May 25, 2017
By Michael Scholl
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — The Notre Dame baseball team saw its 2017 campaign come to a close with a 10-3 loss to ACC regular season champion Louisville on Thursday night at Louisville Slugger Field.
Matt Vierling, a third team All-ACC selection, was 3-for-4 with two RBI, a double and a run. Eric Gilgenbach, Eric Feliz and Daniel Jung had two hits apiece. Nick Podkul was 2-for-5 with a run and Jake Johnson scored for the Irish.
Michael Hearne went five innings in his final career start at Notre Dame, allowing just four hits, but one was a grand slam to Louisville’s Brendan McKay and he conceded five runs. Peter Solomon was solid in relief, allowing two runs, just one earned, on four hits in three innings of work while striking out six.
ACC Player of the Year Brendan McKay held the Irish to three earned runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts in six innings of work. At the plate, McKay was 1-for-3, but had the biggest swing of the evening with the third-inning grand slam. Josh Stowers was 4-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Devin Harison was 1-for-3 with three RBI and a run.
The Cardinals used the long ball to take an early lead. Drew Ellis drove the first pitch he saw just over the wall in left-center for a one-out homer and a one-run Louisville lead.
Louisville broke it open in the third. After Hearne retired the first two batters of the inning, he walked Logan Taylor before Stowers beat out an infield single on a bang-bang call at first that appeared to be an out on the replay. Hairston then leaned into an inside fastball from Hearne to load the bases before McKay hit the first pitch he saw to the seats in right to make it 5-0.
The Irish got back in the game in the bottom half with a two-out rally. Podkul started it with an infield single before Johnson drew a walk. Vierling then tagged a ball into the left-field corner to score a pair. Lidge and Gilgenbach both walks to load the bases, but Daily went down on strikes to end the inning with Louisville up 5-2.
Vierling almost single-handedly got the Irish another run in the fifth. He led off the inning with a single, then after a strikeout Vierling stole second. Gilgenbach singled to left, but Vierling had to hold and make sure the ball was going to get over the shortstop and only got to third. He then made a great read on a ball in the dirt and scored on a wild pitch to cut Louisville’s led to 5-3. Feliz then singled to left, but Gilgenbach was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Louisville extended the lead just before the stretch. Solomon quickly retired the first two hitters before Taylor singled down the right field line. Stowers then hit a chopper that Shepski fielded and rush the throw, sending it into the stands. Stowers was credited with a single and the error put runners on second and third. Hariston followed with a single through the left side to score both runs and make it 7-3. Solomon then got McKay swinging to end the inning.
- With 20 doubles this season, it was the most by an Irish player since Robert Youngdahl hit 20 in 2015. Matt Edwards hit 21 two-baggers in 2005.
- Jake Johnson saw a 10-game hitting streak snapped.
- Michael Hearne matched a season-high with two walks.
- The Irish are now 1-4 all-time in the ACC Baseball Championship.
- Attendance was 6,945. It was the largest crowd the Irish played in front of this season, topping a pair of gatherings just over 5,000 in games one and two at Clemson.
The contest concluded the 2017 campaign for Mik Aoki’s club. Stay tuned to UND.com/NDBaseball for updates on the Irish as they disperse throughout the country for summer ball, as well as updates on former Notre Dame players in the professional ranks.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ ND Ã¢â‚¬â€
Michael Scholl joined Fighting Irish Media in August 2016, coordinating communications for the baseball program and assisting with the football team at his alma mater. The South Bend native earned a degree in political science from the College of Arts & Letters in 2009 before going on to work in athletics communications at Providence College, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati.