April 15, 2016
By Russell Dorn
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Behind a sterling effort on the mound from sophomore RHP Peter Solomon, the University of Notre Dame baseball team beat Boston College, 4-1, Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium to take a 1-0 lead in the three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series.
After struggling to start the year and falling out of the weekend rotation, Solomon showed poise and grit to slowly work his way back. He picked up ACC Sunday wins at Virginia Tech and versus Wake Forest, but Friday proved to be his breakout performance.
Facing a scrappy BC squad that entered the game on a four-game winning streak, the Ellicott City, Maryland native was borderline dominant for much of the contest. He had a no-hitter working through five innings and faced the minimum number of batters through six frames after a pick off and double play eliminated the only two base runners he allowed.
Solomon ran into a bit of trouble in the seventh inning by allowing two walks and two singles that scored one run, but he calmly worked out of the jam by recording back-to-back strikeouts to strand the bases loaded.
“Honestly I thought everything was going for him tonight,” said head coach Mik Aoki. “First and foremost, he was able to command his fastball probably as well as he has all year long, moving it in and out. He got some swings and misses with the breaking ball early on. He made the big pitches when he needed to with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
“Pete is an enormously talented pitcher. He struggled a little bit at the beginning of the year, sort of inexplicably lost the strike zone and I think it affected him. But he’s done a remarkable job of working his way through that. To do that when the season is in swing isn’t necessarily the easiest thing. I certainly give him a lot of credit to be able to do that. That was a really good performance tonight. This is a BC team that can really pitch and for him to let our offense kind of settle into the game was really important.”
That strikeout was his eighth of the night, which tied his career high and upped his season total to 46, a team high.
For the night, Solomon allowed three hits, one run and three walks.
“My fastball command was good throughout the whole game,” said Solomon. “I was pounding the zone, inside and outside, and throwing strikes and then late throwing sliders and getting them to chase. I made them hit my pitches instead of sitting on something they wanted.”
After facing Solomon’s electric stuff for seven innings, the Eagles were then subjected to sophomore Brad Bass’ cannon arm. The 6-6 righty only needed 32 pitches to record six outs and pick up his second save in as many games. He struck out three and allowed just one base runner (walk).
“He brings huge confidence to our team,” said Solomon. You saw him come in and pound the zone right away. He threw his fastball and slider. He lays it out there like nothing bothers him. He comes in and does his own thing. I know the guys behind him love playing with him because they know he will come out throwing strikes.”
While the Irish pitching was dealing, the Notre Dame bats did more than enough to help the cause. Facing off against BC freshman sensation Jacob Stevens, Division I’s leader in ERA (0.45), the Irish plated two runs in the fourth to take the early 2-0 lead.
After sophomore Jake Shepski singled and senior Zak Kutsulis doubled, senior Ricky Sanchez brought in Shepski on an RBI groundout. Later in the inning freshman Nick Podkul singled to left field to plate another run.
The two earned runs in the fourth inning matched the combined total that Stevens had allowed all season and upped his ERA to 1.17 for the year.
Shepski (2-4, R), Podkul (2-4, RBI, R) and Fiala (2-3, RBI, BB, R) all recorded two-hit days to lead the Irish.
Notre Dame (19-12, 7-7 ACC) and BC (18-12, 5-9 ACC) resume their series at 3:05 p.m. ET Saturday. The contest will be the annual ALS Game for Notre Dame, with all proceeds going to the Pete Frates #3 Fund. Admission is free and will be available through ESPN3, WatchND’s free audio broadcast or live stats. Links for all three are on the schedule page at UND.com/NDBaseball.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).
Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.