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Irish lose three straight to Florida State in weekend series

and | Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Notre Dame’s bats fell quiet over the weekend, losing the Irish all three weekend games against No. 12 Florida State at Frank Eck Stadium, falling 8-2 and 8-3 (13 innings) Friday before losing Saturday’s series finale 5-1.

Due to inclement weather forecasted in the South Bend area over the weekend, the series previously scheduled was brought forward to a Friday doubleheader and a Saturday afternoon matinee, and although Notre Dame was forced to play 22 innings Friday, Irish head coach Mik Aoki said the offensive issues the Irish showed were much more of a factor than the external circumstances.

“It’s not ideal, obviously, and it’s a long day especially when we play 13 innings [in the nightcap], but this is the nature of it,” Aoki said. “I actually thought we played better in the second game – we’ve just got to get a little more offense. I think we have some guys that are really scuffling at the plate, and it’s tough. The nature of baseball is that you might be lucky to have five or six guys going at a time, and we have three or four right now, so we just gotta keep working at it.”

NEW_WEB_BASEBALL_KathleenDonahue_20170321Kathleen Donahue | The Observer

In the afternoon game Friday, the long ball hurt the Irish (7-15, 2-7 ACC), as Florida State’s junior outfielder Dylan Busby and sophomore outfielder Jackson Lueck each connected on three-run homers to power the Seminoles (18-7, 6-3 ACC) to an 8-2 victory. In the nightcap, the Irish were much more competitive, leading 2-0 before giving up a pair in the seventh. The game remained tied until the 12th inning, when each team pushed across a run. However, in the 13th, Florida State broke the game open with a five-run frame, highlighted by a three-run shot from freshman infielder Tyler Daughtry, to secure an 8-3 win. Aoki described Friday as a tough sequence for the team offensively.

“It was a difficult day for them,” Aoki said. “I felt like we did a good job of competing, our effort level was there, but right now we’re just not getting enough production out of our offense. Florida State does what Florida State does – if you give them some free 90s, which we did – they turn those innings into crooked numbers. Offensively we’ve got to be better than what we’ve been. We’ve got some kids who are struggling – that happens – so hopefully we can get that going a little bit better, and we’ll be alright.”

The Irish played from behind nearly all day Saturday, as junior right-hander Brad Bass walked the leadoff batter, then gave up a home run to Lueck, the Seminoles’ No. 2 hitter, to place Notre Dame in a 2-0 hole.

Those two runs were ultimately all Seminoles freshman southpaw Drew Parrish needed, tossing a complete-game three-hitter, allowing just one unearned run in the fourth.

That run cut it to a 3-1 game, as Irish junior left fielder Jake Johnson came around to score from second when Florida State’s second baseman couldn’t cleanly field a throw from third that could have started a double play. But the Irish couldn’t get more, and had just two baserunners the rest of the way — sophomore second baseman Nick Podkul walked in the sixth and singled in the ninth — as Parrish saw the game out, 5-1.

Aoki said that on the whole, the Irish didn’t take the right approaches against the Seminoles on Saturday.

“I think Parrish pitched well, the fastball, changeup, curveball he had going on,” Aoki said. “I don’t think that we were particularly competitive at the plate [Saturday], to be honest with you — and that’s not everybody, right, but I think some guys, I don’t think that they had a very disciplined approach.”

As the Irish move toward a return to action Tuesday night, hosting Chicago State at 6:05 p.m., Aoki said he’s looking for his team to play to its potential.

“At some level or another, I think we have to play to our ability level and I think to date, for whatever the reasons are, we’ve really struggled with that,” Aoki said. “I think we have some talented kids and I think a lot of them are just in a place where they’re really questioning a lot of things.”

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About Alex Carson

Alex Carson graduated from Notre Dame in 2017 after majoring in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics and living in O’Neill Hall. Hailing from the Indianapolis area, but born in Youngstown, Ohio, Carson is a Cleveland sports fan convinced that he’s already lived the “best day of his life.” At The Observer, Carson was first a Sports Writer, then served as an Associate Sports Editor (2015/16) and an Assistant Managing Editor (2016/17), before finishing his tenure as a Senior Sports Writer. A man of strong convictions, he ardently believes that Carly Rae Jepsen's 2015 release E•MO•TION is the greatest album of his generation, and wakes up early on Saturday mornings to listen, or occasionally watch, his favorite least-favorite sports team, Aston Villa. When he isn’t writing, Carson spends his time counting down the days to the next running of the Indianapolis 500 and reminding people that the Victory March starts with the lyric, “Rally sons of Notre Dame,” not “Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame.”

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About Joe Everett

Joe is a senior PLS major and hails from the thriving metropolis of South Bend, IN. In addition to formerly serving as Sports Editor at The Observer, Joe is a RA in Stanford Hall and a past champion of the Observer's Fantasy Football league.

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