March 31, 2016
By Ben Auwaerter
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The rain could not stop the University of Notre Dame offense from catching fire Thursday night at Frank Eck Stadium. In a game that was initially threatened by storms, the Fighting Irish tallied eleven hits and plated four runs over the first four innings to claim a 6-3 victory over No. 30 Oregon.
Notre Dame’s relief pitching combined to throw five innings of baseball, conceding only one run. Since their series versus No. 13 NC State, the Irish have won five games in a row.
“We are bringing all of the facets of the game together,” said Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki.
Senior LHP Michael Hearne started the game for Notre Dame. The Ducks began hot, taking a 1-0 lead on left fielder Jake Barret’s single to center. Hearne, however, retired the next two batters to prevent any more runs from crossing the dish.
The Notre Dame offense strung multiple hits together in the second inning. Senior Ricky Sanchez led off the frame with a triple that bounced off the wall. Freshman Nick Podkul then tied up the game with a double on the next at-bat.
“I was looking for a pitch away that I could drive hard to the other side and get the run in. Luckily, it scooted right down the line,” noted Podkul, who went 2-3 with two runs on the day.
Fellow freshman Cole Daily proceeded to hit a single that put runners on the corners. Following a sacrifice bunt by senior Kyle Richardson, junior Cavan Biggio blooped a single to center that gave the Irish a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Irish bats got going again. Podkul used his speed to lead off the inning with an infield single. Daily walked in the next at-bat, prompting Oregon to relieve their starter, Isaiah Carranza, after 3.0 innings pitched. Later in the frame, Biggio rocketed a single to right field that scored two runs, extending the lead to 4-1.
Biggio finished the day with two hits, a walk, three RBI and two stolen bases to up his batting average to .313 and his on-base percentage to an even .500.
After allowing two hits and a run in the top of the fifth, the Irish pulled Hearne. Senior RHP Connor Hale replaced him and stopped the potential rally. He conceded one more run and closed out the inning with a double play that kept the Irish in front with a 4-3 lead. Hale would eventually be credited with his second win of the season.
Notre Dame added two more runs later in the game. Freshman Matt Vierling drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth inning that pushed the score to 5-3. Two innings later, senior Lane Richards scored on a wild pitch, making the score 6-3 entering the top of the ninth inning.
Sophomore Charlie Vorsheck, junior Jim Orwick and sophomore Peter Solomon combined to throw four scoreless innings to close out the Ducks. The three pitchers allowed zero hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Solomon notched his first save of the season.
The Irish look to improve on their season-high winning streak this weekend in a home series against Wake Forest. The Deamon Deacons are 17-10 and 4-5 in ACC play.
Irish fans can watch all three games live on WatchND’s video broadcast or listen to the radio broadcast on WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend. The games are slated for 6:05 p.m. (ET) Friday, 4:05 p.m. (ET) Saturday and 1:05 p.m. (ET) Sunday.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).
Ben Auwaerter is a freshman at Notre Dame and is from Lutherville, Maryland. He previously worked during the summer of 2014 with the Baltimore Orioles public relations office.