The Irish (10-20, 1-14) opened the week with an 11-1 victory over Valparaiso at Four Winds Field in South Bend, but couldn’t claim a victory in Tallahassee against Florida State over the weekend with the Seminoles claiming an 8-7 victory in 12 innings Friday, and a doubleheader sweep Sunday - 11-2 and 4-3 - following Saturday’s rainout at Dick Howser Stadium.
Florida State (26-5, 13-2), ranked No. 1 nationally by Baseball America, surrendered 34 hits to the Irish in three games -- including 13 Friday and 14 in the first game of the doubleheader Sunday - to raise their team batting average to .245. Notre Dame was 34-for-119 (.285) for the weekend in Tallahassee.
The Irish have lost eight straight in ACC play. Their last conference victory came against Virginia Tech, 2-1, on March 21 at South Bend’s Four Winds Field. The seven runs scored by the Irish Friday against the Seminoles were the most in 15 conference games.
With the two one-run losses to Florida State, Notre Dame fell to 3-10 on the season in games decided by one run.
Left-handed hitting junior Blaise Lezynski continues to be the only Irish player batting above .300. Lezynski is hitting .321 with a team-high 19 RBI. (No other Irish player has more than 12 RBI.) He also has an Irish-high .389 on-base percentage and .384 slugging percentage. Lezynski had three hits in the first game of the series against the Seminoles.
Freshman third baseman Kyle Fiala and junior outfielder Conor Biggio each had three hits in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against Florida State. Fiala, now hitting .264, is second on the team in hits with 28.
Junior righthander Scott Kerrigan notched his first victory in an Irish uniform in the non-conference victory over Valparaiso. Kerrigan threw an efficient 60 pitches in six innings against the Crusaders, allowing just three hits and one run with three strikeouts and no walks. Five Irish relievers closed out the final three innings.
Junior Ryan Bull had three hits and two RBI in Sunday’s doubleheader after losing his starting spot earlier in the season. Junior Mac Hudgins had three hits in the extra-inning loss while freshman Ryan Lidge and junior-college transfer Robert Youngdahl each had two.
Junior righthander Pat Connaughton (0-2) was tagged with the loss in Sunday’s nightcap against the Seminoles. Connaughton allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings while surrendering seven walks and a hit-by-pitch. His ERA ballooned to 6.89 for the season. He’s allowed 22 hits in 15 2/3 innings with 11 strikeouts and 18 base on balls. Opponents are hitting .349 against Connaughton.
Sophomore righthander Nick McCarty dropped to 1-6 on the season with his extra-inning loss to Florida State, although his numbers are not indicative of his record. Opponents are hitting .278 against him, and he has 23 strikeouts to 13 walks while allowing 42 hits in 39 1/3 innings.
Robert Youngdahl, who homered in his first at bat of the 2014 campaign and had two hits Friday against the Seminoles, is hitting .196 on the season with 30 strikeouts in 97 official at bats.
Florida State closer Jameis Winston - the quarterback of the Seminoles’ national-championship-winning football team - came into the Notre Dame series with a 0.64 ERA, allowing just one earned run in 14 innings. Winston faced three Irish hitters Friday night and failed to record an out, walking James Nevant and surrendering run-scoring hits to Ryan Lidge and Robert Youngdahl…Notre Dame pitchers walked 13 in the 12-inning series opener…Senior catcher Forrest Johnson had three hits and three RBI in the victory over Valparaiso while sophomore shortstop Lane Richards had two hits and three RBI.
The Irish travel to Chicago Tuesday to take on the Cougars of Chicago State before heading to Ann Arbor to play the Wolverines of Michigan Wednesday. The Irish then depart for Coral Gables, Fla., to take on the Miami Hurricanes in a three-game weekend series.
Florida State sits atop the Atlantic Division with a 13-2 conference mark, followed by Clemson (20-10, 9-4) and Wake Forest (21-12, 11-4). Virginia (27-5, 12-3), coached by former Irish pitching coach Brian O’Connor, is in first place of the Coastal Division, one game ahead of Miami (21-12, 11-4).