April 16, 2015
ACC Weekend #7: NC State
April 17-19, 2015
6:05 p.m. / 2:05 p.m. / 1:05 p.m. (All ET)
Frank Eck Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
Notre Dame: 24-11, 9-9 ACC (22-31, 9-21 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: Did not qualify for postseason
NC State: 20-14, 8-9 ACC (32-23, 13-17 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: 0-1 at ACC Tournament
Notre Dame: No. 25 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top 30
Projected Pitching Matchups:
G1: RHP Ryan Smoyer (5-0, 2.52 ERA) vs. RHP Cory Wilder (2-4, 2.98 ERA)
G2: RHP Brandon Bielak (4-1, 3.42 ERA) vs. LHP Brian Brown (3-2, 2.75 ERA)
G3: TBA vs. LHP Ryan Williamson (3-1, 4.22 ERA)
Notre Dame trails 0-4
First Meeting: L, N, 10-8 (1/31/1998)
Last Meeting: L, A, 7-0 (3/9/2014)
Aoki vs. NC State: 5-10 (5-6 at BC, 0-3 at ND)
Live Video: ESPN3 – Friday / Sunday (Links on UND.com) /WatchND – Saturday (Link on UND.com)
Live Audio: WatchND (Links on UND.com) & WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend (Chuck Freeby, pbp)
Live Stats: UND.com
Twitter Reports: @NDBaseball / @NDsidRuss
Weather Report (as of Thursday, April 16):
Friday, April 17: 71 Degrees and Sunny
Saturday, April 18: 77 Degrees and Partly Sunny
Sunday, April 19: 68 Degrees (100% of Rain)
Friday: Baseball BINGO (Prizes awarded to winners)
Saturday: Tailgate with friends and family before the game
Sunday: Autograph session with the Irish / Kids run the bases
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 25 University of Notre Dame baseball team continues its eight-game homestand this weekend, as it welcomes in Atlantic Coast Conference foe NC State for a key, three-game series at Frank Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (24-11, 9-9 ACC) has won six consecutive ACC games, sweeping Pitt and then-No. 7 Florida State to skyrocket up the league standings. The Irish now sit in a tie for third in the Atlantic Division and in a tie for fourth overall.
The Wolfpack (20-14, 8-9 ACC) are right behind the logjam of teams in the Atlantic Division due to the final game of the Boston College series getting cancelled due to weather. They are in sixth place but are just one big series away from being among the top two or three teams in the division.
The top 10 teams in the league qualify for late May’s ACC Tournament.
NC State, a 2013 College World Series participant, is third in the ACC in batting average (.289) and sits fourth in team ERA (3.14). Opponents are batting just .217 against the Wolfpack.
Senior Logan Ratledge is third in the ACC in hitting (.376) and is slugging .624 with an on-base percentage of .469. He has six homers, 13 doubles, 24 RBI, 21 walks and 36 runs scored this year. Sophomore Preston Palmeiro isn’t far behind with a .367 average that puts him sixth in the ACC. The son of former major leaguer Rafael Palmeiro, the younger Palmeiro has eight doubles, 33 RBI, and 22 runs scored on the campaign.
The Irish, meanwhile, boast the second-best pitching unit ERA-wise (2.95) and have the second-lowest walks per nine inning ratio (2.90) to only Pitt (2.65). They are also first in fielding percentage (.979) and first in double plays (44).
Three Notre Dame pitchers appear in the top 18 in the league in ERA, as sophomore Ryan Smoyer (5-0, 2.52 ERA) is eighth, junior Nick McCarty (4-3, 2.74 ERA) places 13th and sophomore Scott Tully (3-2, 2.92 ERA) sits 18th.
At the plate, Notre Dame has slowly inched up the ACC team batting rankings, up to 12th with a .255 average.
The Wolfpack will trot out RHP Cory Wilder (2-4, 2.98 ERA), LHP Brian Brown (3-2, 2.75 ERA) and LHP Ryan Williamson (3-1, 4.22 ERA) this weekend. Notre Dame will counter with Smoyer Friday and freshman Brandon Bielak (4-1, 3.42 ERA) Saturday. Sunday’s Irish starter is still undecided.
Last year, NC State swept the Irish in Raleigh in Notre Dame’s first ACC series in program history. Each of the first two games were tight (5-3 & 1-0 State wins), before the Wolfpack closed out the sweep with a convincing 7-0 shutout.
Action gets underway at 6:05 p.m. (ET) Friday, with 2:05 p.m. (ET) Saturday and 1:05 p.m. (ET) Sunday contests wrapping up the series. Friday’s and Sunday’s games will be video streamed live on ESPN3, with Saturday’s contest set for WatchND. WatchND will also offer audio coverage for Friday’s and Sunday’s games, while WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend will cover all three games over radio.
The entire series is free to the public as part of Notre Dame’s Shamrock Spring Weekend that revolves around the annual Blue-Gold football game. Prizes will be handed out at all games.
AROUND THE BASES
ENTERING THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Notre Dame has appeared in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top 30 three times this year (March 2: No. 25 / March 19: No. 22 / April 13: No. 25) … it marks the first time the Irish have appeared in any poll since April 8, 2013 (No. 16).
In the official NCAA RPI that was last updated April 16, the Irish sit at No. 26 (No. 6 ACC) nationally … Notre Dame hit a high of No. 19 on April 15 after a three-game sweep of Florida State, who was ranked in the top 10 in the RPI.
Coming off the heels of a monster three-game sweep of then-No. 7 Florida State, the Irish are NCAA bound in at least one projection nationally … D1Baseball.com put out its week 10 projections April 15 and had ND seeded No. 2 in the Los Angeles Regional where it would join No. 1 Southern California, No. 3 UC Irvine and No. 4 San Diego.
IRISH PUTTING TOGETHER IMPRESSIVE WINNING STREAKS
Notre Dame has put together a pair of impressive winning streaks this season, as the Irish had a 10-game streak from Feb. 14 – March 6 and then an eight- game streak from March 31 – April 12 … the feat is notable because its the first time since 2004 the Irish have turned in two winning streaks of eight games or more … that year the Irish had an 11-game streak and a 12-game streak … they also had a separate seven-game streak.
A YOUNG – BUT DEEP – PITCHING STAFF
Maneuvering around injuries, head coach Mik Aoki and his coaching staff have done an impressive job managing a young ÃƒÆ’Â± but deep ÃƒÆ’Â± pitching staff … ten pitchers have hurled 10 or more innings, while five different players have recorded a save, led by Peter Solomon’s four and Sean Guenther’s three … in addition to the two freshmen, fellow freshman Brad Bass and sophomores Ryan Smoyer and Scott Tully have one save each … of the 10 pitchers with 10 or more innings on the mound, seven are either freshmen or sophomores.
Freshman pitchers (Brandon Bielak (52.2), Charlie Vorsheck (1.0), Peter Solomon (19.1), Brad Bass (15.0), Sean Guenther (29.1) and Evy Ruibal (13.2)) have combined to pitch 131.0 of a possible 323.0 innings (40.6 % of innings).
The Irish are second in the ACC in team ERA (2.95) … they are also second in fewest walks per nine innings (2.90), but last in strikeouts per nine innings (6.16) as a result of an average of 9.33 fly outs and 9.59 ground outs per nine innings.
One of the key’s of Notre Dame’s eight-game winning streak from March 31 – April 12 was an impressive defense that refused to commit an error, as the Irish went parts of nine games without committing an error (69.2 IP) … the streak lasted from the fourth inning of the series finale versus Virginia to the first inning of the series finale against Florida State … ND has played error-free ball in 10 out of its last 12 contests.
IRISH GETTING DEFENSIVE
A big reason for Notre Dame’s recent success is an outstanding defense, which is first in the ACC (13th – Div. I) in fielding percentage (.979) … the Irish D has the fewest errors in the league (30) and has turned the most double plays (44) by six.
DOUBLE PLAY MACHINES
After leading the nation for much of the year in double plays and double plays per game in 2014 before shortstop Lane Richards missed the rest of the season with an injury, the Irish are back to business in 2015, as they are first in the ACC and second in Division I in double plays (44) and double plays per game (1.26) … in ACC games, the Irish are turning two at an impressive pace, totaling 27 through 15 games … since 2012, Notre Dame has turned 212 double plays, which is believed to be among the top-10 teams in the country in that category.
SCORING IN BUNCHES
After scoring two or more runs in an inning only 54 times last year in 53 games, the Irish are scoring in bunches this season, as they have plated two or more runs in 55 innings.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director