Irish snap losing streak with shutout of Robert Morris in Chicago
Matthew DeFranks | Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Notre Dame snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over Robert Morris at Chicago State’s Cougar Stadium on Tuesday night.
“It was important for our guys to go out there and to play fairly well and come up with a good result to start feeling a little better about ourselves,” Irish coach Mik Aoki said.The Irish (7-12, 0-6 ACC) scored three runs in the third inning and used five pitchers to limit the Eagles (7-5) to just two hits.
In the third, Irish junior right fielder Mac Hudgins led off with an infield single before sophomore center fielder Kyle Richardson moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore left fielder Zak Kutsulis reached on another infield single before freshman third baseman Kyle Fiala ripped an RBI single.
Freshman second baseman Cavan Biggio drove in Kutsulis with a sacrifice fly and junior designated hitter Blaise Lezynski brought in Fiala with single.
“You’ve got to be able to situationally hit and we were able to do that,” Aoki said. “To be able to hit situationally and to be able to get two-out RBIs is a pretty critical component of this game.”
Junior left-hander Robert Youngdahl started for Notre Dame and walked two batters and struck out one in two innings of work while allowing no hits.
“We need to get Robert Youngdahl going,” Aoki said. “Robert’s just too talented a kid to languish on our bench so hopefully we can get him going. I thought he showed signs of being a little bit more in the strike zone, a little bit more impressive in the strike zone.”
Junior right-hander Matt Ternowchek (1-0) earned the win by throwing three innings of one-hit ball and striking out three.
Irish senior right-hander Donnie Hissa, sophomore right-hander Joey Cresta and junior right-hander Christian Torres yielded just one hit in the final four innings to secure the shutout. Torres finished the game in the ninth after surrendering a walk-off walk in his last outing Friday against Duke.
None of the Irish pitchers threw more than three innings or more than 41 pitches.
“I think we wanted to make sure we were getting some guys the work that they need,” Aoki said. “You don’t want to have them go too, too long in between outings.”
Fiala extended his hit streak to 11 games with a 1-for-2 night at the plate. Since entering the starting lineup against Santa Clara in the Irish Baseball Classic, Fiala has failed to get a hit in just three of Notre Dame’s 16 games.
Freshman right-hander Joey Gajda (0-1) took the loss for Robert Morris while junior left fielder Clayton Johannes and junior second baseman Andrew Sebastian each had a hit for the Eagles.
Tuesday’s game was originally scheduled to be played at Notre Dame but was moved to Cougar Stadium due to the installation of FieldTurf at Frank Eck Stadium.
“It’s a nice new artificial surface and they’ve done a nice job with it. … It was great and we’re certainly thankful to them that they’ve gracious enough to open up their brand new stadium to us.”
The Irish had moved all games from Frank Eck Stadium until their series with Clemson from May 9-11.
Notre Dame will try to earn its first ACC win when it hosts Virginia Tech this weekend. Friday’s game will be at Four Winds Field in South Bend while the other two games will be at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind.