Irish Win in Extras, Clinch Series Over No. 12 Clemson

CLEMSON, S.C. –  The University of Notre Dame baseball team battled back after losing a late lead to defeat No. 12 Clemson 4-2 in 10 innings Sunday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Cameron Junker pitched the best outing of his career on the road against one of the top teams in the ACC. He logged a career-high 7.1 innings pitched and 8 strikeouts while scattering four hits and one run.

After the Tigers (14-5, 4-2 ACC) tied the game in the eighth, the Irish (8-10, 4-2 ACC) battled back in extras with two runs in the top of the 10th. Mitch Megias was tasked with closing out another ACC series and he got the final outs to clinch the win on St. Patrick’s Day for the Irish.

Three stellar performances on the mound today from @CameronJunker, @joeboylejoe1314, and @mitchmegias! Listen to what they had to say! ☘️#GoIrish #PassTheShillelagh

— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) March 17, 2019


How It Happened

Notre Dame struck first in the rubber match of the series in the top of the second. Niko Kavadas turned a 2-1 pitch that was left up in the zone and drove it out of the park in right center. It was his sixth home run of the season and gave the Irish an early 1-0 lead.

Kavadas was at it again in the top half of the sixth. Eric Gilgenbach reached on an error and then stole second to get in scoring position. Kavadas battled and took a 2-2 pitch through the shift into right center for the single and Gilgenbach came around to score.

Cameron Junker was dominant on the mound from the get go Sunday afternoon. He set the Tigers down in order through the first three innings, recording five strikeouts in that span.

The Tigers were threatening in the sixth inning with two runners on, one out and the middle of their lineup at the plate. Junker got Byrd to ground into a fielder’s choice and then with runners on the corners, he got Wilkie to fly out to center to end the inning.

Junker finished the afternoon with a career-high 7.1 innings pitched, scattered four hits and struck out a career-high eight and allowed just one run.

The Tigers broke through in the eighth and tied the game on a two-RBI double from Byrd. Andrew Belcik came in with the go-ahead run at second and just one out. He struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam and keep the score tied heading into the ninth.

In the bottom of the ninth, Joe Boyle came in with runners on first and second and nobody out. After a strikeout and a fly out, the Tigers had the winning run just 90 feet away but Boyle got Hall to strikeout to end the inning and send the game to extras.

In the 10th, the Irish loaded the bases and Brooks Coetzee came to the plate with just one out. He hit a dribbler past the pitched that scored Putz from third and he made it to first on a muffed throw by the first baseman. Next, Jared Miller legged out a fielder’s choice that he was initially called out but after review, the call was overturned and Zyska scored on the play.

The Tigers got the tying run on base in the bottom of the 10th but Megias shut the door to collect his first career save and another series win for the Irish.

Game Notes

  • Cameron Junker tallied a career-high 7.1 innings pitched and eight strikeouts on the afternoon.
  • All three Notre Dame starters pitched at least seven innings against the Tigers. (Sheehan 9 IP, Brown 7 IP, Junker 7.1 IP)
  • Niko Kavadas hit is sixth home run of the season in the second inning.
  • He ties Eric Gilgenbach for the team lead and set a career high after totaling five home runs all of last season.
  • Kavadas notched his third multi-RBI game of the season after the single in the sixth that drove in Gilgenbach.
  • Gilgenbach recorded his first steal of the year and eighth of his career in the sixth inning.
  • Joe Boyle collected his first career win and Mitch Megias recorded his first career save against the Tigers.
  • Carter Putz had two hits on the afternoon for his seventh multi-hit game of the season.

Up Next

Notre Dame will head back to campus and prepare for its home-opening series against Florida State. The home opener is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. ET at Frank Eck Stadium and all three games will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.

For a behind-the-scenes look at the Irish baseball program, follow @NDBaseball on Twitter and @NotreDameBaseball on Instagram. For tickets to an Irish baseball game, click here.