April 26, 2015
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest catcher Nick Bisplinghoff hit an RBI double to left center field in the bottom of the 11th inning Sunday afternoon at Gene Hooks Field to give the Demon Deacons a 5-4 victory over the University of Notre Dame baseball team in the rubber game of a three-game series.
In a back-and-forth game, the Demon Deacons left 16 runners on base, but finally struck pay dirt eight innings after scoring two runs in the third frame to take a 4-2 lead. Facing off against Irish sophomore Scott Tully in his fifth inning of work, freshman Stuart Fairchild singled to right field to open the bottom of the 11th. After a sac bunt moved Fairchild over, Bisplinghoff connected on a 2-1 pitch and sent it soaring towards the left centerfield gap. Irish junior centerfielder Kyle Richardson had a play on it, but the ball was just inches too far, as it went in and went out of the Park Ridge, Illinois native’s glove to score Fairchild easily from second base and give Wake the walk-off series win.
With the loss, Notre Dame’s streak of three-straight Atlantic Coast Conference series wins and two-consecutive ACC road series wins was snapped.
For the weekend, Notre Dame had 15 runs on 21 hits, while Wake Forest plated 14 runs on a remarkable 42 hits.
“I think my only disappointment (on the weekend) is that I think we could have been a little more competitive at the plate,” head coach Mik Aoki. “But that’s one of those things. Hitting comes and goes. I thought we did a good job managing a very good offensive club in an extremely offensive field. So I think we played good defense, managed innings against a very good offensive team and the hitting just wasn’t there for us this weekend. But I guess hitting is the fickle mistress of this sport.”
The two squads went run-for-run in the early innings, as Wake scored its first four runs during the opening three frames, while Notre Dame scored one run in each of the second, third, fifth and sixth innings.
Junior Zak Kutsulis and senior Ryan Bull drove in all four of Notre Dame’s runs Sunday, as the former tallied an RBI groundout in the second and an RBI double in the sixth, while the latter had an RBI single in the third and a sac fly in the fifth.
Sophomore Kyle Fiala increased his on-base streak to 32 with his second three-hit game in a row against the Demon Deacons. The Carmel, Indiana native now has three three-hit games and 13 multi-hit contests this year.
The Irish pitching and defense did all they could to keep their squad in the game. Despite giving up 17 hits, the pitching unit of Nick McCarty, Brad Bass, Scott Kerrigan and Tully combined to strand 16 Wake runners. The Demon Deacons left the bases loaded in the 10th and grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the sixth to end another threat.
McCarty went just 2.1 innings as the starter, allowing four runs, six hits and two walks on 49 pitches. Bass relieved McCarty and turned in a solid 2.2 innings that saw him give up four hits and a walk while striking out three. Kerrigan allowed three hits, but survived the inning unscathed due to the double play. Tully (3-3) suffered the hard-luck loss after an outstanding four innings leading up to the 11th. He struck out six batters during that time, but Fairchild, Gavin Sheets and Nick Bisplinghoff made sure the Irish wouldn’t see the 12th inning.Â Â
Wake pitcher Donnie Sellers (4-1) earned the win after a perfect 11th inning in relief.
Six different Wake batters recorded multi-hit days.
Notre Dame fell to 2-3 in extra-inning games this year, while the Demon Deacons won the first extra-inning contest they have played in this season.
Notre Dame (28-15, 12-12 ACC) returns to Frank Eck Stadium this week to start an eight-game homestand. The Irish welcome in Michigan State at 7:05 p.m. (ET) Tuesday and Sacramento State at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday before facing off with Northwestern State in a three-game set next weekend in Notre Dame’s last non-Atlantic Coast Conference weekend of the regular season.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director