March 28, 2017
By Michael Scholl
NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The Notre Dame baseball team used a trio of two-run innings to rally past Chicago State, 7-4, on a chilly Tuesday night at Frank Eck Stadium.
Scott Tully battled looking for his third consecutive win, but the Irish found themselves in an early 3-0 hole. Two runs in the fourth, fifth and eighth, as well as a solid 2.2 innings out of the bullpen from Sean Guenther, locked down the victory for Notre Dame.
The Cougars got on the scoreboard first in the second inning. Matt Paciello led off the frame with a triple to the gap in right-center before Jacob Northrup followed with a sacrifice fly to center. Tully got a pair of groundouts sandwiched around a walk to keep the score at 1-0.
The visitors added on in the third. The inning started when Zach Thomas was hit by a pitch with one out, then Jacob Vanitvelt doubled down the right field line to put runners on second and third. Julian Russell scored Thomas on an RBI groundout, then Paciello did the same to score Vanitvelt, putting the Cougars up 3-0 after two-and-a-half innings.
The Irish struck back in the third. Jake Shepski and Nick Podkul hit back-to-back singles to left before both advancing on a wild pitch. Johnson then flew out to deep right to score Shepski and move Podkul up to third, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
Chicago State got the run back in the fourth. Brandon Eyring led off with a single to right and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Steven Jacobson. Thomas singled to move Eyring to the third before Vanitvelt scored him with a sacrifice fly to center, making it 4-1.
Notre Dame finally got a big inning in the fourth. Daniel Jung started with a walk before Kyle Fiala laid a beautiful bunt down the third-base line for a single. After a wild pitch moved both runners up, Patrick McDonald walked to load the bases. Cole Daily hit a chopper to short for a fielder’s choice, scoring Jung to make it 4-2. Lidge followed with an RBI groundout to make it 4-3 before Shepski flew out to end the inning.
Notre Dame wasted no time tying the game in the fifth. Nick Podkul started things getting hit by a pitch, then Jake Johnson sent a pitch down the left-field line for an RBI double, scoring Podkul and tying the game at 4. Vierling flew out to right, sending Johnson to third. After a Jung groundout didn’t score the run, Robert Gutierrez uncorked a wild pitch on his second pitch in relief of Josh Perkins to let Johnson score, making it 5-4 Notre Dame.
Notre Dame added some insurance in the bottom of the eighth. Jung was the fire starter with a double to right-center. After a strikeout, Patrick McDonald reached on a throwing error by the pitcher, but Jung was thrown out at the plate for out number two. Daily then battled back from a 1-2 hole to draw a walk and Lidge doubled to left-center, scoring Daily and McDonald to make it 7-4.
The Irish play the final three games of a nine-game homestand when NC State visits Frank Eck Stadium this weekend. Friday’s game starts at 6:05 p.m., with Saturday’s first pitch at 4:05 p.m. and action on Sunday getting underway at 1:05 p.m.
The entire series can be seen live on ACC Network Extra, via WatchESPN, and heard live on WatchND and 103.1 FM in South Bend.
— ND —
Michael Scholl joined Fighting Irish Media in August 2016, coordinating communications for the baseball program and assisting with the football team at his alma mater. The South Bend native earned a degree in political science from the College of Arts & Letters in 2009 before going on to work in athletics communications at Providence College, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati.