Dec. 2, 2015
By Russell Dorn
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – If you follow the University of Notre Dame baseball team on social media, you saw the 2016 schedule release on Tuesday. Now that you’ve had a chance to digest the impressive slate, it’s time to dive a bit deeper into the schedule for a 2015 Irish team that made its first trip to the NCAA Regionals since 2006.
Under the direction of six-year head coach Mik Aoki, the Irish return 20 monogram winners, the entire infield including Rawlings Gold Glove winner Cavan Biggio (2B) and third team all-Atlantic Coast Conference performer Kyle Fiala (3B), its starting catcher in Johnny Bench Award candidate Ryan Lidge and 472.2 of 554.2 innings on the mound in 2016 from a team that went 37-23 overall and finished tied for third during the regular season in the powerful ACC.
With all that said, here’s what to know about the elite 2016 schedule:
- The Irish play five games against 2015 College World Series participants with all five at Frank Eck Stadium … ND welcomes in ACC foe Miami (1-2 at CWS) for a three-game ACC series April 8-10 … later in the season, SEC power LSU (1-2 at CWS) heads North to ND for a two-game midweek series (May 10-11) … the series will mark the first two games back at the Eck for legendary Irish head coach Paul Mainieri, who skippers the Tigers after 12 incredibly successful seasons under the Golden Dome (1995-2006) that featured a 533-213-3 (.714) mark, the program’s second CWS appearance in 2002 and five BIG EAST Tournament championships.
- Notre Dame plays 25 games against NCAA Championship teams in 2016 … these matchups include single games against Bradley (Feb. 26), Texas Southern (Feb. 27), Oregon (March 31), Michigan (April 5) and Indiana (April 26) and series versus Louisville (March 11-13), NC State (March 18-20), Miami (April 8-10), Florida State (April 22-24), Ohio (April 29-May 1), LSU (May 10-11) and Clemson (May 19-21).
- The Irish went 18-9 in 2015 against teams on the 2016 schedule … included in that mark is a 3-0 sweep of Florida State and North Carolina, a 2-0 sweep of Incarnate Word, a 2-1 series win at Clemson, a 2-1 series win over NC State and a 2-1 series win over Boston College.
- Notre Dame will travel to conference foes Louisville, Virginia Tech and North Carolina for the first time as ACC members … the Irish will make their second appearances at NC State and Florida State since joining the league in 2014.
- The Irish have exactly 28 home games and 28 road contests scheduled for 2016 … 20 of the first 22 games will be on the road followed by a string where 23 of next 28 are at home before the final six games are split with three at home and three on the road … the Irish will have two impressively long home stands in 13 games from March 31 to April 17 and nine games from April 27 to May 11 … on the other side of the coin, ND will start the season with 14 consecutive games on the road before its first home game March 16 against Toledo.
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.