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Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame baseball prepares to take on Florida State

Irish sophomore infielder Jack Penney prepares to swing at a pitch during Notre Dame's win over Northwestern on April 4th, 2023
Irish sophomore infielder Jack Penney prepares to swing at a pitch during Notre Dame's win over Northwestern on April 4th, 2023

After a tough loss to Michigan State on Tuesday Night, the Irish are back home at Frank Eck for a three-game series against Florida State.

The Seminoles have been having a tough season, with a 14-25 overall record. Of particular interest to Irish fans, Florida State is 3-14 on the road. Their April 6 game against Clemson (5-1) and April 23 game against Virginia Tech (4-3) are the only two Seminole wins in the last month. 

Against Virginia Tech, first baseman James Tibbs III had two hits and two runs, and center fielder DeAmez Ross had two hits. The Seminoles have three hitters batting over .300 on the year — Jaime Ferrer, Ben Barrett and Tibbs III.    

They have been blown out quite a few times this season, though. In the first game of the series against Virginia Tech, they lost 24-9. In the first game of their series against NC State, the final score was 14-3. Then-No. 23 Miami beat Florida State 11-0 and 13-4, and then-No. 8 Virginia outscored the Seminoles 12-4 and 15-4. This was all just in the past month. It’s been a hard and frustrating season for Florida State. 

The Irish had been on a winning streak, including sweeping a ranked Virginia, but this streak ended with the 12-5 loss to Michigan State in East Lansing this week. The Irish took an early lead, going ahead 3-0 in the first inning. By the sixth inning, it was 5-5. Then, Michigan State scored six runs in the seventh and one in the eighth. Notre Dame didn't have an answer. Nine different players got hits for the Spartans, and three players scored two or more runs. Six different pitchers threw for the Irish. Justin Moore pitched the final 0.2 innings to close out the game.

Notre Dame has what it takes to take down top teams, as they have proved throughout the season. The Cavaliers sweep is proof of concept on that front. But playing down to the level of their opponents has become a nasty habit. Michigan State is a pretty good team — they have 25 wins so far this season, but the Irish didn’t put up as good a performance as they are capable of. Playing a struggling Florida State is a good opportunity for Notre Dame to regroup and refocus — both on hitting and pitching — and get some practice in before tournaments start. They have a little less than a month to go in the regular season, and every game counts. 

Notre Dame baseball will be back in action this weekend against Florida State, with the series beginning Friday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.