April 3, 2014
ACC Series 5: Florida State
Florida State: 23-5, 9-2 ACC (47-17, 20-10 ACC In 2013)
Live Game Coverage:
Weather Report (as of Thursday, March 27):
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame baseball team steps back into road Atlantic Coast Conference action this weekend as the Irish travel to No. 1 Florida State for a three-game series at historic Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.
The three-game set kicks off at 6 p.m. (ET) Friday, continues at 6 p.m. (ET) Saturday and wraps up at 12 p.m. (ET) Sunday. Friday and Saturday games will be on ESPN3 with Tom Block and Chip Baker announcing, while Sunday's contest is set for ESPNU and will have Clay Matvick and Kyle Peterson on the call. Fans can also listen to all three games via WatchND or locally in South Bend on Pulse FM, 92.1 and 96.9. Gametracker will also be available for the entire weekend.
Florida State (23-5, 10-2 ACC) is ranked in the top four in five major polls, including No. 1 in Baseball America and Perfect Game. The Seminoles boast the second-best offense and defense in the ACC as they bat .289 and claim a 2.82 team ERA. FSU has scored 27 more runs than second-place Virginia and has totaled 10 runs or more in 12 of its 28 games.
Sophomore outfielder DJ Stewart paces the Seminoles with his .380 average, 35 hits, 11 doubles and four homers. He also has 22 RBI, 22 walks and 26 runs scored and has an ACC-best 14 game hitting streak and 51 on-base streak.
"Obviously we are going against a really good team that probably plays that much better at home with 6,000 - 8,000 people in attendance," said head coach Mik Aoki. "My experience coaching against them is that you have to limit their innings because when they get rolling, particularly at home, in the blink of an eye they have put up six runs. It will be a good experience for our team."
Notre Dame (10-17, 1-11 ACC) is coming off an 11-1 win over in-state foe Valparaiso Tuesday night where it recorded 13 hits. Junior Blaise Lezynski paces the Irish at the plate as he is 18th in the league in average (.320) and also leads his squad in hits (32), RBI 18) and hit by pitch (5).
Fitzgerald is tied for second in the ACC in starts (7) and is also fourth in innings pitched (48.1), ninth in ERA (2.05) and 10th in opponent batting average (.194). The McLean, Va., native hasn't allowed more than three runs in any start this season and has turned in six quality starts in seven opportunities.
FSU hasn't determined its entire rotation for the weekend, but will be throwing ace RHP Luke Weaver Friday night opposite Fitzgerald. Weaver (5-2) sports a 2.53 ERA and is eighth in the ACC in innings pitched (46.1) and tied for ninth in strikeouts (38). He is a two-time 2014 ACC Pitcher of the Week.
"I think when Fitz is throwing the ball well it gives us a chance against just about anyone," said Aoki. "Friday night will probably come down to whether we can take advantage of the limited opportunities that we will have when you go up against a guy as good as Weaver."
While the two programs haven't played much over the years with FSU holding a slim 5-4 advantage, the series holds a special place in the hearts of the Notre Dame baseball program. In 2002, No. 11 Notre Dame went to No. 1 Florida State for the Super Regionals and knocked off the favored Seminoles in three games to advance to the second College World Series in school history. A more detailed account of this historic series will come in a Friday look back on UND.com.
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director