May 2, 2014
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Fans looking for a pitchers’ duel as they entered Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium Friday night were treated to a dandy as University of Notre Dame junior righty Pat Connaughton and Maryland senior righty Jake Stinnett went back-and-forth in game one of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series. Connaughton turned in a complete game but Stinnett did him one better as he hurled a complete-game shutout to help the Terrapins to a 2-0 victory.
The lone two runs in the contest came in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, LaMonte Wade rocketed a single off Connaughton’s shoe that squirted away and allowed Wade to make it to first. Wade then advanced to second on a wild pitch and was joined on the base paths by Brandon Lowe, who walked. Still with one out, both runners advanced up a base on Connaughton’s second wild pitch of the inning and were brought home with two outs on a single up the middle by Jose Cuas.
After those two runs crossed the plate, Connaughton (1-5) settled into quite a rhythm as he retired the next 15 batters he faced. Maryland did load the bases in the seventh inning, but Connaughton induced a fly out to end the threat. In five of the eight innings Connaughton was on the mound, the Terps went down in order. The Arlington, Mass., native finished with four strikeouts, 12 fly outs and eight ground outs in 114 pitches. In his last four outings, Connaughton has gone 7.2 innings or longer in three of them with two complete games.
Stinnett (5-6), who entered the game tied for first in the ACC in strikeouts (94) and tied for second in innings pitched (80.2), hurled an absolute gem Friday night. The potential first-round MLB draft pick finished with 13 strikeouts (six looking) on 128 pitches and allowed just four hits and three walks. The 13 K’s were the most against the Irish since USF’s Andrew Barbosa had 14 strikeouts March 30, 2012. Stinnett very rarely got into trouble, but when he did he was able to work out of it.
Notre Dame got the lead-off runner on base in six of the first seven innings and also had a runner on third base with less than two outs twice with no luck. The Irish left seven runners on base for the game.
Senior Forrest Johnson produced the only extra-base hit for the Irish – a two-out double in the ninth inning – but the rest of the Notre Dame hits were of the one-base variety. Sophomore Zak Kutsulis, freshman Ryan Lidge and junior Ryan Bull produced the other base knocks for the Irish.
Notre Dame (17-28, 4-18 ACC) and Maryland (26-19, 10-14 ACC) resume their series at 2 p.m. Saturday as Irish sophomore lefty Michael Hearne goes against Maryland’s freshman righty Mike Shawaryn. Fans can follow the game through WatchND (WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend) or by way of live stats (link on UND.com).
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director