CLINTON, South Carolina — The Notre Dame baseball team were flying on the base paths to clinch the series sweep Sunday afternoon over Presbyterian after the 9-0 win. The Irish racked up seven team steals and Spencer Myers set a career high with six against the Blue Hose.
Notre Dame jumped out to an early 5-0 after the first two innings and never looked back. Will Mercer had his best career start to date with five innings of work. He tallied five strikeouts, allowed just three hits and did not give up a run. The bullpen did not allow a hit over the final four innings to clinch the win.
With the win, the Irish (7-2) have won six of their last seven games and are off to the best start to the season since 2015.
How It Happened
For the second game in a row, the Irish scored first in the game’s opening inning. Myers led the game off with a walk and two steals later, he was sitting on third base. Carter Putz also walked and Brooks Coetzee was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded for Jared Miller. Miller smacked a double into center field that brought all three runners home. Coetzee slid around the tag by the catcher to score the third run and give the Irish an early 3-0 lead.
Myers wasn’t done on the base paths in the second inning. He stole two more bases, including home, to extend the Irish lead. The Irish scored twice in the inning to hold a 5-0 lead after the first two innings.
In just his third career start, Mercer was on it from the first inning against the Blue Hose. He had 1-2-3 innings on the second and fourth inning while retiring seven of the first eight batters of the game. He finished his outing with career bests in innings pitched (5.0) and strikeouts (5).
The bullpen took over from there and it started with Andrew Belcik in the sixth. With two runners on, he retired the final two batters of the inning to end the Blue Hose threat.
Dominic Cancellieri, Evan Tenuta and Jack Brannigan took the final three innings and all retired the Blue Hose in order to end the game and complete the shutout. The Irish bullpen retired the last 11 batters of the game to clinch the win.
In the top half of the ninth, Niko Kavadas launched his fourth home run of the series and team-high fifth of the season. Kavadas ended the weekend with nine RBI against the Blue Hose.
- Spencer Myers set a career high with six steals against the Blue Hose. He leads the team with 13 through the first nine games.
- It was the most steals by an Irish player in a game in the last 14 years.
- The Irish finished the game with seven steals, the most in a game since March 26, 2019 when they had 14 against Chicago State.
- Niko Kavadas hit his fourth home run of the series in the ninth inning on a two-run shot to right field.
- Kavadas leads the team with five home runs and 13 RBI.
- Will Mercer notched career bests in innings pitched (5.0) and strikeouts (5) in earning his first career win.
- Evan Tenuta made his first appearance of the season and retired the side in order with two strikeouts.
The Irish head back to campus to prepare for spring break and the start of ACC play. The Irish open up conference play in Chapel Hill, starting next Friday March 6. First pitch for the series opener is set for 3 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.