March 24, 2015
Midweek Game #3: Western Michigan
March 25, 2015
6:30 p.m. (ET)
Frank Eck Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
Notre Dame: 15-7, 3-6 ACC (22-31, 9-21 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: Did not qualify for postseason
Western Michigan: 8-11, 1-2 MAC (24-31, 11-16 MAC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: 2-2 MAC Tournament
Neither team is ranked
Projected Pitching Matchup:
RHP Ryan Smoyer (1-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. LHP Keegan Akin (1-1, 4.50 ERA)
Notre Dame leads 68-66-1
First Meeting: W, H, 6-1 (4/16/1914)
Last Meeting: L, H, 6-4 (10 Innings) (4/30/2014)
Aoki vs. Western Michigan: 2-2 (all at ND)
Live Audio: WatchND (Link on UND.com) and WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend (Chuck Freeby, pbp)
Live Stats: Gametracker (Link of UND.com)
Twitter Reports: @NDBaseball / @NDsidRuss
Weather Report (as of Tuesday, March 24):
Wednesday, March 25: 51 Degrees & Partly Sunny
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With an opening in the schedule following Monday’s cancellation of a Tuesday baseball game at UIC in Chicago, the University of Notre Dame baseball program has added a 6:30 p.m. (ET) Wednesday matchup with Western Michigan at Frank Eck Stadium to the schedule.
The meeting will be the 136th all-time between the two programs in a series that dates back to just a couple of months before the beginning of World War I. In that first meeting in April 1914, the Irish picked up a 6-1 win to begin a 36-14-1 Notre Dame run over the first 36 years of the series.
Since that time, the Broncos have made the series more than competitive, as the Irish hold a slim 68-66-1 advantage all-time. Last year, the Broncos picked up a 6-4 win in 10 innings at Four Winds Field in South Bend.
Notre Dame (15-7, 3-6 ACC) is 12-1 this year in non-conference games, including 2-0 in midweek contests, after victories over Savannah State (5-3 in 11 innings) and Central Michigan (8-3) over the last two weeks.
The Irish are looking to rebound after a tough weekend at “The Eck” resulted in a series sweep at the hands of No. 8 Louisville. Notre Dame was shut out for the first two times this season in a 2-0 Friday loss and a 3-0 Sunday setback, and also dropped an 18-inning contest Saturday, 6-4. The game was the second longest in Frack Eck Stadium history and is believed to be the second longest in Notre Dame’s 120-plus year history. It went 4:50 and featured over 500 pitches thrown by 12 pitchers.
Facing arguably one of the best pitching units in the country, the Irish batted just .138 on the weekend with 41 strikeouts while notching just four extra base hits. On the mound, Notre Dame went toe-to-toe with the elite Cardinals, as it tallied a 2.75 ERA with 23 strikeouts and just five walks in 36 innings of work.
In non-conference games, the Irish are batting .282 and average 7.3 runs per contest. Sophomore Cavan Biggio leads the offensive attack with an outrageous non-conference split of .511/.889/.635. Teammates Lane Richards (.370), Ryan Lidge (.366) and Ryan Bull (.429) are also batting well above .300 during the non-conference slate.
Western Michigan (8-11, 1-2 MAC) lost two of three against Miami (OH) in its first home series of the year. The Broncos had an up and down start to the year, as they lost their first three, won their next five and dropped their next four in their first 12 games of the year.
At the dish, Western Michigan is batting .249 and is led by junior Kurt Hoekstra, who is hitting .416 with four doubles, four triples, 21 RBI and 16 runs scored.
Notre Dame will send out midweek starter Ryan Smoyer (1-0, 5.40 ERA) to the rubber to meet Western Michigan’s LHP Keegan Akin (1-1, 4.50 ERA). Last week, Smoyer earned the first win of his career against Central Michigan. He also started at Savannah State. The Bowling Green, Ohio native has cut his season ERA in half since an Irish loss at Georgia Tech March 7 when it ballooned to 10.80.
Tickets are available for Wednesday night’s game. They can be purchased at the Frank Eck Stadium ticket window prior to the game or by calling the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356 between 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (ET) Wednesday.
For fans that can’t make it out to campus, WatchND’s free online audio feed (WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend) is available on UND.com in addition to live stats.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director