USA Baseball and Notre Dame Announce Field for 2016 USA Baseball-Irish Classic
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- After weather forced the late cancellation of the 2015 version, the highly successful and nationally-known USA Baseball-Irish Classic presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance is back in 2016 with another competitive field, it was announced Wednesday. The fourth-annual event is set for March 4-6, 2016 and will feature the University of Notre Dame, NC State University, the University of Alabama, Bucknell University, Brown University and Niagara University.
"Once again, the University of Notre Dame and USA Baseball have put together a superb field for this year's Irish Classic," said Scott Dupree, Executive Director of Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. "If you love college baseball, there's no better place to be early in the season. We are proud to be on board as a host partner for this premier event."
Eight games are slated for the impressive USA Baseball National Training Complex, with two other contests scheduled for Doak Field on the campus of NC State. A full weekend schedule is provided at the end of this release.
"We look forward to welcoming back Notre Dame and NC State to the fourth annual Irish Classic at the USA Baseball National Training Complex," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. "With these two clubs and the additions of Alabama, Brown, Bucknell and Niagara this will once again be a first class event for the great baseball fans of North Carolina."
Ticket information for the USA Baseball-Irish Classic will be announced at a later date on UND.com and USABaseball.com.
"The USA Baseball-Irish Classic has become a great preseason tournament," said Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki. "This year we have two teams from the ACC and one each from the SEC, Ivy League, Patriot League and MAAC. It's a really good cross section of conferences represented. "We are excited to continue our relationship with USA Baseball. It's a fantastic opportunity to partner with our nation's governing body for baseball. The facilities at the National Training Complex are top notch. What sets the USA Baseball facility apart is the quality of all of the fields they have. It's a great venue for baseball fans."
Three players and one coach that have ties to USA Baseball will participate in this year's USA Baseball-Irish Classic. Notre Dame's USA Baseball alum is junior 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. Additionally, NC State infielder Preston Palmeiro competed on the 2009 14U National Team and infielder Xavier LeGrant participated on the 2014 18U National Team. Elsewhere, Wolfpack head coach Elliot Avent was an assistant coach for the 2004 and 2015 Collegiate National Teams.
Notre Dame has a long and storied history with USA Baseball. Eight Irish alumns 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 served USA Baseball as the Director of the 18U National Team Program & Alumni Relations for four years, was a member of the 22-man squad that competed in the IBAF World Championship in Italy in 1998. Ust was integral in creating and organizing the USA Baseball-Irish Classic when it began in 2012. Ust is now back at Notre Dame as the Executive Director of the Notre Dame Monogram Club.
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 that were 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.
Five players that suited up for the 2014 USA Baseball-Irish Classic went in the top 10 rounds of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Highlighting the draftees were N.C. State standouts Carlos Rodon (3rd overall pick, White Sox) and Trea Turner (13th overall pick, Padres), who were both selected early in the first round. The White Sox plucked Wolfpack catcher Brett Austin off the board in the fourth round, while UCLA's Shane Zelle (Tigers) and Max Schuh (Orioles) were selected in the fifth and seventh rounds, respectively.
USA Baseball Alums In Field
• Cavan Biggio (2012 18U NT)
• Preston Palmeiro (2009 14U NT)
• Xavier LeGrant (2014 18U NT)
• Head Coach Elliot Avent (2004, 2015 CNT Assistant Coach)
USA Baseball National Training Complex Information
• The USA Baseball National Training Complex opened in 2007.
• The USA Baseball National Training Complex is located within the 221-acre Thomas Brooks Park and includes four baseball fields -- a stadium field and three training fields -- all with dimensions of 330 feet down the lines and 400 feet in centerfield. All fields are maintained at Major League Baseball standards.
• Coleman Field has a press box that includes two suites, an official scorer's room, a sound room and a press row.
• Spectator seating is for 1,754 people, including handicapped accessible seating, and additional grass berm seating for approximately 250 people.
• All fields have access to restroom facilities and a concession building.
2016 USA Baseball-Irish Classic Presented By The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance
Friday, March 4
Game 1: Brown vs. Bucknell - 1:30 p.m. (ET) - NTC Stadium
Game 2: Alabama vs. Notre Dame - 5 p.m. (ET) - NTC Stadium
Niagara @ NC State - 3 p.m. (ET) - Doak Field @ NC State
Saturday, March 5
Game 3: Brown vs. Notre Dame - 11:30 a.m. (ET) - Field 3
Game 4: Niagara vs. Alabama - 12:30 p.m. (ET) - NTC Stadium
Game 5: Bucknell vs. Notre Dame - 3 p.m. (ET) - Field 3
Game 6: NC State vs. Alabama - 4:30 p.m. (ET) - NTC Stadium
Sunday, March 6
Game 7: Niagara vs. Notre Dame - 11 a.m. (ET) - NTC Stadium
Game 8: Alabama vs. Brown - 12 p.m. (ET) - Field 2
Bucknell @ NC State - 1 p.m. (ET) - Doak Field @ NC State