May 7, 2015
ACC Weekend #9: North Carolina
May 8-10, 2015
7:05 p.m. / 2:05 p.m. / 1:05 p.m. (All ET)
Frank Eck Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
Notre Dame: 30-18, 12-12 ACC (22-31, 9-21 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: Did not qualify for postseason
North Carolina: 31-16, 13-10 ACC (32-23, 15-15 ACC In 2014)
2014 Postseason: 2-2 at ACC Tournament
1-2 at NCAA Gainesville Regional
North Carolina: Between 20-24 in 4 of 6 college baseball polls
Projected Pitching Matchups:
G1: RHP Scott Kerrigan (3-4, 3.50 ERA) vs. RHP Zac Gallen (3-3, 2.84 ERA)
G2: RHP Brandon Bielak (4-2, 3.52 ERA) vs. RHP J.B. Bkauskas (4-1, 3.45 ERA)
G3: TBA vs. RHP Benton Moss (7-0, 2.68 ERA)
Notre Dame trails 1-2
First Meeting: L, N, 14-4 (3/31/1956)
Last Meeting: W, N, 3-0 (6/5/2005)
Aoki vs. North Carolina: 1-8 (all at BC)
Live Video: WatchND (Free) – Friday (Links on UND.com) & ESPN3 – Saturday / Sunday (Links on UND.com)
Live Audio: WatchND – Saturday / Sunday (Links on UND.com) & WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend (Chuck Freeby, pbp)
Live Stats: UND.com
Twitter Reports: @NDBaseball / @NDsidRuss
Weather Report (as of Thursday, May 7):
Friday, May 8: 76 Degrees / 45% Chance of Rain
Saturday, May 9: 75 Degrees / 75% Chance of Rain
Sunday, May 10: 82 Degrees / 90% Chance of Rain
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Another weekend brings another monster Atlantic Coast Conference series for the University of Notre Dame baseball team, as the Irish welcome in No. 20 North Carolina to Frank Eck Stadium this weekend for the final regular season home series of the 2015 season.
The three-game series is scheduled to get underway at 7:05 p.m. (ET) Friday, with a 2:05 p.m. (ET) Saturday contest and a 1:05 p.m. (ET) Sunday game wrapping up the weekend. Friday’s game will be streamed for free live online at WatchND.tv, while Saturday and Sunday’s contests can be viewed online through ESPN3. WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend will have audio coverage of the entire weekend.
Notre Dame will honor 12 senior student-athletes and two senior managers in a pregame ceremony Saturday. Set to be honored are Conor Biggio, Ryan Bull, Kevin DeFilippis, Mac Hudgins, Forrest Johnson, Scott Kerrigan, Blaise Lezynski, Phil Mosey, Kyle Rubbinaccio, Matt Ternowchek, Cristian Torres and Robert Youngdahl. Senior managers Ally Darragh and Andy Hof will also be recognized.
The Irish (30-18, 12-12 ACC) have had the week off for final exams, but look to get back on the right track after posting a 6-8 mark in the 14 games since sweeping then-No. 7 Florida State at home April 10-12. Notre Dame has also dropped five of its last seven contests since winning game one of a three-game ACC series at Wake Forest April 24.
Despite the recent struggles, there is plenty of confidence and optimism running through the Notre Dame program. The Irish sit fourth in the Atlantic Division, but sixth overall in the ACC with two league weekends to go. The Irish are just behind Clemson (13-13) in the Atlantic and not far behind the Tar Heels (13-10) overall. The top 10 teams make the ACC Tournament, with the top six squads earning byes directly into pool play. The ACC Tournament is set for May 19-24 in Durham, North Carolina.
A long list of players have played critical roles in Notre Dame’s success this year.
Sophomore Kyle Fiala is in the middle of a 37-game on-base streak, which is the longest single-season streak for a Notre Dame player since at least 2007. In the last 11 games the Carmel, Indiana native has been especially potent, boasting a .378/.644/.451 slash line.
Fellow sophomore Cavan Biggio is sixth in Division I in walks (43) and sports an impressive .432 on-base percentage to go along with a team- and career-high seven homers.
Senior Robert Youngdahl is smacking two baggers at a record pace, as the New Brighton, Minnesota native is tied for first in the ACC in doubles (19). He is within two doubles of moving into a tie for third for the most in a season by an Irish player since 1995 and is already tied with current Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock and current New York Yankees Double-AA player Eric Jagielo for the most since 2007.
In the field, Notre Dame is first in the ACC and 13th across Division I in fielding percentage (.978) while leading the country in double plays (62) and double plays per game (1.29).
On the mound, the Irish have the second-best ERA in the conference (2.99) and also rank second in WHIP (1.25) and second in walks allowed per nine innings (2.97).
This weekend, the Irish will throw Kerrigan on Friday and freshman Brandon Bielak Saturday. Sunday is still to be determined. The former is coming off a dominating win over Northwestern State last Friday night, where he went eight innings and allowed a run, three hits and two walks while striking out three and inducing 16 ground balls in a 4-1 Notre Dame victory. The latter has started every weekend for the Irish this season and has turned in quality starts in four of his last six outings.
North Carolina (31-16, 13-10 ACC) enters the weekend ranked between 20 and 24 in four of the six national college baseball polls and is coming off a pair of convincing midweek wins over UNC Asheville (11-2) and Elon (14-2). They haven’t played an ACC series since April 24-26, when the Tar Heels swept Boston College in Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heels boast a .271 batting average (8th — ACC) and a 3.25 team ERA (5th — ACC). Sophomore Tyler Ramirez is fifth in the ACC in stolen bases (16) and tied for eighth in walks per game (.77, 36 overall), while junior Korey Dunbar is 10th in slugging percentage (.531). Brian Miller leads the squad with a .317 average.
Starters Zac Gallen (3-3, 2.84 ERA), J.B. Bukauskas (4-1, 3.45 ERA) and Benton Moss (7-0, 2.68 ERA) are slated to pitch against the Irish this weekend.
The Heels and Notre Dame have never met as members of the ACC, but did split two games in the 2005 NCAA Gainesville Regional.
Notre Dame closes out the 2015 regular season next week with a Tuesday game at Western Michigan and a three-game series (Thursday — Saturday) at Boston College.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director