Baseball To Celebrate Opening Night

The Notre Dame baseball program will kick off the 2009 season with an Opening Night Dinner. Former Notre Dame standout Jeff Samardzija and current Angels manager Mike Scioscia will serve as the keynote speakers of the night.

The Notre Dame baseball program will hold its eighth annual Opening Night Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse. This year's keynote speakers will be former Notre Dame star and current Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia.

Fans can purchase tickets for the event from the Notre Dame Ticket Office. The price is $50 for adults and $30 for students/youth and seniors. A fan pack, including two adult tickets and two youth tickets, can be purchased for $120. Each dinner ticket includes a 2009 season ticket for all Notre Dame baseball home games, a 2009 baseball media guide and autograph pictures of the evening's speakers.

The ‘ballpark-style' dinner will feature various sports and baseball-related giveaways throughout the night. Notre Dame baseball players will be seated at tables with fans and will be available for autographs prior to the event, from 6:00-6:45.

Samardzija made his Major League debut as a reliever with the Cubs in 2008, going 1-0 with a 2.28 ERA in 26 appearances. Samardzija, who struck out 25 and walked 15 in 27.2 innings, played a key role in the Cubs capturing the 2008 NL Central title.

Samardzija went 21-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 50 career games with the Irish. He posted an 8-2 record with a 4.33 ERA in his final season on the diamond in South Bend in 2006. Named to the All-Big East First Team, he allowed just three home runs in 97.2 innings on the season and went over 8 innings in each of his final three starts.

Samardzija was also a First Team All-American football player as a wide receiver for the Irish. As a senior, Samardzija caught 78 passes for 1,017 yards after setting single-season school records with 1,249 receiving yards and 15 touchdown receptions as a junior in 2005.

Scioscia, whose son Matt is a sophomore catcher for the Irish, is Major League Baseball's third-longest tenured manager behind Bobby Cox of the Braves and the Cardinals' Tony LaRussa. Scioscia has a 797-661 record (.547) as manager and led the club to its only World Series championship in 2002.

The Irish finished the 2008 campaign with a 33-21-1 record after getting off to a 33-13-1 start. The 2009 season opens with three games in Florida Feb. 20-22 in the Big East-Big Ten Challenge before trips to Arizona and Texas. The Irish open up the home portion of the schedule on St. Patrick's Day with a 5:05 game with Ball State.

Credit card orders can be taken over the phone (574) 631-7356 or in person at the Joyce Center Gate 1 box office. Registration can also be mailed to: Notre Dame Ticket Office 113 Joyce Center, Notre Dame (IN) 46556. Top Stories