April 14, 2014
Games 36 & 37:
Michigan State: 20-13, 5-4 Big Ten (33-17, 12-9 Big Ten In 2013)
Toledo: 13-20, 5-7 MAC (25-33, 13-14 MAC In 2013)
Notre Dame leads Toledo, 43-13
Live Game Coverage:
Weather Report (as of Monday, April 14):
Tuesday, April 15: 37 Degrees and Partly Cloudy
Wednesday, April 16: 47 Degrees and Sunny
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Having won its first Atlantic Coast Conference series in program history and sporting an eight game non-conference win streak, the University of Notre Dame baseball team jumps back into midweek action Tuesday and Wednesday as the Irish go on the road to meet both Michigan State and Toledo. Notre Dame plays in East Lansing against the Spartans at 3:05 p.m. (ET) Tuesday before traveling to Toledo for a 7:05 p.m. (ET) Wednesday contest with the Rockets.
Notre Dame (14-21) is coming off a 4-1 week as it took down Chicago State (6-1) and Michigan (9-1) in midweek action before earning a Saturday sweep over Boston College (4-2 and 7-0) to clinch its first ACC series win.
The Irish used a nice blend of hitting and pitching to pick up their most wins in a week this season. The Irish bats hit .276, .27 points higher than their season average, while the pitchers had a miniscule 1.15 ERA, 2.06 lower than their season average. Included in the four wins were three complete games by sophomore Nick McCarty, junior Pat Connaughton and sophomore Michael Hearne. All three complete games were the first of the respective pitchers’ careers. McCarty's complete game marked the first midweek complete game for an Irish pitcher since Wade Korpi went all nine innings against Western Michigan March 29, 2006.
Several players had big weeks at the plate for Notre Dame, including both catchers, as senior Forrest Johnson and freshman Ryan Lidge batted .375 (6-16) with three runs, three RBI and two walks. Meanwhile, junior first baseman Blaise Lezynski continued his remarkable year with a .429 week (9-21) that included three doubles, three RBI, four runs scored and two walks.
On the mound, Irish starting pitchers gave up a total of three earned runs (five runs total) in 40 innings of work. They also fanned 24 batters.
This week, the Irish will go back to McCarty and junior Scott Kerrigan as they look to go 2-0 in the midweek games once again.
The opponents are entering the week in different directions as Michigan State (20-13) won two out of three against Purdue while Toledo (13-20) lost two out of three against Ball State. The Spartans are batting .267 and sport a 2.93 team ERA, while the Rockets are batting .244 and have a 4.51 team ERA. Injuries have decimated the Rockets’ pitching staff as four regulars are injured. Toledo has yet to decide on a pitcher for Wednesday’s showdown, while the Spartans will go with senior RHP Chase Rihtarchik (0-2, 5.62 ERA).
Notre Dame trails the all-time series against the Spartans, 78-54, and snapped an 11-game losing streak to MSU last year with a 7-3 win at Frank Eck Stadium. Lezynski and junior Ryan Bull each notched two RBI to accompany big games from former Irish standouts Eric Jagielo and Trey Mancini.
The Irish lead the series against Rockets by a wide margin, 43-13, but were demolished on the road last season, 15-3. Toledo is led by former Irish standout and assistant coach Corey Mee. Mee, who batted .303 with six homers and 114 RBI with Notre Dame from 1989-92, stayed on as an Irish assistant in 1993 and then again from 1995-99 before taking over the Toledo head spot in the summer of 2013.
Fans can follow both games through WatchND’s audio broadcast (WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend) or through live stats. Links for both are on UND.com.
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director