BOCA RATON, Fla. In a continuation from Saturday evening’s game, the University of Notre Dame baseball team struggled in several areas of the game Sunday afternoon at FAU Stadium as the No. 24 Florida Atlantic Owls took down the Irish, 13-3, in the series finale.
After pounding out nine runs on 13 hits with just one error in a 9-2 victory Saturday afternoon, the Irish went cold in the final two games, totaling six errors and allowing 16 runs in the Saturday nightcap, before giving up 13 runs on 16 hits Sunday. They also had three errors in rubber game of the series.
“We just didn’t play very well (in either of the last two games),” said head coach Mik Aoki. “We made errors and we didn’t do a very good job of throwing strikes. We were constantly behind in the count. We didn’t make the pitch we needed to or the plays we needed to. You give a good team those kinds of opportunities and it will come back to bite you.
“I did think we did a pretty good job all weekend of competing at the plate. Once a game sort of snowballs against you that is hard to do and I thought our guys did a good job of staying competitive in the batter’s box.”
For the third game in a row Notre Dame scored runs in the opening frame, putting up two to take the early lead. It was all Owls from that point on, however, as the home team put up three runs in the bottom half of the first and then five in the third to go up, 8-3. Junior Scott Kerrigan struggled on the mound for the Irish during the early innings. Kerrigan, who was making his first career start and missed all of the 2013 season following shoulder surgery, went only 2.1 innings and gave up eight runs (three earned) on seven hits. He also hit two batters, threw a wild pitch and had a throwing error. The Saugus, Calif., native also had little help from his defense as an error in the third broke up a potential double-play attempt that would have ended the inning.
First baseman Ricky Santiago had a big day for the Owls as he was 4-for-6 with a double, two RBI and four runs scored. Catcher Levi Meyer continued his blazing hot start to the season as well, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. RHP Drew Jackson got the win for FAU as he went 5.0 innings and gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits.
The Irish finished with three runs on four hits (all doubles).
Junior Robert Youngdahl (2.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 BB), sophomore Michael Hearne (2.0 IP, 3 ER), freshman Jim Orwick (0.2 IP, 1 ER) and senior Donnie Hissa (0.1 IP, no ER) pitched in relief for the Irish.
“There are a lot of new guys, not necessarily to the program, but to starting so we will look for them to continue to improve,” said Aoki. “We will look for our pitchers to be in the strike zone a bit more. I think some of this weekend may have been to nerves and some of it may have been having some guys out there that haven’t been there before. Those guys will need to adjust and take lessons from this weekend to start working to get better.”
Notre Dame returns to action Thursday as it travels to San Antonio, Texas for the Irish Classic at the local minor league ballpark. The Irish will welcome in Gonzaga (Friday, 1:30 p.m.), Santa Clara (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET) and local San Antonio school Incarnate Word (Saturday, 5 p.m.).