is a senior shortstop for Notre Dame who will contribute a weekly journal
to CollegeBaseballInsider.com in 2006. A native of Upper Arlington, Ohio, Lopez
has been a mainstay on the Irish infield since he arrived in South Bend,
starting 159 games and playing in 172 his first three years. Lopez, a
two-time captain for Notre Dame, holds a 3.37 GPA as a double major in
pre-professional studies and anthropology.
March 23, 2006
Playing in Front of the Family
We are here in the great city of San Antonio for
our Spring Break trip this year. The weather here is awesome. It is 80 degrees,
sunny and perfect for baseball.
During the week, we are playing at the Missions’ Stadium, the AA affiliate of
the Mariners (after being a Dodgers farm team for many years). The field is
awesome and is able to hold a large crowd. The combination of playing on this
field and in this weather has inspired us to play some good baseball. We won the
first four games that were part of the UTSA tournament, against Texas A&M, Iowa
(2) and Illinois. It was especially fun beating Texas A&M, largely due to the
incredible amount of Aggies in attendance that night. For that game, almost the
entire crowd was in Aggies red even though it was a road game for them.
The game was close until the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Aggies went
ahead 4-1. The Aggies fans went crazy and started singing all of their
traditional chants. But we came storming right back in the top of the eighth to
go ahead 5-4. In the end, the game came down to the final pitch, and both sides
were on their feet, but we held our ground and were victorious. With this
hard-fought and exciting opening to our week here, we are once again were back
on the winning track.
We then won the first two games in our Irish Classic tournament, also played at
Wolff Stadium, vs. Iowa and Southern Illinois. Our winning streak came to an end
when we weren’t able to hold an 8-4 lead in the fourth game of the week
against Iowa, but we got a great shutout from Tom Thornton to close out the week
with another win over SIU for a 7-1 record on the Spring Break trip.
This is our third year in a row we have come to San Antonio for our Spring Break
trip. Perhaps what makes this trip so different from others is that we stay with
host families. This creates a home-like environment for us, transforming a trip
that would normally feel like an exhausting road trip to one which is more like
a long homestand.
I feel like we spend half of our spring semester in hotels because we play half
of our games on the road, and this is a refreshing change. The highlights of
staying with a host family are without a doubt the home-cooked meals and the
lack of hotel beds. My teammate Cody Rizzo and I have been roommates on the road
since our first trip our freshman year and have been lucky to stay with an
awesome family, the Boones, for our third year in a row. They are the most
generous of families, welcoming us into their home and treating us like their
Even though I love my host family, my favorite part about coming down to San
Antonio is that my entire family resides here. My mother and father grew up in
San Antonio, and both sides of my family still live here. I am incredibly
blessed this week to be able to spend the whole week playing baseball and
hanging out with family members that I do not get to see often enough. I love it
because it not only allows me to see them, but during the games I have a huge
cheering section, which is always nice to have on the road.
The food that I eat here is also second-to-none, especially my grandmother’s.
This week has been very exciting for my whole family because I was just accepted
into the University of Texas Health Science Center, the medical school in San
Antonio, only yesterday.
Well I’m off to bed. Talk to you next week in South Bend. We have our first two
home games and then open BIG EAST play on the road against Georgetown – but I’ll
be checking in after we return home for what will be a much-welcomed
Opening Weekend and a Quick Day Trip (3/6/06)
Patiently Waiting (2/24/06)
(photo courtesy of Notre Dame Media Relations Office)