May 3, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the second day in a row, the Northwestern State Demons struck early, this time plating seven runs in the first three innings, to claim the road series win over the University of Notre Dame baseball team with an 8-4 victory Sunday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium.
After scoring six runs in the first three innings Saturday on their way to an 8-2 win, the Demons bats stayed hot Sunday.
On the strength of three consecutive walks to open the game, NSU scored two runs in the first inning off starter Scott Tully (1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 SO), who was pulled after an inning of work and 35 pitches.
Freshman righty Evy Ruibal (1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB) replaced Tully and had even more struggles, as he gave up a pair of two-run homers to Cort Brinson and Caleb Dugas in the second frame to increase the lead to 6-0.
Competing against freshman righty Brad Bass (3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO), Northwestern State plated one more run in the third on an RBI single by Brinson to up its lead to 7-0.
In the first three innings, 23 Demon batters stepped to the dish.
Down seven, the Irish started slowly chipping away at the lead in the fifth, as sophomore Cavan Biggio cracked his seventh homer of the year to trim the margin to six at 7-1.
Two innings later, Notre Dame had its best chance to complete the comeback. After six strong innings from NSU starter Jeffrey Stovall (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SO), the Demons decided to turn to the bullpen. With runners on first and second and two outs, the Demons removed reliever Fielding Matkins (0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 BB) for Hunter Duvic (0.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB). Duvic quickly loaded the bases with a walk and then walked home a run with sophomore Kyle Fiala at the plate to cut the lead to 7-2. Up stepped senior Robert Youngdahl, who knocked a single up the middle to score two runs and trim the lead to three at 7-4.
Northwestern State then brought in Brandon Stane (0.0 IP, 1 BB), who loaded the bases again with a walk before getting replaced by Brandon Smith (2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO). With the game-tying run at first base, Smith induced a fielder’s choice to keep the Demon lead at three and end Notre Dame’s best chance at getting back in the game.
Smith sat the Irish down in order over the final two innings to pick up his eighth save of the season.
Notre Dame freshman Sean Guenther (3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 SO) pitched the final three innings for the Irish.
Eight NSU players had a hit on the day, while six players scored runs and four notched RBI. The top four batters in the lineup went 6-for-14 with two homers, seven walks, seven RBI and six runs scored.
For Notre Dame, Biggio had a homer, two walks and two runs scored, while Fiala upped his on-base streak to 37 games with a walk, hit by pitch and RBI. Youngdahl went 3-for-4 with two RBI.
The Irish (30-18) will take a break from midweek action this week to take care of final exams at the University, but wrap up their eight-game homestand next weekend with a key, three-game ACC series against North Carolina. The series will mark the final home games of the 2015 season and will also be senior weekend for 12 Notre Dame student-athletes. Senior weekend ceremonies will take place prior to Saturday’s 2:05 p.m. (ET) start against the Tar Heels.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director