Feb. 21, 2018
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 30 University of Notre Dame baseball team travels to San Antonio, Texas, to host the 20th annual Alamo Irish Classic. Notre Dame opens the tournament with a doubleheader versus Saint Louis (4 p.m. ET) and Incarnate Word (8 p.m. ET) on Thursday at Nelson Wolff Stadium.
The Irish, who checked in at No. 30 in Collegiate Baseball’s rankings on Monday, will try to carry the momentum from their series victory at then-No. 9 LSU into the upcoming weekend. Notre Dame will turn to junior and Atlantic Coast Conference Co-Player of the Week Eric Gilgenbach to continue being a force in what has been a dominant Notre Dame lineup.
“The most gratifying thing to me about this weekend was the way in which we went down there and played,” Irish head coach Mik Aoki said. “That was a big crowd; that was as big of an atmosphere as there is in college baseball, and for some guys, it was the first time they’ve ever played in a collegiate baseball game. We didn’t blink. We went in there and we worried about the way we played, rather than the crowd or what the jersey on the opponent’s team was.
“We’ve got to pump the brakes in a really big way. That was the first weekend of 14, and so many different things can happen throughout the course of the season. It was nice to get off to a good start, but at the end of the day, we have 52 more of these games that count against our record left to play.”
WHAT: Alamo Irish Classic
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m. ET vs. Saint Louis
Thursday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. ET vs. Incarnate Word
Saturday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. ET vs. Purdue
Sunday, Feb. 25 at Noon ET vs. TBD (Championship/Consolation)
WHERE: Nelson Wolff Stadium (San Antonio, Texas)
LIVE STATS: Click here.
RADIO: 103.1 FM (South Bend)
Need to Know: Alamo Irish Classic
Notre Dame will compete in the Alamo Irish Classic for the 20th time and the seventh time in Aoki’s eight seasons at the helm of the Irish. In 2017, Notre Dame went 1-3 in San Antonio. Saint Louis won the tournament championship.
Notre Dame competed in seven doubleheaders in 2017, including two with different opponents. The Irish split six doubleheaders and were swept in one (versus Florida State).
In 2017, Notre Dame split the doubleheader between Saint Louis (L, 8-6) and Incarnate Word (W, 12-10). Notre Dame’s last doubleheader in the Alamo Irish Classic was versus Texas Pan-American on March 15, 2009, when the Irish won the first game 10-7 and completed the sweep in game two, 7-2.
Field(ing) of Dreams
Notre Dame is looking to make it four straight games without an error to open the 2018 season. The Irish have played errorless baseball over their first three games of the season for the first time since at least 1984. In 1984, the Irish did not commit an error in games against St. Edwards, Trinity and Minnesota before committing their first error in game four against St. Mary’s (also in San Antonio).
The last time Notre Dame did not commit an error in a three-game series was from April 4-5, 2015 at Pitt (8-1 win, 7-1 win, 7-3 win).
As far back as records show (1981), Notre Dame has not recorded four straight errorless games.
- Notre Dame’s rotation will be LHP Scott Tully (0-0, 7.20), RHP Jack Sheehan (0-0, 3.86), LHP Tommy Sheehan (1-0, 7.20) and RHP Cameron Junker (0-0, 2.70).
- Notre Dame checked in at No. 30 in Collegiate Baseball‘s weekly poll. The last time the Irish were ranked was the final week of their 2015 season, when they were ranked No. 23 by Collegiate Baseball.
- The last time Notre Dame opened a season with a 3-1 record was in 2015, when the Irish went 11-1 to start the year.
- The Irish own an advantage over Saint Louis with a 13-6 record, but Notre Dame has gone just 2-4 at a neutral site.
- Notre Dame leads the all-time series versus Incarnate Word, 6-2.
- Notre Dame owns an 80-38-3 record against Purdue in program history, including a 4-1 neutral-site record.
- The last time Notre Dame swept a doubleheader was against North Carolina on May 9, 2015. The Irish won those games by scores of 10-5 and 3-1.
- Senior Jake Johnson owns a 14-game on-base streak, dating back to last season.
- Junior Nick Podkul is in control of a nine-game hitting streak, dating back to 2017.
Notre Dame’s games against Saint Louis and Purdue, as well as the championship game on Sunday, will be available on 103.1 FM and WatchND. Game two of the doubleheader will be available on WatchND.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame baseball and women’s soccer programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.