The Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team opened the season visiting the #9 LSU Tigers with a three game weekend series at Baton Rouge. The Irish were able to pull off the upset, winning two of three and leading at some point in all three games.
Game 1: LSU 7 (1-0) - Notre Dame 6 (0-1)
Notre Dame jumped out to the early lead Friday before LSU even stepped to the plate. Cole Daily led off the game with a single before stealing second. He moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on an error off the bat of Nick Podkul. LSU threatened in the bottom half of the inning, but Scott Tully was able to strand two Tigers baserunners and keep them off the board.
Notre Dame was able to extend its lead in the third inning, as Daily beat out in infield single. After a hit by pitch and passed ball, the Irish had runners on first and third with Nick Podkul at the plate. He picked up his first RBIs of the season with a single down the left field line, giving the Irish a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth inning Notre Dame managed to extend the lead again. Eric Gilgenbach led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a ground ball. David LaManna scored Gilgenbach with a single before stealing second and advancing to third on another ground ball. Cole Daily was able to drive in LaManna with another infield hit and the Irish were up 5-0 after four.
The Tigers started their comeback in the sixth. Tully walked two and gave up a single to load the bases for Bryce Jordan. Jordan made no mistake, hitting a grand slam over the left field wall and cutting the Irish lead to 6-4.
LSU would strike again in the eighth. Beau Jordan opened the inning with a double and after a walk, Chris Reid gave LSU a lead they wouldn’t relinquish with a home run to right field. LSU took the 7-6 lead and would hold on to win by the same score.
Final from Baton Rouge: pic.twitter.com/D0uQQyBd4M— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) February 17, 2018
W: Austin Bain, LSU (1-0)
L: Matt Vierling, ND (0-1)
Game 2: Notre Dame 10 (1-1) - LSU 5 (1-1)
For the second game in a row Notre Dame opened the scoring in the top half of the first. After three walks loaded the bases, Niko Kavadas gained his first collegiate RBI with a groundout and the Irish were up 1-0.
LSU struck back in the second, as Beau Jordan took a 2-0 pitch from Tommy Sheehan and put it over the left field wall. The game was tied 1-1 after 2.
The Irish would strike back immediately. Kavadas stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded again and again he delivered, scoring two on a single to left field. Kavadas would move to second on a passed ball that scored Matt Vierling from third, giving Notre Dame a 4-1 lead. They would not stop there. Eric Gilgenbach would give Notre Dame a 6-1 lead with the first home run of the season for the Irish. Notre Dame would end the inning with an 8-1 lead after a sacrifice fly and RBI single scored two more.
LSU pulled back within striking distance in the fourth. With runners on the corners, Nick Coomes singled to right to drive in one and keep runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly scored the third Tiger run of the game before a two-out hit from Brandt Broussard scored two more and pulled the Tigers within four, 8-4.
LSU pulled back another in the sixth. After two walks to open th inning, Cole Kmet came in to pitch for the Irish. A sacrifice fly would make the score 8-5 before Kmet was able to retire the side. That would be all they would get however and Notre Dame added two more in the top of the ninth to hold on for the 10-5 win, their first of the season.
✅ First top- win since 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣5️⃣— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) February 18, 2018
✅ 7️⃣-run inning
An Irish win vs. No. 9 LSU means you know these highlights are going to be . The Irish wrap up the series on Sunday at noon ET on SEC Network!#GoIrish pic.twitter.com/9kxnicVQEe
W: Tommy Sheehan, ND (1-0)
L: Zach Hess, LSU (0-1)
S: Cole Kmet, ND (1)
Game 3: Notre Dame 11 (2-1) - LSU 3 (1-2)
For the first time in the series Notre Dame failed to score first. After David LaManna was thrown out at the plate to end the top of the third LSU would strike in the bottom half of the inning. With runners on first and second a sacrifice bunt would move the runners to second and third before a Josh Smith sacrifice fly opened the scoring for a 1-0 LSU lead.
Notre Dame didn’t wait long to strike back. After two walks put two runners on, Eric Gilgenbach stepped up to the plate and gave the Irish a 3-1 lead. Gilgenbach drove a 1-0 pitch over the right center field wall for his secon dhome run in as many days.
LSU answered back in the fifth. With the bases loaded, Irish reliever Cameron Brown coaxed a double play from the bat of Nick Webre scoring one and cutting the Irish lead to 3-2.
The Irish would add three more in the top of the sixth extending their lead to 6-2. Gilgenbach opened the inning with a single before stealing second and moving to third on a wild pitch. After a Daniel Jung walk, Spencer Myers drove a single to the right side scoring Gilgenbach and Jung. Myers stole second and a Cole Daily double drove him home for the sixth Irish run of the game.
Beau Jordan brought the Tigers to within three in the bottom of the seventh, taking Jack Sheehan deep on the first pitch of the inning. Notre Dame would go to the bullpen but were able to hold LSU to just one run.
In the top half of the ninth Notre Dame broke the game open. With the bases loaded Gilgenbach hit his second home run of the game and third of thseason, a grand slam to left field. After a walk and hit by pitch, Notre Dame would add one more run on an RBI single by Spencer Myers. Reliever Andrew Belcik was able to shut down LSU and seal the win for the Irish.
W: Joe Boyle, ND (1-0)
L: Todd Peterson, LSU (0-1)
S: Andrew Belcik, ND (1)
Notre Dame travels to San Antonio to host the Alamo Irish Classic with a double header on Thursday against Saint Louis and Incarnate Word.