Feb. 17, 2018
BATON ROUGE, La. — In its 122nd season opener, the Notre Dame baseball team went toe-to-toe with No. 9 LSU and dropped a heartbreaking 7-6 decision before an LSU-record 12,844 at Alex Box Stadium on Friday.
The Irish led early, scoring runs in the first, third, fourth and fifth, but LSU came back with a grand slam in the sixth and three-run homer in the eighth to steal the game.
Cole Daily paced the Irish at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two runs scored. Nick Podkul was 1-for-3 with two RBI and Matt Vierling was 2-for-4. Notre Dame starter Scott Tully took a tough no decision after carrying a shutout into the sixth. He finished allowing four earned runs in 5-plus innings.
How It Happened
T1 – The Irish did not shrink from the big stage, striking in the first to take the lead before the Tigers even stepped to the plate. Daily singled to lead off the game, then stole second. A Johnson groundout moved Daily up to third before Podkul smashed a ball through the left side, with an error call robbing Podkul of the season’s first RBI. Notre Dame tried to seize the momentum further, but Podkul was caught stealing before Vierling singled. Kavadas grounded out in his first collegiate at-bat to end the top half of the first.
B1 – The Tigers tried to strike back, but Tully slammed the door. Nick Webre and Antoine Duplantis delivered consecutive one-out singles before Zach Watson flied out to right. Tully walked Daniel Cabrera to load the bases, but got Bryce Jordan to fly out to end the frame and allow the Irish to hold a 1-0 lead after the first full frame.
T3 – Notre Dame extended its lead with a pair in the third. Daily was again the spark plug, starting the frame with a dribbler down the first baseline that was fielded by the pitcher, but Daily beat both the first and second basemen to the bag. Johnson was then hit by a pitch before the pair moved up to second and third on a passed ball. Podkul struck again, this time officially getting the first RBI of the season with a single down the left field line to score Daily and Johnson. The next three hitters were retired but the Irish had jumped to a 3-0 lead.
T4 – The Irish added on in the fourth. Gilgenbach doubled to start the inning and moved up to third on a groundout by Jung. LaManna notched his first collegiate RBI with a single to right, scoring Gilgenbach. LaManna then swiped his first stolen base and moved up to third on a Myers groundout. Daily then hit a slow roller to short and beat it out to score LaManna. A towering flyout to center by Johnson ended the inning with the visitors up, 5-0.
B6 – The Tigers came storming back in the sixth. After an incredibly sharp first five innings, Tully walked the lead-off man before giving up a single and another walk. Bryce Jordan then made it a ballgame again with a grand slam to left, cutting the Irish lead to 6-4 and chasing Tully. Aoki called on Jack Sheehan from the pen, and Sheehan got a flyout before hitting Jake Slaughter. After another flyout, Aoki went back to his bullpen and called on Cameron Brown, who got Josh Smith to flyout to end the inning with the Irish up 6-4.
B8 – The Tigers used the long ball again to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Beau Jordan started it with a one-out double. Aoki brought Vierling in from third to pitch, and after a ground out, Vierling walked Chris Reid before Smith homered down the right field line to put LSU up, 7-6. After a walk and wild pitch, Tommy Vail came into pitch and got Watson to strikeout to end the frame.
Player of the Game
In addition to going 4-for-4, Daily stole three bases and was perfect on seven fielding attempts at short (two putouts, five assists).
Stat of the Game
Notre Dame and LSU have played one-run games in their last three meetings.
- Notre Dame has gone 5-3 on Opening Day in the Mik Aoki era.
- The Irish trail LSU, 5-3, in the all-time series and move to 3-3 against the Tigers at The Box.
- Senior Jake Johnson extended his on-base streak to 12 games, dating back to last season.
- Podkul extended his hitting streak to seven games, dating back to the 2017 season.
- When Notre Dame comes to town, fans show up. Tonight’s attendance was an LSU Baseball-record 12,844.
Notre Dame and LSU meet for game two of the series on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m. ET. It can be seen live on SEC Network+ (via WatchESPN), with play-by-play available on the airwaves in the South Bend area on 103.1 FM and on the web at UND.com and via the WatchND mobile app.