May 24, 2017
By Michael Scholl
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Nick Podkul homered twice and Sean Guenther struck out eight Florida State hitters, but the Irish dropped their opening game of the ACC Baseball Championship to the Seminoles, 5-3, in a 12-inning marathon.
The start of the game was delayed three hours and included a 41-minute delay during the eighth inning on a rainy afternoon in Louisville. The contest ended nearly eight hours after it was originally scheduled to begin.
Brad Bass started for Notre Dame and didn’t allow a run over the first four innings while striking out three. Brandon Bielak conceded three runs in 2.2 innings of relief. Guenther threw the final five innings, allowing just the game-winning, two-run homer in the 12th while striking out eight.
At the plate, Podkul was 4-for-5 with two solo home runs. Jake Johnson was 2-for-5 with a run scored while Eric Gilgenbach was 3-for-5 with two doubles. Ryan Lidge had an RBI double to tie the game in the ninth.
Drew Parrish started for FSU and gave up one run and four hits in six innings of work. Five FSU relievers combined to throw the final six innings, allowing two runs. Jackson Lueck almost single-handedly won the game for the Seminoles, going 3-for-3 with two home runs, including the walk-off in the 12th, four RBI and three walks.
A caught stealing turned out to be the biggest play of the early innings. Bass issued a one-out walk to Jackson Leuck before Lidge gunned him down for the second out. Bass then allowed a single and consecutive walks before getting a ground out to end the frame and leave the bases loaded.
The Irish opened the scoring in the top of the sixth when Podkul led off the inning by driving a 3-2 pitch into the left-field seats.
Florida State quickly responded. Bielak walked Dylan Busby on four pitches before Lueck drilled the first pitch he saw to the right-field party deck, making it 2-1 Florida State.
Gilgenbach sent a leadoff double down the left-field line but the Irish were unable to tie the game. After the double, Daniel Jung struck out and Bryce Gray had a pinch-hit flyout before Shepski hit a chopper up the middle that was snared by the pitcher for a groundout to end the inning.
The Seminoles got some insurance in the seventh. Matt Henderson drew a one-out walk before a fly out by Taylor Walls. Busby then drilled a double to the gap in right-center, scoring Henderson to make it 3-1. After the Irish intentionally walked Lueck, head coach Mik Aoki called Guenther from the bullpen. Guenther struck out Quincy Nieporte to end the inning.
Podkul flew one into the left-field stands to start the eighth for his second homer of the afternoon, cutting the Seminole lead to 3-2. Johnson followed with a single to right before FSU went to closer Drew Carlton. He got Vierling to fly out for the first out of the inning before Lidge drilled a double to right-center, scoring Johnson and tying the game. After the rain delay, Daily walked before Gilgenbach flew out to center for the second out. Jung then struck out to end the frame but it was all tied up in the middle of the eighth.
The Irish used a pair of singles from Shepski and Johnson to put runners on the corners with one out. Vierling did his job with a flyball to right, but FSU’s Steven Wells delivered a strike to the plate to double-up a tagging Shepski.
The Irish nearly escaped to send it to the 13th, but Lueck had other ideas. Guenther struck out the first two batters he faced before Busby singled on an 0-2 pitch. Lueck then found himself in a 1-2 hole, but drove a ball to the gap in left-center that just barely cleared the wall and the glove of the leftfielder, Johnson, to win the game.
- The Irish are now 1-3 all-time at the ACC Baseball Championship.
- It was Bielak’s first relief outing of the season. He last came out of the bullpen on May 6, 2016, when he threw 5.1 innings of no-hit, shutout ball against Pitt.
- Podkul’s sixth-inning home run was estimated at 379 feet.
- Podkul’s second homer traveled an estimated 351 feet.
- Johnson’s eighth-inning single ran his hit streak to 10 games.
- The teams sat through a 41-minute rain delay in the top of the eighth, the first in-game weather delay for the Irish this season. That came after first pitch was delayed by three hours.
- It marked Notre Dame’s fourth extra-inning game of the year, with the Irish holding a 1-3 mark in those contests.
- In addition, it was the second contest with bonus frames between ND and FSU, with the Seminoles having won a 13-inning game, 8-3, at Frank Eck Stadium on March 24.
- Guenther had a career-high eight strikeouts.
The Irish are scheduled to play their second Pool A game on Thursday at 7 p.m. against top-seeded Louisville. The game can be seen on ACC Network Extra and heard on WatchND and 103.1 FM.
— ND —Michael Scholl joined Fighting Irish Media in August 2016, coordinating communications for the baseball program and assisting with the football team at his alma mater. The South Bend native earned a degree in political science from the College of Arts & Letters in 2009 before going on to work in athletics communications at Providence College, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati.