The Irish will participate in their second Big East Conference series this weekend when they travel to Pittsburgh for a three-game set. First pitch is set for 6 PM on Friday, 3 PM on Saturday and 12 PM on Sunday. Notre Dame (12-12) lost two of three last weekend to South Florida to start out league play at 1-2.
The pitching rotation is set for the three contests. On Friday, the Irish will send ace David Phelps to the mound against Rob Brant. Phelps has been stellar this season. The sophomore right-hander is coming off a complete game, three-hit shutout of South Florida in Notre Dame's 1-0 victory last Friday. Phelps is 4-1 on the year with a 0.92 ERA in six starts this season. He's struck out a team-high 36 batters while allowing 31 hits in 39 innings pitched. The Panthers' Brant has struggled this year. Brant has a 1-3 record in six starts and has a 6.07 ERA. Opponents are hitting .331 off of him.
On Saturday, Wade Korpi will look to get on the right track. After an impressive 2006 season, the junior left-hander has not seen the same type of success early in the year. Korpi is 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA. The junior has 26 strikeouts in 29.2 innings of work but allowed 18 walks and 26 hits as well. Opponents are hitting .259 off of Korpi. He'll face Paul Nardozzi on Saturday afternoon. Nardozzi is 2-2 this season with a 3.34 ERA and has struck out a team-high 30 batters.
The finale of the three-game series will pit Notre Dame's Dan Kapala vs. Nate Reed. Kapala is 0-2 this year with a 1.45 ERA. The senior right-hander has walked only three batters in 18.2 innings pitched and has surrendered just three earned runs in 2007. Reed has a mark of 1-3 with a 3.86 ERA but his main problem has been walks. Reed has given 22 free passes on the season.
Pittsburgh comes into the series with a record of 9-12 and 3-3 in the Big East. Just like Notre Dame, the Panthers lost two of three to South Florida but rebounded by taking two of three from Cincinnati. Pittsburgh lost their last contest on the road to Kent State 3-0. Gary Bucuren leads the team in hitting at. 333. Bucuren also has a team-high 16 RBI's and has blasted three round trippers this year. Jordan Herr sports a .327 batting average. Herr has a pair of home runs in 2007 and leads the Panthers with a .582 slugging percentage. Besides these two, no other Pittsburgh player is hitting over .300.