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Bielak & Guenther Stymie Wolfpack

March 31, 2017

Box Score | Box Score (PDF)

By Michael Scholl

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The Notre Dame baseball team saw pitchers Brandon Bielak and Sean Guenther combine to hold NC State to one run as the Irish took a 4-1 victory in the first of a three-game set on a chilly, misty Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium.

Bielak started on the mound, battling through 5.2 innings while conceding the one run on five hits. The starter worked out of a couple jams to keep the Wolfpack at bay. Guenther pitched the final 3.1 innings, earning his second save of the year. He gave up just two hits while striking out five and issuing no walks.

At the plate, Jake Johnson paved the way, knocking in a pair of runs, including a solo home run. Nick Podkul and Kyle Fiala had the other RBI for the Irish.

Key Innings

Top Third
NC State’s first hit came with two outs, as Stephen Pitarra singled to right, then Will Wilson dumped a double into left-center to set up runners on second and third. Bielak kept the game scoreless, inducing Josh McLain to ground out to Daniel Jung at first for the third out.

Bottom Fourth
Johnson opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth, drilling a dinger to right for his first career home run.

Top Fifth
The Irish couldn’t get the shutdown inning in the fifth, as the Wolfpack came back to tie the game. Andy Cosgrove singled to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Brock Deatherage. Pitarra grounded out to first, moving Cosgrove to third, setting up a two-out single by Wilson to make it 1-1. Bielak got McLain to bounce right back to the mound to end the frame.

Bottom Fifth
The big inning for the Irish started with a one-out walk to Ryan Lidge. Cole Daily singled, with Lidge hustling to beat the throw to third and Daily following up to second on the throw. NC State went to the pen, bringing in Joe O’Donnell to replace Sean Adler. O’Donnell then walked Jake Shepski to load the bases and followed with a walk of Podkul to score Lidge and put the Irish ahead. Johnson struck again, singling through the right side to score Daily before Fiala drew a walk to plate the third run of the inning. Matt Vierling went down on strikes before Daniel Jung flew out to end the inning with Notre Dame on top, 4-1.

Top Sixth
Bielak continued to battle into the sixth, getting a lineout before walking a pair and getting a pop-up for the second out. With two on and two out, Mik Aoki made the call for Guenther. The southpaw got Andy Cosgrove to ground into a fielder’s choice, slamming the door and keeping the Irish lead at 4-1.

On Deck

The Irish and Wolfpack will play the second game of the three-game series on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. The game can be seen live on ACC Network Extra and heard live on WatchND, as well as on 103.1 FM in South Bend.

— 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.

Fighting Irish Media student worker Jake Maier contributed to this report.