March 10, 2014
Game 15: Appalachian State
Beaver Field at Jim and Betty Smith Stadium
Notre Dame: 5-9, 0-3 ACC (34-24, 10-14 BIG EAST In 2013)
Postseason: Lost To UConn In BIG EAST Final
Appalachian St: 4-3, 0-0 SoCon (30-24, 13-14 Horizon In 2013)
Postseason: Qualified for SoConTourney – Went 2-2
Neither Team Ranked
Projected Pitching Matchups:
LHP Michael Hearne (1-0) vs. RHP Blake Burkett (0-2)
ND leads 1-0
Only Meeting: W, neutral, 4-3 (3/2/2014)
Aoki vs. Appalachian State: 1-0 (all at Notre Dame)
Live Game Coverage:
Live Video: Link on UND.com ($)
Live Audio: WHME 103.1 FM (Chuck Freeby, pbp) or
WatchND (Links on UND.com)
Live Stats: Link on UND.com
Twitter Reports: @ND Baseball / @NDsidRuss
Weather Report (as of Monday, March 10):
Tuesday, March 11: 60’s (60% chance of rain)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Looking to right the ship after a tough sweep at No. 6 NC State, the University of Notre Dame baseball team continues its Tar Heel State spring break tour with a Tuesday mid-week game at Southern Conference power Appalachian State. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. in Boone, N.C., on Beaver Field at Jim and Betty Smith Stadium.
The game will bring the two teams together for just the second time ever, but both meetings have occurred in a little over a week. Notre Dame and App State played March 2 at the USA Baseball-Irish Classic with the Irish claiming a thrilling come-from-behind walk-off extra-inning victory, 4-3.
In that contest, Notre Dame trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth before plating a pair of runs to send the game to extras. The game-tying hit came off the bat of freshman Kyle Fiala with two strikes and two outs. The Irish won the game in the bottom of the 11th, as catcher Forrest Johnson advanced to third base on an error, sac bunt and wild pitch to put him in position for the game-winning run that was eventually delivered by a walk-off single from sophomore Zak Kutsulis.
The Irish (5-9, 0-3 ACC) are coming off a tough program-opening Atlantic Coast Conference series at the highly ranked Wolfpack as they had plenty of opportunities to sweep or at least split the Saturday doubleheader (5-3, 1-0) before getting shutout Sunday, 7-0.
Notre Dame held leads of 1-0 and 3-1 in the opening game Saturday, but the Wolfpack roared back with two runs in the sixth and two runs in the eighth to claim the victory. In the nightcap, the Irish had a runner on third in two separate innings but couldn’t bring them home and also had runners on first and second in the fifth with one out before NC State pitcher Logan Jernigan delivered a pair of strikeouts to end the threat.
For the series, the Irish struggled in several areas including at the plate (team batting average of .198) and on the mound as Notre Dame continued to struggle with control by totaling 12 walks, three wild pitches and three hit batters. The Irish were held scoreless for the final 21 innings of the series.
Fitzgerald (2-1) went six innings and gave up three runs on five hits, struck out four and walked just one as he was given the no-decision in game one of the series while McCarty (0-3) suffered through another cruel loss as he gave up just one run on seven hits while striking out six and walking one in 7.1 innings of work.
After an admittedly poor showing in the season-opening weekend at No. 24 Florida Atlantic (16-6 loss, 2.1 IP, 7 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 SO), McCarty has looked extremely steady in his last three starts (21.1 IP, 5 R, 18 H, 4 BB, 12 SO), going at least 6.2 innings in each outing. However, the Irish have scored just three runs total in the three games to help give McCarty a pair of losses and a no-decision. In those three contests, McCarty’s ERA was 2.11 while the Irish batting average was .172.
Hearne is 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA in seven appearances and has struck out 17 as compared to just two walks.
At the plate, junior Blaise Lezynski leads the Irish in batting (.283) and has recorded hits in 11 of Notre Dame’s 14 games. In game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, Lezynski went 3-for-3 with two RBI. Also coming on as of late is the freshman third baseman Fiala. The Carmel, Ind., native has a six-game hitting streak and a 10-game on-base streak, with the latter being a team high so far this season. In the last six games, Lezynski and Fiala lead the team in average (.333).
Appalachian State (4-11) enters Tuesday riding its first winning streak of the season as the Mountaineers swept UNC Asheville fairly convincingly this past weekend, winning by a score of 23-9. Sophomore Dillon Dobson leads the Mountaineers with a .328 batting average, 19 hits and 10 RBI.
The pitching matchup will feature Hearne (1-0, 2.50 ERA) going against RHP Blake Burkett (0-2, 14.54 ERA). The start will be Hearne’s first of his career and will come just a couple of outings after a brilliant relief appearance against Youngstown State that saw him go 7.1 innings and give up just one hit and no runs (also no walks) to help the Irish earn a come-from-behind 6-3 victory.
Fans can follow the mid-week contest through the live stats link on UND.com or by listening to the voice of the Irish, Chuck Freeby, through WHME 103.1 FM or WatchND. Appalachian State also offers streaming video by purchasing a month pass for $11.95.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director