NOTRE DAME BEATS VALPO
April 2, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Irish bats finally got in rhythm Tuesday night as the
University of Notre Dame baseball team racked up 11 runs on 13 hits to cruise past
in-state foe Valparaiso, 11-1, at Four Winds Field. On the mound Notre Dame got a
solid effort from junior Scott Kerrigan as he went six innings and allowed one run
in earning his first career victory.
After scoring five runs in a 7-5 loss to Wake Forest Sunday, the Irish continued
their mini-surge at the plate Tuesday as they scored two or more runs in four
separate innings to distance themselves from the visiting Crusaders. Five
student-athletes recorded multi-hit days, including senior Forrest Johnson, who had
a monster game with three hits, three RBI and two runs scored. Sophomore Lane
Richards also recorded three RBI on two hits, while lead-off hitter Conor Biggio,
brother Cavan Biggio and leftfielder Zak Kutsulis also notched two-hit days.
Freshman Kyle Fiala led the team with three runs scored.
"I thought we had a good approach overall," said head coach Mik Aoki. "We faced the
same guy we did last week and his changeup is a pretty good pitch, but not a pitch
that is a swing and miss pitch ... it's one that induces weak rollers and ground
balls. I thought when we got to two strikes we did a nice job of looking to let the
fastball get deep. A couple of guys were right on that changeup and smashed it. Our
approach is to take away his best pitch and I thought we did a good job of adjusting
from last week."
On the mound, Kerrigan looked steady and in control the entire night as he allowed
one run on three hits in six innings of work. He struck out three and walked none on
60 pitches to lower his ERA to 3.78 for the season.
"It (getting first win) felt really good," said Kerrigan. "I felt like I had really
good control of my pitches tonight and my defense was working really well behind me.
After struggling in his first two starts (0-1, 13.50 ERA, 3.1 IP) as he returned
from right labrum surgery, the Saugus, Calif., native has been near lights out in
his last three appearances (1-0, 1.35 ERA, 13.1 IP) to help bolster the Irish
"I was coming off surgery and I felt like I lost the feel a bit, but I just got over
it mentally and put the work in and I got it back I think," said Kerrigan when asked
about difference in last three appearances as opposed to the first two.
Once Kerrigan exited, the combo of Nick McCarty, Joey Cresta, Jim Orwick, Matt
Ternowchek and Cristian Torres combined to allow just three hits and two walks over
the game's final three innings.
Despite Notre Dame's struggles in Atlantic Coast Conference play so far this season,
the Irish have found success as of late in non-conference games by reeling off six
consecutive wins since a heart-breaking 4-2 loss in 10 innings to rival Michigan
March 1. For the year, Notre Dame is 9-6 in non-conference games.
After nine games in the region, the Irish (10-17, 1-11 ACC) jump back into road ACC
play this weekend with a three-game set at No. 1 Florida State (23-5, 9-2 ACC) in
front of what will surely be a hostile crowd. Games on Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday
(6 p.m.) will be on ESPN3 and WatchND, while Sunday's series finale (12 p.m.) can be
watched live on ESPNU.
The Irish got the bats cracking in the second inning as Fiala and Ca. Biggio led off
the inning with a double and single, respectively, to give Notre Dame runners at the
corners with no outs. Later in the inning, Johnson rewarded his teammates with his
first career triple to give the Irish a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Richards
singled through the right side to score Johnson and put Notre Dame ahead by three.
Notre Dame plated three more runs in the fourth inning as the Irish recorded four
singles and a walk with one out. Back-to-back singles by Kutsulis and Johnson were
followed by a Robert Youngdahl walk and a Richards single that put Notre Dame up
5-1. After a single by Co. Biggio, Mac Hudgins hit into a fielder's choice that
scored Youngdahl to move the Notre Dame advantage to 6-1.
In the fifth, the Irish plated two more runs as Kutsulis produced an RBI single and
Johnson had an RBI fielder's choice to up the lead to 8-1.
The lead was extended to 9-1 in the sixth as Lezynski hit a sac fly to right field
to bring home Co. Biggio.
Notre Dame closed out its scoring in the eighth as a fielding error by pitcher Scott
Jerge while he attempted to cover first base resulted in Kevin DeFilippis and Fiala
Valpo scored its lone run in the fourth on a Michael Mormon RBI single that
capitalized on a triple by Chris Manning.