April 6, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — After an outstanding week that saw him pick up two wins and hurl 13.1 innings of shutout ball, University of Notre Dame baseball standout Ryan Smoyer earned Atlantic Coast Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week honors Monday along with University of Miami standout Andy Suarez.
“It’s definitely an honor, but I wouldn’t be here without the team,” said Smoyer. “I think we played really well this week. We hit well and we played really good defense. Something that is overlooked is how well Ryan Lidge played behind the plate, catching all four games. He made some big plays for us while I was pitching and while others were pitching. I think the honor is a testament to how well we played as a team.”
Lidge, who has picked off four runners this year and caught 11 more attempting to steal, and Smoyer both played with the Kalamazoo Growlers of the Northwoods League this past summer and developed a solid relationship as the battery in several games.
“There were some big situations with guys on base this weekend that you know with him behind the plate he is going to be able to protect you from guys stealing or getting too big of a lead,” said Smoyer. “He made a couple of big back picks that were huge for us. With him behind the plate it’s a comfortable feeling.”
Smoyer (4-0), who has an active streak of 15 consecutive scoreless innings, was “Mr. Steady” for the Irish last week in helping them to a perfect 4-0 record.
Notre Dame’s regular midweek starter in 2015, the righty hurled his first career complete-game shutout last Tuesday in a 6-0 win over Eastern Michigan. Smoyer scattered 10 hits over the nine innings, while striking out a career-high five batters.
In the Sunday series finale against Pitt, the Bowling Green, Ohio native entered the game in the second inning to replace starter Evy Ruibal and immediately brought a sense of calmness to the Irish, throwing 4.1 shutout innings while striking out three batters in a 7-3 Notre Dame win that clinched the road ACC sweep.
“We were stretched a little thin so coming out of the bullpen I was trying to get as many innings as I could to try and help us to get to the back of our bullpen with Sean Guenther looking to close it out,” said Smoyer. “I knew as much as I could give him would help out. My mindset was to eat up as many innings as I could to get us to later in the game.”
For the week, Smoyer pitched 13.1 innings, allowed 13 hits and no walks while striking out eight batters to earn a pair of wins.
Smoyer is the second Irish player this season to earn ACC Weekly Honors, following fellow sophomore Cavan Biggio, who earned ACC Player of the Week accolades Feb. 23, 2015.
He is the first Irish pitcher since Adam Norton (March 4, 2013 — BIG EAST) to earn a conference pitcher of the week honor.
Smoyer and his Irish teammates return to action this week with a pair of midweek contests. Notre Dame will first meet the South Bend Cubs in a 6 p.m. Tuesday exhibition game, before welcoming in in-state foe Valparaiso for a 6:05 p.m. Wednesday showdown at Frank Eck Stadium.
IRISH WEEKLY HONORS
ACC Player of the Week
Feb. 23 — Cavan Biggio
ACC Pitcher of the Week
April 6 — Ryan SmoyerÂ
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director