May 14, 2016
By Russell Dorn
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Behind seven impressive innings from senior LHP Michael Hearne and a two-run homer from freshman Matt Vierling, the University of Notre Dame baseball team picked up a much needed victory over No. 20 North Carolina, 3-1, Saturday night at Boshamer Stadium to even the three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series at a game apiece.
In the least surprising news for fans following Notre Dame baseball all year, Hearne proved to be the stabilizer that the Irish needed. He started the game perfect through three innings and carried a no-hitter into the sixth.
The Palos Heights, Illinois native confused the Tar Heels all night, allowing just a run on three hits and two walks while striking out four over 109 pitches. He posted four 1-2-3 frames in earning his seventh quality start of the year.
Over his last seven starts, Hearne has a 6-1 record and 0.94 ERA (47.2 IP) while limiting opponents to a .195 batting average.
For the year he’s 8-1 with a 1.93 ERA over 74.2 innings on the bump and has wins over ranked squads Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and North Carolina.
Hearne’s effort continued some solid Notre Dame pitching as of late. In its last five games, the Irish pitching staff has a 1.64 ERA and has allowed less than five hits a game.
After neither team could get anything going through the first five innings, the sixth inning provided plenty of action. After sophomore Jake Shepski singled up the middle, freshman Matt Vierling smacked his sixth homer of the year – a line-drive shot over the leftfield fence – to give Notre Dame the 2-0 lead.
Four batters later, freshman Cole Daily provided the Irish an insurance run by recording an RBI single through the right side to put Notre Dame up 3-0.
North Carolina scored its lone run in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Cody Roberts recorded his first career homer with a solo shot over the leftfield fence to trim the margin to 3-1.
In the seventh, Hearne worked around runners on second and third with one out to keep the Tar Heels off the scoreboard.
He then turned the game over to sophomore LHP Sean Guenther, who looked brilliant in two innings of relief, striking out two batters and not allowing a base runner to reach in picking up his first save of the season.
The Irish offense held their own against Tar Heel star J.B. Bukauskas, recording three runs, five hits and two walks before running him out of the game entering the seventh inning after 101 pitches.
Vierling finished with a homer, single and two RBI. Senior Lane Richards posted another two-hit day.
Notre Dame (27-23, 11-13 ACC) and the Tar Heels (32-19, 11-15 ACC) close out their three-game ACC series at 7 p.m. ET Monday. Fans can follow live on ESPNU or online through WatchESPN, WatchND’s audio broadcast or StatBroadcast. Links for all three online channels are available on UND.com.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball team, 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.