Apr 20, 2013, 1:41 PM EDT
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team has found itself stuck in quite a big rut, having lost six games in a row. The Irish are now 19-15 on the season, 4-8 in the BIG EAST, which has them ranked in 9th place amongst 11 conference teams heading into the back half of the season. Luck has not been with the Irish lately, as they have had several bad breaks in close losses to their opponents. The Irish appeared destined to break the losing streak on Wednesday night, as they led Bowling Green 12-0 in the fourth inning. However, Mother Nature was not willing to cooperate, sending down lightning and rain before the required 4 ½ innings could be completed to make the game official.
Now, the Fighting Irish look to bounce back against the Quinnipiac Bobcats, who come into South Bend for a three-game weekend series. The Bobcats come in with struggles of their own, having lost 9 straight and standing at 10-21 on the season. Sophomore IF Scott Donaghue leads Quinnipiac’s offense with a .290 batting average, while senior starter Derek Lamacchia has paced the pitching staff with 39 K’s and a 1.51 ERA.
The series will open up at 12:00 p.m. ET at Frank Eck Stadium Saturday with sophomore Pat Connaughton taking the mound for the Irish. Connaughton is 0-2 in 4 appearances with a 3.21 ERA this year. Fans are looking for a big outing from the sophomore to help right the ship for Notre Dame.
Saturday will continue as a doubleheader with the second game beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET, and senior Adam Norton will look to continue his strong season for the Irish. Norton is 7-1 on the season with a 2.08 ERA, but has run into some trouble in his last two starts. He took his first loss of the year last weekend against Pittsburgh, and gave up 6 runs the previous weekend against Villanova. It will be interesting to see how he personally bounces back from these shaky starts, while the rest of the team also looks to turn it around.
The three-game series wraps up at 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday at the Eck. Sophomore Matt Ternowchek will make his fourth start of the season for the Irish. Ternowchek is 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA, and will also be looking to rebound from a rough start at Pittsburgh last weekend.
It is crazy to think that the BIG EAST Tournament is just a month away for the Irish. After their strongest start to a season in years, the Irish have fallen on tough times, and need a jolt to turn their season around. Although this weekend’s series with Quinnipiac is not a BIG EAST matchup, every win is key at this point of the season. Look for big hitters Eric Jagielo and Trey Mancini to get the Notre Dame offense back on track and into position for a postseason run.
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