man midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list for the top amateur baseball player in the country. He leads the BIG EAST in batting average (.389), slugging percentage (.643) and on-base percentage (.498). No player has led the conference in hitting, slugging and on-base in the same season since Sean McGowan (.430/.916/.505) of Boston College in 1999. He also ranks tied for third in the league in home runs (eight), fifth in total bases (101), tied for sixth in doubles (14), tied for sixth in sacrifice flies (five), tied for seventh in runs scored (41), tied for ninth in RBI (41) and tied for ninth in hits (61).
Jagielo could become the first Notre Dame player since Craig Cooper in 2006 (.425) to bat .400 over the course of an entire season. He would become the 10th player in the 120-year history of Irish baseball to accomplish the feat. Jagielo ranks second on the team in multi-hit games (19) and leads the club in multi-RBI outings (11). He has been held hitless in just seven of his 45 games played this year. He has failed to reach base in a game just twice all year.
Jagielo had started every game of his Irish career - a span of 156 games dating back to the start of 2011 - before missing two games last weekend against USF. He had hit in the three hole from the start.
Jagielo has been named either BIG EAST Player of the Week (Mar. 11) or to the league honor roll (Feb. 18, Feb. 25 and Mar. 18) a total of four times this season.
Jagielo batted .500 (7-for-14) over the back half of the California trip, including .545 (6-for-11) in the series victory at No. 20 Cal Poly. He collected a double, home run, two RBI and scored three runs in the series with the Mustangs. Jagielo added a pair of walks, and registered a slugging percentage of .909 and on-base percentage of .615. He recorded multi-hit games in each of the three games in the series. Jagielo went 2-for-4 with a run scored, double and RBI single in the opener. He then went 2-for-4 in Notre Dame's 1-0 triumph in the second game of the weekend and closed the series with a solo home run, two walks and two runs scored (2-for-3) in the series finale.
Jagielo was named BIG EAST player of the week on Mar. 11. He batted only .286 (4-for-14) in his three games against No. 7 UCLA, USC and No. 10 Oklahoma, but two of his four hits left the ball park and each tied the game. Jagielo smacked a sixth-inning solo home run off the scoreboard in right centerfield that squared the game with the Trojans, 1-1, and then blasted a towering two-run shot in the fifth inning that nearly cleared the UCLA hitting building in right centerfield and tied the Sooners, 4-4. Jagielo now leads the Irish in home runs (five) and RBI (17). All five of Jagielo's home runs have come in the fifth inning or later and four has either given Notre Dame the lead or tied the game.
Jagielo batted .444 (4-for-9) with a double, home run, two runs scored and four RBI in the three-game sweep of Tulane. He registered a slugging percentage of .889 and on-base percentage of .462. Jagielo provided all the offense the Irish would need in Friday night's 2-1 victory. He smacked a two-run home run in the sixth inning to break a scoreless tie. Jagielo went 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly in the 3-1 triumph on Saturday and finished the weekend with a multi-hit game on Sunday. Jagielo went 2-for-4 in the series finale with another sacrifice fly.
Jagielo batted .545 (6-for-11) for the weekend with a double, two home runs and eight RBI. His batting average was the fifth-best by an Irish player over the season's opening weekend since 1995 and none of the previous four players with a higher batting average had multiple home runs. Jagielo posted a slugging percentage of 1.182, on-base percentage of .667 and OPS of 1.849.
Jagielo opened the season with a 2-for-4 effort against Florida Gulf Coast, including a massive two-run home run to centerfield in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game, 5-5, before Notre Dame won in the bottom of the 10th. He followed up that performance with a three-hit game in a 13-3 rout of Ohio State. Jagielo went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, a three-run home run and career-high five RBI. He was named Perfect Game's top player across the nation from Saturday's contests.
Jagielo, a second-team all-BIG EAST selection, batted .310 with 15 doubles, 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 2012. He was the first Notre Dame sophomore with double-figure home runs since 2004 when Craig Cooper (10) and Matt Bransfield (12) accomplished the feat. Jagielo ranked among the top-10 in the BIG EAST in home runs (second), slugging (fourth) and total bases (fifth).
In BIG EAST games only, Jagielo ranked tied for third in home runs (five) and tied for eighth in walks (14). Jagielo had 20 multi-hit games, which ranked third on the Irish, including eight three-hit affairs (tops on Notre Dame). He also ranked second on Notre Dame in multi-RBI contests with 11, including a season-high five RBI in the victory over Georgetown on Apr. 20, 2012.
TREY "BOOM-BOOM" MANCINI -- Notre Dame 1B and All-American candidate Trey Mancini has been out of this world in the last month or so. He enters this weekend with a 15-game hitting streak, including multiple hits in 11 consecutive outings. Mancini was named the NCBWA National Hitter of the Week on April 30. He went 15-for-20 (.750) during last week. In fact, Mancini had hits in 18 of 22 at bats at once stretch.
Mancini could become the first Notre Dame player since Craig Cooper in 2006 (.425) to bat .400 over the course of an entire season. He would become the 10th player in the 120-year history of Irish baseball to accomplish the feat. Mancini leads Notre Dame in multi-hit outings (21) and ranks second in multi-RBI games (10). He has been held hitless in just eight of 46 games.
Mancini was named both NCBWA National Hitter of the Week and BIG EAST Player of the Week on April 29. He batted .750 (15-for-20) with five runs scored, three doubles and five RBI in five games against Toledo, Michigan State and Connecticut. Mancini also added a walk and sacrifice fly. He registered a .900 slugging percentage and .727 on-base percentage. Mancini actually went hitless in his first two at bats last week before collecting base hits over his next 10 plate appearances. In all, he went 15 for his last 18 last week.
Mancini batted .750 (9-for-12) with three runs scored, one double and three RBI in the sweep of the Huskies. He had multiple hits in all five games.
Mancini is now hitting .385 on the season with 11 doubles, six triples, four home runs and 45 RBI.
Mancini was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on April 8. He batted .368 (7-for-19) in five games for Notre Dame. He scored two runs, hit a grand slam and drove in 10 in games against UIC, Valparaiso and Villanova. Mancini collected six RBI, including a go-ahead and eventual gamewinning grand slam in an 11-8 victory over Villanova on April 6. With the Irish trailing 6-5, Mancini crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Irish a 9-6 lead. The six RBI was just one off the Notre Dame school record of seven set on seven previous occasions, most recently by Steve Sollman in 2002. Mancini opened the week with the first four-hit game of his career. He registered three multi-RBI outings. Mancini also played flawless defense. He did not make an error in 57 fielding chances, including five double plays.
Mancini carried the Irish offensively at the USA Baseball-Irish Classic. He was injured in his final at bat of the victory over Massachusetts and missed the game against Tennessee, but did not miss a beat against No. 25 Virginia Tech. Mancini provided all of Notre Dame's offense in a 3-0 victory. He drilled a two-run home run and added an RBI single.
Mancini added a three-run round tripper in the rout of the Minutemen. In all, he batted .385 (5-for-13) over the weekend with two home runs and six RBI. Mancini registered a .846 slugging percentage. He also played flawless defense over the weekend. Mancini did not commit an error in 25 fielding chances.
Mancini, who was named second-team all-BIG EAST, hit .317 with 47 runs scored, 10 doubles, 12 home runs and 45 RBI in 2012. He recorded a .545 slugging percentage and .395 on-base percentage. Mancini and Jagielo were the first Notre Dame sophomore tandem with double-figure home runs since 2004 when Craig Cooper (10) and Matt Bransfield (12) accomplished the feat.
Mancini had 17 multi-hit games, including a four-hit affair and seven three-hit games. Mancini also led the Irish in multi-RBI contests with 15, including a trio of three RBI outings. He ranked tied for third in the BIG EAST in home runs (12), fifth in slugging percentage (.575), tied for seventh in RBI (45) and tied for seventh in runs scored (47).
Mancini was named 2011 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year after leading Notre Dame in batting (.323), hits (61), doubles (15), triples (three), home runs (nine), RBI (34), total bases (109), slugging percentage (.577), on-base percentage (.385), multiple hit games (17), multiple RBI games (nine) and runs scored (33).
Mancini was the first Irish rookie and eighth player in program history to lead Notre Dame in all three triple-crown categories (batting average, home runs and RBI). He also was named third team all-BIG EAST and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.
SLANIA SIMPLY THE BEST -- Notre Dame junior RHP Dan Slania is one of the top closers in college baseball. He has already been named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award midseason watch list and the USA Baseball 60-man midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list.
Slania displayed one of the gutsiest pitching performances in school history on May 3, yet it went for naught. The right-handed hurler, who allowed a two-out, game-tying two-run double in the top of the ninth inning that tied the score, 2-2, rebounded with 7.1 consecutive scoreless innings afterwards. Slania retired 21 of the last 23 USF batters he faced.
The defeat was Notre Dame's first when taking a lead to the ninth inning in 2013. In fact, the Irish had not blown a ninth-inning lead since March 20, 2011. The Irish were 22-0 in such games. In fact, Notre Dame was 67-1-1 when leading after the eighth inning since the arrival of Slania in 2011.
In all, Slania tossed 9.0 innings of relief and limited the Bulls to a pair of earned runs on six hits. He struck out seven and walked two.
Slania might be the most dominant closer in college baseball. He is 3-1 on the season with a league-best 11 saves (in 13 chances) and a sparkling 0.60 earned-run average. Slania has allowed just 29 hits in 45.0 innings of work over 20 relief appearances. His foes have registered a .181 batting average. Slania has fanned 34 and walked eight. He has only allowed five total runs, just three earned, all season.
Slania, who already owns the Notre Dame career record for saves with 28 and was named the Cape Cod League's top closer this past summer, is five shy of equaling the single-season record as well (Kyle Weiland, 16, 2006). He collected 13 as a sophomore in 2012. Slania also holds the lowest career ERA in school history (minimum of 60 innings pitched). His 1.52 ERA is far below the previous mark of 2.20 held by Mike Dury (2004-07).
The only pitchers in the BIG EAST with an ERA lower than Slania have logged fewer than 4.1 innings this year. He leads the conference and ranks tied for 17th in the NCAA in saves. Slania ranks second in the league in games finished (19).
Slania has allowed just four earned runs over his last 53.0 innings of work (31 relief appearances) for an ERA of 0.68.
Slania ranks ninth among all active NCAA pitchers in saves.
Slania's 1.52 career ERA is the best in school history for a pitcher with at least 60.0 innings pitched. In fact, he ranks fifth in career ERA among all active NCAA pitchers with at least 75.0 innings of work.
Slania owns the lowest ERA in BIG EAST conference history (minimum of 36.0 innings pitched.
Slania did not allow an earned run over his first 22.1 innings this season. He then threw 15.1 consecutive scoreless innings before his outing against USF on May 3.
Slania was named to the BIG EAST honor roll on April 29. He picked up a pair of saves in three scoreless relief appearances over 5.0 innings of work last week. He set a school record with his 26th career save in the victory against Michigan State. The right-handed hurler retired six of the eight Spartans he faced en route to his ninth save of the season. He did yield a base hit and walk, but retired the final four batters of the game, including all three in the ninth on weak ground balls.
Slania picked up a pair of multiple-inning saves of the doubleheader sweep of Seton Hall on Mar. 23 that helped the Irish take two of three from the Pirates. Slania tossed a combined 3.1 scoreless innings of relief (1.1 in opener and 2.0 in nightcap) and collected his sixth and seventh saves of the season as Notre Dame collected a pair of 3-2 victories.
Slania entered the opener of the twin bill with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Notre Dame clinging to a 3-2 lead and the potential tying run at third base. He got a pop out to end the threat. Slania then worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to secure the triumph. In the night cap, Slania came into the game with runners on second and third, no outs and proceeded to retire the next three Pirates to end the threat, including stranding the potential tying run at third base. He then allowed a one-out single in the ninth, but got a ground out to end the game with the tying run once again in scoring position.
Slania registered saves on back-to-back days to secure the series victory at No. 20 Cal Poly. He was asked to get the final six outs of the series finale with the Irish clinging to a one-run lead and the junior All-American closer candidate delivered. Slania did surrender a leadoff single to open the bottom of the eighth inning, but retired the final six Mustangs of the game to seal the victory.
In the 1-0 victory over No. 20 Cal Poly on Mar. 15, Slania allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth inning, but collected consecutive strikeouts and enduced a pop out to secure the triumph.
Slania picked up a victory and save as the Irish collected a pair of victories at the Dodgertown Classic in early March. Slania earned the save in a 2-1 victory over USC and the win in a 6-5 triumph over No. 10 Oklahoma. Slania combined to throw 5.1 scoreless innings of relief over his two outings against the Trojans and Sooners. He allowed just three hits and limited USC and Oklahoma to a .167 opponent's batting average. Slania struck out three and did not issue a walk.
Slania picked up the save with 2.0 scoreless innings against USC. He retired the first four Trojans before working out of a jam in the ninth inning. With the Irish clinging to a 2-1 lead, he allowed back-to-back, one-out singles that placed the tying run on third base and winning run on first base. Slania the induced a game-ending double play when he caught a popped up bunt and doubled off the runner at third base.
Slania earned the victory in Notre Dame's 6-5 victory over No. 10 Oklahoma. He logged 3.1 scoreless innings of relief. Slania struck out two and limited the Sooners to one base hit.
Slania picked up the victory in relief against Tennessee on Mar. 1. He tossed 3.1 perfect innings of relief - retiring all 10 Volunteers he faced. Slania also fanned three.
Slania captured the 2012 Russ Ford Award (given to the top relief pitcher in the Cape Cod League). He led the Cape with 10 saves and helped Cotuit post the league's best regular-season record (30-14). Slania went 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA and 39 punch outs.
Slania led the BIG EAST in saves (13), games finished (29), appearances (31) and relief appearances (31) in 2012. He owned a 3-0 record with a 2.03 ERA in 31.0 innings of work. Slania struck out 37 and walked 12.
Slania's 31 appearances in 2012 are tied for the second-most in single-season school history. It was the most appearances by an Irish hurler since Aaron Heilman had 31 in 1998.
THOUGH SHALL NOT ISSUE A FREE PASS -- Notre Dame senior RHP Adam Norton if off to one of the best starts by an Irish starting pitcher in school history. He enters the series with a 9-2 record and 1.96 ERA. Norton leads the BIG EAST in innings pitched (92.0), tied for the league lead in victories and ranks fourth in ERA. He ranks seventh in the NCAA in innings pitched and tied for ninth in the NCAA in victories. Norton's nine victories this season are the most by a Notre Dame hurler since Jeff Manship had nine (9-2) in 2006.
Norton was dealt a cruel defeat on May 4. He limited USF to a pair of earned runs, four runs in all, over a career-best 10.0 innings of work. Norton struck out six, walked just one (an intentional free pass) and scattered 12 hits (11 singles). He tossed 122 pitches, including a remarkable 95 for strikes.
After USF grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, Norton took over. He retired 18 of the next 22 Bulls, including 13 straight at one point.
Norton became the first Irish pitcher to log at least 10.0 innings in a game since Aaron Heilmann went 10.0 against West Virginia on April 15, 2000 (Heilmann set a BIG EAST record with 18 strikeouts in that outing).
Norton collected his 10th quality start of the season and has gone at least 7.0 innings in 10 of his 12 outings this year.
Norton has a pair of victories over top-25 opponents this season. He has yet to allow a single run in 17.0 innings of work against No. 25 Virginia Tech and No. 20 Cal Poly.
Over the last two seasons in the Notre Dame weekend rotation (27 starts), Norton has worked into the seventh inning 19 different times. He has also registered 17 quality starts.
Norton has made 34 starts over his career and walked more than one batter on just seven occasions.
Norton has thrown two complete-game shutouts this season (on Mar. 2 vs. Virginia Tech and April 20 vs. Quinnipiac). He is the first Irish pitcher to throw multiple complete-game shutouts in the same season since 2001. Aaron Heilman and Danny Tamayo each collected three in '01.
Norton tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout of No. 25 Virginia Tech on Mar. 2. He collected Notre Dame's first complete-game shutout over a top-25 opponent since Danny Tamayo blanked Mississippi State in the Starkville Regional on May 28, 2000. The right-handed hurler completely baffled a Virginia Tech lineup that entered the game with a .337-team batting average and averaged 8.3 runs/game.
Norton opened the season with a 6-0 record. He was the first Irish pitcher to pick up a victory in each of his first six starts to open a year since Aaron Heilman in 2001.
With one more victory, Norton would become the first Irish pitcher since Aaron Heilman in 2001 to collect 10 or more wins in a single season. Heilman went 15-0 in '01.
Norton was once again spectacular on the mound against No. 20 Cal Poly. The right-handed hurler tossed 8.0 scoreless innings and kept a potent Mustangs' lineup off-balance all night. Norton threw 103 pitches, 76 for strikes, and scattered seven hits. He struck out five and walked only one - an unintentional-intentional free pass in the sixth inning. Norton made every big pitch when it counted. He limited the Mustangs to just a pair of hits with a runner on base, retired the leadoff batter in seven of his eight innings and did not allow a single hit with a runner in scoring position (Mustangs went 0-for-8).
Norton limited the USC to one earned run on five hits in 7.0 innings of work (Mar. 9). He struck out three and walked one. Norton dropped his season ERA to 1.61 with his third quality start.
Norton retired the first 10 Hokies of the game before a one-out single in the fourth inning. He promptly sent down the next six Virginia Tech hitters before a bunt single in the top of the sixth inning. Norton did not allow another base runner until two outs in the top of the ninth inning - another stretch of 10 consecutive retired Hokies. He was one out away from a two-hit shutout, but Virginia Tech rallied in the ninth inning.
The Hokies got back-to-back singles to bring the potential tying run to the plate. All that stood in between Norton and the victory, complete game and shutout was Virginia Tech slugger Tyler Moran, who set the Cape Cod League record with 16 home runs this past summer. Norton got Moran to pop out to the catcher to end the game. He struck out five and walked one. Norton faced 32 batters and needed just 108 pitches (76 strikes).
Norton led the NCAA in fewest walks per nine innings (0.64) and ranked third in strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.71) in 2012. Both totals topped the BIG EAST categories as well. Norton fanned 61 and issued seven free passes (two intentional) in 98.0 innings of work.
Norton was just shy of the school record for fewest walks per nine innings pitched.
Norton also owns the school record in both fewest career walks per nine innings pitched and strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Norton ranks seventh in the NCAA for fewest career walks per nine innings pitched among active pitchers. In fact, he is one of only two pitchers with at least 200 career innings ranked among the top 10 and one of eight with at least 200 career innings ranked among the top 50.
CONNAUGHTON MAKES 2013 DEBUT -- Sophomore RHP Pat Connaughton was spectacular in a no-decision against league-leading USF on May 3. He tossed 7.0 scoreless innings and limited the Bulls to five hits, all singles. Connaughton struck out three and walked four.
Connaughton worked into the seventh inning for the first time this season and collected his first quarlity start of the year.
Connaughton is 2-2 with a 2.59 ERA this season. He has allowed 29 hits in 31.1 innings of work. Connaughton has struck out17 and walked 21.
Connaughton has made three career appearances (two starts) against St. John's. He is 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA. Connaughton has allowed 10 runs on 20 hits in 12.1 innings. He has struck out six and walked four. Connaughton has yielded three extra-base hits and the Red Storm have batted .400 against him.
Connaughton made two starts against St. John's in the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament. The Red Storm exploded out of the gates against Connaughton in the tournament opener. St. John's collected five straight hits to open the game and all eight batters that Connaughton faced reached base as St. John's rolled out to a 7-0 lead. He did not retire a single Red Storm batter. Connaughton was charged with seven runs, all earned, on six hits.
Just three days later, Connaughton scattered eight hits over 6.2 innings. He limited the Red Storm to just one earned run and fanned four, while walking one. Connaughton induced nine groundouts, including a pair of critical double plays.
Rated by Baseball America as the No. 8 overall prospect in the BIG EAST entering the 2013 season (second highest rated player in the league among 2014 draft-eligible players)
Rated by Perfect Game as the No. 38 sophomore prospect.
Rated by Perfect Game as the No. 2 sophomore prospect in the BIG EAST.
The Irish are 4-3 in Connaughton's starts. He averages 4.48 IP and 72.4 pitches per start in '13.
Connaughton improved to 2-2 on the season in his outing against Connecticut on April 28. He limited the Huskies to a pair of earned runs on five hits in 5.1 innings of work. Connaughton struck out four and walked three. He enduced six fly outs and four ground outs. Connaughton tossed 77 pitches, 49 for strikes (63.6%).
Last spring, Connaughton appeared in 12 games, 10 starts, and posted a 4-4 record with a 3.18 earned-run average. He logged 45.1 innings on the mound and registered 40 strikeouts.
Connaughton was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 38th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
Connaughton, who started all 35 games for the hoops team in 2012-13, was named to the BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team. He was 15-of-24 (.625) from three-point range and averaged a team-best 16.0 points-per-game during the three games of the tournament. He also averaged 4.3 rebounds per game.
The 15 three-pointers are the fourth-most for a single BIG EAST Championship.
Connaughton was 6-of-8 from beyond the arc en-route to a season-high 21 points in the second-round victory over Rutgers. He was 6-of-9 from distance in the quarterfinal win over Marquette. He finished with a game-high 18 points against the Golden Eagles. He was 3-of-6 from distance versus Louisville in the semifinals.
The six treys tied the most for any Notre Dame player in a game this season.
The performance against Rutgers was the fourth 20-plus point effort of Connaughton's career (first this season).
RATHER FRANK EVERYDAY -- Senior co-captain 2B Frank Desico is a three-year monogram winner that has started 203 of Notre Dame's last 205 games. He has hit in the leadoff spot in all but one game this season and 124 times over his career.
DeSico earned Dean's List for the first time with a 3.778 GPA over 17.5 credit hours in the '12 fall semester.
Among NCAA active players, DeSico ranks 12th in the career at bats (826), 44th in career base hits (230) and 47th in career games played (206).
DeSico recently set a school record for career fielding assists.
DeSico ranks sixth in school history for career at bats.
BULLISH EFFORT -- Sophomore LF/DH Ryan Bull is hitting .330 this season with 58 hits (third best on the team), as well as one home run and 31 RBI. He spent the first five games of the year in the No. 5 hole, but moved into the No. 2 spot and exploded for a career-best four hits in the series finale at Tulane on Feb. 24. He went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI, one coming on his first home run of the season and second of his career.
Bull had a trio of three-hit games and a four-hit outing over Notre Dame's first 17 contests of the season.
Bull moved back intom the No. 5 spot in the lineup of March 22 and has collected 25 RBI over the last 30 games, which is the second most of any Irish player over that span.
Bull drove in a career-best five against Villanova on April 7.
Bull has rasied his batting average 76 points from his rookie campaign in 2012 (.254).
NOTABLE ALUMNI -- Notre Dame's 901 baseball monogram winners include several in successful administrative careers: recently retired Notre Dame Alumni Association executive director Chuck Lennon (C; 1960-61); former Notre Dame assistant vice president for special events Jim Gibbons (P/OF; 1952-53); former U.S. Congressman from Ohio Ron Mottl (RHP; 1955); former Mid-American Conference commissioner Rick Chryst (OF; 1981-83); former Xavier associate vice president/athletic director and current Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski (P; 1978-79); recent Indiana governor Joe Kernan (C; 1967-68); Major League Baseball executive John McHale (1B; 1943); and former Notre Dame athletics director Dick Rosenthal (1B; 1952-53).
MLB CONNECTIONS -- In addition to several current Major League players who honed their craft with the Irish baseball program, a number of Notre Dame graduates have served as top executives in Major League Baseball: Cleveland Indians owner and CEO Lawrence Dolan ('54, '56 Notre Dame Law), Indians president Paul Dolan ('83), MLB senior VP of operations/former Arizona Diamondbacks GM/VP Joe Garagiola, Jr. ('72), Oakland A's president Mike Crowley ('85), retired Los Angeles Dodgers VP of External Affairs Tommy Hawkins ('59, Notre Dame basketball star), MLB Executive VP of Administration John McHale ('71), MLB Director of Special Events Brian O'Gara ('89) and former Tampa Bay owner/CEO/VP Vince Naimoli ('59).
Brad Lidge ranked as one of MLB's top rookies in his first full season with the Houston Astros and was the winning pitcher in the historic no-hitter versus the New York Yankees on June 11, 2003 - the first no hitter versus the Yankees since 1958 (6,980 games). Lidge set the NL record for strikeouts by a reliever in 2004 and currently pitches for the Washington Nationals. Six other recent Irish hurlers have pitched in MLB, including Aaron Heilman ('01) with the N.Y. Mets, Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks, Jeff Samardzija ('06) with the Chicago Cubs, Jeff Manship ('06) with the Minnesota Twins, John Axford with the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers, Christian Parker and David Phelps with the Yankees and Kyle Weiland ('09) with the Boston Red Sox, while two early-1990s Notre Dame players - INF Craig Counsell ('92) and LHP Chris Michalak ('93) - have played for multiple MLB teams.
Notre Dame had seven former players appear in a MLB game in 2012, including Axford (Brewers), Lidge (Phillies), Manship (Twins), Samardzija (Cubs), Weiland (Red Sox), Phelps (Yankees) and A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks).
The remaining 10 members of the BIG EAST Conference had 14 former players participate in a MLB game in 2012.
Phelps ('08) made his big league debut for the New York Yankees on Apr. 8, 2012, against the Tampa Bay Rays. Phelps then tossed 2.1 perfect innings of relief with four strikeouts against the Baltimore Orioles on Apr. 10.
Pollock ('09) made his big league debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Apr. 18, 2012, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He started in centerfield and batted seventh in the order.
A total of 73 all-time former Notre Dame players have suited up in a MLB uniform - more than any other BIG EAST school and tied for fifth-most in Division I history.
Hardwood to the Diamond -- Jean Dubuc was one of the top players on Notre Dame's third varsity basketball team in 1907. He later pitched nine years in Major League Baseball. As a baseball scout, he signed future Detroit Tigers' Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. In 1909, Clement Ulatowski was a starter for the Irish hoops squad. He became a MLB catcher and played in Weeghman Park before it was named Wrigley Field.
Rupert Mills and Dutch Bergman were team stalwarts for NVM from 1912-14. Each reached MLB. In 1914, they became the first two Notre Dame men to earn four varsity monograms in the same academic year. Only two other Irish athletes have earned that distinction, George Ratterman and Johnny Lujack.
Joe Jachym was a two-time basketball captain in the late 1920s (including the 1927 Helms' Foundation National Championship team). After his Minor League baseball career ended, Jachym became the batting practice pitcher for the Detroit Tigers.
Lancelot Yank Terry came to Notre Dame to play basketball in the early 1930s, but was cut from the squad. He went out for the baseball team as a shortstop and was also cut. Ten years later, he was a pitcher in MLB. Around that same time, Billy Reed came to Notre Dame. He left Notre Dame after one year, but played Pro Basketball in the late 1940s and was a second baseman for the Boston Braves in 1952.
Jim Gibbons was a three year starter at guard for Notre Dame (1950-52). He was also a pitcher/outfielder on the diamond. One of his two-sport teammates was Dick Rosenthal, who later played in the NBA. A few years after graduation, Gibbons was the part-time assistant coach for both basketball and baseball. He was the primary recruiter for both teams. Partly because of his own two-sport background and partly because baseball had only two scholarships to divide up to fill their roster, Gibbons looked for basketball players who could also play baseball.
Gibbons came up with his best recruit for the class of 1961 ... a guy named Carl Yastrzemski. He was a shortstop in baseball but actually thought he was a better basketball player (as a sweet-shooting guard). Gibbons and "Yaz" remain friends to this day, taking long fishing trips every summer. A half dozen years ago, Yastrzemski made 23 special baseball rings, one for each year he spent in MLB, and gave them to 23 important people in his life. Gibbons received one. He wears it along with his 1960 MLB World Series ring, which he earned as a Minor League Manager in the Pittsburgh Pirates system.
Not long after Yastrzemski, Gibbons brought in a trio of 6-foot-6 basketball players who were also pitchers. Two signed out of high school and bypassed Notre Dame for minor league baseball, but the third player was Ron Reed. He was a first round draft pick and played two years with the Detroit Pistons before starting a 19-year career in MLB.
Bob Arnzen was a three-year starter, two-year captain and all-american for Notre Dame in basketball. In addition to his five-year career in the ABA and NBA, Arnzen spent three seasons as a pitcher in the minor leagues.
A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION -- Notre Dame captured five of its nine BIG EAST series in 2012, including four of its last six. The Irish had not collected more conference series victories in one season since 2006. The '06 Notre Dame club captured seven BIG EAST series and posted a 45-17-1 overall record and 21-5-1 mark in conference play.
Notre Dame registered 31 victories in 2012, the most by the Irish since the 2009 campaign. Notre Dame managed just 23 and 22, respectively, in 2011 and 2010.
Notre Dame picked up multiple victories and advanced to the BIG EAST tournament semifinals for the first time since 2009. In fact, it only marked the second time the Irish have accomplished the feat since 2006.
COACHING CONNECTIONS -- Two recent Notre Dame assistant coaches - Brian O'Connor (University of Virginia) and Cory Mee (University of Toledo) - are serving as 10th-year Division I head coaches in the 2013 season while another recent Notre Dame assistant coach, Terry Rooney, embarks on his fifth year at UCF. Four recent Notre Dame players - John Corbin (Bradley), Javi Sanchez (LSU), Eddie Smith (Notre Dame) and Ryan Connolly (Radford) - currently are assistant coaches on the Division I level. Ross Brezovsky is the coordinator of baseball operations at LSU.
FAST OUT OF THE GATE -- Notre Dame collected its 15th victory in game-21 of the season. The 2004 and 2001 campaigns are the only in the last 20 years (dating back to the 1993 season) in which the Irish reached the 15-win mark in fewer than 20 games.
FAR & WIDE -- Notre Dame's 2013 roster includes 35 players from 17 different home states.
The top 10 position players and top three starting pitchers hail from 10 different states, including three from Illinois, two from Ohio and one each from Florida, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Minnesota, Virginia and Indiana.
ROAD TRIPPERS -- Notre Dame played its first 17 games away from home, in six different cities: Sarasota, Fla., New Orleans, Cary, N.C. and Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, Calif.
The Irish virtually spend all of April (12 of 17 games) in the friendly confines of Eck Stadium, including the first seven games of the month.
Notre Dame's final seven games of the regular season will all take place on the road, including BIG EAST three-game series at St. John's (May 11-12) and at Cincinnati (May 16-18). The Irish will also travel to Western Michigan on May 14.
Notre Dame has not played one game yet at Frank Eck Stadium - the official home of the Irish. Notre Dame had its home BIG EAST series with Seton Hall moved to Coveleski Stadium due to the stadium's field turf.
PLENTY OF WAYS TO FOLLOW THE IRISH -- Notre Dame baseball fans will have several options for tracking the 2013 season on a game-by-game basis, through live streaming video (home games), live-audio broadcasts, Live Blogs (home games), GameTracker live stats, free Irish Alert text messages and Twitter (@NDBaseball, @NDsidBertschy) & Facebook (NDBaseball) pages.
Live radio broadcasts are available in the South Bend area on WHME 103.1 FM (Notre Dame baseball is part of a small percentage of programs in the nation with its entire season airing live on a commercial station). All games are streamed live on und.com, with the links posted on the bottom of the und.com main page. The online broadcasts are free of charge, as part of a quick signup with Fighting Irish All-Access (which includes archives or all audio and video content). See All-Access signup link via the multimedia gold button at the top of each und.com page.
Irish ALERT free text-message updates are available to your cell phone or other mobile devices. See link at the top of the baseball page under multimedia tab at und.com.
GameTracker live stats are provided for every game (based on internet availability). When Notre Dame is on the road, the home team typically provides the live stats - with bonus GameTracker stats also provided by the Notre Dame SID office for select road games.
Complete coverage of each and every Irish home game through live streaming video.
Irish On Your Radio Dial -- Beginning with the 2008-09 athletics year, the Notre Dame athletics department announced it had partnered with the LeSEA Broadcasting Network, making WHME / Harvest 103.1 FM the new radio home of Notre Dame baseball in the South Bend market.
Baseball game broadcasts also continue to be streamed live and free of charge on Notre Dame's official athletics web site (www.UND.com) through the Fighting Irish All-Access multimedia package.
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Irish Travel To St. John's For Critical BIG EAST SeriesNotre Dame opens weekend with doubleheader at noon on Saturday