March 5, 2015
Weekend #4: @ Georgia Tech
March 6-8, 2015
4 p.m. / 2 p.m. / 1 p.m. (All ET)
Russ Chandler Stadium (Atlanta, Ga.)
Notre Dame: 10-1, 0-0 ACC (22-31, 9-21 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: Did not qualify for postseason
Georgia Tech: 9-3, 0-0 ACC (37-27, 14-16 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: Won ACC Tournament (4-1)
NCAA Oxford Regional (1-2)
Notre Dame: No. 25 (Collegiate Baseball Newspaper)
Projected Pitching Matchups:
G1: RHP Scott Kerrigan (1-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. LHP Jonathan King (2-0, 3.38 ERA)
G2: RHP Brandon Bielak (2-0, 3.45 ERA) vs. RHP Cole Pitts (0-0, 2.25 ERA)
G3: RHP Nick McCarty (2-0, 1.74 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Gold (1-0, 1.26 ERA)
Georgia Tech leads 6-4
First Meeting: W, A, 4-3 (4/12/24)
Last Meeting: L, A, 9-4 (2/18/96)
Aoki vs. Georgia Tech: 3-8 (all at BC)
Live Video: ESPN3 (Links on UND.com)
Live Audio: WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend (Mike Monaco, pbp) or WatchND (Links on UND.com)
Live Stats: UND.com
Twitter Reports: @NDBaseball / @NDsidRuss
Weather Report (as of Wednesday, March 4):
Friday, March 6: 50 Degrees / Partly Sunny
Saturday, March 7: 60 Degrees / Sunny
Sunday, March 8: 61 Degrees / Partly Sunny
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Over the last nine games the University of Notre Dame baseball team has won a game in its final at-bat (5-4 vs. Akron), blown out opponents (see the entire Irish Alamo Invitational) and held on after jumping out to a big lead (10-9 at Oklahoma). Despite the differences of each game, there is one common trait in all nine contests – they have all resulted in Irish wins.
Riding their longest winning streak in seven years, the Irish put the early-season tournament slate behind them and turn to Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend, as they head to Atlanta for a three-game series with the defending ACC Tournament champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
After sweeping the Mercer Baseball Classic last weekend and running its win streak to nine games, Notre Dame crept into the national rankings, as Collegiate Baseball Newspaper ranked the Irish No. 25.
In earning wins over Belmont (6-4), Mercer (8-2) and Akron (5-4), the Irish continued to jump on teams early, as they upped their first-inning scoring margin to 16-1. However, against the Zips, Notre Dame had to make its first ninth-inning rally of the year. Behind some solid pitching from freshman Brad Bass and clutch hitting from junior Lane Richards, the Irish overcame a 4-3 deficit to win on a wild pitch.
Georgia Tech (9-3) enters the series on a hot streak of its own, as it has won four straight games including a thrilling 7-6 win over Ohio Tuesday night in 12 innings and a three-game sweep of Indiana State last weekend.
The defending ACC Tournament champs are led by an offense that is fourth in the ACC in average (.293) and second in homers (10). Senior A.J. Murray is 15th in the ACC in average (.364) and has a team-high 17 RBI.
Notre Dame will send senior Scott Kerrigan (1-1, 3.18 ERA) to the mound Friday followed by freshman Brandon Bielak (2-0, 3.45 ERA) and junior Nick McCarty (2-0, 1.74 ERA). The Yellow Jackets will counter with LHP Jonathan King (2-0, 3.38 ERA), RHP Cole Pitts (0-0, 2.25 ERA) and RHP Brandon Gold (1-0, 1.26 ERA).
Game times are slated for 4 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at Russ Chandler Stadium, with all three contests available through ESPN3, WatchND audio (WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend) and Gametracker. Links for all three are on UND.com.
AROUND THE BASES
Counting the last two series of the 2014 season, the Irish are 15-2 since May 9, 2014 … their current nine-game winning streak this season is the most since an 11-game streak from April 4-18, 2008 … before that streak, the Irish boasted a remarkable 23-game winning streak from March 25-April 24, 2006.
ENTERING THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
For the first time since the week of April 8, 2013 (No. 16), the Irish are in the national rankings, as they checked in at No. 25 in the College Baseball Newspaper Top 25 on Monday, March 2.
MOST WINS IN LEAGUE
As of Thursday, March 5, the Irish are tied with consensus top-3 Virginia (10-0), Florida State (10-3) and Duke (10-1) for the most wins in the ACC through three weeks of play.
Nationally, as of Thursday, March 5, 28 teams have 10 or more wins this year. The Irish are the only school north of the Mason-Dixon Line that is also east of the Mississippi River that has 10 or more wins so far this year.
Ranked (According to D1Baseball.com)
No. 1 Vanderbilt (10-2)
No. 2 Florida (11-2)
No. 3 Virginia (10-0)
No. 4 UCLA (11-1)
No. 7 LSU (12-1)
No. 8 Oregon (10-2)
No. 9 UCF (11-2)
No. 13 Texas Tech (10-1)
No. 14 Texas A&M (13-0)
No. 15 Mississippi State (13-1)
No. 24 Florida Atlantic (11-2)
No. 25 Tulane (11-2)
Cal State Northridge (11-4)
Florida State (10-3)
Grand Canyon (10-4)
Notre Dame (10-1)
San Diego State (12-1)
Southeastern Louisiana (10-4)
Southern California (12-1)
SCORING IN BUNCHES
After scoring two or more runs in an inning only 54 times last year in 53 games, the Irish are scoring in bunches this season, as they have plated two or more runs in 28 innings … the Irish have batted in 94 innings, so that means that in just under 30% (29.8%) of the possible innings, the Notre Dame offense is scoring multiple runs.
AMONG ELITE COMPANY
Sophomore Cavan Biggio is among elite company with his .525/.950/.630 split, as he is one of only two players in the country (Joe Ogren – Bucknell) as of Tuesday, March 3 to be ranked in the top 10 in Division I in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage … the Houston, Texas native is tied for sixth in OBP, ninth in slugging and 10th in batting average … he is also eighth in runs and total bases, ninth in doubles, 18th in hits and 19th in triples.
TULLY MAKING MARK AS A SOPHOMORE
After pitching only five innings as a freshman, sophomore LHP Scott Tully has certainly found his stride in his second year, as he is tied with 36 other players in Division I and two players in the ACC in boasting a 0.00 ERA (min. 1 IP per team game) … Tully has gone through unscathed in 11 innings … only 16 pitchers nationally have pitched more innings than Tully has and still boast the lowest ERA possible.
DOUBLE PLAY MACHINES
After leading the nation for much of the year in double plays and double plays per game in 2014 before shortstop Lane Richards missed the rest of the season with an injury, the Irish are back to business in 2015, as they are first in the ACC (31st nationally) with 12 double plays … first baseman Zak Kutsulis has played a role in all 12 double plays, while second baseman Cavan Biggio has taken part in eight DP’s, third baseman Kyle Fiala has been part of six and shortstop Lane Richards has participated in four … since 2012, Notre Dame has turned 183 double plays, which is believed to be among the top-10 teams in the country in the category.
FOUR HOMERS AGAINST MERCER
In Notre Dame’s Feb. 28 game at Mercer, the Irish clubbed four homers for the first time since they had four against West Virginia April 21, 2007.
RARE FEAT FOR FEBRUARY
By posting a 10-1 record in the month of February, the Irish ventured into extremely rare territory, as it marked the first time in program history (1st year of competition: 1892) that the Irish claimed 10 wins in February. However, the feat isn’t quite as impressive as it sounds, as the program only first started playing games in February in 1988 and have only played 10 or more games in the month one other time (1998 – 11 games – 5-6 record).
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director