April 22, 2014
Central Michigan: 25-15, 12-3 MAC (25-30, 12-15 MAC In 2013)
Projected Pitching Matchups:
Live Game Coverage:
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After a disappointing but encouraging weekend at No. 11 Miami, the University of Notre Dame baseball team returns to regional action Wednesday with a 7:05 p.m. game against Central Michigan at Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Notre Dame (16-23) is coming off a three-game set at Atlantic Coast Conference foe Miami, where it lost the series 2-1, but were nine outs away from a sweep. The Irish carried a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning in game one Saturday before the Hurricanes scored a pair of runs to win. Similarly, Notre Dame held a 3-2 lead entering the eighth inning in Monday night’s series finale before Miami plated four runs in the next to last frame to pull away for a 6-3 victory.
Notre Dame’s one win, a 7-4 triumph Sunday night, snapped Miami’s 14-game winning streak, which was the longest in the nation, and also gave the Irish their first ACC road win in program history and their first ranked win since March 2013.
Several players had big weekends for the Irish including juniors Kevin DeFilippis, Mac Hudgins and Phil Mosey. DeFilippis only played in two of the games, but batted .500 with two hits, a walk and run scored. His big moment came in the fifth inning of game two as he entered the game as a pinch hitter and promptly clubbed a triple down the left-field line that scored two and highlighted a monster five-run inning that upped Notre Dame’s lead to 6-0.
Hudgins and Mosey, meanwhile, couldn’t be kept off the base paths as they batted .455 and .444, respectively, and combined for nine hits, two doubles, three RBI, three walks and two runs scored.
Also rounding back into form was freshman Cavan Biggio, who had his best showing in ACC play with four hits, three RBI and two runs scored as he batted .400 on the weekend. He also produced two sac flies to up his team-leading total to seven that also moved him into a tie for first in the ACC in that category.
On the mound, all three starters had moments of brilliance. Saturday night starter Sean Fitzgerald suffered the hard-luck loss after entering the ninth inning having only given up one run on four hits. Sophomore Michael Hearne picked up a win Sunday night after hurling five shutout innings, while junior RHP Pat Connaughton entered Monday’s eighth inning with a 3-2 lead and having thrown only 79 pitches before the disastrous eighth inning added four more earned runs to his final total.
Turning their attention to the Chippewas, the Irish enter Wednesday’s contest riding a nine game non-conference win streak and sporting a perfect 7-0 mark in midweek games this season. Last week, Notre Dame traveled to Toledo, Ohio and came away with a close 4-3 victory over the Toledo Rockets.
In those nine games, catchers Forrest Johnson (.636, 7 H, 7 RBI, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 R) and Ryan Lidge (.480, 12 H, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 R) have been near lights out, while sophomore leftfielder Zak Kutsulis is batting .436 and has team highs in hits (17) and RBI (11) while adding four doubles and five runs scored.
On the mound, Hearne is 1-0 has a 0.00 ERA in 12.1 innings of work as he has allowed just four hits and has an impressive 7-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (14 K’s, 2 BB). Wednesday night starter Scott Kerrigan is 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA over that same period.
Central Michigan (25-15) enters the midweek game against the Irish having just taken two of three from Mid American Conference opponent Northern Illinois on the road. After finishing 12-15 in MACtion last year, the Chippewas are 12-3 this season and in prime position to make a run at a conference title.
They are batting a respectable .268 as a team and have a solid 2.97 ERA. Three players are batting over .300 led by right fielder Logan Regnier’s .340 average. Regnier, who has a brother Nick on the team, leads CMU in hits (52), and runs scored (38). First baseman Cody Leichman (.329) has 46 hits, 27 runs scored, 10 doubles and a team-high four homers and 36 RBI.
CMU is undecided on Wednesday night’s starter on the mound, but potential options are junior LHP Matt Trowbridge (1-1, 5.91 ERA, .189 opp b/avg) or sophomore LHP Adam Aldred (3-3, 3.51 ERA, .281 opp b/avg).
Fans can listen to the game on WHME 103.1 in South Bend or over the internet at WatchND. Gametracker will also be available with live stats. Links for both can be found on UND.com.
Traveling fans can use the address: Homer Stryker Field, 251 Mills Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49048. More information on the facility can be found here.
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director