CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina — The Notre Dame baseball team needed extra innings in Chapel Hill Saturday afternoon to clinch the series with a 11-8 win in 10 innings over North Carolina at Boshamer Stadium.
“There were so many big moments in the game, but overall the toughness of the team showed again, ” said head coach Link Jarrett. “It was a strenuous game, especially after they tied the game following us actually taking a good lead. The pinch hit two-run single by LaManna and pinch hit three-run double by Gilgenbach were huge moments carrying lots of momentum.”
“There were so many key at bats throughout the game. Honestly Coetzee’s two running catches in right and the 6-4-3 diving double play were equally as important in the outcome. We made some mistakes but our toughness allowed us to overcome those and beat a very good and deep team. Brannigan showed tremendous poise. He told me towards the end ‘we are winning the game and I am finishing it.’ He did, and he is such an asset to our team.”
Notre Dame (9-2, 2-0 ACC) held a six run lead after the top half of the seven but a furious rally by the Tar Heels tied the game in the bottom of the eighth. The Tar Heels (10-6, 0-2 ACC) had the bases loaded and the go-ahead run at third but Jack Brannigan got a ground out to end the inning.
Once the game got to extras, the Irish loaded the bases in the top of the 10th and Eric Gilgenbach came to the plate to pinch hit. He hit a laser to the wall in left field, clearing the bases to give the Irish an 11-8 advantage. Brannigan came back on the mound to close the game out for his first collegiate win.
How It Happened
For the 10th time in 11 games this season Notre Dame jumped on the scoreboard first, this time in the top of the first inning. Following a Carter Putz single to center, Jack Zyska took the first pitch of the at-bat over the left field wall for a two-run homer. It was Zyska’s second home run of the season and gave the Irish an early 2-0 lead.
The Tar Heels would tie the game up after scoring runs in the second and fourth inning. North Carolina was looking for more in the fourth with two runners on for Aaron Sabato. He hit a liner towards Zack Prajzner who made a diving play to start a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
In the sixth inning, the Irish regained the lead. Brooks Coetzee and Prajzner both reached base on back-to-back singles and advanced into scoring position on a ground out. Pinch hitting with two outs, David LaManna singled through the left side to score both runners and give the Irish a 4-2 lead.
Notre Dame kept it up in the seventh inning with timely hitting. Myers reached on a walk and Niko Kavadas was intentionally walked to bring up Prajzner with two outs. He smacked a RBI double off the wall in left to score Myers. Coetzee stepped up with two runners in scoring position and he brought them both home with a three-run home run to left. It was Coetzee’s first career home run and increased the Irish lead to 8-2.
Carolina answered with a big inning of its own in the bottom half of the seventh. They scored five runs to pull within a run and had the go-ahead run at the plate. Aidan Tyrell got Dylan Harris to strike out looking to end the inning and keep the Irish in front.
The Tar Heels tied the game in the bottom of the eighth. With a runner on third and one out, Brannigan forced a fly out to right and Sabato just beat Coetzee’s throw to the plate to tie the game at 8-8. Brannigan got out of the inning with a ground out with the bases loaded to keep the score level.
In extras, the Irish loaded the bases after a double from LaManna, single from Myers and a walk by Brannigan. Gilgenbach stepped to the plate and unloaded on the 0-1 pitch down the line in left. It bounced off the wall as all three runners came around to score. Brannigan came back out in the bottom half of the inning to close out the game and pick up his first career win.
- Notre Dame once again tallied double digits hits for the second consecutive game and seventh time this season.
- The Irish also scored in double figures for the fourth time this season.
- Jack Brannigan earned his first collegiate win after 2.2 innings of relief.
- Brooks Coetzee tallied his first career home run in the seventh inning with a three run shot to left field. He is the sixth Irish player to hit a home run this season.
- Coetzee finished the day with a career-high three RBI and tied a career high with two hits.
- Jack Zyska got the Irish started in the first inning with his second home run of the season. Zyska hit two home runs all of last season.
- Notre Dame has scored first in 11 of the 12 games this season.
- Eric Gilgenbach tallied a season-high three RBI with his double in the 10th.
- David LaManna finished the day with two RBI, his second multi-RBI game of the season.
The Irish will go for the series sweep Sunday afternoon as the Irish and Tar Heels meet for the final time at Boshamer Stadium. Left-hander Will Mercer will be on the mound for the Irish with first pitch set for 1 p.m. ET on the ACC Network Extra.