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Irish Walk-Off Game 2, Split Doubleheader with No. 21 North Carolina

Zack Prajzner’s bases-loaded single in the ninth clinches Game 2

NOTRE DAME, Ind. –  The University of Notre Dame baseball team saved the dramatics for the second game of the doubleheader when Zack Prajzner hit a walk-off single to win game two 4-3 and earn a split against No. 21 North Carolina.

After dropping the first game 13-6, the Irish (13-21, 8-10 ACC) sent Cameron Junker to the mound and he had another strong performance. He tossed seven innings against the high-powered Tar Heels (27-10, 10-8 ACC) and allowed just two runs, one walk and struck out six.

The Irish took the lead in the seventh after Daniel Jung scored on a wild pitch but the Tar Heels evened the score in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half of the inning, Notre Dame loaded the bases and with two outs and Prajzner roped a single down the left field line for the game-winning hit.

How It Happened – Game 2

Cameron Junker was locked in from the first inning in the second game of the doubleheader. He set the Tar Heels down in order with two strikeouts in the opening frame. Junker had another 1-2-3 inning in the third with two more strikeouts to bring his total to four through three innings.

The Tar Heels got on the scoreboard first in the fourth inning after Danny Serretti singled to score Michael Busch.

The Irish answered right back in the bottom half of the fourth. Niko Kavadas led the inning off with a double to right field. He scored on an RBI single through the left side from Eric Gilgenbach to tie the game at 1-1.

North Carolina regained the lead in the sixth with a solo home run to right from Busch.

In the seventh, the Irish battled back and took their first lead of the game. Gilgenbach worked a leadoff walk and a single from Jung got two runners on. After a sacrifice bunt from Carter Putz to move the runners over, Jared Miller dropped down a sacrifice bunt to score Gilgenbach and tie the game. Jung scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch and the Irish led 3-2 after seven.

In the eighth, Tommy Vail and Joe Boyle entered in tense situations with the Tar Heels threatening. With the tying run on second, Vail entered the game and struck out both batters he faced. Boyle entered the game and after a stolen base, the go-ahead run was just 90 feet away. Boyle got Serretti to strike out swinging to end the inning and keep the Irish in front.

In the ninth, the Tar Heels tied the game at 3-3. With the tying run on second and two away, Ethan Roberts singled up the middle and the run crossed the plate right before Jared Miller’s throw reached home and the game was tied.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Irish had runners at second and third with Jack Alexander at the plate and two away. He worked a full-count walk and loaded the bases for Prajzner. He turned on the 2-1 pitch to left field and it landed fair to clinch the win for the Irish.

How It Happened – Game 1

The Tar Heels got out to another hot start in game one of the doubleheader, scoring four runs in the top half of the first. Two two-run homers for the Tar Heels gave them the advantage on the scoreboard before the Irish got to the plate.

North Carolina benefited from the long ball once again in the top of the second. After a leadoff walk, Dylan Enwiller hit the third home run of the afternoon for the Tar Heels, all two-run homers, and they held a 6-0 lead.

The Irish began to chip away at the Tar Heel lead in the bottom of the third. Jared Miller had a leadoff double and came around to score on a Jack Alexander RBI single through the right side. Two more runs came around to score on a Jack Zyska fielder’s choice and throwing error by the second baseman. Daniel Jung capped the inning off with a solo home run to right, his second of the season, and pulled the Irish within two at 6-4.

North Carolina was at it again with the long ball in the top of the fourth. After the inning was extended on an error, Ike Freeman hit the Tar Heels fourth home run of the afternoon and their lead was back up to four at 8-4.

The teams traded runs during the fifth inning. North Carolina hit a solo home run in the top half of the inning and the Irish scored a run on an RBI single from Carter Putz. After five innings, UNC held a 9-4 lead.

Four runs was the closest the Irish would get as the Tar Heels tacked on a few insurance runs in the later innings to claim game one 13-6.

Game Notes

  • Zack Prajzner recorded his first career walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth of game two with a single down the left field line that scored Daniel Jung.
  • It was the first walk-off hit this season for the Irish and first since Niko Kavadas hit a walk-off single in the 10th to defeat Boston College on April 27, 2018.
  • Cameron Junker recorded his fifth quality start of the season after seven innings of work and yielded just two runs.
  • It was the third time this season Junker has pitched seven innings or more.
  • Notre Dame recorded its fifth ranked win of the season. The Irish had five ranked wins during the entire 2018 campaign.
  • Joe Boyle tallied four strikeouts in 1.1 innings of work. It is his third outing this season with three strikeouts or more.
  • Daniel Jung hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot, in the bottom of the third during game one.
  • Anthony Holubecki recorded a season high 3.0 innings pitched in relief during game one.

Up Next

The Irish will close out their current nine-game homestand with a midweek matchup with regional-foe Northwestern. The Irish and Wildcats will square off Tuesday night at Frank Eck Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. ET and will 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.