March 16, 2016

By Russell Dorn

Midweek Game #1: Toledo
March 16, 2016
6:05 p.m. / (ET)
Frank Eck Stadium (Notre Dame, Indiana)

Team Information:
Notre Dame: 6-8, 0-3 ACC (37-23, 17-13 ACC In 2015)
2015 Postseason: 1-2 @ ACC Tourney & 1-2 @ NCAA Champaign Regional

Toledo: 2-13-1, 0-0 MAC (25-33, 16-11 MAC In 2015)
2015 Postseason: 1-2 @ MAC Tournament


Projected Pitching Matchups:
ND LHP Michael Hearne (0-0, 3.75 ERA) vs. UT RHP Kyle Slack (0-1, 9.00 ERA)

Game Coverage (Links on
Live Video: WatchND (Rich Hidy & Tom Peterson, php)
Live Audio: WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend (Chuck Freeby, pbp)
Live Stats: Gametracker
Twitter Reports: @NDBaseball

Weather Report (as of Wednesday, March 16):
Wednesday, March 16:
55 Degrees & Sunny / Windy

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After 14 road games played throughout four states to start the 2016 University of Notre Dame baseball season, the Irish are back at Frank Eck Stadium and anxious to open the home slate at 6:05 p.m. (ET) Wednesday against regional foe Toledo.

Tickets are available at The Eck box office with prices set at $5 for adults and $3 for youth/seniors. Free t-shirts will be handed out during a selected inning while supplies last.

Here are five things to know before the Toledo game:

  1. Cory Mee, a 1992 Notre Dame graduate, leads the Rockets. At Notre Dame he earned a degree in biological sciences and was an Academic All-American. He also assisted under Irish coaching legends Pat Murphy and Paul Mainieri for six seasons (1993, 1995-99) before finding his way to Toledo in 2004 as the program’s new head coach.
  1. Since the Irish began play at Frank Eck Stadium in 1994, they boast a 16-5-1 record in home openers. Last year, Notre Dame picked up a big 8-3 victory over Central Michigan to open the home slate.
  1. Senior Michael Hearne will head to the bump for the Irish Wednesday night. He pitched one inning against the Rockets as a freshman in 2013. He boasts a 2.90 ERA over 114.2 innings of work in his career. He has struck out 63 batters and walked just 20 in 29 appearances.
  1. Freshman Matt Vierling is expected to earn his first career home start Wednesday night against Toledo. The St. Louis native has been red hot for the Irish so far in 2016. He is splitting .308/.390/.442 and leads the team in homers (2) and RBI (11) while posting 16 hits, seven walks and six runs scored. Vierling boasts a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage playing between right and center field.
  1. Senior first baseman Zak Kutsulis has turned in a sensational final season so far, as he leads the team in average (.321), hits (17), doubles (4) and slugging percentage (.491). He also has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 141 opportunities. This past Friday at No. 4 Louisville, the Homer Glen, Illinois native became the first Notre Dame player since 2000 to hit for the cycle. He tallied a single in the first, a homer in the seventh, a triple in the ninth and a double in the 11th to do something that only a handful of players in Division I accomplish on average per year.

For more information on the Notre Dame baseball, 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.