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Offense Carries Irish in 12-4 Win

Irish tally a season-high three home runs against Northwestern

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Notre Dame baseball team took its three-game winning streak on the road for the final week of the regular season and the offense came alive in the Windy City. The offense exploded in Notre Dame’s 12-4 win over Northwestern on Tuesday afternoon at Bobby and Berenice Miller Park.

Eric Gilgenbach brought in two runs on his first career triple that was part of a four-run first inning to open the game for the Irish. Niko Kavadas and Jack Zyska had back-to-back solo home runs in the second to increase the early lead.

Northwestern (23-25) fought back with four runs in the fifth but the Irish got most of them back in the next inning. Spencer Myers recorded his first career home run to start it off and the Irish (23-26) scored six unanswered runs over the next two innings to take control and seal the win.

How It Happened

The Irish opened the game with a bang, scoring four runs in the opening frame. Daniel Jung plated the first run on a sacrifice fly that scored Myers. Gilgenbach was up next and he smashed a ball into the gap in left center that went all the way to the wall. Kavadas and Zyska scored and Gilgenbach ended up at third for his first career triple. Zack Prajzner continued the offensive output in the first with a RBI single through the left side that scored Gilgenbach from third. 

Kavadas added another run to the Irish lead in the top of the second. With two outs in the inning, the sophomore lefty crushed a ball over the wall in right for a solo home run, his team-high 11th of the season. Up next was Zyska and he also crushed a ball, this time over the wall in left for a solo shot and his second home run of the season and the Irish held a 6-0 lead after two innings.

With the Boston College series starting early this week on Thursday, the Irish deployed a staff day on the mound and Belcik got it started against the Wildcats. He got out of a bases loaded jam in the first by ending the inning with a strikeout and kept Northwestern off the scoreboard.

After the first, Belcik settled in and retired the Wildcats in order in the second inning. In the third inning, he faced the minimum after a double-play ended the inning as the lead-off batter reached base on a hit-by-pitch.

Belcik exited after the third and Shane Combs came out of the pen and worked around a hit in the fourth to keep the Wildcats scoreless.

Northwestern finally broke through in the fifth and had a big inning added by a couple of Irish errors. The Wildcats scored four runs in the fifth but Tommy Vail came on and got the final out of the inning with the bases loaded to preserve the Irish lead.

The Irish immediately responded in the next half inning. Carter Putz led the inning off with a single and moved into scoring position after a sacrifice bunt. Myers stepped up and hit a blast over the wall in right for his first career home run. The Irish got another run back in the sixth. Zyska doubled down the line in left and scored on Jung’s RBI single up the middle.

Notre Dame continued to tack on runs in the top of the seventh. Prajzner and Putz hit back-to-back singles after a strikeout began the inning. Jared Miller sent them both home after his RBI double to left made it all the wall to the wall. Miller came around to score later in the inning on a sacrifice fly and the Irish held a commanding 12-4 lead at the end of the inning.

Game Notes

  • Notre Dame tied a season-high with 12 runs and set a season high with 16 hits in the win to sweep the season series against Northwestern.
  • The Irish hit a team-high three home runs in the win, the most in a game since May 15, 2018 at Northwestern.
  • Notre Dame swiped seven bases in the win, the second most in a game this season.
  • Eric Gilgenbach recorded his first career triple in his 403rd career at-bat in the top of the first. The extra base hit scored two runs and it was Gilgenbach’s 10th multi-RBI game of the season.
  • Niko Kavadas tallied his team-leading 11th home run of the season with the solo shot in the top of the second. It was his first home run since April 9 against Michigan State.
  • Jack Zyska recorded his second home run of the season when he followed Kavadas with a solo homer in the second inning.
  • Zyska set a career high with three runs on the afternoon.
  • It was the first time this season the Irish had hit back-to-back home runs.
  • Spencer Myers ripped a two-run homer to right for his first career home run in the top of the sixth.
  • Myers finished the game with three RBI which tied a career high.
  • Daniel Jung singled in the top of the sixth for the 11th hit of the afternoon. Each member of the starting lineup had a hit for the first time this season.
  • Jared Miller tied a career high with three hits and two RBI against the Wildcats.

Up Next

The Irish head east for their final ACC series of the regular season. The Irish will take on Boston College starting Thursday night in Brighton, Mass. with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. All three games 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.