March 23, 2014
WESTFIELD, Ind. – Virginia Tech scored four runs in the first and second innings and limited the University of Notre Dame baseball team to three runs on five hits as the Hokies tied up the weekend series at a game apiece with an 8-3 win over the Irish Saturday afternoon at Grand Park.
After senior RHP Sean Fitzgerald held the Hokies to six hits and a run Friday night, Virginia Tech came out on fire Saturday as it pounded out five hits and took advantage of two walks and an Irish error to plate eight runs before Notre Dame could blink. The Hokies jumped all over Notre Dame starter and Westfield native Nick McCarty (0-5) to the tune of seven runs (six earned) on five hits in 1.1 innings of work before collecting the final run off reliever Jim Orwick.
The Irish (8-13, 1-7 ACC) attempted to make a comeback as they scored one run in the second inning on a Phil Mosey RBI groundout that scored Blaise Lezynski and then two more in the fourth on a two-run triple from sophomore Ricky Sanchez, but the deficit proved to be too much. Notre Dame did have one more comeback attempt in it as it made the Hokies sweat in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs the Irish loaded the bases, forcing Virginia Tech to bring in closer Luke Scherzer. However, Scherzer did his job and struck out junior Ryan Bull to end the game.
The two squads will play the series’ rubber game at 11 a.m. Sunday at Grand Park. Fans can follow along through WatchND’s audio broadcast or gametracker. Links for both are on UND.com.
Virginia Tech (11-9-1, 4-4 ACC) was led by standout catcher Mary Zagunis’ three hits, three RBI and two runs scored and pitcher Sean Keselica’s two hits and two RBI. In addition to helping himself at the plate, Keslica earned the win after going the minimum five innings.
One of the few bright spots for Notre Dame on the day was reliever Scott Kerrigan. The Saugus, Calif., native entered the game with a 13.50 ERA after a pair of forgettable starts to open the year, but nearly doubled his season total for innings by going 5.2 strong and allowing no runs on one hit. He also walked just two and struck out five to lower his season ERA to 5.00.
On defense, the Irish tied a season high with three double plays, to up their ACC-leading total to 29.
Freshman Kyle Fiala had another good day at the plate as he hit in the lead-off spot and tallied a hit and two walks. The hit extended his hitting streak to 13 games and subsequently moved his on-base streak to 17 contests. The streak is the longest since Trey Mancini totaled a 23-game hitting streak and 26-game on-base streak a year ago. For freshmen, Fiala’s on-base streak is the longest since Eric Jagielo notched a 22-game streak in 2011.
Elsewhere at the plate, Lezynski notched a double and scored two of Notre Dame’s three runs.
In addition to McCarty, the trip to Westfield has been a homecoming for Fiala (Carmel, Ind.), Mosey (Fishers, Ind.) and RHP Connor Hale (Carmel, Ind.).
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director