April 28, 2017
By Michael Scholl
NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The Notre Dame baseball team fell victim to the big inning and dropped game two of a doubleheader to Duke, 14-1, on Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium.
Starter Michael Hearne was solid early, holding Duke off the scoreboard for the first four innings. The Blue Devils got to the southpaw late, however, eventually tagging him for six runs in seven innings of work.
Jake Shepski homered in the third to give the Irish the lead, however, Duke tied it in the fifth before taking the lead for good in the sixth.
Shepski began the Irish scoring with a solo home run over the left-centerfield fence. It was his second homer of the season.
After cruising through four, Hearne finally buckled. Kennie Taylor erased the Blue Devils’ one-run deficit with a solo shot over the right field wall.
Shepski continued his productive day at the plate with a double down the left field line. After a groundout by Daniel Jung advanced Shepski to third, Nick Podkul drew a two-out walk. Podkul was then able to steal second base, but centerfielder Jake Johnson went down swinging to end the frame.
Jack Labosky ripped a two-out triple just past the reach of Jake Shepski in the right-centerfield gap. Zack Kone scored on the hit after a one-out single and stolen base moved him to second base. Michael Smickilas then extended the Blue Devil lead to 4-1 with a two-run bomb over the right-field wall.
With one out, the Irish were able to threaten by stringing together three straight singles from Matt Vierling, Ryan Lidge, and Cole Daily. This prompted a pitching change for the Blue Devils, who went to reliever Nick Hendrix to try and get them out of the bases loaded jam. Duke left the inning unscathed after a strikeout by pinch-hitter Eric Gilgenbach and a Jake Shepski fly out.
The Blue Devils broke it open in the eighth, starting when shortstop Zack Kone picked up his 20th RBI of the year after lifting a solo homer over the right-field fence. Irish starting pitcher Michael Hearne was taken out of the game following another hit by Griffin Conine. Patrick McDonald got the call from the bullpen and was unable to slow the momentum as Duke went on to score five more runs, two off an Irish error. Freshman left-hander Cameron Brown was then brought in to try and right the ship, but Duke’s hot bats were unable to be contained. Four more runs crossed the plate before the Irish were finally able to escape.
The series finale has been moved up on Saturday to try and beat the rain. First pitch is now set for 10:35 a.m. and the game can be seen on ACC Network Extra. Audio play-by-play is available around the world on WatchND and over the airwaves in South Bend on 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.
Fighting Irish Media student worker Daniel Richardson contributed to this report.