April 29, 2016
By Ben Auwaerter
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Behind some solid pitching, outstanding defense and a pair of timely hits, the University of Notre Dame baseball team took down Ohio, 2-1, to claim game one of a three-game non-conference series Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium.
Irish sophomore righty Peter Solomon led the effort with 10 strikeouts over 6.0 innings, overcoming some early command issues to take control of the game and turn in a quality start. He limited the Bobcats to six hits and a run and became the first Irish pitcher since Will Hudgins in 2012 to record 10 or more strikeouts in a game.
“My slider was working late,” said Solomon. “I didn’t have great command of my fastball today, but when I got ahead I was able to capitalize on my slider. They were chasing it, so that worked out for me.”
The Irish got on the board in the second inning. Junior Kyle Fiala reached base when he was hit by a pitch. He then advanced to third after a passed ball and a productive groundout by senior Kyle Richardson. Junior Ryan Lidge knocked him home with a two-out line drive single to right field, giving the Irish a 1-0 lead.
Solomon avoided serious trouble in the third inning. With one out and one run already scored, Solomon induced a bases-loaded double play to escape the inning with a 1-1 tie.
In each of his six innings, Solomon allowed Ohio’s leadoff man to reach base. Impressively, he only allowed one of those runners to score.
“I was a little bit more aggressive when I got into jams,” noted Solomon. “After the lead-off guy got on every inning, I kind of realized that I needed to bear down a little bit and get these guys out.”
Sophomore Brandon Bielak relieved Solomon at the beginning of the seventh inning. He allowed two runners in the inning, but maneuvered his way out of the situation with a fly out and strike out.
With another scoreless outing, Bielak lowered his relief ERA to 0.67 in nine appearances. In those relief outings he has a 3-0 record and 26 strikeouts.
Notre Dame took back the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Junior Cavan Biggio started things off with a one-out walk. Senior Ricky Sanchez moved him to second on a two-out single to right field. Freshman Matt Vierling delivered the game-winning RBI hit on a line drive single to left field to give the game its final score.
Bielak returned to the mound and tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth inning to close out the victory for the Irish.
The win moves the Irish to 25-16 on the season. Vierling recorded his second straight two-hit game, going 2-4 with the game-winning RBI. Cavan Biggio reached base twice and scored a run for the Irish.
Notre Dame will look to claim a series victory against Ohio at 12:05 p.m. ET Saturday. The game was originally slated for 4:05 p.m. ET, but was moved up Friday due to projected inclement weather in the South Bend area. Fans can watch Saturday’s game live on WatchND’s video broadcast or listen to the radio broadcast on WHME 103.1 FM.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball team, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).
Ben Auwaerter is a freshman at Notre Dame and is from Lutherville, Maryland. He previously worked during the summer of 2014 with the Baltimore Orioles public relations office.