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Walk-Off Walk Helps Irish Down Pirates, 9-8

March 3, 2018

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By Megan Golden

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — In its second game at the Kissimmee Irish Classic, the University of Notre Dame baseball team used a walk-off walk to top Seton Hall 9-8 on Saturday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium.

Notre Dame (6-3) came from behind — down 4-0 and later trailing 6-3 — to shock the Pirates (3-5) and win their sixth game of the season.

How It Happened

Seton Hall scored first, capitalizing on two, two-out walks and an RBI-single up the middle to open an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.

In the second inning, Tommy Sheehan loaded the bases with back-to-back walks and a hit-by-pitch before Cole Kmet came on in relief. In the next at-bat, Al Molina reached on an error by Cole Daily that allowed two runs to score, giving the Pirates a 3-0 advantage. With one out in the inning, Mike Alescio hit a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-0 ballgame.

Notre Dame’s David LaManna led off the bottom of the third with a swinging bunt single to the third baseman, and Spencer Myers followed with a base hit through the right side. Daily connected for a sacrifice bunt that moved the runners over, and Jake Johnson came through with a sacrifice fly to bring home LaManna and cut the deficit to 4-1.

With nobody out in the fourth inning, Matt Vierling doubled past a diving left-fielder for his second hit of the day. Daniel Jung walked, and a fielder’s choice by Niko Kavadas advanced Vierling to third base. Kavadas went to steal second base, forcing a throw by the Pirates catcher, who made an errant throw into center that allowed Vierling to score and Kavadas to reach safely. The Seton Hall miscue helped Notre Dame make the score 4-2.

Notre Dame was back at it again in the fifth inning, when Daily doubled to left field with one out in the inning. Two batters later, Podkul drove in the shortstop and cut the Pirates lead to 4-3 with a single to left field.

In the top of the sixth, Cameron Brown relieved Cole Kmet and allowed two, two-out walks. Brown gave way to Belcik midway through the inning, and Belcik yielded an RBI-single that scored two runs on a fielding error by right-fielder Eric Gilgenbach. Seton Hall took a 6-3 advantage into the bottom half of the inning.

Spencer Myers connected for a one-out single in the seventh and was moved over when Daily forced a walk in the ensuing plate appearance. Johnson then hit a bloop single into center that scored Myers and made it 6-4. A Podkul groundout drove in Daily, and Johnson scored on a wild pitch to even the score at 6-6.

Seton Hall regained the lead in the eighth, when Christopher Del Castillo singled and Matt Toke drove him home with another base hit.

But Daniel Jung responded with a solo homer, his first of the season, to quickly tie the game 7-7.

The Pirates again took control after reaching on an error and a fielder’s choice. Rob Dadona’s RBI-single off of Tommy Vail in the ninth gave the Pirates an 8-7 lead.

Myers and Daily walked to open the bottom of the ninth, and Johnson loaded the bases on an error. Podkul grounded into a double play that drove in Myers and knotted the score, 8-8. Vierling and Alex Kerschner walked to reload the bases for Eric Gilgenbach, who drew a walk-off walk to win the game, 9-8.

Player of the Game

Daniel Jung‘s solo homer that tied the game at 7-7 in the eighth inning sparked the Irish offense and kept Notre Dame right in the game. Jung finished the day 1-for-3 with a walk but had the biggest hit of the day in the Irish victory.

Stat of the Game

The Irish are 2-0 in games in which the score is tied after seven innings.

Game Notes

  • The Irish move to 37-17 all-time against Seton Hall and 4-1 at a neutral site.
  • Notre Dame junior Nick Podkul is in control of a 15-game hitting streak, dating back to 2017. Podkul has hit .417 (25-60) with seven doubles, two triples and 15 RBI during that span.
  • Senior Jake Johnson owns a 16-game on-base streak, dating back to last season.
  • Junior Cole Daily has hit safely in seven straight games, batting .379 (11-29) over that span.
  • Freshman Cole Kmet worked 4.0 scoreless innings of relief and struck out three batters.
  • Notre Dame walked off for the second time this season and for the first time since defeating Purdue, 4-2, on Feb. 24.

Coming Up Next

Notre Dame concludes the Kissimmee Irish Classic with a matchup versus Seattle at 9 a.m. ET at Osceola Heritage Stadium. The game will be aired on 103.1 FM (South Bend) and WatchND.

For a behind-the-scenes look at the Irish baseball program, follow @NDBaseball on Twitter and @NotreDameBaseball on Instagram. For tickets to an Irish baseball game, click here.


Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame baseball and women’s soccer programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.