Feb. 18, 2018
BATON ROUGE, La. — Eric Gilgenbach delivered a three-run homer and a grand slam as the Notre Dame baseball team defeated No. 9 LSU, 11-3, securing a series victory in Baton Rouge on Sunday afternoon.
Gilgenbach gave the Irish the lead in the fourth inning with a three-run homer to right-center before his ninth-inning grand slam was the nail in the coffin, breaking a panel on the Alex Box Stadium scoreboard. Freshman centerfielder Spencer Myers was the other star of the day for the Irish, going 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored.
Notre Dame skipper Mik Aoki used seven pitchers, who combined to hold the Tigers to three runs on five hits. Starter Cameron Junker was followed by Brandon Knarr, Brian Morrell, Cameron Brown, Joe Boyle, Jack Sheehan and Andrew Belcik. Junker earned a no-decision after allowing one earned run and one hit in 3.1 innings. Boyle tossed 0.1 inning and earned the win, while Belcik’s 2.1 scoreless innings gave him his first save of the season.
How It Happened
T3 | The Irish threatened to score first in the third inning. LaManna started the inning with a single to right and Myers laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second. After a Cole Daily strikeout, Johnson singled up the middle and LaManna was gunned down at the plate on a bang-bang play on a strike from LSU centerfielder Zach Watson, keeping the game scoreless.
B3 | LSU opened the scoring for the first time in the series. Bryce Jordan opened the inning with a single up the middle after Junker nearly had him struckout on a 2-2 pitch that was called either low or just off the corner. Beau Jordan followed with a walk before Brant Broussard laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the pair up. Josh Smith did his job with a sacrifice fly to score Bryce Jordan before Nick Webre flew out to end the inning with the hosts up, 1-0.
T4 | The Irish didn’t trail for long. The top of the fourth saw Podkul and Kavadas draw walks around a Matt Vierling foul out to bring up Gilgenbach with two on and one down. The junior then drilled a 1-0 pitch to the gap in right center, clearing the wall for his first homer of the day and second of the series and giving the Irish a 3-1 lead. After a Jung walk, LaManna crushed a liner to the right side that was snared on the move by the second baseman, Broussard, giving Jung no chance to get back to the bag on an inning-ending double play.
B5 | LSU threatened to have a big inning, but the Irish bullpen came through and held the Tigers to one run. Beau Jordan doubled to start the inning before Broussard singled to put runners on the corners with no one out. Aoki called Cameron Brown from the bullpen, who hit Josh Smith with his first pitch before getting Nick Webre to hit into a double play, scoring Beau Jordan and cutting the Irish lead to 3-1. Aoki went back to the pen, calling on Joe Boyle who induced an Antoine Duplantis groundout to end the inning and limit the damage.
T6 | Myers helped Notre Dame answer right back. Gilgenbach was the spark, singling up the middle before stealing second and moving up another 90 feet on a wild pitch. Jung then battled from a 2-2 count to earn a walk before LSU turned to the pen and Devin Fontenot. LaManna sacrificed Jung to second before Myers jumped on the first pitch and sent it through the right side to score Gilgenbach and Jung. Myers then stole second before Daily doubled him home to make it 6-2.
B7 | Beau Jordan made it a three-run game right after the stretch, taking Jack Sheehan deep on the first pitch of the inning. After a walk to Broussard, Sheehan got consecutive flyouts. Broussard stole second and Duplantis walked before Aoki went to the pen, bringing Andrew Belcik in with a 2-2 count on Watson. On the first pitch, Belcik got Watson to flyout to right, allowing the Irish to take a 6-3 lead into the eighth.
T9 | Gilgenbach put the nail in the coffin in the ninth. Johnson delivered a one-out double before Podkul walked. After a Vierling strikeout, Alex Kerschner singled through the left side to load the bases. Moments later, Gilgenbach came up and drilled his second homer of the day–this time a grand slam–to left field. The Irish were not finished. Daniel Jung walked, and David LaManna was hit by a pitch. Myers added one final insurance run with an RBI-single to center, scoring Jung and giving Notre Dame an 11-3 lead.
B9 | Belcik returned to the mound and completed the save for the Irish, wrapping up 2.1 scoreless innings of relief.
Player of the Game
Eric Gilgenbach had a three-run homer and grand slam, driving in seven of Notre Dame’s 10 runs on the day.
Stat of the Game
For the first time since 1953, LSU allowed at least six runs in each of the first three games of the season.
- The Irish evened the all-time series with the Tigers, 5-5, and move to 5-3 against the Tigers at The Box.
- With the win, Notre Dame becomes one of 12 programs (with at least six games played against LSU) to own a .500 or better winning percentage against the Tigers. The Irish join Florida State and Miami as ACC programs with a winning percentage of .500 or better against LSU.
- Notre Dame’s three errorless games to open the season are its most since at least 1994.
- Notre Dame picked up its first series win against a ranked team on the road since it won the series against No. 29 Rutgers in 2007.
- Senior Jake Johnson recorded his 100th career hit and extended his on-base streak to 14 games, dating back to last season.
- Podkul extended his hitting streak to nine games, dating back to the 2017 season.
- Podkul reached base 11 times in the series.
- For the first time in the series, Notre Dame did not score in the top of the first. Also for the first time in the series, LSU scored the game’s first run.
- The Irish had 10 steals on the weekend.
Notre Dame travels to San Antonio, Texas, where it hosts the annual Irish Alamo Classic beginning with a doubleheader on Thursday. The Irish open play at 4 p.m. ET against Saint Louis and wrap up the day with a matchup against Incarnate Word at 8 p.m. ET.
The first game of the doubleheader will be available on 103.1 FM.