May 13, 2015
ACC Weekend #10: Boston College
May 14-16, 2015
2:30 p.m. / 1:30 p.m. / 11:30 a.m. (All ET)
Shea Field (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Notre Dame: 33-18, 15-12 ACC (22-31, 9-21 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: Did not qualify for postseason
Boston College: 26-25, 9-16 ACC (22-33, 10-20 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: Did not qualify for postseason
Notre Dame: No. 24 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top 30
Projected Pitching Matchups:
G1: LHP Scott Tully (4-4, 2.83 ERA) vs. RHP Mike King (1-4, 2.17 ERA)
G2: RHP Ryan Smoyer (7-0, 2.30 ERA) vs. RHP John Gorman (5-4, 4.69 ERA)
G3: RHP Scott Kerrigan (3-4, 3.57 ERA) vs. TBA
Notre Dame leads 25-10
First Meeting: W, A, 9-0 (5/20/1908)
Last Meeting: W, H, 7-0 (4/12/2014)
Aoki vs. Boston College: 2-1 (all at ND)
Live Video: None
Live Audio: WatchND (Links on UND.com) & WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend (Bob Nagle, pbp)
Live Stats: UND.com
Twitter Reports: @NDBaseball / @NDsidRuss
Weather Report (as of Wednesday, May 13):
Thursday, May 12: 73 Degrees (Low: 50) / Sunny
Friday, May 13: 77 Degrees (Low: 55) / Mostly Cloudy
Saturday, May 14: 76 Degrees (Low: 55) / 70% Chance of AM Rain
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — With a spot at next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament locked up but seeding still very much up in the air, the No. 24 University of Notre Dame baseball team looks to close out the regular season strong this weekend, as the Irish ship up to Boston for a three-game series at Boston College.
Riding the emotional high of sweeping then-No. 20 North Carolina at Frank Eck Stadium last weekend, the Irish will play the Eagles Thursday (2:30 p.m. ET), Friday (1:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (11:30 a.m. ET) at Shea Field in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
Fans can listen to the games by tuning into WatchND on their computers, tablets or mobile devices. WHME 103.1 FM will also provide audio coverage in South Bend. Live stats should also be available. Links for both are available on UND.com.
The Irish (33-18, 15-12 ACC) are coming off an outstanding weekend that saw them sweep the Tar Heels to move up 13 spots to 35th in the NCAA’s RPI report. The series sweep was the third in Atlantic Coast Conference play for Notre Dame this year (at Pitt, vs. then-No. 7 Florida State) and the second against a ranked foe (Florida State). It’s the first time since 2008 that the Irish have swept three conference foes in the same season (Georgetown, Rutgers & Villanova).
After displaying clutch offense and then outstanding pitching to win a Saturday doubleheader, 10-5 & 3-1, the Irish saved their best magic for Sunday’s series finale. Trailing 6-0 after the visitor half of the second inning, it appeared that the Tar Heels were set to salvage one game in the series.
However, Notre Dame just wouldn’t give up, as the Irish — led byZak Kutsulis’two-homer day — blasted five round trippers in the game to stun Carolina, 8-7. Kutsulis’ first was a three-run blast in the second inning to trim the lead in half, but the most memorable one came off the bat of juniorKyle Richardson. With the score tied at seven and two outs in the ninth inning, Richardson turned on a 0-1 pitch and sent it sailing over the left-field fence for his first career homer to walk-off the Tar Heels.
The walk-off homer to end the home portion of the regular season schedule marked the second time in two years that had happened, as seniorRyan Bulldid the same against Pitt last year to end Notre Dame’s campaign.
Notre Dame’s five homers were the most in a single game for the Irish since at least 2007. The total also tied a program record at Frank Eck Stadium, which was originally set against Providence in 1997 and then tied against South Alabama in 2002.
Seven of Notre Dame’s eight runs scored by way of the long ball.
For their efforts on the weekend, the Irish moved into the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Top 30 for the fifth time Monday, this time checking in at No. 24 after ranking anywhere from No. 22 to No. 26 at other times this season.
Looking around the Notre Dame offense, sophomoreCavan Biggiohit his eighth homer of the year Sunday. The Houston, Texas native also had four walks on the weekend to up his total to 47 on the year, which sits second in the ACC and fourth in Division I. The total puts him in seventh place in school history in the category.
Biggio is just four walks away from moving into a tie for third place in the category, and he has the most walks in a season since Ryan Topham had a school-record 63 in 1994.
SophomoreKyle Fialahad another solid weekend, upping his remarkable on-base streak to 40 games. The total is the longest single-season streak for Notre Dame since at least 2007 and is the third longest streak during that time when accounting for multi-year streaks.Ryan Connollyhad a 47-game streak in 2009-10, while Bret Lilley notched a 41-game streak in 2007-08.
In the field, the Irish sit first in the ACC (9th— Division I) in fielding percentage (.978) and remain first in the country in double plays (64) and double plays per game (1.25).
Notre Dame will send Reading, Massachusetts native Scott Tully (4-4, 2.83 ERA) to the mound Thursday, before trotting out RHP Ryan Smoyer (7-0, 2.30 ERA) and RHP Scott Kerrigan (3-4, 3.57 ERA) over the final two games.
Tully is coming off an outstanding relief effort against the Tar Heels that saw him earn the win after 2.1 shutout innings in relief. He gave up only two hits and struck out four.
Smoyer had continued to earn win after win and is only the fourth Irish pitcher since 1998 to start a season 7-0. The others — former Major Leaguer Aaron Heilman (15-0, 2001), current Major Leaguer John Axford (9-0, 2003) and former Notre Dame ace Adam Norton (7-0, 2013). The Bowling Green, Ohio native most recently hurled six shutout innings in relief to earn the win over UNC, as he allowed just two hits while striking out two batters.
Kerrigan picked up his fifth quality start of the season last Saturday against Carolina despite earning the no-decision and has started two weeks in a row after missing three weeks earlier in the year with shoulder stiffness.
Boston College (26-25, 9-17 ACC) enters the series clinging to ACC Tournament hopes. Realistically needing a sweep of the Irish to keep their hopes alive, the Eagles are looking to rebound after being swept at North Carolina and at Virginia Tech in their last two series after sweeping Georgia Tech at home in mid-April.
The Eagles sit 10th in the ACC in batting average (.265) and are 11th in team ERA (4.29).
Outfielder Chris Shaw, a potential first or second round MLB draftee in June, leads the BC offense in several offensive categories including average (.326), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.636) and RBI (43) despite missing a portion of the season with an injury.
On the mound, projected Thursday starter Mike King sits fourth in the ACC in ERA (2.17), but boasts just a 1-4 record on the year.
RHP John Gorman (5-4, 4.69 ERA) will take the bump Friday, while Saturday’s starter is TBA.
For Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki, this weekend’s series is a special one for the Plymouth, Massachusetts native. Aoki, who is in his fifth year at Notre Dame, is making his first trip back to Boston College since leading the Eagles program from 2007-10. Aoki also was an assistant at BC from 2004-06 before stepping into the head role. During his four years at Boston College, Aoki went 114-108-1 and led the Eagles to their first NCAA Tournament since 1967 in 2009, where they played in the longest NCAA Tournament game in history (25 innings vs. Texas).
Last year, the Irish won two-of-three against the Eagles in Chicago to claim their first series win as a member of the ACC. All-time, Notre Dame leads its former BIG EAST rival, 25-10.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director