Feb. 24, 2018
By Megan Golden
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — There was no doubt once the ball left David LaManna‘s bat in the bottom of the ninth inning that the freshman had connected for his first collegiate home run, sending No. 30 Notre Dame to a 4-2 walk-off victory over Purdue.
In its third game at the Alamo Irish Classic, the Irish (4-2) used a solid outing from freshman starter Tommy Sheehan and an all-around clinic by LaManna to hand Purdue (5-1) its first loss of the season and advance to the Alamo Irish Classic Championship game.
“I was just looking to hit a line drive, to be honest,” LaManna said. “He hung a change-up, and I just took advantage of it. It was better than I expected. It was a great feeling.”
How It Happened
Purdue got on the board first, reaching base on a walk and a bunt single with just one out. Jacson McGowan connected for an RBI-single, which advanced Skyler Hunter to third. Nick Dalesandro followed with a fielder’s choice that put the Boilermakers up, 2-0, after one inning.
Notre Dame’s Nick Podkul responded with a two-out triple to right-center, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Matt Vierling drove in Notre Dame’s first run in the next at-bat with a base hit to left field that cut Purdue’s lead in half, 2-1.
The Irish tied the game at 2-2 in the third inning. Podkul knocked his second hit of the day into left field, and Niko Kavadas came through with a two-out base hit to right. Podkul advanced to third on Kavadas’ hit and ultimately scored on an error by right fielder Ben Nisle to even the score.
Irish starter Tommy Sheehan settled in after the first inning and threw 5.0 innings, in front of arguably the team’s best defensive performance of the season at Nelson Wolff Stadium. LaManna had the assist to Jung in the third inning, when the duo picked off a Purdue runner at first base. In the following inning, LaManna and Cole Daily connected to catch Nick Evarts attempting to steal second. LaManna finished the day with four assists.
LaManna, the defensive hero of the game, stepped up with one out in the ninth inning and drilled his first collegiate homer to left to help the Irish walk off against Purdue, 4-2.
Player of the Game
LaManna blasted a walk-off two-run homer to left field with one out in the ninth, his first collegiate home run. The Saddle River, New Jersey, native went 2-for-4 on the day.
LaManna entered the day with three assists on the season and quickly added three assists in the first five innings. LaManna put on a defensive clinic, throwing out three (3-3) attempted base stealers and picking off a runner at first base.
Stat of the Game
LaManna’s walk-off homer was the first walk-off home run since March 6, 2016, when Matt Vierling hit a walk-off home run versus Niagara (he also was the winning pitcher in that game).
- Notre Dame owns an 81-38-3 record against Purdue in program history, including a 5-1 neutral-site record.
- The Irish move to 4-0 in day games in 2018.
- Junior Nick Podkul is in control of a 12-game hitting streak, dating back to 2017. Podkul has hit .438 (21-48) with six doubles and 11 RBI over the hitting streak.
- In two starts this season, Tommy Sheehan is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA (6 ER/10.0 IP).
- The Irish bullpen combined to allow just one hit and one walk in 4.0 innings.
The Irish will face Purdue in the Alamo Irish Classic Championship at noon ET on Sunday at Nelson Wolff Stadium. Notre Dame’s game will be available on 103.1 FM and WatchND.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame baseball and women’s soccer programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.