Feb. 19, 2016
By Russell Dorn
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Behind a seven-inning masterpiece from junior Ryan Smoyer, the University of Notre Dame baseball team kicked off the 2016 season in style with a 5-0 shutout of Santa Clara at Stephen Schott Stadium Friday night.
Smoyer (1-0), who went 9-1 in 2015 and is 10-1 over his last 13 appearances, allowed just two hits and no walks while striking out four Bronco batters to earn the win. He was perfect for the first five innings, retired 18 of the first 19 batters he faced and allowed only three base runners over his seven innings.
For the game the Broncos totaled just five base runners and only reached third base once.
“It felt good,” said Smoyer. “We had a good week of practice and everyone was excited to get out here and play. It was a matter of making sure the emotions were in check. For the first five innings I felt good and then I got to the sixth and for the first time I went out of the stretch so it was a little different inning there. But I thought we handled it fine. I was able to lean on the defense like I did last year and they got me out of a big jam in the sixth and seventh.
“I think my fastball command was really good to start the game. The curveball definitely helped me through the middle part of the game before falling off at the end. I got a little tired out of the stretch. I had all four pitches going in. The slider was a little behind today but we will work on that. That’s a right-handed heavy lineup so the fastball and curve pitches we had to go to down the stretch.”
At the plate, junior second baseman Cavan Biggio recorded the first inside the park home run by a Notre Dame player since 2008 (David Mills at West Virginia) and added an RBI single to highlight an efficient Irish night at the plate.
Senior Kyle Richardson produced a two-out RBI double in the fifth to go along with a walk and run scored. Sophomore leadoff hitter Jake Johnson totaled a hit, hit by pitch and run scored, and freshman Matt Vierling and senior Zak Kutsulis each had a walk and run scored.
Junior catcher Ryan Lidge knocked the first base hit of the season and also gunned a runner out at third base on an attempted steal that took the first base runner of the game for the Broncos off the base path.
Relievers Scott Tully and David Hearne both struck out a pair of batters in an inning of work to close out the game. For Hearne the appearance marked his first since February 15, 2014 after he missed much of the last two seasons following elbow and knee surgery.
Bronco pitcher Mitchell White (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks over 5.2 innings of work.
Notre Dame (1-0) and Santa Clara (0-1) play game two of a three-game series at 9 p.m. (ET) Saturday. Fans can follow along through a free video stream, WatchND’s free audio broadcast or live stats. Links for all three can be found on the Notre Dame baseball schedule page.
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.