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.
April 7, 2006
Greetings from Florida
Hello College Baseball Fans,
I am here in Tampa, Fla., preparing to play the University of South Florida
Bulls this weekend in a three-game series. This year is special because over the
last couple of years, the Big East has contracted the number of teams, but this
year, we gained the University of Cincinnati, South Florida and Louisville.
Also, we have switched from a two-day, three-game series to the series being
played over three days.
Not only do the players on the team love this format but the fans in South Bend
also have taken to it. We played our first Friday night conference game of the
season last weekend against Pittsburgh and had one of the largest crowds ever at
our stadium, with more than 3,000 tickets sold. Being able to play at home is an
advantage in itself because we get to sleep in our own beds and play on our
field, but it is amazing how different the atmosphere is when we play in front
of our fans at home. They bring a whole different dynamic to the game,
especially when the students sit right behind the visitor dugout. Some of the
quotes they come up with amaze me because I definitely never could have thought
of them myself. They have a very quick wit, and I am glad they are on our side.
Something unique to our team this year is that after games, we sometimes have
more footballs and football jerseys being autographed than baseballs. This is
because one of our ace pitchers is Jeff Samardzija, who is a wide receiver of
the football team and a Biletnikoff Award Finalist (this award is given to the
country's best wide receiver).
Last year, Jeff had an incredible football season and because of it, we have
hordes of new fans who love Notre Dame and come to watch our games now. Our
entire baseball team has become better Notre Dame football fans this fall
because we were able to watch Jeff play every Saturday. It is definitely more
fun to watch the games when we know someone on the team we're rooting for, even
if we are only rooting for Jeff. I must say that even after all the fame that
Jeff has received in the last year, he is still the same old Jeff that I've
known since his freshman year two years ago.
Now back to baseball. We are almost at the halfway point in the season and
playing very well. I can tell we are coming together as a team because we are
winning games where we are coming from behind and ones which come down to the
final out. These close games have made the season very exciting, and with each
close win, we gain confidence and know that we are always in the game.
We are not a team that is going to break the fences down, so offensively, we
know doing the little things like bunting and executing hit-and-runs are crucial
to our success. Also, it seems like every game someone new on the team is coming
up with a clutch hit. For example, just two nights ago, our second baseman Ross
Brezovsky (who was dubbed Mighty Mouse by our announcers), hit the go-ahead,
two-run home run against our in-state rival Ball State in the bottom of the
eighth inning. It was one of many exciting finishes we have had this year.
We are going to keep this confidence rolling into this weekend against USF and
take care of business. From Tampa, Fla., talk to you guys soon and Go Irish!
Playing in Front of the Family (3/23/06)
Opening Weekend and a Quick Day Trip (3/6/06)
Patiently Waiting (2/24/06)
(photo courtesy of Notre Dame Media Relations Office)