NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame baseball team had a flair for the dramatics in the opening game of the doubleheader against Canisius and then shut the Golden Griffins out in game two for a sweep of the doubleheader. The Irish had a walk-off walk to win game one 5-4 and then the combo of Cameron Junker and Tommy Vail pitched a shutout in game two, 3-0.
The Irish trailed by three heading into the eighth of game one but they plated two runs in the inning to bring the deficit down to one. Then in the ninth, the Irish loaded the bases and the tying run scored on an infield single from Spencer Myers. Next up was Niko Kavadas and he walked the game off with a bases loaded walk to score Jack Zyska.
In game two, Junker was dealing from the opening innings and had seven strikeouts in the first three frames. He set a career high with 10 on the afternoon in six innings of work. Vail came on for the second time on the day after picking up the win in game one. He pitched the final three innings and tied a career high with seven strikeouts en route to his sixth save of the season.
How It Happened – Game 1
Irish struck first in the bottom of the second when Eric Gilgenbach reached base after a single and stole second to get into scoring position. Jared Miller stepped to the plate with two outs and he ripped a double to the wall in right field to score Gilgenbach for the first run of the game.
The lead did not last long as Canisius tied the game in the next half inning. The Irish had a clean inning in mind but the Golden Griffins scored the tying run after an error extended the inning. Tommy Sheehan struck out the next batter to get out of the inning and the scored was tied 1-1.
The Griffs took the lead in the top of the fourth after another Irish error platted a run and they led 2-1 at the end of the inning.
The 2-1 score held until the eighth inning when the Griffs added to their lead. Connor Morro got a hold of a pitch and drove it just over the wall in left and out of the reach of Jack Zyska. The two-run homer doubled the Griffins run total and they led 4-1.
The Irish fought back in the bottom half of the eighth. Zack Prajzner and Myers hit back-to-back singles and Kavadas walked to load the bases. Jake Singer got another walk to bring in a run and the Irish added another on a sacrifice fly from Daniel Jung. At the end of the eighth, the Irish trailed 4-3.
In the ninth, Gilgenbach and Zyska started the rally with two straight singles. Prajzner reached base after a hit by pitch and the bases were loaded for Myers. The sophomore center fielder hit a rocket up the middle that the shortstop knocked down but couldn’t control and everybody was safe and the Irish tied the game. Next batter was Kavadas and on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, he worked a walk to score the game winning run and literally walk it off for the Irish.
How It Happened – Game 2
Notre Dame scored first once again in the second game of the doubleheader after Singer grounded out to the shortstop that scored Myers from third base.
The Irish added another run in the bottom of the second. The bases were loaded after Gilgenbach led the inning off with a hit by pitch and back-to-back singles from Prajzner and David LaManna. Myers came to the plate and had a bases-loaded walk to score Gilgenbach for the second run of the game.
That was plenty of run support for Junker who had the Griffins guessing at the plate all afternoon long. He struck out three batters in the second and had two strikeouts in the first and third to quickly tie his career high after three innings.
In the fifth, Canisius got its first runner in scoring position after a leadoff double and he made it to third with two outs. Junker picked up his 10th strikeout of the game as he got Jacob Victor to strikeout looking to end the inning and the threat.
In the bottom of the sixth, Gilgenbach added more insurance for the Irish when he smacked his eighth home run of the season over the wall in left. It was a solo homer to increase the lead to 3-0.
Tommy Vail came on in the seventh and continued the dominant performance on the mound. He allowed just one hit and tied a career high with seven K’s to clinch the win and pick up the save.
- The Irish earned their second walk off of the season when Niko Kavadas had the bases-loaded walk to end game one.
- Their first walk off of the season game in the 4-3 win over No. 21 North Carolina after Zack Prajzner’s single ended the game.
- Cameron Junker was masterful on the mound once again after throwing his fifth quality start in the last six games.
- Junker set a career high with 10 strikeouts and is the third Irish pitcher to throw 10 K’s or more this season (Kmet vs. Ball State (11), Brown vs. Florida State (12)).
- The Irish struck out 17 batters in game two to tie the season high for total strikeouts in a game. Notre Dame struck out 17 in its 2-1 win over Incarnate Word on Feb. 21.
- Tommy Sheehan tossed his sixth quality start of the season after going 7.2 innings in game one and did not allowed an earned run. It was Sheehan’s sixth outing this season that he has pitched seven innings or more.
- Eric Gilgenbach broke out of his home run slump after hitting his eighth of the season in the sixth inning of game two. It was his first home run since March 29 against Georgia Tech.
- Niko Kavadas tallied his second walk off of his career after the walk to end game one. His previous walk off came in the 10th inning after a single ended the game against Boston College on April 27, 2018.
- Spencer Myers recorded two hits in both games to increase his multi-hit game total to 18 on the year.
The Irish will close out the series against Canisius on Sunday afternoon for the final home game of the season. First pitch was moved up to noon ET due to inclement weather slated later in the day.
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