CHICAGO - Standing near the edge of U.S. Cellular Field's foul territory, on the first-base side, Mick Doyle didn't want to sound like an ungrateful guest on Wednesday night.
"Don't get me wrong," the Notre Dame freshman reserve infielder said, "this is awesome to be out here, but I'm a Cubs fan."
The Benet graduate admits he's lost count, but Notre Dame's Web site lists 11 eleven relatives who graduated from the school, though Doyle pointed out that several others went to nearby St. Mary's.
"It's my dream school," Doyle said. "Just wake up, see the Dome, get to go play baseball. It's been great so far."
Doyle didn't play in Notre Dame's 5-4 victory over Northern Illinois on Wednesday night. The game, one that unfolded exactly one year after the shootings at Virginia Tech, was a benefit for a Northern Illinois scholarship fund.
Doyle has started seven games for the Fighting Irish (23-9-1) and is hitting .276 as mostly a bench player. The biggest adjustment Doyle has noticed is the velocity of the college game.
"I would just say that the speed of the game is definitely quicker, especially moving over to third base," Doyle said. "They call it the hot corner for a reason. Ball's on you a lot quicker."
Notre Dame expects Doyle to handle the learning curve, perhaps sooner than later.
"He's been a pleasant surprise," Notre Dame assistant coach Scott Lawler said of Doyle. "He's farther ahead of what I thought he'd be. I think he'll be our shortstop or starting third baseman (in) the future.
"He's an outstanding kid. He's gonna be one of our leaders."