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Notre Dame Baseball

Game Thread | Notre Dame vs. No. 1 Wake Forest

May 26, 2023
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Notre Dame (30-23, 15-15) vs. No. 1 Wake Forest (46-9, 22-7) 


When: May 26th

Time: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Durham Bulls Athletic Park | Durham, N.C.

Watch: ACC Network 


QUICK FACTS

- No.1 Wake Forest took the series 2-1 in mid-March.

- The Demon Deacons took game one (4-1) and game two (12-3) before dropping game three (3-1). 

- Wake Forest has already secured a spot in Saturday’s semifinals.

- Notre Dame enters Friday on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. D1Baseball’s latest projection has the Irish as the No. 64 team, so a win is crucial for the Irish to extend the season. 

PROBABLE STARTERS

SCHOOL NAME RECORD (APPEARANCES) ERA IP STRIKEOUTS
Notre Dame RHP Blake Hely 3-3 5.22 69.2 59
Wake Forest RHP Seth Keener 6-1 2.03 53.1 68

OFFENSIVE STATS 

STAT Wake Forest Notre Dame
Batting Avg. .305 .249
Runs 499 300
Hits 575 438
2B 115 81
3B 5 10
Home Runs 107 60
RBI 453 271
SLG% .542 .409
Walks 355 198
Hit by Pitch 72 89
Strikeouts 413 453
OB% 0.428 0.352

PITCHING STATS 

STAT Wake Forest Notre Dame
ERA 2.70 4.57
Hits 351 437
Runs 179 269
ER 145 237
Walks 146 195
Strikeouts 638 440
Opponent Batting Avg. .201 .246

- There is good news and bad news for Notre Dame entering Friday’s primetime matchup. The bad news is the Irish will face the nation’s No. 1 team in Wake Forest with postseason hopes riding on a win. The good news: Wake Forest has already advanced to Saturday’s semifinal, so the Demon Deacons won’t throw its No. 2 pitcher against the Irish. Junior RHP Seth Keener (6-1, 2.03) will start for Wake Forest. 

Keener went 2.0 inning against Notre Dame allowing one hit while striking out four Irish batters in Wake Forest’s win on March 18th.  On the year, Keener has thrown 53.1 innings and given up just 29 hits while striking out 68. 

The Irish will start RHP Blake Hely, who went 1.2 innings in relief giving up two hits, one run, one walk and struck out three in Notre Dame’s 3-1 win over the Demon Deacons in game three. It will be all hands on deck for Notre Dame as this could be the final game of the season, so RHP Jackson Dennies will also be available to throw if needed along with regular reliever LHP Will Mercer. 

Notre Dame did throw two of its best relievers on Wednesday in Radek Birkholz and Caden Spivey, so both would likely be unavailable. Spivey did throw 31 pitches, so he might be able to give the Irish an inning if absolutely needed, but that’s doubtful given Notre Dame will have Carter Bosch, Matt Bedford, Sammy Cooper, Ryan Lynch, Justin Moore and David Lally Jr. also available. 

- At the plate, Notre Dame is coming off one of its best hitting performances of the year as the Irish recorded 15 hits against Pitt. The Irish couldn’t get over the hump against the Panthers as Notre Dame hit into four double plays during Wednesday’s loss. 

In Notre Dame’s 3-1 victory earlier this year, Wake Forest recorded just four hits, so it’s unlikely that will happen again, so the Irish will need to move runners to have a chance on Friday. Notre Dame would benefit from a couple long balls as the home run hasn’t been a weapon over the last two weeks and Shawn Stiffler’s group needs any type of momentum. 

Veteran Carter Putz liked what he saw from the Irish against Pitt at the plate and hopes that continues against Wake Forest.

”I think overall like Coach had mentioned earlier, this was one of our better offensive performances of the season if you look at the ball contact and trajectory and ball flight,” explained Putz following the loss. “We hit a lot of balls hard today. Although it didn’t ultimately work out for us, I think you saw everyone competed to the very last pitch.

“We had a great game plan coming into today and trusted in that. Some things just didn't go our way, but overall, I thought up and down the lineup a lot of guys had a lot of great swings and made contact.” 

Stiffler knows his first season could end on Friday as he and his team know the importance of winning to get to a regional.

”I don’t pretend to know what the committee is thinking or what their thoughts are,” said Stiffler. “Certainly, I would feel a lot better with one of these two wins here. We’re going to treat it that way for sure. I think if we can come 1-1 out of here, I thnk our ACC record proves we’re one of the better teams.” 

Notre Dame Lineup

NAME POSITION BATTING AVERAGE
TJ Williams CF .249
Zack Prajzner SS .304
Carter Putz 1B .292
Vinny Martinez C .307
Brooks Coetzee RF .244
Brady Gumpf LF .244
DM Jefferson DH .250
Casey Kmet 3B .205
Estevan Moreno 2B .202

Wake Forest Lineup

NAME POSITION BATTING AVERAGE
Tommy Hawke CF .356
Lucas Costell LF .331
Nick Kurtz 1B .368
Brock Wilken 3B .354
Justin Johnson 2B .339
Pierce Bennett RF .333
Danny Corona DH .288
Bennett Lee C .296
Marek Houston SS .235

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