March 17, 2015
Midweek Game #2: Central Michigan
March 18, 2015
6:05 p.m. (ET)
Frank Eck Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
Notre Dame: 14-4, 3-3 ACC (22-31, 9-21 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: Did not qualify for postseason
Central Michigan: 13-7, 0-0 MAC (35-23, 19-8 MAC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: 0-2 MAC Tournament
Notre Dame: No. 22 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
Projected Pitching Matchups:
RHP Ryan Smoyer (0-0, 7.94 ERA) vs. RHP Jordan Grosjean (0-2, 6.75 ERA)
Notre Dame leads 18-12-1
First Meeting: W, H, 3-2 (4/16/1957)
Last Meeting: L, H, 4-3 (4/23/2014)
Aoki vs. Central Michigan: 2-2 (all at ND)
Live Video: WatchND (Link on UND.com)
Live Audio: WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend (Chuck Freeby, pbp)
Live Stats: UND.com
Twitter Reports: @NDBaseball / @NDsidRuss
Weather Report (as of Tuesday, March 17):
Wednesday, March 18: 45 Degrees & Cloudy
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Riding the momentum of its first Atlantic Coast Conference road series win since joining the league before the 2014 season, the University of Notre Dame baseball program kicks off its 2015 home slate at 6:05 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, as the Central Michigan Chippewas come to Frank Eck Stadium for a non-conference contest.
The Irish (14-4, 3-3 ACC) are off to their best start in over a decade and enter Wednesday’s home opener riding a wave of momentum after a 4-3 record on spring break, which was highlighted by a series win at perennial conference power Clemson.
After losing game one of a Saturday doubleheader, 6-1, Notre Dame won two games in a row to take the series. The Irish broke out the bats in the Saturday nightcap, cracking 16 hits and jumping out to a 6-0 lead on their way to an 11-6 victory.
After 18 games on the road, the Irish are set to play eight of their next nine contests at the friendly confines of “The Eck.” A year after only playing six games at home due to FieldTurf installation, the Irish are more than eager to get home games in during the months of March and April.
Central Michigan (13-7, 0-0 MAC) is coming off a 2-2 weekend at the Indiana State Invitational where the Chippewas swept Rutgers in two games, but lost close contests to Indiana State and Canisius. Earlier in the year, Central Michigan tallied winning streaks of four and five games.
The Irish will send sophomore righty Ryan Smoyer (0-0, 7.94 ERA) to the hill for the second midweek game in a row, while the Chippewas will turn to sophomore righty Jordan Grosjean (0-2, 6.75 ERA).
Smoyer worked 2.1 innings at Savannah State last week, giving up a run on two hits and two walks while striking out two.
Tickets are still available for the home opener and can be purchased at the ticket window at Frack Eck Stadium. Fans that can’t make it out can watch the game online for free at WatchND.tv. WHME 103.1 FM will carry the game over the airwaves in South Bend. Live stats are also available. Links for WatchND and live stats are available on UND.com.
AROUND THE BASES
OPENING DAY AT THE ECK
Since the Irish opened at Frank Eck Stadium, they boast a 15-5-1 record in home openers … they are 1-1-1 in home openers when the opponent is Central Michigan … the win came in 1998 (7-5), the loss came in 2004 (4-1) and the tie came in 2008 (2-2).
Counting the last two series of the 2014 season, the Irish are 19-5 since May 9, 2014 … their 10-game winning streak from Feb. 14-March 6 was the most since an 11-game streak from April 4-18, 2008 … before that streak, the Irish boasted a remarkable 23-game winning streak from March 25-April 24, 2006.
SCORING IN BUNCHES
After scoring two or more runs in an inning only 54 times last year in 53 games, the Irish are scoring in bunches this season, as they have plated two or more runs in 38 innings … the Irish have batted in 159 innings, so that means that in 23.9% of possible innings, the Notre Dame offense has scored multiple runs.
DOUBLE PLAY MACHINES
After leading the nation for much of the year in double plays and double plays per game in 2014 before shortstop Lane Richards missed the rest of the season with an injury, the Irish are back to business in 2015, as they are first in Division I in both categories with 28 double plays while averaging 1.56 double plays per game … in ACC games, the Irish are turning two at an astonishing pace, totaling 16 through six games … individually, first baseman Zak Kutsulis has played a role in 24 double plays, while second baseman Cavan Biggio has taken part in 22 DP’s and shortstop Lane Richards has participated in 14 … since 2012, Notre Dame has turned 199 double plays, which is believed to be among the top-10 teams in the country in that category.
ENTERING THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
For the first time since the week of April 8, 2013 (No. 16), the Irish were ranked in a national poll earlier this season, as they checked in at No. 25 in the College Baseball Newspaper Top 25 for one week (March 2) … entering the Central Michigan and Louisville games, the Irish are ranked No. 22 by the same publication.
The Irish roll into their first home game with a 14-4 record … that mark places Notre Dame in rare air among other Irish teams of the past … here are some of the best records in school history heading into the first home game of the season (Min: 12 wins):
Year: Record (Winning %)
1991: 16-12 (.571)
1963: 15-4 (.790)
2015: 14-4 (.778)
2004: 13-2 (.867)
2001: 13-2-1 (.844)
1996: 13-7 (.650)
2013: 12-5 (.706)
1989: 12-5 (.706)
2002: 12-10 (.546)
JOHNSON SETTING THE TABLE
Freshman Jake Johnson has been outstanding for the Irish in the leadoff role, as he has a .435 on-base percentage with 16 hits, 13 walks and eight hit by pitch … he has reached base in every game of his career … here’s how he stacks up with Notre Dame players over the last eight seasons:
Longest On-Base Streaks (Since 2007)
1. Eric Jagielo: 36 games (2012)
2. Ryan Connolly: 34 games (2010)
Ross Brezovsky: 34 games (2008)
4. Jeremy Barnes: 30 games (2009)
5. Jeremy Barnes: 29 games (2008)
6. Trey Mancini: 26 games (2013)
David Mills: 26 games (2010)
8. A.J. Pollock: 23 games (2009)
David Mills: 23 games (2008)
10. Eric Jagielo: 22 games (2011)
Danny Dressman: 22 games (2007)
12. David Mills: 21 games (2009)
Brett Lilley: 21 games (2008)
14. Brett Lilley: 20 games (2007)
15. Jake Johnson: 18 games (2015)
QUALITY STARTS ON THE MOUND
Notre Dame starting pitching has shown an ability to produce quality start after quality start over the last two seasons … below are the numbers by starting pitcher … a quality start is defined as a start by a pitcher that lasts at least six innings while allowing three earned runs or less.
With three doubles in an 11-6 win over Clemson March 14, senior Robert Youngdahl became the first Irish player to hit that mark since Ross Brezovsky clubbed three doubles in an 11-2 win over Rutgers April 6, 2008.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director