May 14, 2017
By Michael Scholl
NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The Notre Dame baseball team dropped a non-conference home game for the first time in 2017, losing the series finale to Austin Peay, 5-3, on Sunday afternoon. The Irish captured two-of-three in the series during their Atlantic Coast Conference bye week.
Notre Dame rallied to tie the game with a pair of runs in the seventh, but the Governors got a two-run homer in the eighth for the victory. The loss drops the Irish to 25-27 overall on the year, with four regular season games left to play.
Brandon Bielak got the start for Notre Dame and gave up three runs in six innings of work along with five hits and seven strikeouts without issuing a walk. Sean Guenther took the loss, giving up the two-run bomb in the 8th. Peter Solomon worked 1.2 innings of hitless ball in relief.
At the plate, Eric Gilgenbach capped his stellar weekend against the Govs with his third home run of the series, a solo shot. Matt Vierling was 4-for-5 with an RBI and two doubles. Ryan Lidge had an RBI in the effort, while Eric Feliz went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a double.
Austin Peay jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair in the second. Parker Phillips was hit by a pitch with one out before Chase Hamilton homered to right-center to score both runs. Bielak got a strikeout and groundout to minimize the damage.
The Irish immediately responded to cut the lead in half, thanks to Gilgenbach’s one-out homer to left. Unfortunately for the hosts, Patrick McDonald and Jake Singer both struck out and the Governors maintained a 2-1 lead.
APSU manufactured a big insurance run in the fifth. Alex Sala and Imani Willis started the inning with consecutive singles before Garrett Giovannelli hit into a fielder’s choice, with Willis retired at second, putting runners at the corners with one out. Cayce Bredlau did his job, hitting a fly ball to center to score Sala. After a fielding error allowed Alex Robles to reach, Bielak again minimized the damage, this time getting a groundout from Dre Gleason to end the inning with the Governors up, 3-1.
The Irish came charging back to tie the game in the seventh. Feliz was the fire starter with a leadoff double to left center. Nick Podkul sacrificed Feliz over to third with a bunt before Jake Johnson drew a walk. Vierling doubled down the left-field line to score Feliz and put runners on second and third before Lidge hit a grounder to second, scoring Johnson and tying the game, 3-3. Cole Daily flew out to left to end the inning.
Austin Peay quickly retook the lead in the eighth. Gleason battled to single to right on a 1-2 pitch before Parker Phillips connected for a homer to right-center, making it 5-3 Austin Peay.
Notre Dame will play its final home game of the 2017 campaign on Tuesday, capping a 13-game homestand against Western Michigan. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. and the contest will be available on ACC Network Extra, WatchND (audio) and 103.1 FM.
After that, the Irish will conclude the regular season with a three-game set at Boston College May 18-20, looking to secure a spot in the ACC Baseball Championship which will be held at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky, May 23-28.
— 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.