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Baseball: Connaughton to debut

Observer Staff Report | Tuesday, March 26, 2013

No. 16 Notre Dame will take on Kent State this evening – weather permitting – in a single-game matchup at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind.

Monday night’s game with Kent State was cancelled due to inclement weather.

A makeup game is not expected to be announced for what was supposed to be the first half of a two-game series against the Golden Flashes.

For the Irish (14-6), sophomore right-hander Pat Connaughton will make his first start of the season on the mound. Connaughton spent the first month of the baseball season in a different uniform, playing for the men’s basketball team.

Connaughton was 4-4 in 10 starts last season, posting a 3.18 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched.

Kent State (8-12) struggled at the start of this season, losing its first six contests. The Golden Flashes have bounced back as of late though, winning six of their last eight games.

Much like Notre Dame, the Golden Flashes have faced several of the toughest teams in the nation throughout the early part of their schedule, including Virginia Tech, San Diego and No. 10 Louisville.

Kent State is coming off a series win against Northern Illinois this past weekend. In the series finale Sunday the Golden Flashes routed the Huskies 13-1.

The Golden Flashes surprised much of the college baseball world last year by making the first College World Series appearance in the school’s history.

While last year was their first trip to Omaha, the Golden Flashes are no strangers to postseason play, having made it to the NCAA tournament in each of the past four seasons.

Senior infielder Evan Campbell leads the way for Kent State on offense. Campbell is batting .322 with 16 RBIs and six stolen bases.

On the mound, Kent State relies on junior right-hander Taylor Williams, who is 4-1 this season with 2.09 ERA and 37 strikeouts.

Notre Dame is coming off a series win this past weekend against Seton Hall in its first Big East matchup of the season.

The Irish lost in a one-run contest Friday night before taking both games of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.

The Irish will look to get the win in today’s game before resuming Big East plan Friday against No. 10 Louisville.

First pitch for tonight’s game is scheduled for 6:35 p.m