Irish to host No. 21 Seminoles in home opener featuring conference matchup
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, March 22, 2019
The Notre Dame baseball team will play its home opener Friday against Florida State. The Irish (8-10, 4-2 ACC) have some momentum after winning two series on the road against Wake Forest and Clemson this month.
On the other hand, the No. 21 Seminoles (15-5, 3-3 ACC) have lost four of their last six contests, including a 20-7 thumping at the hands of No. 14 Florida and a 16-0 loss to No. 6 NC State, the latter of which was part of a road series in which the Seminoles went 1-2. The Seminoles also lost at home to in-state rival Central Florida 9-7.
Florida State is headed by freshman outfielder Robby Martin and freshman infielder Nander de Sedas, who lead the team with .366 and .328 batting averages in 71 and 61 at-bats, respectively. Junior infielder Drew Mendoza has a .313 batting average, as well as a .701 slugging percentage and a .505 on-base percentage. The latter two stats are the best among Seminoles players who have played enough games to qualify for team-leading statistics.
For Notre Dame, freshman infielder Carter Putz leads all eligible Irish players with a .311 batting average. Senior outfielder Eric Gilgenbach leads the Irish with a .625 slugging percentage, while sophomore catcher David LaManna has a team-leading .459 on-base percentage.
The Seminoles have five eligible players with a batting average over .275, four of whom are above .300 batting, while Putz is the only Irish player with an average above .300. Notre Dame is not totally outmatched in terms of batting, however, as four other Irish players have at least a .260 average. Florida State maintains an advantage in slugging, as the team has six eligible players over .500 in slugging percentage, whereas sophomore infielder Niko Kavadas is second to Gilgenbach in that stat at .471. No other eligible Irish players are above .400.
The Seminoles alternate between two main pitching starters — sophomore right-handed pitcher CJ Van Eyk and junior left-handed pitcher Drew Parrish — who have a combined 10 starts and five wins on the year. Van Eyk has a 4.85 ERA and Parrish has a 5.88 ERA, due in part to the fact they both lead the team with 26 innings pitched apiece.
Notre Dame goes deeper in the bullpen, and as such, the ERAs of its pitchers are more balanced. Sophomore left-handers Cole Kmet and Tommy Sheehan lead the Irish with a 2.89 and a 3.34 ERA, respectively. Senior and junior right-handed pitchers Shane Combs and Cameron Junker contribute 3.38 and 3.81 ERAs, respectively.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Friday at Franck Eck Stadium.