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Irish Fall in Series Opener to No. 21 North Carolina

Game Recap: Baseball

NOTRE DAME, Ind. –  The University of Notre Dame baseball team could not find its footing against the North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium, as the Irish fell to the Tar Heels by a final score of 10-1.

How It Happened 

After a leadoff walk by North Carolina second baseman Dylan Enwiller, Michael Busch cranked a double to the center field wall, putting the Tar Heels up 1-0. In North Carolina’s subsequent at-bat, Aaron Sabato turned on a 3-0 fastball and powered a home run to the scoreboard to increase the Tar Heels’ early lead to three runs. A walk and a pair of singles pushed North Carolina to a four-run advantage with no outs in the inning. However, Notre Dame starter Cameron Brown retired three of the next four Tar Heel batters to stymie the UNC scoring surge.

A warning-track shot by Niko Kavadas nearly put the Irish on the scoreboard early in the bottom of the first inning, but North Carolina center fielder Dylan Harris tracked it down to record the out. However, Harris could do nothing about Jack Zyska’s 420-foot home run in Notre Dame’s ensuing at-bat. The home run, which was the first of Zyska’s Notre Dame career, brought the Irish within three runs. 

The blustery winds at Frank Eck Stadium aided the Tar Heels in the top of the second inning, as Busch reached second base on an error. North Carolina quickly capitalized on its scoring opportunity, as Sabato roped an RBI-double into right-center field, giving the Tar Heels five runs on the evening. Sabato added to UNC’s scoring total himself thanks to a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly, putting the Tar Heels up 6-1. North Carolina then increased its lead to 8-1 on the back of a single by Brandon Martorano and a two-run homer by Harris. Brown finally managed to end the Tar Heel scoring barrage with a timely two-out strikeout.

Irish shortstop Jared Miller hammered a fastball to deep right-center field with two outs in the bottom of the second inning, but a sensational leaping snag by UNC outfielder Dallas Tessar kept the Irish from chipping away at the Tar Heel lead.

Enwiller laced a looping single to right field to kick of the Tar Heels’ half of the third inning, but a 4-6-3 double play positioned the Irish defense to post its first scoreless inning of the evening. Brown induced a two-out flyout from Sabato to send the game to the bottom of the third, capping a clean half-inning for the Irish hurler.

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Irish reliever Evan Tenuta struck out the first two Tar Heel batters in the fifth inning on a pair of changeups, and he sat down the subsequent North Carolina batter to give the Irish defense its second scoreless inning of the contest.

A walk and a hit-by-pitch gave Notre Dame two men aboard in the bottom of the fifth inning with no outs, and a fielder’s choice left the Irish with men on second and third with just one out in the frame. However, Notre Dame could not cash in on the scoring opportunity, and the Irish deficit remained at nine runs heading into the sixth inning.

Tenuta led off the sixth inning with his fourth and fifth strikeouts of the game, and he retired North Carolina outfielder Ashton McGee to end the frame.

Daniel Jung singled down the left field line to breathe some life into the Irish offense in the bottom of the sixth, and he took second base on a wild pitch from Baum to give Notre Dame a scoring opportunity. A passed ball on a strikeout allowed Jung to reach third, but the Irish could not bring him home.

Tenuta kicked off the seventh with yet another strikeout, putting him at six on the evening. He sat down two of the next three North Carolina batters to give the Irish defense its third consecutive scoreless frame.

The Irish put two men aboard to start the bottom of the seventh inning, giving Notre Dame another shot to add to its scoring total. However, a sizzler from Irish center fielder Spencer Myers was snared by UNC third baseman Ike Freeman, keeping Notre Dame at one run on the night.

Notre Dame brought in lefty reliever Aidan Tyrell to work the eighth, and he kept the Irish’s scoreless streak alive by inducing two flyouts and a groundout.  

Tyrell posted another scoreless frame in the top of the ninth, but Notre Dame could get no closer to North Carolina, as the Irish fell to the Tar Heels by a score of 10-1.  

Game Notes

  • Jack Zyska tallied his first career home run in the first inning for the Irish.
  • Evan Tenuta appeared for the second time in as many games.
  • Tenuta recorded his first collegiate strike out in the fourth inning. He finished his outing with six strikeouts over 3.2 innings of work. It was the most strikeouts by a freshman this season for the Irish.
  • Daniel Jung recorded his eighth multi-hit game of the season after going 2-for-3 at the plate.
  • Aidan Tyrell tossed a career-high two innings of relief for the Irish.

Up Next

Notre Dame will close out the series against the Tar Heels with a doubleheader on Saturday. Game one will start at 1 p.m. ET and game two will begin 45 minutes after the conclusion of game one. Both games will be free admission to all fans. With the spring game on Saturday, fans are encouraged to get to come early as parking will be limited.

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