March 3, 2017
By Michael Scholl
CARY, North Carolina — The Notre Dame baseball team rallied to take the lead in the seventh inning for the second game in a row, but again dropped a one-run contest, this time, 4-3, to Maryland in the opener of the USA Baseball-Irish Classic.
Brandon Bielak took a no-decision for Notre Dame after allowing one run in six innings of work. Jake Johnson and Cole Daily had RBI for the Irish, while Kyle Fiala added a double and Nick Podkul tripled.
Bielak was locked in a pitchers’ duel with Maryland’s Brian Shaffer, who also went six innings, giving up one earned run.
Maryland jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, scoring what would prove to be the only run allowed by Irish starter Brandon Bielak. Zach Jancarski led off the game with a single and, after a strikeout, moved up to second on a ground out. Bielak walked Brandon Gum before Nick Cieri doubled down the right field line to score Jancarski. Bielak got a strikeout of Will Watson to end the frame.
The Irish threatened in the first, but couldn’t square things up. Jake Johnson led off by reaching on an error by the catcher, who dropped a pop-up. Kyle Fiala then drilled a double down the left field line setting up second and third with no outs. Maryland starter Brian Shaffer worked out of it, getting a pop-out, strikeout and ground out to preserve a 1-0 lead for the Terps.
After Maryland pushed its lead to 2-0 in the top of the seventh, the Irish responded in a big way after the stretch. Daniel Jung started the inning with a single to center, then Jake Shepski followed with a single through the left side. Ryan Lidge then drove a ball to the corner in right which was dropped by Marty Costes. Jung scores while Shepski moved up to second. Cole Daily followed with an RBI groundout to tie the game and Jake Johnson bunted home Lidge to give the Irish a 3-2 lead.
Maryland wasn’t done yet and captured the game with a two-run ninth inning. After Sean Guenther induced a flyout, Zach Jancarski reached on a dropped pop-up. Nick Dunn followed with a walk before the Irish intentionally walked Marty Costes and that’s when Brandon Gum delivered the big blow, driving an RBI single to right center. Mik Aoki brought Brandon Vierling, who gave up a sac fly to pinch-hitter Danny Maynard for the difference in the ball game.
The Irish return to action with a pair of games on Saturday at the USA Baseball-Classic. Notre Dame faces UMass Lowell at Noon before taking on Rhode Island at 3 p.m. Both games can be heard live on WatchND.
— 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.