ND grabs victory over Valparaiso
Matthew DeFranks | Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Notre Dame beat Valparaiso for the second time in less than a week behind six one-run innings from junior right-hander Scott Kerrigan in an 11-1 win Tuesday night.
In his first start since Feb. 23, Kerrigan (1-1) went six innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out three.
“I felt really good,” Kerrigan said. “I just felt like I had really good control of my stuff tonight and my defense was working really well behind me.”
Since allowing 10 runs in his first 3 1/3 innings of the season, Kerrigan has thrown 13 1/3 innings and given up two runs on seven hits. Kerrigan missed all of last season after surgery on his labrum.
“I just felt like I kind of lost the feel a little bit,” Kerrigan said. “Just got over it mentally and just put the work in and I got it back I think.”
Irish coach Mik Aoki said he lifted Kerrigan after six innings and just 60 pitches to keep him available for this weekend and to get other relief pitchers some work.
The Irish offense exploded for 13 hits, led by a three-hit effort from senior catcher Forrest Johnson (3-for-4, three RBI). Sophomore shortstop Lane Richards went 2-for-4 with three RBI.
Sophomore right-hander Ellis Foreman (1-2) took the loss after giving up eight runs on 10 hits in five innings. The Irish (10-17, 1-11 ACC) also beat Foreman in last week’s game.
Aoki said the Irish adjusted to Foreman’s change-up after seeing it last week.
“I thought we had a good approach overall,” Aoki said. “When we got to two strikes, I thought we did a good job of looking to let the fastball get deep. … Our approach allowed us to take away the kid’s best pitch.”
Seven of nine Irish starters collected a hit and the bottom of the order had five of Notre Dame’s 13 hits.
Notre Dame put up three runs in the second inning, highlighted by Johnson’s two-run triple that brought in freshman third baseman Kyle Fiala and freshman second baseman Cavan Biggio. Richards also drove in a run with a two-out single.
Senior third baseman Michael Morman got the Crusaders (9-12, 1-2 Horizon) on the board in the fourth with a two-out single that brought in senior center fielder Chris Manning. Manning was aboard thanks to a tailing triple down the right-field line.
Richards brought in two more with a chopper over Morman’s head and into left field that scored sophomore left fielder Zak Kutsulis and Johnson. Junior right fielder Robert Youngdahl scored on a bases loaded fielder’s choice.
The Irish took an 8-1 lead after a two-run fifth inning that featured two hits and a Crusader error and plated a ninth run on a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Notre Dame added two insurance runs in the eighth.
The Irish will head to No. 1 Florida State this weekend to take on the Seminoles in a three-game set.