Irish Set for Home Opener

The Notre Dame baseball team didn't start the season on fire. After a 2-6 opening to the year, the team has battled back and brought the record to 8-9 after beating Dayton 5-2 on Saturday. Now, the home opener awaits Notre Dame and new head coach Dave Schrage.

The Irish will take on Cleveland State on Tuesday at Frank Eck Stadium. First pitch is slated for 5:05 PM. Notre Dame has been on a roll as of late. The Irish have won four of the past five contests, including a 5-2 victory over the Flyers on Saturday in Fort Myers, Florida before heading back to South Bend. Notre Dame will look to use some home cooking to keep the forward momentum.

The Irish play seven games at Frank Eck Stadium in the next nine days. After Cleveland State, it's Western Michigan on Wednesday and then a day off before a three-game set with South Florida starting on Friday. Next Tuesday, Notre Dame is scheduled to play Central Michigan and follow it up with a contest versus Chicago State on Wednesday.

The pitching rotation has been set for the next three games. Freshman Eric Maust will get the nod in the opener against Cleveland State. The right-hander from Alpharetta, GA has appeared in four games this season and amassed a 4.15 ERA. Maust (0-0) has allowed four earned runs in 8.2 innings of work and opponents are hitting .278 against the freshman. On Wednesday, Sam Elam (0-1) will take the mound versus Western Michigan. The sophomore left-hander has a 11.57 ERA in two games started on the year. To open the three-game set against South Florida on Friday will be David Phelps. The sophomore right-hander has been the ace of the staff so far. Phelps (3-1) has a 1.20 ERA in five starts and struck out 26 batters in 30 innings of work. He leads the team in strikeouts, wins and innings pitched. The rotation for the two weekend contests versus the Bulls is TBA.

Cleveland State will bring a 2-14 record to Frank Eck Stadium on Tuesday. The Vikings started out 2-2 but have lost 12 straight games. Eight of those contests have been decided by three runs or more and they've been outscored 98-37 on the season. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 15-1. No Cleveland State player is hitting above .300. Bobby Cash leads the team with a .279 average while pitcher Josh Hungerman, despite owning a 1-3 record, has a 1.26 ERA in 28.2 innings of work. Hungerman has struck out 26 batters and allowed just four earned runs.

One Notre Dame player received an award this week for his performance on the field. Danny Dressman was named to the Big East Conference weekly baseball honor roll. The senior centerfielder hit .550 last week with a .591 on-base percentage and 14 total bases. Dressman is second on the team in batting average at .339 and has scored 11 times while knocking in eight. Freshman A.J. Pollock leads the team at .360.


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