Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish Drop Home Opener to NIU

March 20, 2018

Box Score | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

By Megan Golden

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame baseball team suffered a 5-3 loss to Northern Illinois in its home opener on Tuesday evening.

Notre Dame (8-11) received a strong outing from starter Zack Martin, but the Irish were unable to provide any run support against the Huskies (5-14) at Frank Eck Stadium.

How It Happened

Jared Miller drew a lead-off walk to open the bottom half of the third inning. Nick Podkul reached on an error by the shortstop, and a walk issued to Matt Vierling loaded the bases. In the middle of Alex Kerschner‘s at-bat, NIU’s starter Blake Walker threw a wild pitch that allowed Miller to score and give Notre Dame a 1-0 advantage.

The Huskies’ Tommy Szczasny walked to open the fifth, and he advanced to second on Kam Smith’s bloop single to right. The Huskies laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position, and NIU connected for an RBI-single and a sacrifice fly to plate two runs and take a 2-1 lead.

Notre Dame responded with one out in the fifth, when Jake Johnson singled and came around to even the score on a Cole Daily double and an error by the second baseman.

NIU connected for three straight singles to left field off Andrew Belcik in the sixth, scoring one run and regaining the lead. A two-out, two-run double put the Huskies ahead, 5-2.

Alex Kerschner walked with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Daniel Jung hit a fly ball to the right fielder, who dropped the ball and allowed Kerschner to score. The error helped Notre Dame cut the deficit to 5-3, but the Irish could not muster up an offense to climb back and win.

Game Notes

  • Notre Dame moves to 8-3 in the all-time series against NIU, including going 4-1 at home.
  • The Irish have gone 18-6-1 in home openers at Frank Eck Stadium, and head coach Mik Aoki has gone 7-1 in home lid-lifters at the helm of the Irish.
  • The Irish move to 6-7 in non-conference affairs in 2018.
  • Zack Martin did not earn a decision after working a career-high 5.0 innings and struck out five batters.
  • Matt Vierling has hit .378 (17-45) with one double and three home runs in the month of March.

Up Next

The Irish return to action at 6:05 p.m. ET on Friday, when they host Wake Forest in the first game of a three-game weekend series. The game will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra and available on 103.1 FM (South Bend)/WatchND.

For a behind-the-scenes look at the Irish baseball program, follow @NDBaseball on Twitter and @NotreDameBaseball on Instagram. For tickets to an Irish baseball game, click here.


Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame baseball and women’s soccer programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.