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Baseball: Irish head south for tournament

Deirdre Krasula | Friday, February 23, 2007

Notre Dame will look to rebound from two consecutive losses to Texas State as it travels to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the Baseball at the Beach Tournament. The team hopes to find consistency this weekend.

“I’ve never had a team play better coming out from inside to outside than we did last Saturday,” Notre Dame coach Dave Schrage said. “Sunday we didn’t play very well, so it was kind of what team do we have here? Each weekend we will be looking for improvement.”

The Irish won’t find any easier challenges in Myrtle Beach this weekend. Notre Dame takes on UNC-Wilmington out of the gate and then faces formidable games against No. 12 Texas Christian as well as Coastal Carolina. The Irish, currently 1-2, will look to get up to at least .500 before conference play begins.

“If you look at the history [Notre Dame has] hovered around .500 early in the season and then by the time conference came around started to play better,” Schrage said.

The Seahawks will start freshman Daniel Cropper to face the Irish in their matchup.

Notre Dame will be challenged from the mound again on Saturday when it takes on the Horned Frogs. The Irish will face either senior Chance Corgan or sophomore Chris Johnson but will evade the threat of Jake Arrieta. Arrieta – who pitched this summer for Team USA – will pitch today against Coastal Carolina to open play for the Frogs.

But Notre Dame has its own power from the mound to counter UNC-Wilmington and TCU. Junior Wade Korpi will likely open the tournament for the Irish when they take on UNC-Wilmington today. Sophomores David Phelps and Brett Graffy will start for Notre Dame on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Schrage is confident in the starting rotation.

“I like our three starters in our bullpen going down there this weekend against anybody,” he said. “I was really pleased with how [our starting pitching] threw [last weekend], and I think as the season evolves you will notice that we have some pitching depth and we have a lot of guys that we can use.”

Notre Dame heads down to Myrtle Beach with the hopes of improving before the swiftly approaching conference season. Schrage said the team welcomes the opportunity to get as much playing time as it can.

“We are excited to get outside and play some great teams,” he said.

No. 12 TCU, one of the best overall teams in the country, will certainly test the strength the Irish on all levels.