Late Rally Lifts Irish Past Demon Deacons, 7-4

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. –  The University of Notre Dame baseball team battled back and defeated Wake Forest 7-4 Saturday afternoon at David F. Couch Ballpark.

The Irish (5-6, 1-0) struck first with a solo homer for Daniel Jung in the fourth inning. Wake Forest (8-7, 0-1) jumped in front with two runs the next half inning.

The Demon Deacons held the lead until the eighth inning when Niko Kavadas belted a three-run bomb to regain the lead for the Irish. Cole Kmet came in and shut the door in the final two innings to secure the first conference win for the Irish.

After his huge ? in the 8th inning @nikkavadas22 talks about the at bat ☘️#GoIrish #PassTheShillelagh

— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) March 9, 2019


How It Happened

Tommy Sheehan worked quickly through the Demon Deacons in the opening innings, recording two-straight 1-2-3 innings on eight pitches in the second and third inning.

Jung led off the fourth inning with a towering fly ball to right field that hit off the Nissan sign for a home run. It was Jung’s first home run of the season and was the first run of the afternoon for the Irish.

The Demon Deacons responded in the next half inning. After a runner reached based on a throwing error, Muntz sent a fly ball deep into left center and over the fence to give them a 2-1 lead.

Wake added to its lead in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Lanzilli took a fastball on the outside corner the other way to right and it just cleared the fence for a solo home run. Sheehan got a strikeout to end the inning and keep the Demon Deacons from adding any more runs.

The Irish got a run back in the top half of the sixth after stringing together a few hits. Ethan Copeland singled to begin the inning and advanced to second on a throwing error. Spencer Myers beat out a bunt single and a throwing error from the third baseman brought Copeland around to score.

Wake Forest did not waste time getting the run back in the next half inning. Muntz hit his second home run of the game to left center and the Demon Deacons regained their two-run lead.

The Irish were also quick to answer the Demon Deacons, as they manufactured a run in the top of the seventh. Eric Gilgenbach missed a home run by a few feet and ended up with a double to lead off the inning. Ryan Cole was up next and moved Gilgenbach over on a sacrifice bunt. Jared Miller followed suit with another sacrifice bunt up the first base line to score Gilgenbach and bring the deficit down to 4-3.

Notre Dame kept the pressure on in the top of eighth when Jung and Carter Putz had back-to-back hits and Niko Kavadas stepped up to the plate with two runners on and one out. With the count full, Kavadas turned on a breaking ball that was left up in the zone and he kept it inside the foul poul for a three-run homer to regain the lead for the Irish.

In the top of the ninth, the Irish added an insurance run to increase their lead. Miller led the inning off with a double and Myers brought him home with a double down the left field line with two outs.

Game Notes

  • Niko Kavadas launched a three-run homer over the fence in right for his fourth home run on the year, tying Eric Gilgenbach for the team lead.
  • Carter Putz extended his hit streak to eight games with a single in the first inning. His eight game hit streak is the longest by any Irish player this season.
  • Putz singled as part of the rally in the eighth for his fifth multi-hit game of the year.
  • Daniel Jung hit a solo homer to right for his first home run of the season and eighth of his career.
  • Jung added two more hits on the afternoon for his fourth three-hit game of the season.
  • Shane Combs tallied a strikeout to end a Wake Forest threat in the seventh and earned the first win of his career.
  • Cole Kmet pitched the final two innings for the Irish to lock down his second save of the season.
  • Spencer Myers lined a two-out RBI double down the line in left for his second hit of the afternoon and fourth multi-hit game of the season.

Up Next

Notre Dame will play a doubleheader tomorrow to close out the weekend series with the Demon Deacons. Game one will start at 1 p.m. ET and game two will begin 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Both games will be streamed on the ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

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.