March 4, 2016
By Russell Dorn
CARY, N.C. – Alabama pitcher Geoffrey Bramblett scattered five hits and struck out six University of Notre Dame batters without issuing a walk over eight innings to help lead the No. 22 Crimson Tide to a 4-0 shutout of the Irish Friday night at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
The Tide scored all of their runs in the game’s first four innings. A rocky first inning for Notre Dame starter Ryan Smoyer (1-2) saw Bama take advantage of three walks, a single and a bases-clearing, three-RBI double to take the early advantage. In the fourth, a timely RBI single through the right side upped the lead to 4-0.
Meanwhile, Bramblett only put together three 1-2-3 innings, but limited the Irish to singles the entire night. Notre Dame had a runner reach third base in the second inning and loaded the bases in the sixth but both came with two outs. Both times Bramblett induced outs to get out of the jam and keep the Irish off the board.
After reliever Matt Foster came in for the ninth frame, the Irish tallied a hit and a walk with two outs, but Foster buckled down with a strikeout to end the contest.
Notre Dame’s Kyle Richardson (2-3) and Zak Kutsulis (2-4) each notched multi-hit days. The two-hit games raised Richardson’s average to .320 and Kutsulis’ to .345. After failing to record a hit in the season’s opening weekend, Kutsulis is batting .526 (10-19) with two doubles, three RBI, a walk and four runs scored in his last five games.
Freshman Matt Vierling earned a walk in the ninth inning to keep his on-base streak to start the year intact at eight games. Sophomore Jake Johnson upped his hit streak to eight games with a single in the sixth inning.
On the mound, Smoyer allowed four runs on five hits and five walks over 6.1 innings. He struck out four and allowed only one base runner over the final 3.0 innings of work after the tough start. He also turned in a perfect third inning but couldn’t overcome the three-run first or one-run fourth.
Also seeing time on the mound for the Irish was junior Jim Orwick (1.0 IP, 2 BB, 2 SO), who was making his first appearance since May 2015 following shoulder surgery, freshman Connor Hock (0.2 IP, 1 BB) and senior Joey Cresta (1.0 IP, 1 H).
Notre Dame (4-4) continues action at the USA Baseball-Irish Classic Saturday with a doubleheader against Brown (11:30 a.m. ET) and Bucknell (3 p.m. ET) before closing out the weekend versus Niagara Sunday (11:05 a.m. ET). Fans can follow the action through WatchND’s free audio broadcast in addition to live stats. Links for all three games are on the baseball schedule page.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).
Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.