NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame baseball team won a back-and-forth affair against the 14th-ranked NC State Wolfpack at Frank Eck Stadium, prevailing by a final score of 5-4.
The Irish (18-22, 11-11 ACC) held a 2-1 lead after the opening three innings and the team exchanged runs in the fourth to make it a 3-2 Irish advantage. NC State (32-11, 13-9 ACC) used the long ball to jump ahead in the top of the fifth but the Irish had one last rally in them. Jack Zyska’s two-RBI double in the seventh put the Irish back in front and Tommy Vail shut the door over the final two innings to earn the Irish the 5-4 win.
— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) April 27, 2019
How It Happened
Irish starting pitcher Tommy Sheehan fired a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first, which gave Notre Dame the opportunity to take an early lead over its ranked foe. Spencer Myers helped the Irish to continue their strong start, as he drew a leadoff walk. However, Notre Dame grounded into a double play, and did not manage to generate any offense for the rest of the inning, keeping the game scoreless through one frame of play.
NC State managed to get its bats going via a sharp double down the left field line from Evan Edwards, and Luca Tresh advanced Edwards to third via a fielder’s choice. David Vazquez’s hit an infield grounder, which allowed Edwards to score, but the Irish managed to record a pair of outs to keep the Wolfpack’s lead at one.
Daniel Jung sliced a double to deep left field to give Notre Dame a scoring chance in the bottom of the second, and Carter Putz’s groundout allowed Jung to advance to third. Eric Gilgenbach got hit by an errant pitch from NC State starter Jason Parker in the subsequent at-bat, giving the Irish runners on the corners with only one out in the inning. Jared Miller drew a walk, loading the bases for Notre Dame, and David LaManna’s line drive single to center brought in a run, tying the game at one apiece. Afterwards, Myers drew his second walk of the game, giving the Irish a 2-1 lead.
After recording two consecutive outs to start the third inning, Sheehan allowed a single up the middle to give the Wolfpack a baserunner, and a fielding error gave NC State men on first and second. However, Notre Dame managed to get out of the inning unscathed, keeping their lead at 2-1.
Parker lucked out when a surefire home run from Jung drifted into foul territory, keeping the Irish off the scoreboard for the time being in the bottom of the third. Putz nearly added to Notre Dame’s lead, as well, but his warning track shot was blown back into the park by the swirling winds at Frank Eck Stadium.
Sheehan started off the top of the fourth inning with his second strikeout of the game, but a solo home run from Tresh in the subsequent at-bat tied the game at two. Sheehan rebounded nicely after allowing the homer, as he induced a groundout and tossed his third strikeout of the evening to send the Irish to the bottom of the fourth.
NC State looked to be on its way to posting another scoreless frame in the bottom of the fourth, as Parker recorded his fourth strikeout of the game to start the inning. However, Jared Miller cranked a home run just over the outstretched glove of Lawson McArthur at the right field wall to give the Irish a 3-2 lead.
Sheehan induced a groundout to start off the fifth inning, but a subsequent walk and home run from NC State put the Wolfpack up 4-3. The Irish recorded a double play soon after to prevent any further damage on the scoreboard.
Evan Edwards legged out a single for the Wolfpack to kick off the sixth, and he stole second to give NC State another scoring chance. A single and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with only one out in the inning, but Sheehan worked around the jam to keep the Wolfpack at four runs on the night and ended his outing after six innings.
Notre Dame brought in Andrew Belcik to work the seventh, and he gave the Irish their third consecutive scoreless inning on defense, thanks in part to an exquisite stop by second baseman Zack Prajzner. Prajzner contributed on the offensive side, as well, as he looped a single into center field to kick off the bottom of the seventh for Notre Dame. Myers legged out a bunt single to give the Irish men on first and second with no outs, and Zyska ripped a two-RBI double to deep center field to give the Irish a 5-4 lead.
Vail came in for the Irish in the eighth, and he tossed yet another scoreless inning for Notre Dame, allowing the Irish to maintain their lead.
Vail was called upon to close out the Wolfpack in the ninth and he delivered, tossing three straight strikeouts to pick up the save and the win for the Irish.
- Jack Zyska tied a career high with two RBI after his two-run double in the seventh regained the lead for the Irish.
- Tommy Vail earned his fourth save of the season after two innings of scoreless relief. He did not allow a hit and struck out the side to close the game in the ninth.
- Jared Miller hit his first career home run in the bottom of the fourth to regain the lead for the Irish. Miller is the fifth Irish player to record a home run this season.
- Tommy Sheehan went six innings and allowed three runs for his fifth quality start of the season.
- It is the third straight start and eighth time this season Sheehan has pitched six innings or more.
- Daniel Jung went 2-for-4 at the plate for his 11th multi-hit game of the season.
- David LaManna also had two hits on the night for his fourth multi-hit game of the season.
The Irish and Wolfpack will continue the three-game series on Saturday with an adjusted first pitch time. Due to impending rain later in the day, first pitch on Saturday will be at 10 am from Frank Eck Stadium. Admission will still be free for Strikeout ALS Weekend and the game will still be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.
For a behind-the-scenes look at the Irish baseball program, follow @NDBaseball on Twitter and @NotreDameBaseball on Instagram. For tickets to an Irish baseball game, click here.