Feb. 15, 2018
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame opens its 2018 season with a weekend series against the 2017 College World Series Runners-Up No. 9 LSU. All three matchups between the Irish (0-0) and the Tigers (0-0) will be available on SEC Network+.
Notre Dame’s youthful roster faces an incredible opportunity in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this weekend. As daunting as the expected crowd of 11,000-plus fans might sound, Notre Dame is confident in its ability to stymie the Tigers and open the season on the right note.
“This will be a chance to see where we are,” Aoki said. “We’re going up against college baseball royalty in LSU. They’re a program that has been in the national championship discussion for the better part of 20 years. It will be a really good test. It will be an atmosphere that will be rivaled only by Florida State and Clemson in our league.
“It gives us an opportunity to take a litmus test and see where we are. The important part is to go down and see how our kids handle this, especially the younger guys. We don’t know anything about these younger kids. Even the kids who were here last year, for many of them this might be their first chance to be a full-time player. This should be a really good stepping off point for us to be able to coach the things we don’t do quite as well as we wanted to and to build off the things that we do well.”
WHAT: Notre Dame vs. No. 9 LSU
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 16
5 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 17
Noon ET on Sunday, Feb. 18
WHERE: Alex Box Stadium (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
LIVE STATS: Click here.
LIVE STREAM: SEC Network+
Opening Day History
Notre Dame has gone 5-2 on Opening Day in the Mik Aoki era. Most recently, the Irish opened the season against Lafayette as part of the Alamo Irish Classic in San Antonio, and Notre Dame fell, 10-2.
In the last seven years, the Irish have won the first three-game series of the season three times.
Notre Dame will face LSU for the first time since May 11, 2016, when the two teams played a doubleheader at Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame dropped both games, falling 1-0 in 11 innings in Game 1 and losing 3-2 in seven innings in Game 2.
The Irish trail the Tigers 4-3 in the all-time series. Notre Dame has gone 3-2 against LSU in Baton Rouge and has won its last two contests at LSU, outscoring the Tigers 13-4 in those games.
Friend or Foe?
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri served at the helm of the Irish baseball program for 12 seasons (1995-2006) and owned a 533-213-3 (.714) record during that span. Mainieri’s Notre Dame squads went to nine NCAA Regionals and one College World Series (2002).
- Irish graduate student Scott Tully will open the season on the mound. The longest-tenured Irish player, Tully has gone 7-6 with a 3.88 ERA in his career.
- Freshman southpaw Tommy Sheehan and sophomore right-hander Cameron Junker will round out the weekend rotation with both Irish pitchers making their first career start.
- A win against LSU will mark Notre Dame’s first victory over a top-10 team since April 10-12, 2015, when the Irish swept then-No. 7 Florida State at home. The last time the Irish defeated a top-25 team was at No. 19 Virginia, 8-2, on April 21, 2017.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame baseball and women’s soccer programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.