March 12, 2016
By Russell Dorn
Louisville, Ky. – No. 4 Louisville plated its lone run of the game on two singles and a well executed suicide squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth inning to claim a 1-0 victory over the University of Notre Dame baseball team Saturday afternoon at Jim Paterson Stadium in the series finale of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference showdown.
The loss spoiled an otherwise outstanding effort for Irish LHP Sean Guenther, who went a career-high 7.2 innings and allowed just the one run while striking out four batters. He hurled 111 pitches and dropped his season ERA to 2.92.
Guenther’s counterpart, Louisville LHP Drew Harrington, turned in an elite performance as well in allowing just five hits and no walks while striking out seven batters over eight innings. He threw 106 pitches and lowered his season ERA to 1.42.
When the Irish did make contact with Harrington, it seemed that the hard-hit balls weren’t finding green grass. In the second the Irish recorded back-to-back singles with two outs before a strikeout ended the threat. In the fifth senior Lane Richards reached base on a single before a screaming lineout to second base ended the inning.
The Irish saw their final scoring opportunity of the game get halted by an outstanding defensive play. After junior Kyle Fiala reached base by a hit by pitch, senior Ricky Sanchez moved him over with the sacrifice bunt. Senior Zak Kutsulis then smacked a ball towards the right side that would have easily scored Fiala to tie the game if it had gotten through. However, second baseman Nick Solak made a tremendous diving stop to halt Fiala at third and give the inning two outs. A strikeout by Louisville closer Zack Burdi ended the game and gave the Cardinals their second one-run win of the weekend.
Richards went 2-for-3 at the dish to lead the Irish.
After 14 games on the road, Notre Dame (6-8, 0-3 ACC) opens its 2016 home schedule at 6:05 p.m. (ET) Wednesday when the Toledo Rockets come to town.
Tickets are still available for the home opener and can be purchased at the Frank Eck Stadium ticket window, at the Murnane Family Ticket Office at Purcell Pavilion or by logging onto UND.com/buytickets.
Fans that can’t make The Eck can follow along through WatchND (free video) or live stats. Links for both are on the UND.com baseball schedule page.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).
Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.