Sept. 16, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After finishing the 2014 season with series wins over Atlantic Coast Conference foes Clemson and Pittsburgh, the University of Notre Dame baseball team carried that momentum gained during the season’s final two series into the summer ball season, as several student-athletes turned in spectacular campaigns.
In addition to being named the Northwoods League co-Pitcher of the Year, Smoyer also received the No. 1 spot in the league’s top 200 prospects list after putting together an outstanding summer campaign. The Bowling Green, Ohio native led the Northwoods League in innings pitched (80.2) and wins (8-1), while adding two saves and boasting a slim 2.01 ERA. The Bowling Green, Ohio product started 10 games, allowed just 18 earned runs and struck out 43 batters to provide the Growlers with an ace at the top of their rotation. Here’s what the league’s coaches had to say about Smoyer:
“Almost every coach mentioned Smoyer, and for good reason. He has excellent control of multiple pitches, including a lethal curveball – rated by managers as the league’s best – a slider and a changeup. His pinpoint control saw him hold opposing hitters to a .217 mark while posting a 2.01 ERA over 80.2 innings to earn co-top pitcher honors. Smoyer isn’t a strikeout pitcher – just 43 – but he pitches to contact and gets hitters out routinely. His fastball isn’t overpowering, sitting in the high-80s to low-90s but he has great control of his three off speed pitches that make him truly one of the toughest pitchers to face and practically unhittable. He only threw 19 innings as a freshman out of the bullpen for the Fighting Irish, but after enjoying an impressive summer campaign, expect him to be a crucial part of the rotation, which is graduating ace Sean Fitzgerald.”
Lidge, Smoyer’s Growlers teammate, also enjoyed a strong summer in the Northwoods League, as he earned a spot on the all-star team before being tabbed as the No. 70 overall prospect in the league and the No. 1 defensive catcher. At the plate, the Barrington, Ill., native hit .257 with six doubles, two homers, 25 RBI, 16 walks and 17 runs in 50 games. Here’s what the league’s coaches had to say about Lidge:
“The No. 1 rated defensive catcher in the Northwoods League as ranked by the coaches, Lidge caught 22-of-71 base stealers (.237) and allowed just nine passed balls. “He’s a gifted catcher,” one coach said. “He’s also a switch hitter and with a little work on his swing and approach he can become a good hitter with power on both sides of the plate.” Lidge hit .257 for the Growlers after batting .264 with the Fighting Irish. He was a 40th round draft pick in 2013 and is a cousin of former major leaguer Brad Lidge.”
Fiala also turned in a fine summer with the Lake Erie Monarchs of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. Fiala, who played shortstop in addition to third base, batted a team-high .388 and had 50 hits, eight doubles, three triples, two homers, 19 RBI and 20 runs scored. Named to the Great Lakes all-star team, Fiala was ranked the No. 5 prospect (No. 1 infielder) in the league by Baseball America.
Here’s how the other Irish players performed throughout the summer:
- A third member of the Irish played for the Kalamazoo Growlers as senior Ryan Bull hit .287 with five doubles, three homers, 13 RBI, 13 walks and 16 runs scored in 28 games.
- Given seven games in the Cape Cod League with the Harwich Mariners, senior Robert Youngdahl made the most of his opportunity as he batted .321 with nine hits, three doubles, five RBI, two walks and six runs scored in 28 at-bats. After leaving the Mariners, Youngdahl played 19 games with the St. Cloud Rox of the Northwoods League.
- Also making the most of a limited opportunity with the Harwich Mariners was sophomore Scott Tully, who picked up a win in four no-hit innings of work August 4 against the Brewster Whitcaps. In the outing, the Reading, Mass., native walked just one batter while striking out four. Tully joined the Mariners after pitching 12 games for the New Bedford Bay Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Tully was 2-0 with a 3.28 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 24.2 innings for the Bay Sox.
- Sophomore Cavan Biggio played with the Mariners for the entire summer and helped the squad finish first in the East Division (26-16-2) for the regular season before advancing just short of the league championship series. The Houston, Texas recorded 13 hits, five RBI, 14 walks and 12 runs scored in 23 games played.
- Four players suited up for the Redding Colt 45’s, an independent team in Redding, Calif., this summer as Joey Cresta, Jack Flaherty and Zak Kutsulis competed throughout the summer, while senior Phil Mosey played in eight games before a wrist injury kept him out the rest of the summer. The foursome helped lead the Colt 45’s to an impressive 33-13 record.
- After being added to the roster late, Kutsulis had an extremely productive summer, as he hit .355 with 38 hits, eight doubles, three triples, one homer, 21 RBI, 14 walks and 28 runs scored.
- Cresta pitched in 21 contests for the Colt 45’s, hurling 29.2 innings (3-1 record) and striking out 31 batters.
- In limited action, Mosey hit .345 with 10 hits, one double, two homers, six RBI, three walks and seven runs scored. A corner infielder, Mosey also ventured onto the mound for the first time in his career and picked up a win after going three innings and allowing just a hit and walk while striking out five.
- Flaherty appeared in 38 games as a utility infielder and hit .279 with 36 hits, four doubles, one triple, one homer, 22 RBI, 17 walks and 30 runs scored.
- Sophomore catcher Chris Melillo had an outstanding summer for the Quakertown Blazers of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, as he was second on the team with a .342 average in 35 games. He tallied 40 hits, 11 doubles, two homers, 26 RBI, 14 walks and 15 runs scored and was named an Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League All-Star.
- Blaise Lezynski recorded six doubles, two homers, 19 RBI, 12 walks and 20 runs scored in 50 games with the Rochester Honkers of the Northwoods League.
- Nick McCarty made 11 starts for the St. Cloud Rox and finished with a record of 3-3 in 57.0 innings of work. The junior struck out 38 batters and posted a 3.94 ERA on the summer.
- Ricky Sanchez led the Alexandria Blue Anchors of the Northwoods League with 34 RBI. In 63 games, he mashed eight doubles and seven home runs, both good for third on the team.
- Conor Biggio joined Tully on the New Bedford Bay Sox of the NECBL. Biggio had 12 walks, seven runs scored and one RBI in 22 games.
- Kyle Richardson had a productive summer season with the North Adams SteepleCats of the NECBL. In 41 games, the junior outfielder tied for first on the team in hits (36) and doubles (7). Richardson also finished second on the team in RBI (19), third in batting average (.250) and third in home runs (3). Richardson competed in the 60-yard dash and outfield throwing accuracy competitions at the NECBL All-Star game.
- Cristian Torres joined Richardson with North Adams of the NECBL and made 14 appearances for the SteepleCats. The senior RHP was 1-1 and led the team with three saves. In 19.0 innings pitched, Torres recorded a 4.26 ERA with 23 strikeouts.
- Asheville, N.C., native James Nevant went even farther from home this summer as he played for the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks of the Alaska Baseball League. Nevant played in 28 games and recorded 21 hits, two doubles, one triple, one homer, 10 RBI, 11 walks and 12 runs scored.
- Junior Connor Hale played for the North Fork Ospreys of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League and went 2-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 36.0 innings of work. He finished third on the team in strikeouts with 33.
- Continuing to work his way back from Tommy John surgery that kept him out of action in 2013, senior Kyle Rubbinaccio hurled 5.2 innings for the Lake Erie Monarchs of the Great Lakes League.
- Sophomore Jim Orwick also made a couple of relief appearances for the Monarchs early in the summer before being shut down for the rest of the summer with shoulder soreness. The Findlay, Ohio native went 2.0 innings and allowed only a hit and a walk while striking out four.
- Senior Kevin DeFilippis played in 33 games for the NW Indiana Oilmen and produced 26 hits, seven doubles, 10 RBI, 11 walks, 24 runs.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball team, remember to follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball) and Twitter (@NDBaseball).
Honors & Awards
Postseason All-Star Team (Northwoods League)
Co-Pitcher of the Year (Northwoods League)
RHP – Ryan Smoyer – Kalamazoo Growlers
Midseason All-Star Team (Northwoods League)
All-Star Team (Great Lakes League)
SS – Kyle Fiala – Lake Erie Monarchs
All-Star Team (Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League)
C – Chris Melillo – Quakertown Blazers
2014 Big League Dreams Showcase (Northwoods League)
C – Ryan Lidge – Kalamazoo Growlers – South Team Two
Baseball America Top Prospects (Great Lakes League)
5. Kyle Fiala – Lake Erie Monarchs
Complete List Of Irish Summer Ball Locations
(Links to league and team pages when available)
Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director