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Notre Dame Baseball

No. 3 Notre Dame set for trio of Big Ten tests

March 4, 2022
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Life on the road continues again this weekend for the Notre Dame baseball team, which is off to a dominant 5-1 start after back-to-back weekends in Florida and South Carolina.

Now, however, the third-ranked Fighting Irish are poised to learn a bit more about themselves this weekend in Minneapolis, where they’re playing a trio of Big Ten teams inside a football stadium.

Notre Dame is battling Illinois, Michigan State and host Minnesota in the Cambria Classic at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Though it marks the first major-conference opponents for the Irish, it’s worth noting the trio of Big Ten residents are off to just a combined 8-15 start.

Here’s a look at the probable starters for Notre Dame this weekend:

Game 1, Friday, 4 p.m.: ND LHP Aidan Tyrell (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Illinois Cole Kirschsieper (1-0, 2.08 ERA)

Game 2, Saturday, 12 p.m.: ND LHP John Michael Bertrand (2-0, .69 ERA) vs. Michigan State RHP Zach Iverson (0-1, 5.62)

Game 3, Sunday, 7 p.m.: ND RHP Austin Temple (1-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Minnesota RHP JP Massey (0-0, 4.82 ERA)

DAZZLING STARTERS

It’s hard to imagine any better start for the Irish’s trio of starting pitchers thus far used that what’s being generated by the Tyrell-Bertrand-Temple weekend rotation.

Consider: In a combined 34 innings of work, opponent batters own just 21 hits against 44 strikeouts.

Even that metric doesn’t fully reveal the group’s dominance; 20 of the hits are singles. Starters own a collective .79 ERA entering this weekend’s action.

The Irish bullpen also has largely impressed. The 10 relievers to make an appearance are charged with just a total of seven earned runs and own 33 strikeouts in just 19.1 innings.

OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION

At the plate, Notre Dame continues to evolve without the record-setting home run prowess of Niko Kavadas after his All-Atlantic Coast Conference, All-America 2021 season and subsequent selection by the Boston Red Sox in the Major League Baseball draft.

Instead, ND has 18 players already with at least one run scored, paced by Carter Putz’s 10-run, eight-hit, eight-RBI start to the season.

The Irish still have eight regular players with .300 or better batting averages and 24 extra-base hits.

Freshman DM Jefferson isn’t among those hitting .300, but he’s already got seven RBIs, five hits and three runs scored in his young career.

The Irish tandem of Jack Brannigan and Ryan Cole are a combined eight-for-eight on stolen bases.

LOOKING BRIEFLY AT THIS WEEKEND’S FOES

Illinois owns single wins this season against Kansas and MTSU. Though the Irish will not face them, the Jayhawks as well as West Virginia also are participants in this weekend’s tournament.

Illinois is hitting just .233 as a team; the Irish are posting a .348 clip entering the weekend.

Michigan State lost its season-opener at UNLV and then added three-straight wins against the Runnin’ Rebels before dropping all of its games last weekend at Abilene-Christian.

After opening with a win at Florida Atlantic, Minnesota has single wins against Northeastern and St. Thomas to go with its losses to FAU and Indiana State.

 
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