April 24, 2014
Game 41-44: Northeastern
April 25-27, 2014
6:05 / 2:05 / 1:05 p.m. (CT)
U.S. Steel Yard (Gary, Ind.)
Notre Dame: 16-24, 4-17 ACC (34-24, 10-14 BIG EAST In 2013)
2013 Postseason: Lost To UConn In BIG EAST Final
Northeastern: 16-21, 3-8 CAA (31-26, 12-15 CAA In 2013)
Postseason: Went 3-2 in CAA Tournament
Neither Team Is Ranked
First Meeting Between The Teams
Aoki vs. Northeastern: 8-2 (all at BC)
Live Game Coverage:
Live Video: None
Live Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp) or WatchND (Links on UND.com)
Live Stats: Gametracker (Links on UND.com)
Twitter Reports: @ND Baseball / @NDsidRuss
Weather Report (as of Thursday, April 24):
Friday, April 25: 64 Degrees and Sunny
Saturday, April 26: 47 Degrees and Partly Cloudy
Sunday, April 27: 59 Degrees (30% Chance of Rain)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With an off week from Atlantic Coast Conference action on tap, the University of Notre Dame baseball team is set to play the Northeastern Huskies in a three-game series at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind., this weekend.
Games are slated for 6:05 p.m., 2:05 p.m. and 1:05 p.m. CT Friday through Sunday. Fans can follow all three contests through WatchND’s audio broadcast (WHME 103.1 FM) or gametracker. Links for the weekend can be found on UND.com.
The Irish (16-24), who have played home games all over the region while Frank Eck Stadium gets FieldTurf, will be competing in their fifth different “home” stadium this season with the move to the home of the Gary Southshore Railcats an hour away from South Bend.
Meeting the Huskies (16-21) for the first time in program history, Notre Dame is attempting to improve upon its 12-7 non-conference record (9-1 in last 10 games) and 6-7 home mark.
Wednesday night the Irish fell to 4-12 in one-run games as they lost 4-3 to the Central Michigan Chippewas at Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo, Mich., to snap a nine-game non-conference win streak and a perfect 7-0 record in midweek contests this season. Highlighting the game was junior Scott Kerrigan’s career-high eight strikeouts, junior Blaise Lezynski’s first homer of the season and sophomore Jack Flaherty’s first career start and first career RBI as he replaced injured starter Kyle Fiala at shortstop who was replacing regular starter Lane Richards. Richards, who had successful Tommy John surgery last Thursday, had started the first 94 games of his career before missing the Miami series.
Notre Dame will send RHP Sean Fitzgerald (3-3), LHP Michael Hearne (3-4) and RHP Pat Connaughton (1-3) to the mound to challenge Northeastern’s threesome of RHP Nick Berger (1-3), Chris Carmain (4-2) and RHP Dustin Hunt (3-0).
After an up-and-down first three years, Fitzgerald has been nothing short of spectacular during his final campaign despite the 3-3 record. The McLean, Va., native is tied for second in the ACC in complete games (2) and tied for third in starts (10) and is also fourth in innings pitched (70.2) and 11th in ERA (2.29). He has notched eight quality starts in 10 appearances and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in nine of 10 outings on the season.
Hearne, meanwhile, entered the year as a reliever but his remarkable command has moved him into the weekend rotation. The Palos Heights, Ill., native is tied for first in the ACC in shutouts (1) and is also eighth in ERA (2.06). Among the top-20 ERA leaders in the league, Hearne in second with a slim 1.43 walks per nine innings mark.
Despite a tough last 0.2 innings against the Hurricanes Monday night, Connaughton has had two of his best outings in an Irish uniform in the last two weeks. He threw his first career complete game April 12 against Boston College and then struck out a career-high eight batters Monday night in a 6-3 loss to No. 11 Miami. Connaughton entered the eighth inning with a 3-2 lead and having thrown just 79 pitches. However, four Hurricane runs erased the Notre Dame lead and ultimately saddled the Arlington, Mass., product with the loss.
Northeastern is coming off a 4-3 win over Boston College to clinch third place in the 2014 Beanpot Tournament Monday afternoon. This past weekend they were swept by Colonial Athletic Association foe William & Mary in three games.
At the dish, senior Connor Lyons is batting a team-high .338 and also leads the team in hits (52), triples (4), hit by pitch (7) and runs (27). Lyons has started all 37 games in the outfield.
The Huskies are under the direction of 29-year veteran head coach Neil McPhee, who is retiring following the 2014 campaign. Earlier in the year, McPhee went over the 700 win mark for his remarkable career.
Friday starter Berger has a 3.92 ERA in 57.1 innings of work, Saturday starter Carmain has a remarkable 1.05 ERA in 60 innings and Sunday starter Hunt has a 2.68 ERA in 53.2 innings.
Notre Dame has only played one game in recent years in Gary as they earned an impressive 8-1 win over Kent State last year. In that contest, then-freshman Zak Kutsulis notched a pair of hits and had a team-high three RBI to pace the Irish to victory.
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director