Irish Make Long-Awaited Return To Frank Eck Stadium This Weekend
May 9, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
NOTRE DAME RELEASE
ACC Series 9: Clemson
Clemson: 30-19, 12-11 ACC (40-22, 18-12 ACC In 2013)
Weather Report (as of Thursday, May 8):
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After five stadiums, 17 “home” games and thousands of miles of travel between non-conference and conference games, the University of Notre Dame baseball team is coming home to campus and the newly-redone field of Frank Eck Stadium for its first true home series of the 2014 season this weekend as the Irish welcome in No. 22 Clemson for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series.
After one of the worst winters in recent South Bend history stalled the installation of FieldTurf at Frank Eck Stadium and forced the Irish to travel the region to play home games, the state-of-the-art artificial surface is completed and ready for the Irish and Tigers after the installers worked seven days a week over the last couple of weeks to get it done.
The series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday night with a national TV game on ESPNU. A 2:05 p.m. Saturday contest and a 12:05 p.m. Sunday game conclude the series. Fans can watch the last two games of the series through WatchND. Gametracker will be available all three days.
Tickets are available for all three games with prices set at $5 for adults and $3 for youth and seniors. Notre Dame faculty, staff and students can enter the Eck for free with their Notre Dame ID.
An exciting weekend is planned for fans that come out to the Eck as a special first pitch will kick off the weekend. Fans that come out to the Eck this weekend will see the Irish go against their sixth ranked opponent of the year including the fourth in ACC play.
The Tigers (30-19, 12-11 ACC) have won five non-conference games in a row after getting swept by then-No. 11 Miami at home in three games at the end of April. Clemson boasts the league’s top offense with a .284 team batting average but has one of the worst pitching units ERA wise (11th - 3.72).
A pair of powerful hitters paces the Tigers and rank among the ACC’s elite as sophomore Tyler Krieger is batting .337 while senior Steve Wilkerson isn’t far behind at .335 to rank fourth and seventh in the league, respectively. Wilkerson leads the team in doubles (15) and homers (5). Once on base, Clemson is very effective at stealing bases, as it is second in the ACC with 78 on the year.
On the mound, Clemson will start sophomore LHP Matthew Crownover (6-0, 1.75 ERA) Friday and junior RHP Daniel Gossett (6-4, 2.43) Saturday. The Irish will counter with junior RHP Pat Connaughton (1-5, 4.98 ERA) Friday and sophomore LHP Michael Hearne (4-5, 2.71 ERA) Saturday. Neither team has decided on a Sunday starter as of Thursday.
Clemson sits second in the ACC Atlantic Division and sixth overall with two weekends left before the ACC Tournament.
The Irish (17-30, 4-20 ACC) are returning home after another difficult ACC road weekend at Maryland. Pitching wasn’t the problem as Maryland scored 11 runs on the weekend, with several of them ending up unearned. However, the offense plated just four runs and was shutout Friday night in a tough 2-0 loss. For the season, Notre Dame is hitting just .217 in ACC play.
Notre Dame has played Clemson just once all-time, earning an 8-1 victory on the road in 1994. Irish head coach Mik Aoki went 5-7 against the Tigers while he was at Boston College.