May 16, 2017
By Hanna Bedricky
NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The Notre Dame offense was the key for the Irish as they scored 10 runs on 15 hits, paced by Jake Johnson’s 5-for-5 night, as they routed Western Michigan in a weeknight match-up, 10-2.
Johnson kicked things off for the Irish in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI double to right-center that brought Nick Podkul home to put the Irish on the board, but it wasn’t until the fourth inning that Notre Dame found its footing with a pair of home runs. The first home run was a two-run shot to left by Daniel Jung who went 5-2 on the day. Jake Shepski followed with a two-run homer to right as he went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. Eric Gilgenbach went 2-for-2 with three walks. Eight-of-nine Irish position players in the starting line-up recorded a hit on the evening.
Charlie Vorsheck continued to dazzle on the mound as he picked up his fifth win of the season. The junior pitched six innings allowing two runs on six hits with two strikeouts. After allowing two singles to start the game, he retired 10 straight before allowing a solo shot to concede Western Michigan’s first run. He improved to 5-0 on the year, the best start for an Irish pitcher since Michael Hearne went 6-0 on the year. Patrick McDonald and senior Ryan Smoyer, playing in his final home game at Notre Dame, combined for 2.2 innings of two-hit, shutout ball in relief of Vorsheck.
With the victory, the Irish capped the home season at 18-9 while going 11-1 in midweek games during the 2017 campaign. Notre Dame also is now 24-4 against unranked teams since March 4.
Johnson picked up his 2nd hit of the night with a RBI double to right center that brought Podkul home to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.
Vorsheck ran his streak of consecutive outs to 10 batters, but his 1-0 lead was short-lived. Western’s Tanner Allison drilled a solo shot to left to even things up.
Gilgenbach started the inning with a walk as the Irish got to work with a two-run shot by Jung which put the Irish on top for good, 3-1. Shortly after, Shepski homered to right bringing in Feliz with him as the lead was pushed to 5-1. The Irish tried to keep the inning going with a pair of singles from Johnson and Vierling put a pop-up to 3rd base ended the inning.
A walk by Shepski set up an RBI double to left-center by Podkul to increase the Irish lead to 6-1. The runs kept coming as Johnson delivered an RBI single to make it 7-1.
The Fighting Irish will cap off their ACC regular season with a trip to Boston College for a three-game series May 18-20. First pitch Thursday is set for 2:30 p.m., followed by a 1:30 p.m. start on Friday, with a series finale on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. All three games can be heard on WatchND and 103.1 FM. Notre Dame will be looking to secure a spot in the ACC Baseball Championship, as the Irish enter the weekend in 10th place, with the top 12 teams qualifying.
— ND —
Hanna Bedricky is a student assistant for Fighting Irish Media and a graduate of Indiana University.