Feb. 25, 2018
By Megan Golden
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The No. 30 University of Notre Dame baseball team suffered a heartbreaking loss to Purdue in the Alamo Irish Classic title game, falling by a score of 8-7 in Purdue’s last at-bat on Sunday afternoon. The Irish (4-3) finish the weekend with a 2-2 record in the tournament, including going 1-1 against the Boilermakers (6-1) at Nelson Wolff Stadium.
How It Happened
Notre Dame’s Cole Daily singled up the middle to lead off the bottom half of the first inning. Nick Podkul was hit by a pitch from Ryan Beard, which gave the Irish two base runners with Matt Vierling at the plate. On the final pitch of Vierling’s nine-pitch at-bat, Daily and Podkul took off, stealing second and third and advancing an extra base on an error by Purdue catcher Nick Dalesandro. Eric Gilgenbach extended the frame with a walk and later played a game of chase on the base paths in order to allow Podkul to steal home. The three stolen bases and the error helped the Irish score first and take a 2-0 lead.
The Boilermakers got on the board in the second, when Nick Dalesandro had a full count and connected for a solo homer to cut the Irish lead to 2-1.
Alex Kerschner, who made the start at DH, drilled a double over the third baseman that went all the way to the wall to open the bottom of the second. With no outs in the inning, David LaManna drove home Kerschner with a base hit to center to give Notre Dame a 3-1 lead.
Junker, who entered the fourth having allowed just one run on one hit with four strikeouts, put two men on base with one out in the inning before handing it over to Cole Kmet. The freshman came on and yielded a sacrifice fly, making the score 3-2, and an RBI-single to even the score at 3-3.
Purdue’s Trevor Cheaney hit Gilgenbach to open the sixth and issued a walk to Kerschner in the ensuing plate appearance. With one out in the inning, Ryan Cole hit a ground-rule double over the head of Purdue’s sprinting center fielder, recording his first collegiate hit and giving Notre Dame a 5-3 advantage.
Notre Dame was back at it again in the seventh, when Spencer Myers reached on an error, and Podkul followed with a base hit to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Matt Vierling then walked to load the bases. Kerschner added to his solid day at the plate by walking in a run after working a full count. With one out and LaManna at the plate, Trent Johnson’s wild pitch allowed Podkul to score from third, adding an insurance run and giving Notre Dame a 7-3 lead.
Purdue added five runs to take an 8-7 lead in the top of the ninth inning, when Vierling allowed three runs after loading the bases with a hit-by-pitch, walk and single. Cameron Brown and Shane Combs each gave up one run in the inning, with Combs picking up the loss.
- Notre Dame owns an 81-39-3 record against Purdue in program history, including a 5-2 neutral-site record.
- The Irish move to 4-1 in day games in 2018.
- Junior Nick Podkul is in control of a 13-game hitting streak, dating back to 2017. Podkul has hit .440 (22-50) with six doubles, one triple and 11 RBI over the hitting streak.
- Andrew Belcik and Tommy Vail combined to work 3.0 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three.
- In two career starts, Cameron Junker has worked 6.2 innings and allowed four runs on just three hits with six strikeouts.
The Irish will face Youngstown State at 5 p.m. ET on Friday at Osceola County Stadium in the Kissimmee Irish Classic. All three of Notre Dame’s tournament games will be available on 103.1 FM and WatchND.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame baseball and women’s soccer programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.