April 9, 2017
By Neil Joseph
NOTRE DAME, Indiana – The Notre Dame baseball team completed the series sweep of Georgia Tech by winning 9-6 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. With the win, the Irish continued their recent hot play at home, having won six of the past seven in South Bend.
Notre Dame made use of their highest scoring inning of the year to build a lead they never gave up. The Irish sent eleven hitters to the plate in the third and had some well-timed hits and gritty at-bats to go up 6-4 after starting the inning down 4-0.
Irish starting pitcher Brad Bass worked through some tough innings at the beginning of the game to record his second win of the season for the Irish. After fighting through a difficult first three-plus innings, Bass retired nine straight batters to allow the Irish to build their lead.
In total, Bass pitched six innings, allowing only five hits and striking out seven. The junior repeatedly made key pitches with Yellow Jacket runners on base, forcing Georgia Tech to leave seven runners on base in his six innings pitched. Peter Solomon recorded the save for Notre Dame, facing nine batters and striking out four in two innings of work.
Jake Lee took the loss for Georgia Tech, as the Irish forced him out of the game after only 2.2 innings of work. The Irish totaled nine runs on 10 hits off of Georgia Tech pitchers, striking out only four times on the afternoon while drawing eight walks and twice getting hit by a pitch.
Offensively, the Irish got excellent production up and down the lineup. Cole Daily paced Notre Dame with three RBI, Jake Johnson added two runs and two hits, and Nick Podkul had a double and two runs scored. Kyle Fiala concluded his fantastic series with two hits and two RBI and Ryan Lidge hit a double and scored two runs.
Bass worked around a bases-loaded jam to start the game. After Trevor Crapot reached on an error and Wade Bailey walked, Bass struck out Kel Johnson and Joey Bart. After a Coleman Poje walk loaded the bases, Bass was able to force a ground ball to second to escape the first inning unscathed.
One hit in the second was enough for the Yellow Jackets to start the scoring. Georgia Tech shortstop Austin Wilhite started the inning with a ground-rule double and was moved to third by a sacrifice bunt from Chase Murray. After Bass struck out another Yellow Jacket, an error by Irish shortstop Cole Bailey allowed Wilhite to score, giving Georgia Tech a 1-0 lead.
Georgia Tech added another three runs to pad its lead in the third. Bart started the inning with a double, and two walks by Bass loaded the bases. After Bass struck out Yellow Jacket first baseman Kyle McCann, singles from Wilhite and Chase Murray brought in three runs. Bass limited the damage by rolling a double-play ball to end the inning.
The Irish sent 11 men to the plate in the bottom half of the third to score six runs and take the lead. A Jake Shepski walk started the action, which was followed by Podkul getting hit by a pitch. Johnson hit an infield single to load the bases and Fiala walked to score Shepski. After Matt Vierling flew out to shallow left, Lidge forced a fielder’s choice to score Podkul. Daniel Jung then drew a two-out walk to again load the bases and Connor Power was hit by a pitch to bring in another Irish run and force a Georgia Tech pitching change. A bloop hit by Daily then scored both Jung and Lidge, and Shepski followed with a single to bring in Power. The Irish were finally sat down after Podkul struck out in his second at-bat of the inning.
Bass once again managed to strand a runner in scoring position in the top of the fourth, posting a shutdown inning after his team put up a crooked number. Georgia Tech started by putting two men on with a single and hit by a pitch. After a flyout moved a Yellow Jacket runner to third, Bass forced a lineout and a ground ball fielder’s choice to pitch a scoreless fourth.
Notre Dame took advantage of some Georgia Tech miscues to add to their lead in the fourth. Johnson started with a single and was moved over to second by Fiala on a sacrifice bunt. After Vierling walked and Lidge struck out, Jung reached first on a dropped third strike (wild pitch) to load the bases. A wild pitch followed, scoring Johnson. Power then walked to once again load the bases, but Daily hit a hard ground ball that unfortunately hit Jung as he ran to third to end the inning.
Notre Dame added another run to their lead in the sixth. Lidge started the inning with a double, which was followed by Jung’s second walk of the game. Power then moved Lidge over to third with a flyout to right and Daily drove him in with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Austin Wilhite drove in two runs for the Yellow Jackets to cut the home team’s lead in half heading into the seventh inning stretch. Charlie Vorsheck started the inning on the mound for the Irish, hitting Joey Bart and walking Kel Johnson. After Vorsheck forced a fielder’s choice, Cameron Brown came in to pitch and struck out Kyle McCann. Peter Solomon then came in to pitch for the Irish, but Austin Wilhite plated both Coleman Poje and Bart with a single to center.
The Irish got one run back in the bottom half of the seventh to push the lead to three. After Shepski flied out, Podkul hit a double to left that nearly cleared the wall. Johnson moved him over with a ground ball to first, and a two-out RBI single by Fiala plated Podkul.
Notre Dame plays host to Big Ten rival Michigan State on Tuesday, April 11. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. at Frank Eck Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, WatchND (audio) and 103.1 FM.
— ND —
Neil Joseph is a Fighting Irish Media student assistant.