Oct. 9, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - College baseball fans are in for a treat during the last weekend of February (Feb. 28-March 2) as the USA Baseball-Irish Classic is back for a second year, this time with as elite a field as anything seen during the sport's regular season. The University of Notre Dame baseball team will be joined at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., by defending national champion UCLA, College World Series participant NC State, Big Ten foe Michigan, perennial Southern Conference power Appalachian State and Horizon League opponent Youngstown State for the three-day tournament. The tournament will once again be presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.
"The Irish Classic has quickly established itself as one of the premier early-season events on the college baseball calendar," says Scott Dupree, Executive Director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. "This year's powerful field, which includes some of the biggest names in the sport, will only serve to strengthen that reputation. The GRSA is a long-time partner of USA Baseball, of course, and we are proud to join forces with Notre Dame to help make the Irish Classic one of college baseball's signature events."
Tickets for the USA Baseball-Irish Classic will be available for purchase at a later date. Weekend passes will be $27 per adult, with day passes available for $12 per adult. Children under the age of 12 will be admitted free of charge.
"The Irish Classic continues to grow in its second year at the USA Baseball National Training Complex," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. "The quality of competition, as evidence by the participation of national champion UCLA and CWS participant NC State, is some of the best you will see outside of Omaha this year and we are excited to partner with the University of Notre Dame to put on a first class event for the great baseball fans of North Carolina."
Nine players between the Irish, NC State and UCLA have USA Baseball credentials.
The lone Notre Dame USA Baseball alum is freshman Cavan Biggio, who was a member of the 2012 18U National Team that won gold at the IBAF 18U World Championship in Seoul, South Korea.
For NC State, head coach Elliott Avent served as an assistant on the 2004 Collegiate National Team, while current student-athletes Carlos Rodon and Trea Turner competed on the 2012-13 Collegiate National Teams.
UCLA sports five USA Baseball alums including head coach John Savage, who served as an assistant on the 2000 Collegiate National Team. Student-athletes David Berg (2012-13 Collegiate National Teams), Cody Poteet (2008 14U National Team), Hunter Virant (2011 18U National Team) and Kevin Kramer (2009 16U National Team) all have National Team experience.
"I think you might be able to say without knowing every preseason tournament out there, that this field is as strong as any other regular season tournament or NCAA regional," said head coach Mik Aoki. "UCLA is the defending national champion, NC State should be a top-five or top-ten team this year, Appalachian State is a strong Southern Conference program, Michigan is putting a lot of resources into its program, we were as high as No. 15 in the country last year early in the season and Youngstown State is an up-and-coming team. We are very excited to be able to play host to such a loaded field."
Notre Dame has a long and storied history with USA Baseball. Eight Irish alumni have been members of the USA Baseball Collegiate, 18U or 16U National Teams.
Shaun Fitzmaurice was a member of the 1964 United States Olympic Baseball Team that competed in Tokyo. Brant Ust, who now serves USA Baseball as Director, 18U National Team Program & Alumni Relations, was a member of the 22-man squad that competed in the IBAF World Championship in Italy in 1998. Aaron Heilman played on the 1999 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team that toured Japan and 10 U.S. states. Heilman and Ust were the only players on their respective USA Baseball National Teams who hailed from a school in the Midwest or Northeast. Grant Johnson toured with Team USA in the summer of 2002, helping post a team record for staff ERA (1.48) with a solid showing in five outings (3 GS, 1.80, 2-1, 25 Ks, 13 BB, 11 H in 20 IP).
Matt Macri was one of two members of the 2000 USA Baseball 18U National Team who was named all-tournament at the COPABE 18U/AAA Pan Am Championships. Jeff Manship was a staff ace for the 2003 USA Baseball 18U National Team. Two years earlier he was a middle reliever with the 2001 USA Baseball 16U National Team that won the IBAF 16U World Championships in Veracruz, Mexico. Cody Rizzo played for the 2000 USA Baseball 16U National Team, winning the COPABE 16U/AA Pan Am Championships. Joey Williamson, was a top pitcher for the 2002 USA Baseball 16U National Team.
Three former Notre Dame players also competed on USA Baseball Professional National Teams. Ust and Chris Michalak were members of the United States team that competed in the Netherlands at the 2005 IBAF Baseball World Cup while their fellow Notre Dame baseball alum Brad Lidge was a member of the pitching staff for Team USA at the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.
The 2012 edition of the Irish Classic led to success for several of the participants as seven athletes were selected in the first 10 rounds of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The group was headlined by Notre Dame star Eric Jagielo who was selected in the first round, 26th overall by the New York Yankees. Chad Pinder (Virginia Tech) went in the second round while Jagielo's teammates Dan Slania and Trey Mancini went in the fifth and eighth rounds. Virginia Tech saw players get selected in the eighth round (Tyler Horan) and ninth round (Jake Joyce), while Tennessee ace Zack Godley was selected in the 10th round by the Chicago Cubs.
2014 USA Baseball-Irish Classic presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance
Friday (Feb. 28)
Saturday (March 1)
Sunday (March 2)
USA Baseball Alums In Tournament
USA BASEBALL NATIONAL TRAINING COMPLEX INFORMATION
USA Baseball is the national governing body for amateur baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee and the International Baseball Federation. The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic, World Cup and Pan American teams (and all other USA Baseball professional teams); and the Collegiate, 18U, 15U, and Women's National Teams, all of which participate in various domestic and international competitions each year. USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. For more information, please visit USABaseball.com and GoldenSpikesAward.com.
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director