Junior Blaise Lezynski leads the team with a .313 batting average.

Irish And Valpo To Meet Wednesday Night At Four Winds Field

March 25, 2014

Game 23: Valparaiso
March 26, 2014
5:35 p.m. (ET)
Four Winds Field (South Bend, Ind.)

Team Information:
Notre Dame: 8-14, 1-8 ACC (34-24, 10-14 BIG EAST In 2013)
2013 Postseason: Lost To UConn In BIG EAST Final

Valparaiso: 9-9, 1-2 Horizon (32-28, 13-11 Horizon In 2013)
Postseason: Won Horizon Championships
(1-2 in Bloomington, Ind. NCAA Regional)

Neither Team Ranked

Projected Pitching Matchups:
RHP Nick McCarty (0-5) vs. RHP Ellis Foreman (1-0)

Series History:
Notre Dame leads 73-21
First Meeting: W, home, 4-2 (5/14/1918)
Last Meeting: W, home, 3-1 (4/3/2013)
Aoki vs. Valparaiso: 1-1 (all at Notre Dame)

Live Game Coverage
Live Video: WatchND
Live Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp) or
WatchND (Links on UND.com)
Live Stats: Gametracker (Link on UND.com)
Twitter Reports: @ND Baseball / @NDsidRuss

Weather Report (as of Tuesday, March 25):
Wednesday, March 26: 38 Degrees and Partly Cloudy

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – As a replacement for last night’s weather postponed game against Illinois-Chicago, the University of Notre Dame baseball team will play in-state foe Valparaiso at 5:35 p.m. (ET) Wednesday at Four Winds Field in South Bend.

Following Tuesday’s postponement against UIC due to the winter weather in the South Bend area, Valpo stepped up to play the Irish Wednesday night. The game will be second of the season for Notre Dame at Four Winds Field after the Irish picked up their first ACC win in school history last Friday night against Virginia Tech (2-1) behind a complete game from senior RHP Sean Fitzgerald.

Notre Dame (8-14, 1-8 ACC) is looking to build some momentum heading into another ACC weekend against Wake Forest after losing a heartbreaker Sunday to the Hokies in Westfield, Ind. Notre Dame held a 4-3 lead in the sixth and had runners on base in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings, but couldn’t plate a run as VT won in 12, 5-4.

While the Irish have a losing record so far this season, a remarkable number of the losses have been by two runs or less. Ten games have been decided by a run – including two 1-0 decisions – with the Irish sporting a 3-7 mark. In addition, the Irish are 0-2 in two-run games. In 14 losses, Notre Dame has lost by four or more runs just four times, with two coming against then-No. 24 Florida Atlantic in the opening series of the season and one each coming in ACC play against then-No. 6 NC State and Virginia Tech.

Positives for the Irish so far this year include the steady play of junior Blaise Lezynski at the plate and sophomore Michael Hearne and Fitzgerald on the mound.

Lezynski sports a team-high .313 batting average and has produced hits in 18 of the team’s 22 games. Hearne has a team-low 1.56 ERA and is holding batters to a .195 average. He also has a 4.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 10 appearances. Fitzgerald, meanwhile, has been the team’s ace so far this year as he has five quality starts in six outings. He boasts a 2.40 ERA and has limited opponents to a .199 average. He enters the weekend tied for fifth in the ACC in innings pithed (41.1).

Valparaiso (9-9, 1-2 Horizon) is coming off a 1-2 weekend against Horizon foe UIC where the Crusaders won the first game, 4-3, before dropping close 5-4 and 6-3 decisions Saturday. Pacing the Crusader offense is junior infielder Spencer Mahoney, who is batting .319 and has team highs in doubles (5), hits (23) and runs scored (21). Chris Manning and Karch Kowalczyk are tied for the team-lead in homers (3) and RBI (16).

Notre Dame will throw RHP Nick McCarty (0-5) against Valpo as the sophomore looks to get back on track after a tough outing Saturday against the Hokies where he went 1.1 innings and gave up seven runs (six earned) on five hits. Valparaiso will counter with RHP Ellis Foreman (1-0), who enters Wednesday’s game with a 3.86 ERA.

The game is a renewal of a long-time series that began during World War I. On May 14, 1918, the Irish defeated Valpo, 4-2, and the teams have played 93 times since with Notre Dame holding a 73-21 advantage. Last year, the Irish won 3-1 on April 3. In that meeting, Notre Dame plated three runs in the eighth to earn the victory over the Horizon League champion and NCAA Regional bound Crusaders. Turning in hits for the Irish that day were current student-athletes Forrest Johnson, Lane Richards, Phil Mosey and Ryan Bull. McCarty picked up the win by going an inning without allowing a run or hit to improve to 4-3 on the year. Fitzgerald earned the save.

Fans can follow the game through WatchND’s live stream that features the audio of play-by-play man Chuck Freeby. Gametracker will also be available. Links for both are on UND.com.

–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director