March 27, 2015
ACC Weekend #4: Virginia
March 28-29, 2015
1:05 p.m. (DH) / 1:05 p.m. (All ET)
Frank Eck Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
Notre Dame: 16-7, 3-6 ACC (22-31, 9-21 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: Did not qualify for postseason
Virginia: 15-8, 3-6 ACC (53-16, 22-8 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: 1-2 in the ACC Tournament
3-0 at Charlottesville Regional / 2-1 at Charlottesville Super Regional
4-2 at College World Series (Lost In Championship Game)
Virginia: Ranked between No. 12 & No. 25 in six different publications
Projected Pitching Matchups:
G1: RHP Scott Kerrigan (1-3, 3.52 ERA) vs. LHP Nathan Kirby (3-1, 1.16 ERA)
G2: RHP Brandon Bielak (2-1, 4.94 ERA) vs. RHP Connor Jones (4-1, 3.00 ERA)
G3: RHP Nick McCarty (3-2, 2.48 ERA) vs. LHP Brandon Waddell (1-1, 3.48 ERA)
Notre Dame trails 2-3
First Meeting: L, A, 12-6 (3/22/1991)
Last Meeting: L, N, 7-1 (5/25/1996 – NCAA Regionals)
Aoki vs. Virginia: 1-11 (all at BC)
Live Video: ESPN3 (Saturday – G1) & WatchND (Sat – G2/Sun) (Links on UND.com)
Live Audio: WatchND & WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend (Chuck Freeby, pbp)
Live Stats: UND.com
Twitter Reports: @NDBaseball / @NDsidRuss
Weather Report (as of Thursday, March 25):
Saturday, March 27: 32 Degrees (Feels like 28 Degrees) / Sunny
Sunday, March 28: 48 Degrees (Low: 34 Degrees) / 70% Chance of Rain
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame baseball team continues its nine-game homestand at Frank Eck Stadium this weekend, as it welcomes in Atlantic Coast Conference foe Virginia for the first time.
Due to unseasonably cold weather in South Bend Friday, the Irish (16-7, 3-6 ACC) and the No. 12 Cavaliers (15-8, 3-6 ACC) will open the series with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 1:05 p.m. (ET). The second game will get underway 45 minutes after the conclusion of game one. A 1:05 p.m. (ET) Sunday contest wraps up the series.
Notre Dame (swept by then-No. 8 Louisville) and UVA (swept at Virginia Tech, lost 2-of-3 against No. 11 Florida State) are both looking for a bounce-back weekend to keep pace in the tough and deep ACC. The Irish sit in sixth place in the seven-team Atlantic Division, but are just a couple of games out of third place. The Cavaliers are in seventh place in the seven-team Coastal Division, but are also just a few games out from jumping right back into the title picture.
The Cavaliers started off the year 10-0 and were ranked No. 1 in several polls early in the year, but are scuffling of late, losing seven of their last 10 games, including 2-of-3 at the hands of the power-hitting Seminoles last weekend. FSU scored 25 runs over the final two games of the series to overcome a Friday loss.
Meanwhile, the Irish are 13-1 in non-conference games this season, but are coming off a tough three-game sweep at home against Louisville last weekend, where the Cardinals displayed dominant pitching in holding the Irish to just four runs in 36 innings. Notre Dame’s pitching staff had a great weekend as well, holding the Cardinals to an average of 3.7 runs a game in 2-0, 6-4 (18 innings) and 3-0 losses.
Both squads boast some of the best pitching in the league, as Virginia is third in the ACC in ERA (3.08), while Notre Dame is fourth (3.18). The Achilles heel for both teams recently has been at the plate, as the Cavaliers are 11th in the ACC in batting average (.262) while Notre Dame is last out of 14 teams (.258).
Virginia will send near consensus 2014 first team All-American Nathan Kirby (3-1, 1.16 ERA, LHP) to the mound in game one to face off with Notre Dame RHP Scott Kerrigan (1-3, 3.52 ERA). The senior hurled his first career complete game last Friday night in a 2-0 loss to Louisville.
Game two will feature Cavalier righty Connor Jones (4-1, 3.00 ERA) against Irish freshman righty Brandon Bielak (2-1, 4.94 ERA), while Sunday will see LHP Brandon Waddell (1-1, 3.48 ERA) versus Notre Dame’s junior RHP Nick McCarty (3-2, 2.48 ERA). McCarty has a team-high five quality starts in six appearances this season.
The weekend series is a welcome back of sorts for Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor, who was a Notre Dame assistant coach under Irish skipper Paul Mainieri from 1995-2003 and helped Notre Dame win five BIG EAST Championships, qualify for six NCAA Tournaments and advance to the 2002 College World Series.
Notre Dame and UVA have met just five times, with the last meeting coming at the NCAA South I Regional in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1996. There the Irish beat the Cavaliers, 12-1, in game one, before being eliminated from the NCAA Tournament two games later by the same UVA squad, 7-1. In 1991, Virginia took two out of three from the Irish in Charlottesville.
Tickets are still available for the three-game series and can be purchased at the Frank Eck Stadium ticket windows all weekend.
For fans that can’t make it out, Saturday’s first game will be streamed live on ESPN3, while the final two games of the series are set for WatchND. WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend will broadcast the audio call for all three games.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director