It’s difficult not to get excited for the season opener with the spring performances of Donnie Hissa and Dennis Torres. Hissa and Torres are holding their own for Notre Dame and UMass-Amherst respectively, each with an ERA below 3.00.
Hissa, the 6-foot-8 sophomore from Iron River, Wisconsin, received limited innings early in the season with a wealth of arms in the bullpen. However, his consistency makes it impossible for the Irish staff to overlook him as of late.
In Sunday’s game, with Notre Dame down 3-0 in the top of the sixth, Hissa was handed the ball and threw 3.1 perfect innings, closing out the game against St. Johns University. He needed just 33 pitches to retire ten batters, four of them on strikes. Hissa did not figure in the decision as Notre Dame failed to overcome the deficit.
Hissa also pitched a perfect inning in relief on Friday against the same St. Johns squad, fanning two of three batters.
Hissa holds a 1-1 record with a 2.41 ERA and has struck out 26 of the 70 batters he has faced. Opponents are batting a mere .214 with only two extra base hits – a double and single.
Unlike Hissa, Torres has been a regular starter since the beginning of the season for the Minutemen. On Friday, the junior from Lawrence, Massachusetts, allowed six hits, two runs, one earned, in eight innings of work in a no-decision.
Despite the strong start, UMass eventually lost the game 6-3 in extra innings.
As always, Torres took the loss in stride.
“It’s part of the game. It happens,” he said via text.
Torres is 2-3 on the season with a 2.88 ERA. He is second on the team with 36 strikeouts.
Interestingly enough, Torres did not pitch in high school for Central Catholic. He was cut all four years.
Casey Cotter was one of the lone bright spots in a weekend Merrimack College would like to forget. The Warriors were swept by division rival Franklin Pierce in a three-game series.
Cotter, who has been solid at the plate all season, was 4-for-12 in the series with a solo home run. He has thirteen hits in his last ten games and is batting .329 with a pair of home runs on the year.
Cotter’s future teammate, Anthony Peguero, was 3-for-8 on the weekend with a double, two RBI, and three runs scored.