April 14, 2017
By Michael Scholl
WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina — The Notre Dame baseball team fell victim to a big first inning, allowing four Wake Forest runs in the game’s first frame, before fighting back but dropping game one of a three-game set to the Demon Deacons, 4-3.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Irish, who will look to rebound in game two of the series on Saturday against the 20th-ranked Deacons.
Brandon Bielak rebounded to have a solid outing after allowing four runs in the first. After conceding four runs on three hits in that opening frame, he allowed just five hits and no runs the rest of the way while striking out five. Peter Solomon was solid in relief, allowing just one hit in 1.2 innings.
At the plate, the Irish got solid production from the top of the order. Nick Podkul, Jake Johnson, Kyle Fiala and Matt Vierling each had a hit. Johnson homered, while Podkul and Cole Daily had the other RBI. Podkul has now reached in 21 straight contests.
The Demon Deacons scored all their runs in the first. After a leadoff walk and bunt single, Stuart Fairchild doubled to right, scoring the first run. After another walk, Ben Breazeale singled in run number two. Bielak then hit a batter with the bases loaded to make it 3-0 before Logan Harvey hit into a double play, scoring a run to make it 4-0. Bruce Steel popped up to end the frame, but Wake Forest would have all it needed.
The Irish got a run back in the top of the third. Jung led off the inning with a single to center. Jake Shepski flew out to right, driving the ball to one of the deepest parts of the otherwise hitter-friendly Couch Ballpark. Podkul then doubled to left-center, scoring Jung for Notre Dame’s first run. Johnson also hit it hard, but right at the shortstop for out number two before Fiala flew out to deep center to end the inning with Wake up 4-1.
Notre Dame made it a one-run game with a pair in the sixth. Johnson got the first one back with a solo homer to right. Fiala and Vierling followed with consecutive singles before Lidge walked to load the bases. Daily hit a chopper which was stopped on a dive by the second baseman Jake Mueller. Mueller’s only play was to try and get Lidge at second base but the throw wasn’t in time, allowing Fiala to score and make it 4-3. The inning ended with Connor Power going down swinging and Jung flying out to right.
The Irish and Deacs meet for game two of the three-game set on Saturday at 4 p.m. Watch live on ACC Network Extra, via WatchESPN, or listen live on WatchND and 103.1 FM.
— 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.