May 13, 2016
By Russell Dorn
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Behind eight shutout innings from junior ace Zac Gallen, No. 20 North Carolina shut out the University of Notre Dame baseball team, 3-0, Friday night at Boshamer Stadium in game one of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series.
Irish pitching turned in a solid outing against the Tar Heels, but Gallen and reliever Hansen Butler were just a bit better, holding Notre Dame to only three base runners on the evening.
Notre Dame’s lone real scoring chance came in the sixth inning, when junior Cavan Biggio walked and freshman Nick Podkul singled to put runners at the corners with two outs. However, one of Gallen’s eight strikeouts ended the threat.
Senior Lane Richards had Notre Dame’s other hit on the night with a double in the fifth.
Gallen (5-5) headed to the dugout after eight innings, eight strikeouts and 115 pitches. Butler entered and sat the Irish down 1-2-3 in the ninth to close out the win.
Irish starter Brandon Bielak (3-2) certainly battled in just his third start of the year, going seven innings and allowing two runs on three hits, three walks and two hit batters to earn his first quality start of the season.
He only had one tough inning, where the Tar Heels plated two runs on two singles, three walks and a Notre Dame error in the third.
After that aforementioned third inning, Bielak didn’t give up another hit, only allowing two base runners to reach on a pair of hit by pitch.
Over the last four games the Irish pitching has been outstanding, allowing just 19 hits and seven runs over 35.0 IP (1.80 ERA). In the last three games Notre Dame pitching has given up just 12 hits total against No. 11 LSU and No. 20 UNC.
Notre Dame (26-23, 10-13 ACC) and the Tar Heels (32-18, 11-14 ACC) return to the diamond at 6 p.m. ET Saturday for game two of the series. Fans can follow online through ESPN3, WatchND’s audio broadcast or StatBroadcast. Links for all three are on UND.com.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball team, 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.