April 20, 2016

By Russell Dorn

ACC Midweek Games #8: Central Michigan
April 20, 2016
6:05 p.m. (Both ET)
Frank Eck Stadium (Notre Dame, Indiana)

Team Information:

Notre Dame: 22-12, 9-7 ACC (37-23, 17-13 ACC In 2015)
2015 Postseason: 1-2 @ ACC Tourney & 1-2 @ NCAA Champaign Regional

Central Michigan: 8-28, 3-6 MAC (35-22, 20-7 MAC In 2015)
2015 Postseason: 0-2 in MAC Tournament

Rankings: Notre Dame: #29 In Collegiate Baseball Newspaper

Game Coverage (Links on UND.com/NDBaseball):
Live Video: WatchND
Live Audio: WatchND & WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend (Chuck Freeby, pbp)
Live Stats: Gametracker
Twitter Reports: @NDBaseball

Projected Pitching Matchup:
ND RHP Evy Ruibal (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs. CMU RHP Dazon Cole (1-1, 4.32 ERA)

Weather Report (as of Wednesday, April 20):
Wednesday, April 20: 71 Degrees & Mostly Cloudy

Series History: Notre Dame leads Central Michigan 19-12-1
Aoki vs. Central Michigan: 3-2 vs. Central Michigan (all @ ND)
First Meeting: 4/16/1957: W, 3-2 – Home

Last Four Meetings:
3/18/15: W, 8-3 – Home
4/23/2014: L, 4-3 – Home
4/30/2013: W, 7-3 – Away
4/25/2012: L, 9-4 – Home

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Coming on the heels of an exciting 1-0 shutout win of No. 21 Michigan State on the road Tuesday night, the No. 29 University of Notre Dame baseball team returns home to the friendly confines of Frank Eck Stadium Wednesday night for a showdown with the Central Michigan Chippewas.

The Irish (22-12) are a season-high 10 games above .500 and have won 16 of their last 20 contests. After posting a solid 35-22 record in 2015, the Chippewas have struggled in 2016 to the tune of an 8-28 mark. CMU is coming off a series loss at home to Ball State this past weekend.

Tickets for the game are available at UND.com/buytickets or at the Frank Eck Stadium box office. Adult tickets are $5 per game, while a youth/senior ticket is $3 per game. Irish faculty, staff and students are admitted free with a valid ID.

Here’s what you need to know about tonight’s game against Central Michigan:

  1. The Irish carry a six-game winning streak into the game against CMU … pitching has played a key role in the winning streak, as the Irish have totaled a 2.50 ERA, two complete games and three saves during the stretch … opponents are batting just .196 … ND starters have four quality starts – two by senior Michael Hearne and one each by sophomores Peter Solomon and Sean Guenther … at the plate, the Irish are batting .281 with 16 extra-base hits, while the defense has a sterling .995 fielding percentage with just one error in 218 chances.
  1. Sophomore RHP Evy Ruibal is set to make his second career start Wednesday night … the Millburn, New Jersey native made an emergency start last year at Pittsburgh and went 1.2 innings … after missing the first month and a half with an injury this season, Ruibal has made appearances against Atlantic Coast Conference foes Wake Forest and No. 2 Miami this season … he’s pitched an inning in total and has one strikeout.
  1. As Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki continues to tinker with the lineup, you may continue to see talented first baseman Zak Kutsulis out in right field … Kutsulis, who came to the Irish as an outfielder and pitcher, made the move to first base before the 2015 season and thrived in the role, bringing some much-needed athleticism to the position … he’s seen time in right field in each of the last two games, including earning the start at Michigan State before moving to first base later in the game.
  1. A good problem to have for Aoki is the ability of his Irish roster to play multiple positions … in addition to Kutsulis (1B, RF) and the much talked about Ricky Sanchez (C, LF, RF), freshman Nick Podkul has now made starts at both of the corner infield positions, sophomore Jake Shepski, freshman Connor Stutts and senior James Nevant have each started in left and right field and freshman Matt Vierling has done the same in center and right field.

For more information on the Notre Dame baseball team, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).

Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.