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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

McCarty to start at Cougars

Notre Dame will play a road game Tuesday at its home away from home when it takes on Chicago State at Cougar Stadium.

The Irish (10-20, 1-14 ACC) played one “home” game at Cougar Stadium when they beat Robert Morris 3-0 on March 18. But now, Notre Dame will be the visitor for the host Cougars (9-17, 0-6 WAC).

Sophomore right-hander Nick McCarty will start on the mound for Notre Dame. McCarty (1-6, 4.81 ERA) will be making his first start since earning his first win during a 4-1 victory over Valparaiso on March 28.

McCarty took the loss Friday during Notre Dame’s 8-7, 12-inning setback against No. 1 Florida State. He pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief and allowed two runs on four hits while walking four and striking out one.

“Nick is a guy we trust to throw some strikes, notwithstanding the way that things went for him on Friday,” Irish coach Mik Aoki said.

McCarty has been hit-and-miss during his starts this season. In four of his seven starts, McCarty has gone at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs. In the other three, he has gone a combined 7 2/3 innings and given up 18 runs.

“He needs to get back out there,” Aoki said. “He’s an important piece of our staff, and I think he gives us a good chance to win every time he goes out and takes the ball.”

Chicago State will send junior right-hander Andrew Wellwerts to the hill. Wellwerts (1-5, 7.36 ERA) will be making his seventh start but just his second midweek start of the season.

In his last start March 30 at Grand Canyon, Wellwerts lasted just 1 2/3 innings and surrendered seven runs (five earned) on three hits and four walks. Wellwerts has struggled with his control, throwing 10 wild pitches, walking 12 batters and hitting seven more in 36 2/4 innings.

The Cougars have five players hitting at least .290 and are led by freshman infielder Sanford Hunt. Hunt is batting .367 with eight RBI. Junior infielder Chase Matheson and outfielder Jordan Stroschein lead the team with 18 and 17 RBI, respectively. Both are hitting .291.

Chicago State has lost nine games in a row since March 21 and has averaged only four runs per game during the skid.

“I know that they’ve struggled a little bit, but so have we,” Aoki said. “Hopefully, we can get back out there and play at a similar level to what we did for the majority of this weekend and come out on the right end of the score.”

Notre Dame and Chicago State will play Tuesday night at 7 p.m.