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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

McCarty cruises to complete game

In a nine-inning, two-hit performance during Notre Dame’s 6-1 win at Chicago State on Tuesday, Irish sophomore Nick McCarty threw 124 pitches, the most he has ever thrown, he said.

Irish sophomore pitcher Nick McCarty follows through during a 10-6 loss to Villanova on April 7, 2013. McCarty notched a two-hitter Tuesday.
Irish sophomore pitcher Nick McCarty follows through during a 10-6 loss to Villanova on April 7, 2013. McCarty notched a two-hitter Tuesday.
“I’m pretty sore,” McCarty said. “This is the longest I’ve ever gone in my life, but I feel good, I’m just pretty sore.”

After three straight losses, Notre Dame (11-20, 1-14 ACC) earned their first win since April 1 with the victory over Chicago State (9-18, 0-6 WAC). Coming into the game, McCarty carried a 3.91 ERA. Last night, the sophomore allowed no earned runs.

“I was throwing the ball pretty good out there, especially the curveball, so it all felt good,” McCarty said. “That was the best I’ve felt in awhile, honestly. My curveball was definitely my out pitch tonight. I got them a couple times swinging on it, and then I was able to get them looking a couple times with the fastball. With the curveball and the fastball working, it felt good.”

Against the Cougars, McCarty collected six strikeouts. Simultaneously, a Notre Dame team hitting .247 on the season collected 11 hits, including a five-run sixth inning.

“You never want to be in a spot where it’s tied 1-1, so that definitely helped,” McCarty said. “It’s great to have run support, on any team. Individually, it’s just a load of your back and it’s a great thing.”

In the first inning, the Irish committed two errors, allowing Chicago State’s lone unearned run. At the end of the second inning, Notre Dame matched the Cougars one score, as freshman infielder Kyle Fiala scored on sophomore left fielder Zak Kutsulis’s ground ball.

It wasn’t until the five-run sixth inning that Notre Dame added to its total, though the team did manage three hits through the first five frames. Notre Dame freshman catcher Ryan Lidge paced the offense, getting four hits in all four of his at-bats.

“He did great today,” McCarty said. “He’s just a freshman, but he is way ahead of his years, I think. He’s been getting better each game and getting used to the pace of the college game. I think he’s going to be a great player for us in the future.”

Though he has started only three of the last six games for Notre Dame, Lidge has played in five.

“We definitely have a great chemistry,” McCarty said. “Each game, we get kind of closer and closer. We get on the same page with location, and the chemistry has just continued to improve.”

However, McCarty did acknowledge Lidge’s need to work on his visits to the mound.

“[His mound conferences] are the place he most needs to improve, but he’s a person I trust to do that,” McCarty said. “We tend to just have a quick word and then he just kind of heads back to his spot and I head back to mine.”

Though Lidge led the team in hits on the night, both Notre Dame freshman infielder Cavan Biggio and Kutsulis had multi-hit games as well. Both players had two hits on the night.

From the other dugout, junior infielder Chase Matheson and senior designated hitter Nathan Poff accounted for Chicago State’s two hits off of McCarty. Starting on the mound for the Cougars yesterday was junior pitcher Andrew Wellwerts. Wellwerts threw 5.2 innings and allowed all six of Notre Dame’s runs.

Notre Dame returns to action tonight at Michigan, where the first pitch will be at 7 p.m. at Ray Fisher Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.