April 8, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame baseball team’s impressive run in non-conference action continued Wednesday night, as the Irish used outstanding pitching and a monster, five-run second inning to take down in-state foe Valparaiso, 6-0, at Frank Eck Stadium.
With the win, the Irish (21-10) have now matched last year’s win total with 24 regular season games remaining. Notre Dame welcomes in No. 7 Florida State for a key Atlantic Coast Conference three-game series this weekend. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. (ET) Friday. A 2:05 p.m. (ET) Saturday game and 1:05 p.m. (ET) Sunday contest will close out there series. All three games will be streamed live on ESPN3.
Wednesday night five Irish pitchers combined to shut out the Crusaders. Sophomore Scott Tully (3-1) turned in five dominant innings, allowing just three hits while striking out three batters.
With another shut out, the Irish pitching staff lowered their ERA to 3.07 for the year.
Following Tully, freshman Charlie Vorsheck tallied the first action of his career, tossing an inning and working out of a huge jam. After he allowed a double and a single to open the inning, the Laguna Hills, California native struck out a batter and then induced a foul out and a ground out to prevent any Valpo runners from crossing the dish.
“These guys have done a really good job of continuing to work despite the fact that they haven’t gotten a ton of opportunities,” said head coach Mik Aoki. “They have continued to improve and really poured themselves into the process of getting better rather than getting caught up in thinking about not getting a lot of opportunities. Charlie Vorsheck is a guy who has come a long way. Connor Hale, the way he has been going about his business in practice has been really good. Evy and Sean have continued to improve and have good outings for us.”
On defense, the Irish had their fifth errorless game in a row to up their fielding percentage to .977.
“We put a lot of effort into defense,” said sophomore third baseman Kyle Fiala. “It’s just as key as the offense. Coach Pavs (volunteer coach Adam Pavkovich) does an awesome job with us. For me especially, he pulled me aside and helped me make the move to third base. He has made it easy.”
At the dish, Notre Dame was opportunistic in the second inning to blow the game wide open. After sophomore Ryan Lidge clocked an RBI double and pinch hitter James Nevant tallied an RBI ground out to stake the Irish to a 2-0 lead, the Crusaders appeared to be out of the inning as senior Mac Hudgins hit a routine grounder to shortstop Spencer Mahoney.
However, Mahoney never made the throw to first for the inning ender, which allowed junior Lane Richards to score and up the Notre Dame lead to 3-0. Fiala made Valpo pay for the mistake, as he hammered a two-run homer over the left-field fence to push the Irish lead to 5-0.
“We don’t talk about it too much,” said Fiala on not having a let down during midweek games. “It’s just kind of a known thing that we need to come out and do what we’ve been doing all season, which is competing at-bat to at-bat, one pitch at a time. We don’t need to talk about playing down to the competition because we don’t play against the team we play against the game. We’ve been taking it one pitch at a time and good things have happened.”
Neither team cracked the scoreboard again until freshman Jake Shepski tallied an RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth inning to put a wrap on the scoring.
Lidge led the Irish at the plate with a 3-for-4 day that included an RBI and a run scored. Senior Robert Youngdahl added two hits and two runs scored, while Fiala had a homer, two RBI and a run scored.
Valpo’s Nolan Lodden recorded two of the team’s five hits on the night.
Starting pitcher Connor Kaucic (1-3) suffered the loss, as he allowed five runs (2 ER), three hits and two walks in two innings of work. Drew Hasler (4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB), Chet Joslyn (1.0 IP, 2 SO) and Trevor Haas (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB) had solid relief efforts for the Crusaders.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director