April 13, 2017
|Wake Forest Series|
|Game One||ACC Network Extra||WatchND||Gametracker|
|Game Two||ACC Network Extra||WatchND||Gametracker|
|Game Three||ACC Network Extra||WatchND||Gametracker|
By Michael Scholl
Five Things To Know
- The Notre Dame baseball team carries a five-game winning streak into its first road ACC series in nearly a month this weekend with a visit to No. 24 Wake Forest. In addition to five straight victories, the Irish have won eight of their last nine overall and eight of their last nine at home. Notre Dame is 3-7 in true road games this year but has split its two road ACC series at Clemson (CU sweep) and at Pitt (ND won two-of-three).
- The Demon Deacons lead the all-time series with Notre Dame, 10-5, including a 4-1 advantage in Winston-Salem. The teams first met in 1949, when the Deacs won a pair of games at Notre Dame, ending the first NCAA Tournament run in Irish history. Notre Dame visited Wake in 1988, with the Demon Deacons winning a pair of games. The teams played again in 2000 and ‘03 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, with the Irish taking their first two wins in the series. The clubs have met annually since the Irish joined the ACC, with Wake sweeping at Four Winds Field in South Bend in 2014, then taking two-of-three in Winston-Salem in 2015. Last year, the Irish won two-of-three in the Demon Deacons’ first trip to Frank Eck Stadium.
- Nick Podkul has rewarded Mik Aoki since moving into the leadoff spot by carrying a 20-game on-base streak into the Wake Forest series. Podkul is reaching base at a .398 clip over the stretch, which dates back to the third game of the series at Clemson on March 12 and is the longest such streak by an Irish player this season. It marks the second consecutive year Podkul has had an on-base streak of 15 games. In 2016, his 15-game on-base streak was the third longest by an Irish player that year trailing only Cavan Biggio (21 games) and Jake Shepski (16 games). If Podkul reaches in the first two games of the series with Wake Forest, he would have the club’s longest on-base streak since Kyle Fiala reached in 47 consecutive games in 2015.
- Graduate student Michael Hearne, slated to start game two on Saturday against the Demon Deacons, has been one of the most accurate pitchers in the ACC this season. The southpaw leads the league in walks per nine innings at 1.09, a mark which ranks 26th nationally. In addition, Hearne is 12th in the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 4.20 and 13th in the conference with a 2.61 ERA.
- Improvement continues to be the key word for Notre Dame this season. Since a 1-8 start, the Irish have posted a 14-9 mark and have improved in nearly every category, most notably pitching. Over the first nine games, Irish hurlers had a 7.85 ERA while opponents were batting .316. In the 23 games since the ERA has been 3.02 with opponents hitting just .226. Behind those pitchers, the Notre Dame defense has made 25 errors in the last 23 games after committing 20 miscues in the first nine contests. Things have improved at the plate, as well. After hitting .221 in the opening stretch, the Irish have hit .247 as a team over the last 23, led by Cole Daily’s .325 mark. This weekend, the team will try to reverse another trend, its record against ranked opponents. While Notre Dame is 14-2 against unranked teams over the last 23 games, they are 0-7 against teams in the D1Baseball.com Top 25.
Michael Scholl joined Fighting Irish Media in August 2016, coordinating communications for the baseball program and assisting with the football team at his alma mater. The South Bend native earned a degree in political science from the College of Arts & Letters in 2009 before going on to work in athletics communications at Providence College,