April 29, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Behind a crushing solo homer from senior Ryan Bull in the first inning and the shut-down pitching of juniors Connor Hale and Nick McCarty, the University of Notre Dame baseball team blanked Sacramento State, 2-0, in non-conference action Wednesday night at Frank Eck Stadium.
With each team coming off an extra-inning game Tuesday night — a 12-inning loss to Michigan State for Notre Dame and an 18-inning defeat at Iowa for Sacramento State — neither team had much luck at the plate, as the two squads combined for nine hits, seven walks and two hit by pitch on the evening.
The Irish (29-16) got the game-winning run right off the bat, as Bull took a 3-2 pitch and sent it bouncing off the right-field sign commemorating Notre Dame’s postseason history for a first-inning solo homer.
The Irish didn’t need to plate many runs, however, as Hale and McCarty shut down the Hornets in combining for the four-hit shutout. Hale started the game and allowed just one hit and three walks in four innings of work before giving way to McCarty. The Westfield, Indiana native then hurled the remaining five innings, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out five, to improve to 6-3 on the year.
A season-high tying four double plays certainly helped the two pitchers, as Notre Dame turned the timely two in the first, second, sixth and ninth frames to up it’s NCAA Division I-leading total to 59 on the year. Since 2007, only the 2008 squad (65 DP’s) has turned two more in a season than this year’s squad.
Between the double plays and the limited scoring, the game finished in 2:02, which is the shortest Notre Dame game all season.
For Sacramento State, shortstop Scotty Burcham had two of the Hornets’ four hits, while catcher Dane Fujinaka and second baseman Brandon Hunley had the other two.
Notre Dame continues its eight-game homestand this weekend with a three-game, non-conference series against Northwestern State. The series gets underway at 6:05 p.m. (ET) Friday and wraps up with a 2:05 p.m. (ET) Saturday contest and a 1:05 p.m. (ET) Sunday finale.
Saturday’s game will be Notre Dame’s third-annual ALS Game, with all proceeds going to the Pete Frates #3 Fund. Check UND.com for more details.
Fans that can’t make it out to the park can watch all three contests through WatchND’s free online video stream. Links are available on UND.com.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director