March 4, 2018
By Megan Golden
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The University of Notre Dame baseball team fell to Seattle, 11-7, on Sunday morning in the Kissimmee Irish Classic finale.
Notre Dame (6-4) struggled to locate the strike zone in the late innings, giving up nine total walks and allowing the Redhawks (7-5) to build a lead that was too much for the Irish to overcome.
How It Happened
Seattle got off to an early start against the Irish, capitalizing on a lead-off walk. Irish starter Cameron Junker struck out the next two batters but then allowed back-to-back two-out singles to put Seattle up 1-0. With Sean Sutton and Dalton Hurd aboard, Lucas Denny doubled to right field to drive in two more runs and give the Redhawks a 3-0 lead.
Jake Johnson drew his second walk of the day in the third inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. Nick Podkul lined a base hit to right field to score Johnson, making the score 3-1 in favor of the Redhawks.
Alex Kerschner walked to open the bottom half of the fourth frame, but Eric Gilgenbach followed with a fielder’s choice that caught Kerschner out at second. David LaManna reached base on an error that allowed Gilgenbach to advance all the way to third. With Spencer Myers at the plate, LaManna went to steal second and was caught in a rundown as Gilgenbach raced home to give the Irish their second run.
Seattle’s Austin Lively responded with a lead-off double off of Jack Sheehan in the fifth, and came around to score on a single by Sutton that gave Seattle a 4-2 lead.
Spencer Myers singled to left center in the fifth, and Cole Daily followed with a bunt single to the pitcher. Johnson then laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached on an errant throw by the pitcher, which loaded the bases with nobody out. Podkul followed with a sacrifice fly to left field, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
The Redhawks added to their lead with one out in the seventh, when Curtis Perrin connected on a bunt single with runners at the corners. Perrin’s infield hit drove in Chase Wells to give Seattle a 5-3 lead. Irish pitchers combined to walk the next two batters, allowing another run to score and put Seattle up, 6-3.
Andrew Belcik came on with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh and induced a strikeout and a putout at first base to end the inning.
In the eighth, Belcik yielded a double and a walk and then handed the ball to Joe Boyle. The freshman walked the next three batters and hit a batter, allowing Seattle to extend its lead to 10-3. The Redhawks added a run on a fielder’s choice in the ninth to ultimately secure an 11-3 victory.
Notre Dame kept clawing back, this time by way of a Myers single, Johnson reaching on an error and Podkul singling to load the bases with one out. Daily, who had grounded into a fielder’s choice, scored on a wild pitch. Then, Vierling knocked an RBI-single to right to score Johnson. Bryce Gray added another run after getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make the score 11-6. The Irish plated one more run as Vierling scored on a wild pitch, but that was all for the Irish offense against Seattle.
- Notre Dame moves to 1-3 all-time against Seattle.
- The Irish are 5-2 in day games in 2018.
- Notre Dame junior Nick Podkul is in control of a 16-game hitting streak, dating back to 2017. Podkul has hit .422 (27-64) with seven doubles, two triples and 17 RBI during that span.
- Jake Johnson owns a 17-game on-base streak, dating back to last season.
- Cole Daily has hit safely in eight straight games, batting .353 (12-34) over that span.
- Cameron Junker was tagged with his first loss of the season after working 3.0 innings and striking out a career-high five batters.
Notre Dame returns to the Sunshine State for its spring break trip as it is scheduled to compete in eight games in 10 days. The Irish open the trip with a three-game series at Miami (March 9-11) and then will face St. Joseph’s (March 13-14) and Florida State (March 16-18). Each game will be aired on 103.1 FM (South Bend) and WatchND.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame baseball and women’s soccer programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.