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Baseball: Power trip

Mary Green | Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fresh off a weekend sweep of Connecticut, Notre Dame will quickly head back into action in its game against Central Michigan this afternoon in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

The Irish (26-16, 7-8 Big East) grabbed three conference wins in the series against the Huskies, with the first and third games displaying the team’s rediscovered offensive power. Notre Dame claimed 12-2 and 12-5 victories, respectively, amassing 32 hits as a team between the two contests.

Leading the Irish at the plate in that power surge was junior first baseman Trey Mancini. Mancini collected nine hits in 12 at bats over the weekend and has picked up 15 hits in his last 18 at bats, boosting his batting average to .374, which trails only junior third baseman Eric Jagielo’s .400 average.

Irish coach Mik Aoki said the one-two punch of Jagielo and Mancini has been crucial to his squad’s recent success, especially with Mancini finally showing his power as an All-American candidate.

“When Eric and Trey are both going good at the same time, I mean, I’d pity the pitching coach that has to face that duo,” he said. “I know that I certainly wouldn’t want to be that guy. So it’s nice to see Trey get going, it’s nice to see him using the entire field. That was a real big pick-me-up.”

The current tear at the plate for Irish batters comes as a result of Aoki’s charge to be aggressive with each at bat and to score first in each game, an attitude he said his players will need to keep up in the regular season’s 12 remaining games.

“Outside of the typical baseball things – pitch it well, defend it, get timely hitting – I just think it’s still us being the aggressor, us being the ones to try to dictate the action and the tempo of the game,” he said. “I think that as long as we do that and as long as we stay in that mode, we’re a very good team.”

Notre Dame will have to keep that spark alive to match the recent offensive torrent of Central Michigan (19-22, 8-10 MAC). Sophomore first baseman Cody Leichman accumulated five hits in as many at bats in the Chippewas’ 10-1 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday, a game in which the team totaled a season-high 19 hits. Freshman right fielder and leadoff batter Logan Regnier also picked up four hits that day.

Aiming to extinguish Notre Dame’s hot streak will be freshman starter Jimmy McNamara. The left hander comes in to the game with a 0-2 record and a 3.03 ERA.

McNamara will take the mound against the Irish today at Theunissen Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Mich., where the first pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m.

Contact Mary Green at mgreen8@nd.edu