ATLANTA, Ga. – The University of Notre Dame baseball team opened its three-game series against No. 29 Georgia Tech with a 9-6 win Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Irish (11-12, 6-4 ACC) bats were hot from the first inning when Carter Putz smashed his first career home run to give the Irish an early lead. After Georgia Tech (17-9, 5-5 ACC) fought back and took the lead in the third, the Irish used the long ball to regain the lead.
Eric Gilgenbach crushed a three-run homer in the fifth to give the Irish a lead they would not relinquish. Tommy Vail shut down the Tech bats over the final three innings to clinch the series-opening win.
— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) March 30, 2019
How It Happened
The Irish jumped on the Yellow Jackets early and it started at the top of the lineup. Spencer Myers and Daniel Jung had long at bats to start the game and both reached base via a walk. Putz stepped up and took a first-pitch fastball the other way over the fence in right center for his first career home run.
Georgia Tech responded in their half of the first with two runs and it was a 3-2 game after the first inning. The Yellow Jackets tied the game in the second after plating a run on a throwing error that would have ended the inning.
The Irish put the pressure back on the Yellow Jackets in the third. Jung had a leadoff single and Putz reached after a hit-by-pitch and Kavadas came up with two runners on a just one out. On the eighth pitch of the at bat, he lined a single through the right side to score Jung and regain the lead for the Irish.
Tech took the lead for the first time on the night in the third. They plated two runs in the inning and held a 5-4 lead.
Georgia Tech went to its bullpen in the fifth and the Irish took advantage. After a leadoff single from Putz and double from Kavadas, Gilgenbach had two runners in scoring position with nobody out. He turned on a 1-1 breaking ball and sent it way over the wall in left to regain the lead for the Irish.
The Yellow Jackets got a run back in the bottom of the fifth but the Irish once again responded quickly in the sixth.
Myers and Jung got on to start the inning and advanced to second and third after a throwing error by the pitcher. Kavadas came to the plate with one away and crushed a double into the gap in left center. Myers and Jung easily scored to increase the Irish lead on Kavadas’ third hit of the night.
The Yellow Jackets were threatening in the sixth and had the bases loaded with their season leader in home runs at the plate. Vail was on the mound and on the seventh pitch of the at bat, he got McCann to strikeout and end the inning without any damage.
Vail was the final pitcher of the night for the Irish as he set the Yellow Jackets down in order in the seventh, eighth and ninth to finish the game. He retired all 10 batters he faced and set career highs with seven strikeouts and 3.1 innings pitched.
- Eric Gilgenbach hit his team-leading seventh home run of the season in the fifth.
- He finished the night with three RBI and he leads the team with 28 on the season.
- Carter Putz recorded his first career home run in the top of the first with his three-run blast to right center.
- Putz tied a career high with three hits against the Yellow Jackets.
- Tommy Vail set a career high with seven strikeouts and 3.1 innings pitched in relief for his second save of the year. He retired all 10 batters he faced.
- Niko Kavadas had a season-high three hits on the night and collected three RBI, his fourth straight game with at least one RBI.
- Daniel Jung set a career high with three runs on the night.
- The Irish scored at least eight runs for the fourth time in ACC play this season. The Irish are 4-0 in those games.
- Notre Dame improves to 3-1 in series-opening games during ACC play. The Irish are a perfect 3-0 in series-opening games on the road in conference play.
Notre Dame will continue its three-game series with Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon. The second game of the series is set for a 4 p.m. ET first pitch and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.