March 18, 2016
By Russell Dorn
RALEIGH, N.C. — NC State pitcher Joe O’Donnell hurled his first career complete game and the Wolfpack offense plated eight runs between the fifth and seventh innings to blow open a tight game early in a 9-1 victory Friday night at Doak Field.
O’Donnell (3-1), who carried a shutout into the ninth inning, allowed one run, four hits and four walks while striking out four Irish batters in 121 pitches.
At the plate, the Wolfpack scored one run in the fifth, two in the sixth and five in the seventh to push a 1-0 advantage to a 9-0 lead heading to the eighth inning.
The big turning point of the game came in the sixth inning with two outs, NC State up 2-0 and Irish junior Cavan Biggio on third base. Senior Zak Kutsulis hit a sharp grounder towards shortstop Joe Dunand, who threw a ball into the dirt towards first baseman Preston Palmeiro. Palmeiro appeared to have not maintained control of the ball as it scooted behind him, but the umpire ruled the play the final out of the inning, which kept the momentum from potentially shifting towards the visitors. On the play Biggio crossed home plate and Kutsulis touched first base as the ball trickled out of Palmeiro’s glove and rolled behind him.
Notre Dame used seven pitchers (10 H, 10 BB, 7 ER) on the night including starter Ryan Smoyer (1-3), who went 4.1 innings and allowed two runs, three hits, five walks and a hit batter. After Smoyer exited the game in the fifth, Notre Dame used three relievers to maneuver through a tricky frame.
After one runner was walked home by sophomore Peter Solomon to make the score 2-0, junior LHP Jim Orwick recorded a big pop up to keep the bases loaded and put two outs on the board. Senior David Hearne then entered the game and tallied a huge strikeout to strand three runners and limit the damage.
With two outs in the ninth inning and the Irish down 9-0, senior co-captain and pinch hitter James Nevant trotted to the plate looking to disrupt the complete-game shutout. After looking at a ball and swinging at a strike, the Asheville, North Carolina native turned on a pitch and crushed a ball over the left field wall for his first career home run.
The homer highlighted an otherwise tough day at the dish for Notre Dame that saw the Irish tally four hits and four walks.
Senior RHP Joey Cresta threw a clean eighth inning to keep his ERA at 0.00 in 2.2 innings of work on the year.
Notre Dame (7-9, 0-4 ACC) and the Wolfpack (15-5, 2-2 ACC) continue their three-game series at 2 p.m. (ET) Saturday. Fans can follow the action through ESPN3 (Video), WatchND (Audio) or live stats. Links for all three are available on the baseball schedule page of UND.com.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).
Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.