Feb. 15, 2015
NORMAN, Okla. – Junior pitcher Nick McCarty hurled 7.2 innings of four-hit ball and sophomore second baseman Cavan Biggio finished a home run short of the natural cycle for the second game in a row, as the University of Notre Dame baseball team stormed out of Norman, Oklahoma Sunday afternoon with a 5-1 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners to win the series, 2-1, and finish opening weekend with a 3-1 mark.
The Irish, who didn’t win a series on the road in 2014, stunned the home crowd with three runs in the first inning to keep the Sooners backpedaling all game. The three early runs were all McCarty (1-0) needed, as he notched a quality start by allowing one run (0 ER) on four hits and three walks in 7.2 innings of work.
“It was a lot of fun honestly and I had some great play behind me,” said McCarty. “It’s so great our first series win under our belts and I’m very excited for the rest of the season.”
Meanwhile, Biggio looked more than comfortable at the plate for yet another game this weekend, as he totaled a single, a double and a triple in addition to a walk and a team-high three runs scored.
Through four games, Biggio has a ridiculous split of .500/.938/579 with three doubles, two triples, two RBI, three walks and six runs scored. He is also 2-for-2 on stolen base attempts and is perfect in the field with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 20 attempts.
Notre Dame got off to a hot start in the first inning, as it plated three runs to jump out to an early lead. As has been the case several times already this season, freshman Jake Johnson opened the inning with a walk. After one out, Biggio and senior Blaise Lezynski singled to load the bases for senior Robert Youngdahl. For the second consecutive game, Youngdahl drew a bases-loaded walk to score a run. A batter later, junior Zak Kutsulis grounded out to score another run before a passed ball scored Lezynski.
“As a pitcher, it (early runs) help you to settle in there and get comfortable early in the game,” said McCarty. “Props to the offense, they have been great to us this entire weekend. I can’t wait for the rest of the season to see what else they can do for us.”
Two innings later, Youngdahl picked up an RBI ground out to make the score 4-0.
The lead stretched to five in the seventh after Biggio led off the frame with a triple and Youngdahl brought him home with an RBI single through the left side.
A 5-0 cushion was all McCarty needed, as he gave the Sooners fits all day. He totaled three 1-2-3 innings, while the Notre Dame defense turned two double plays to end the fourth and fifth frames and help McCarty out of a couple of tricky spots.
Oklahoma scored its lone run on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error, but its inning ended on the powerful right arm of sophomore catcher Ryan Lidge, who gunned out a Sooner base runner trying to take second with two outs.
McCarty was relieved in the eighth inning by freshman RHP Peter Solomon, who had his second solid outing of the season in picking up his first career save. He went 1.1 innings and gave up a hit and a walk.
Youngdahl recorded three RBI on a hit and a walk, while Lidge notched another two-hit game.
Notre Dame hits the road again next weekend for the first of two home-away-from-home tournaments. The Irish head to San Antonio, Texas for the Irish Alamo Invitational where they will meet Incarnate Word, Northwestern and Villanova during a four-day tournament.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director