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Notre Dame Baseball

Game Thread | Valparaiso at Notre Dame

April 18, 2023

Valparaiso (14-14) at Notre Dame (18-15) 

When: April 18th

Time: 4:00 PM ET 

Where: Frank Eck Stadium | South Bend, Ind. 

Watch: ACC Network Extra


- Notre Dame leads the all-time series 86-21. 

- The Irish beat Valpo 8-4 on March 21st. 

- Zack Prajzner and Jack Zyska hit home runs in the first meeting. 


Valpo RHP Kaleb Krier 1-0 3.86 2.1 1
Notre Dame RHP Caden Spivey 1-0 1.88 14.1 14

Watch to Watch 

- Notre Dame returns to the field on Tuesday following a disappointing series over the weekend as Clemson took two of three games from the Irish. Shawn Stiffler’s club cruised to a 10-4 win on Friday, but the fell 5-1 and 6-4 the following two days. 

The first matter of business for Notre Dame isn’t at the plate, but rather in the field. Notre Dame committed six errors in the series against Clemson, which is something the Irish aren’t accustomed to over the last few seasons. Errors are also something this team can’t afford given the struggles at the plate. Now, is it a concern? Not really. Two errors came from DM Jefferson as Clemson’s terrace in the outfield had him completely off his game in game three.

Yes, if you haven’t watched a Clemson home game, the Tigers have a slope in the outfield that serves as a warning track. 

But overall, Notre Dame’s fielding has been solid this season, but the Irish will need to clean things up, especially on grass and dirt moving forward. 

- The bats are what they are for this team. Notre Dame is going to be up and down. The body of work at this point in the year is what it is and it’s hard to imagine the Irish flipping a switch and becoming a club that consistently hits game-to-game. 

What Notre Dame can do on Tuesday and Wednesday is build momentum and get guys reps as No. 8 Virginia comes to South Bend this weekend. 

It certainly seems like Shawn Stiffler has found his lineup as it’s remained the same for two weekends, but one has to think he might play around with the DH spot as Vinny Martinez has struggled since the North Carolina series. The Stanford transfer has hit four home runs and had a key double to score runs on Friday, but he’s batting .169 with 27 strikeouts on just 65 at-bats. 

Who could get time in that spot? It’s hard to say as Nick Juaire is batting .267, but has just one extra base hit this year and he’s at his best in situational baseball. Jack Zyska is batting .146 in 17 games and Casey Kmet is hitting .136. 

Regardless, Notre Dame finding a flow over the next two days and getting runs across the plate would provide momentum heading into the weekend. 

- Freshman RHP Caden Spivey will make this first start of his career this weekend and one has to think Stiffler is setting him up to potentially be a weekend starter after finding success out of the pen. Spivey has thrown 14.1 innings with a 1.88 ERA and 14 strikeouts to this point in the year. The Georgia native also hit 93 on the radar gun at Clemson. 

Why does Stiffler need to potentially find another starter? LHP Jack Findlay left Saturday’s game with an injury and he was expected to be evaluated when the team returned from Clemson. If Findlay can’t go, it will be interesting to see how the Irish pitching plan changes as the relief roles will likely change. 

And as mentioned, Notre Dame will also host Western Michigan on Wednesday, so this is not an ideal week to work through a new rotation to get through two games with a top 10 team coming into town. 

Notre Dame Lineup

TJ Williams CF .227
Zack Prajzner SS .275
Carter Putz 1B .279
Jack Penney 3B .234
Vinny Martinez C .169
DM Jefferson LF .246
Nick Juaire DH .267
Brady Gumpf RF .176
Estevan Moreno 2B .183

Valpo Lineup

Nolan Tucker 2B .330
Kyle Schmack LF .297
Brady Renfro 1B .313
Jack Skrine C .302
Ryan Maka RF .287
Spencer Warfield DH .259
Alex Thurston SS .221
Thomas Cooper 3B .071
Alex Ryan CF .228

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Game Thread | Valparaiso at Notre Dame

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