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Irish Strike Late To Beat Georgia Tech

April 7, 2017

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NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Cole Daily tripled in scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Notre Dame baseball team took a 4-3 decision from Georgia Tech in game one of a three-game set on Friday night at a cold, windy Frank Eck Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets scored an unearned run in the top of the first, then added a single run in the fifth. Notre Dame responded with one in the fifth and two in the sixth to take the lead. Georgia Tech tied it in the top of the eighth before Daily’s heroics put the Irish on top for good in the bottom half of the frame.

Brandon Bielak was outstanding for the Irish, allowing one earned run and six hits in six innings of work while striking out seven. Sean Guenther got the win in relief, allowing an unearned run on three hits with four strikeouts in three innings of work.

Offensively, Kyle Fiala had a 3-for-4 night with an RBI.Jake Johnson and Matt Vierling added RBI, while Connor Power had a pinch-hit RBI to tie the game in the sixth.

Xzavion Curry battled for Georgia Tech, taking a no-decision after scattering eight hits over 5.1 innings, allowing three runs. Bailey Combs took the loss, allowing the winning run and three hits in 1.2 innings. Trevor Craport was outstanding at the top of the order for the visitors, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

Key Innings

Top First
The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Craport hit a flyball to right that Jake Shepski wasn’t able to catch and wound up at second base. After Georgia Tech failed to get a sacrifice bunt down and Bielak struck out Joey Bart, Kel Johnson served a ball into right and Craport scored just ahead of the throw to the plate to make it 1-0.

Bottom Fourth
The Irish had a two-out rally but failed to tie the game after a controversial call. Ryan Lidge and Daily connected for consecutive singles before Shepski popped up towards the third base bag. Craport, the Yellow Jacket third baseman, dropped the pop up just behind the bag as Lidge scored, but was ruled to have touched it while in foul territory by the home plate umpire. Shepski then popped up to short, ending the threat.

Top Fifth
Immediately after the Irish failed to tie the game, Georgia Tech added on. Craport drew a one-out walk before Wade Bailey grounded out to advance him to second. Bart followed with a single up the middle to score Craport and make it 2-0.

Bottom Fifth
The Irish answered in the bottom half. Fiala drew a two-out walk before stealing second. Vierling came through with the two-out RBI, singling through the right side to score the run. Daniel Jung grounded out to end the inning with the Irish trailing, 2-1.

Bottom Sixth
Notre Dame tied things up with a pair in the sixth. Lidge tattooed a ball to the gap in right-center for a one-out double. Daily followed with a single up the middle to set up runners on the corners with one out. Mik Aoki went to his bench and pinch hit Connor Power, who delivered a single through the left side to score Lidge and tie the game while forcing the Yellow Jackets to the bullpen. Robert Winborne came in on relief of Curry and walked Nick Podkul on four pitches to load the bases before Georgia Tech again went to the pen and Bailey Combs. Combs got Johnson to pop out, then Fiala singled through the left side to score Daily and put the Irish up, 3-2. Gilgenbach, pinch running for Power, was thrown out at the plate on the play to end the frame.

Top Seventh
Guenther came on in relief of Bielak in the seventh and delivered a huge shutdown inning. Craport grounded out to start the frame before Bailey went down swinging and Bart took a seat looking.

Top Eighth
The Yellow Jackets tied things up in the eighth. Coleman Poje started the rally with a one-out single before Kyle McCann singled up the middle to put two on. A chopper to first saw Jung unable to make a play, loading the bases. Chase Murray hit a chopper up the middle which Irish shortstop Cole Daily flipped to second for one, but Podkul’s relay to first was a step late and Poje scored to make it 3-3. Guenther induced a groundout of Ryan Peurifoy to end the inning.

Bottom Eighth
It was Daily who started things for the Irish in the bottom half, leading off with a triple to the gap in right center. Georgia Tech brought in Indiana native Zac Ryan, who walked Gilgenbach to set up a battle with high school teammate Nick Podkul. Podkul hit a chopper to third, but the throw was dropped by the first baseman, loading the bases. Johnson delivered a single to right, putting the Irish up, 4-3. Fiala then grounded out before Vierling hit into a double play to end the inning.

On Deck

Game two of the series is set for 4:05 p.m. on Saturday and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, WatchND and 103.1 FM. It will be Golf Appreciation Day and Dads & Daughters Day at The Eck. Dads with their daughters will be admitted free, while the Warren Golf Course will have prizes throughout the game.

— 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.