April 12, 2014
CHICAGO, Ill. - On a special day where the University of Notre Dame baseball team continued its fundraising efforts for the Pete Frates #3 Fund, the Irish got two outstanding pitching performances from RHP Pat Connaughton and LHP Michael Hearne in a Saturday doubleheader sweep over Boston College, 4-2 and 7-0, that clinch the first Atlantic Coast Conference series win in program history.
After mustering just one run on five hits Friday night, the Irish bats made plenty of appearances Saturday as Notre Dame scored 11 runs on 21 hits in two games. The 11 runs would be more than enough for Connaughton and Hearne as they both hurled complete games, both of which were the first in their respective careers.
Connaughton (1-2), had trouble with control in his first handful of starts in the 2014 season, but looked very much in command against the Eagles as he gave up two runs (one each in the eighth and ninth innings) on six hits and walked just one. He also struck out six batters in 116 pitches.
Hearne, meanwhile, baffled BC all day as he held the visitors to just seven hits in earning the shutout. He also walked none and struck out five in 107 pitches.
“I thought both guys were great,” said head coach Mik Aoki. “There were a couple of instances where Pat fell behind on a couple of guys but was able to get himself right back into the count and get them to make weak contact. I thought Mike did the same thing. He was really in command from beginning to end. I thought he pitched to who he was.
“These players have been battling all year. They scrapped through some situations. I didn’t sense any panic. It was a great team win and I’m happy for the guys in getting their first ACC series win.”
Notre Dame totaled five doubles and three triples in the two games in addition to drawing four walks and getting hit five times.
The weekend saw all funds raised get donated to the Pete Frates #3 Fund that supports former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates in his battle with the awful disease ALS. Over 1,000 fans ventured out during the weekend and bought shirts and hats, in addition to their ticket, with all the proceeds going to the fund.
“I’m really appreciative to everyone that came out in support of Pete,” said Aoki. “I thought BC was really gracious in what they were doing with it. I want to thank our players too for their support of this weekend. It was a great weekend all around.”
Notre Dame (14-21, 3-15 ACC) get back into action early next week with a pair of road games. The Irish will head to East Lansing, Mich., for a 3:05 p.m. (ET) Tuesday game against Michigan State. The next day, Notre Dame will bus to Toledo, Ohio for a 7 p.m. contest against Toledo.
GAME 1: Notre Dame 4, Boston College 2
Behind a complete-game outing from Connaughton and a three-run five inning for the Irish, Notre Dame earned its first win of the series, 4-2, in Saturday’s early game.
Connaughton looked in control for much of the game, and didn’t allow BC to advance to second base until the seventh inning. He also pitched three perfect innings to open the contest.
The Irish bats plated one in the bottom of the first on a single from Lezynski and then broke open the game in the fifth with three big runs.
With one out in the fifth, catcher Forrest Johnson hit a single down the left-field line. Junior Robert Youngdahl answered with a monster triple down the right-field line to score Johnson. Richards followed with a triple down the left-field line that scored Youngdahl to put the Irish up 3-0. A Conor Biggio single and a Hudgins infield single closed out the scoring for the Irish.
Boston College looked to make a comeback in the game’s final two innings as the Eagles scored once in the eighth and once in the ninth. However, with two outs in the ninth, Connaughton induced a ground out to Richards at short to close out the game.
Biggio and Hudgins each tallied two hits at the top of the lineup, while Richards also produced two hits at the bottom of the lineup.
The complete game was the first of Connaughton’s Irish career.
Standout Andrew Chin (2-2) suffered the loss for BC after going 6.2 innings and giving up four runs on nine hits.
GAME 2: Notre Dame 7, Boston College 0
The Notre Dame offense scored two runs in three separate innings and never really let BC in the contest as Hearne shut down the Eagles the entire game.
BC tallied just seven hits, which included just one of the extra-base variety.
Notre Dame gave Hearne a cushion early with two runs in the first as Lezynski had an RBI single and Johnson hit a sac fly that scored Hudgins and Fiala, respectively.
The Irish scored two more in the fourth as sophomore James Nevant blasted a triple to right center that scored Johnson and Richards hit a sac fly that brought in Nevant.
Notre Dame upped the lead to 5-0 in the sixth with a Hudgins triple to right center that scored Richards and gave themselves even more cushion with two more runs in the eighth.
Back-to-back doubles from Lezynski and Kutsulis plated two and put the game out of reach.
Lezynski had a monster game with four hits in five opportunities. He totaled two RBI and scored once. Fiala had a solid game with two hits and two runs scored.
BC’s Jeff Burke (0-5) was issued the loss after allowing four runs on three hits and two walks.
Notre Dame’s offense hit three doubles and two triples during the game.
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director