July 3, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For their efforts on and off the diamond, University of Notre Dame baseball student-athletes Donnie Hissa, Blaise Lezynski and Robert Youngdahl have earned a spot on the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic Team, the league office announced Thursday.
To be eligible for consideration for the All-ACC Academic team, a student-athlete, regardless of classification, must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during their academic career.
Hissa, who graduated from Notre Dame in May with a 3.265 GPA and a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance, is in the middle of his first professional season with the Helena Brewers (Rookie League).
The righty had his best season during his final campaign in the Irish blue and gold as he showed the ability to be a long reliever, a closer or a 1-2 inning guy while making a team-high 31 appearances. He went 2-4 and led the team with five saves. Hissa participated in three shutouts and was sixth on the squad with 50.2 innings of work while striking out 48 and holding hitters to a .227 average.
After pitching a career-high 4.1 innings in a 4-3 win over Appalachian State March 2, Hissa eventually switched to the role of closer as the season went on. He picked up his first save of the year in a pressure-packed situation at then-No. 11 Miami April 20 before racking up four more over the season's final month.
Hissa's best weekend of his career might have come in his last appearance at Frank Eck Stadium as he tallied two saves and a win in helping the Irish sweep ACC foe Pitt to close out the season.
Lezynski, who is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business and majoring in marketing, posted an impressive 3.455 GPA during the spring semester while leading the team in a variety of categories.
The Newtown, Pa., native paced the Irish in average (.296), hits (61), doubles (12) and RBI (32) while starting all 53 games between first base, DH and the outfield as a junior.
Youngdahl, a transfer from Kansas State and Iowa Western Junior College, put together a 3.267 GPA in the spring while working on a degree in economics from the College of Arts & Letters.
The New Brighton, Minn., native opened his Irish career on fire with 10 hits, seven RBI and five runs scored in his first seven games. After the hot start, Youngdahl struggled with consistency for much of the rest of the year before heating up again towards the end of the season. During the last 14 games of the 2014 campaign, he led the team in average (.313), while adding five doubles, two triples, a homer, four RBI, three walks and five runs scored. He finished his junior year in a tie for second in the ACC with five triples.
While these three received recognition from the ACC, the whole Irish team did yeoman’s work in the classroom in 2013-14 as the program put together a pair of 3.0+ GPA semesters after having a pair of below 3.0 semesters in 2012-13.
What makes that feat most impressive is that with no home field due to FieldTurf installation, the Irish were forced to study on buses and in hotels for virtually the entire year. After opening the season with a month of road games in the Southeast and Texas, the Irish played only eight games in South Bend until the last two series of the year (Clemson and Pitt – ND went 5-1). All in all, Notre Dame left South Bend for 39 of its 53 games.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball team, remember to follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball) and Twitter (@NDBaseball).
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director