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Notre Dame heads to Texas for Alamo Irish Classic

| Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Notre Dame baseball team is looking to continue its strong start to the season as the group travels to San Antonio, Texas, this weekend for the 21st Alamo Irish Classic.

The Irish (2-1) will play games versus Incarnate Word on Thursday and Friday night, and then Toledo on Saturday afternoon. They’ll end their trip with a matchup with the University of Texas at San Antonio on Sunday.

The Irish are coming off a strong opening series having won two out of three in their opening series with UAB on the road last weekend. Junior pitcher Tommy Sheehan was named ACC pitcher of the week for his performance; he started the first game on Friday, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out a career high nine and only allowing one hit. Notre Dame won the first game 4-2 behind Sheehan’s strong outing, lost the second 10-7 after allowing a late grand slam and concluded the series with a 9-3 win behind 3 RBIs from junior third baseman Niko Kavadas.

Alexis Hernandez | The Observer
Irish junior pitcher Tommy Sheehan waits for the sign from his catcher during Notre Dame’s 5-2 victory over Virginia on April 5 at Frank Eck Stadium. This week, Sheehan was named ACC Pitcher of the Week.

The first opponent for the Irish, Incarnate Word, will pose a challenge. The Cardinals are off to an early 3-0 start, scoring 35 runs in their season-opening series sweep. Notre Dame faced the Cardinals twice last season in the same tournament, splitting the pair of games; a close 2-1 win and a 15-7 loss.

The Irish won two of the four games of the Alamo Irish Classic last year, also splitting two games with Eastern Michigan. 

The Irish are hosting the tournament, despite two of their three opponents being from San Antonio. The games are being played at Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium, the home of the San Antonio Missions, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple A affiliate. 

Toledo, on the other hand, opened their season with three straight losses. The Rockets finished 2019 with a 17-36 record and were just 4-21 in the the Mid-American conference. The Irish last faced Toledo in 2016, which concluded with a 10-3 Irish victory.

UTSA has also opened their season 3-0, and were just below .500 last year with a 28-30 record, with a 13-16 record in Conference USA. 

Notre Dame will continue to rely on their bats this weekend. The team started off the season with an impressive 0.279 team batting average, led by sophomore infielder Carter Putz and junior infielder Jared Miller, each of whom collected six hits on the weekend. 

The Irish’s pitching was also strong last weekend. Their staff held UAB to just a 0.136 batting average on just 12 hits. In addition to Sheehan, sophomore reliever Mitch Megias and junior reliever Joe Boyle each had strong outings. Both made two appearances and did not allow a hit over five combined innings. 

Notre Dame will look to build on early momentum and fare better this season, after stumbling to 24-30 record (13-17 in the ACC) in 2019. The team looks to be on the upswing in head coach Link Jarrett’s first season at the helm. The team has one more non-conference series, against Presbyterian next weekend, before conference play begins March 6.  

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