April 4, 2017
By Michael Scholl
ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The Notre Dame baseball team jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning at No. 18 Michigan, but failed to add on and dropped a 4-3 decision to the Wolverines.
Irish starter Scott Tully battled through 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on two hits. Charlie Vorsheck allowed one unearned run on two hits in 1.2 innings, while Peter Solomon took the loss, giving up one run on three hits in two innings of work. Jake Shepski threw a scoreless inning, as well.
Tommy Henry was the difference maker for Michigan, which scored single runs in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth. After starter Alec Rennard allowed three runs and seven hits in 4.1 innings, Henry came in on relief and the southpaw held Notre Dame to two hits over 3.2 innings of work to get the victory.
The Irish took advantage of the short porch in left field to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Nick Podkul led off the game with a single through the left side on the first pitch, then Jake Johnson tattooed the second pitch of the night off the wall in left. After Kyle Fiala grounded out, Matt Vierling took advantage of the 312-foot, 30-foot high wall in left and parked one beyond it to make it 3-0.
Shutdown innings are always a point of emphasis for Mik Aoki’s club and Tully delivered after taking the mound with a 3-0 lead. The southpaw got three straight flyouts to hang a big goose egg after the Irish got the early lead.
The Wolverines got on the scoreboard in the third, but Tully minimized the damage at one run after the bases were loaded with one out. Nick Poirier and Jonathan Engelmann led off the inning with back-to-back singles before Harrison Wenson grounded out to first, moving up the runners to second and third. Tully then issued consecutive walks, giving Michigan its first run, before striking out Michael Brdar and getting cleanup hitter Drew Lugbauer to fly out and keep the Irish lead at 3-1.
Michigan got another run back in the fourth. After a leadoff groundout, Tully hit Jake Bivens then walked Poirier. Charlie Vorsheck came in from the Irish bullpen and the Wolverines put a double steal on. Bivens moved up to third as Lidge threw Poirier out at second. With two outs, Engelmann dumped a ball down the right field line just past a diving Shepski to score the run before Wenson popped up to end the inning.
Michigan tied things up with another single run in the fifth. After a leadoff walk to Ako Thomas, the runner stole second and advanced to third when the Irish shortstop missed the throw from Lidge. Johnny Slater came through with the sacrifice fly to tie the game at three.
The Wolverines continued to scratch one run at a time in the sixth, this time taking the lead off Peter Solomon. Solomon retired the first two batters before giving up a single to Poirier and a double down the right-field line to Engelmann. Poirier scored the go-ahead run just ahead of the relay from Podkul, making it 4-3 Michigan.
Notre Dame had a chance to tie the game in the eighth. Patrick McDonald drilled a one-out single to left before Lidge hit a one-hopper off the wall in left. Alex Kerschner, pinch running for McDonald, was thrown out at the plate for the final out, preserving the 4-3 lead for Michigan.
The Irish are slated to play an exhibition game with the Midwest League’s South Bend Cubs on Wednesday, with first pitch at Four Winds Field set for 6 p.m. This weekend, the Irish return to Atlantic Coast Conference play as Georgia Tech visits Frank Eck Stadium.
Friday’s game begins at 6:05 p.m., with Saturday’s action beginning at 4:05 p.m. and Sunday’s first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. All three games can be seen live on ACC Network Extra, via WatchESPN, and heard on WatchND and 103.1 FM in South Bend.
— ND —
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.