(Shepski had a game for the ages Thursday night at Virginia Tech.)
“Recently I’ve tried to bring more confidence to the plate and not look back at any bad at-bats. I feel like I did that my senior year of high school, not looking down at the bad at-bats and focusing more on the good at-bats and trying to get better. You just hope to see the baseball well and try to time him (the pitcher) up and look for the pitch you want.
“With every home run or every ball you square up I feel like you get more and more confident. I just want to help the team every time I go to the plate.”
Shepski’s performance was just one of several outstanding outings by Notre Dame players, as the Irish plated one run in the first inning, six in the second, three in the third, five in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Freshman infielder Nick Podkul went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. Senior catcher Ricky Sanchez posted another three-hit day to go along with a walk and a run scored. Junior second baseman Cavan Biggio tallied a hit, two walks and three runs scored. Meanwhile, Zak Kutsulis (2-5, RBI), Matt Vierling (2-6, 1 R) and Lane Richards (2-3, 1 R) all had two-hit days. Senior Kyle Richard notched a pair of RBI.
Seven of Notre Dame’s nine position players had hits by the second inning and the Irish batted around in the second frame.
On the mound, junior RHP Ryan Smoyer (2-3) picked up his fourth quality start in six appearances this season by going eight innings and allowing eight hits, four runs (3 ER) and two walks while striking out a career-high seven batters. He lowered his ERA to 2.72.
Sophomore RHP Charlie Vorsheck hurled a clean ninth to lower his ERA to 3.86.
Notre Dame had its way with Virginia Tech pitching all night, jumping on starter Packy Naughton to the tune of nine runs on 10 hits and two walks in 2.1 innings pitched. Relievers Joey Sullivan (1.0 IP, 4 R, 4 H) and Chris Monaco (4.2 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 4 SO) didn’t have much luck either.
The Irish and Hokies continue their three-game ACC series at 5:30 p.m. (ET) Friday. Fans can follow along through ESPN3 (video), WatchND (audio) or live stats. Links for all three are on the baseball schedule page of UND.com.
“This is a big weekend for us in the ACC,” said Shepski. “You can’t think about that though. We are just trying to go out there and play our best baseball every day.”
Shepski & Team Notes:
– 1st ND player with 3 homers in game since Matt Edwards March 29, 2005 vs. Western Michigan
– Believed to be the most total bases (17) by an individual in 1 game in ND history
– Believed to be 1st player in ND history with 8 or more RBI in a game ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ finished with 9
– Exited game with team lead in homers after entering contest with no homers on year ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦ had 1 career homer entering game
– Hit 1st 2 homers batting righty, hit the triple, 3rd homer and double batting lefty
– 1st ND player with 4 runs scored since Kutsulis February 19, 2015 vs. Incarnate Word
– 1st ND player with 4 hits since Kutsulis & Lane Richards did the same last Saturday night at No. 13 NC State
– 21 hits were most by ND team since the Irish had 25 vs. Purdue February 19, 2011
– Tied for 4th most runs (16) by an ND team since 2007
– Tied for 2nd most RBI (16) by an ND team since 2007
– 2nd most total bases (37) by an ND team since 2007
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).
Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.