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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

ND baseball travels to Greensboro for weekend series

Notre Dame baseball is off to Greensboro, North Carolina, for their second series of the season to take on UNC Greensboro. 

The Irish have gotten off to a bit of a slow start this season. In their opening series against Lipscomb, they went 1-2. In the first game, Lipscomb won 5-4, but junior outfielder TJ Williams had an outstanding game for Notre Dame. He had a hit, a run and two RBIs. Junior infielder Casey Kmet, sophomore infielder Jack Penney and sophomore infielder Nick DeMarco also scored. Graduate student Blake Hely pitched the first three innings, giving up four hits and three runs before he was replaced.

In the second game, Notre Dame bounced back, winning 8-4. Graduate student outfielder Brooks Coetzee had two runs and an RBI. Graduate student outfielder Jack Zyska, graduate student infielder Carter Putz, Penney, graduate student infielder Zack Prajzner, junior catcher Danny Neri and Williams all scored one run each. Sophomore Radek Birkholz started and pitched the first three innings, allowing one hit and three runs. Graduate student Aidan Tyrell got the win, pitching four hitless innings in relief. Junior Matt Bedford then came in to close things out for the Irish victory. 

In the final game of the series, the Irish fell 4-2 after struggling to get on base. The game was scoreless until the top of the sixth, when Putz and Penney each scored. The Irish wouldn’t score again. Lipscomb’s starting pitcher was pulled after six innings, and their two relievers didn’t allow a hit through the final three innings. Five players pitched for the Irish, with junior Jackson Dennies as the starter. 

UNCG has also had a frustrating start to the season. They lost to Northeastern 11-0 in their season (and home) opener before going on to win 7-6 and lose 12-9 in the remaining games of the series. They were also blown out by No. 4 Wake Forest 20-2. 

The Spartans have clearly been struggling in terms of both hitting and pitching so far this season. This should give the Irish a good opportunity to really dial in and get their hitters across home plate. Neri and Williams lead the team with .200 and .182 batting averages, respectively. Irish head coach Shawn Stiffler and the rest of the coaching staff should take this series as an opportunity to really evaluate the team’s in-game hitting abilities. Notre Dame’s pitching has been pretty solid so far, so there is no reason to suspect this being a concern this weekend.  

The first game will be Friday at 4 p.m. and can be watched on ESPN+. The Saturday and Sunday games start at 2 p.m. and noon, respectively. It may rain this weekend in Greensboro, but with ACC play starting in a little less than a month, the Irish will need to be ready.