The Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team played the Kissimmee Irish Classic this weekend against the Youngstown State Penguins, Seton Hall Pirates, and Seattle University Redhawks. After debuting new uniforms on Friday, a walk-off on Saturday, and a failed comeback attempt on Sunday, Notre Dame walked away 2-1 on the weekend and 6-4 on the season.
Game 1: Notre Dame 8 (5-3) - Youngstown State 0 (1-6)
Before we get into what happened in the game I want to talk a bit about Notre Dame’s fashion choice. The team broke out their ‘All Green Everything’ uniforms for the Friday night matchup and I have to say, these are some of the best monochromatic baseball uniforms I’ve ever seen.
Now, I consider myself a purist when it comes to baseball uniforms and baseball in general. I would much rather the pants be a different color than the jersey (white, cream, or grey is all you need). Maybe throw some pinstripes or extra piping on there if you want to get fancy. However, if you need to wear a monochromatic uniform this is the way to do it. Plus, those green hats with the shamrock logo are a terrific look.
I have to say, the more I look at these the more I like them. Now onto the game.
This one was all Irish from the beginning and to be honest, it was never really in doubt. Cole Daily led off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and throwing error. Daily came around to score on a Matt Vierling base hit to left and the Irish went up 1-0 and never looked back.
Notre Dame struck again in the third when Daily tripled with one out. Jake Johnson followed with an RBI single and Nick Podkul doubled to put two runners on base. Vierling picked up his second and third RBIs of the game when he singled to right field, driving in Johnson and Podkul. The Irish were up 4-0 after 3.
After three straight singles started the fourth for Notre Dame, Daily picked up his third hit of the game and his first RBI for a 5-0 lead. After a passed ball made it 6-0, Nick Podkul tripled to right center field and drove in the final two runs of the game. Notre Dame went up 8-0 and that was more than they would need.
On the mound, Scott Tully was stellar for Notre Dame. He retired the first six Youngstown State hitters of the game and threw 5.0 IP, picking up 6 strikeouts and giving up only 1 hit.
W: Scott Tully, ND (1-0)
L: Greg Dunham, YSU (1-2)
Game 2: Notre Dame 9 (6-3) - Seton Hall 8 (3-5)
Seton Hall jumped out early in the Saturday matchup, going up 1-0 after two walk and an RBI single in the first. In the second inning the Pirates added to their lead. After loading the bases, Tommy Sheehan gave way to Cole Kmet on the mound and immediately a Cole Daily error allowed two runs to score. With one out in the inning, Seton Hall’s Mike Alescio hit a sacrifice fly that put the Pirates up 4-0.
In the third inning, a pair of singles and a pair of sacrifices put Notre Dame on the scoreboard. A sacrifice fly from Jake Johnson brought home David LaManna and made it a 4-1 game.
Matt Vierling led off the fourth for Notre Dame with a double to right field. After a walk and fielder’s choice Notre Dame had runners on the corners. Niko Kavadas attempted to steal second an an errant throw from the catcher allowed Vierling to score, making it a 4-2 game. In the fifth inning a Cole Daily double and Nick Podkul RBI single brought in another run for the Irish.
In the sixth inning Seton Hall struck back. Two walks put runners on base against the Irish bullpen. After a pitching change saw Andrew Belcik take the mound, a single and error by Eric Gilgenbach in right field allowed two Pirate runs to score and extended their lead to 6-3.
Notre Dame got back into the game in the seventh in what became a heavily back and forth affair. Spencer Myers singled to get things started and after a Cole Daily walk and Jake Johnson single, Myers came around to score. A groundout and wild pitch helped bring home Daily and Johnson and the score was tied at 6 after 7.
In the eighth, Seton Hall took the lead back. Two base hits by Christopher Del Castillo and Matt Toke gave the Pirates a 7-6 lead in the top half of the inning. In the bottom half of the inning a Daniel Jung solo home run for Notre Dame tied the game once more.
Seton Hall took the lead again in the top of the ninth off of an RBI single but it would be short lived.
Two walks and an error started the inning and gave Notre Dame the bases loaded with nobody out. Nick Podkul grounded into a double play that allowed the tying run to score and after two more walks the bases were loaded again with Eric Gilgenbach at the plate. Gilgenbach earned a walk-off walk the gave the Irish a 9-8 win.
IRISH WIN!!!☘️— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) March 3, 2018
Gilgenbach walks with the bases loaded and the Irish win 9-8!!☘️ pic.twitter.com/Y8qDWwGHc1
For as good as the pitching was on Friday for Notre Dame, they struggled on Saturday. The offense was able to fight back several times throughout the game though and managed to earn the win in a game that seemed to come down to who was at bat and scored last.
W: Tommy Vail, ND (2-0)
L: Matt Leon, SHU (0-1)
Game 3: Seattle 11 (7-5) - Notre Dame 7 (6-4)
Notre Dame fell behind early again on Sunday, but this time they couldn’t come back. A lead off walk and two two-out singles put Seattle up 1-0. A Lucas Denny double then drove in two and put Seattle up 3-0 in the first.
In the third inning a Jake Johnson walk followed by a Nick Podkul base hit made the score 3-1. In the fourth Notre Dame put runners on the corners. David LaManna attempted to steal second and got caught in a rundown, allowing Eric Gilgenbach to score and making it a 3-2 game.
A leadoff double in the fifth for Seattle’s Austin Lively followed by an RBI single from Sean Sutton made the score 4-2 before Notre Dame struck back again in the bottom of the inning. Spencer Myers and Cole Daily reached on back-to-back hits when an attempted bunt and error by the Redhawks pitcher loaded the bases. A Nick Podkul sacrifice fly brought in a run and cut the deficit to 4-3 but that’s all the Irish would get.
Seattle added to their lead in the seventh when a bunt single with runners on the corners brought in one run. Notre Dame pitchers walked the next two, allowing a run to score and extending Seattle’s lead to 6-3.
In the eighth everything fell apart for the Notre Dame bullpen. Joe Boyle came into the game with two runners on and allowed three walks and a hit by pitch to give the Redhawks a 10-3 lead. A fielder’s choice in the top of the ninth extended the lead to 11-3.
Notre Dame put up a fight in the bottom of the ninth but it ultimatley wasn’t enough. The deficit was just too big and the Irish fell 11-7.
W: Dawson Day, SU (2-0)
L: Cameron Junker, ND (0-1)
Notre Dame heads to Florida for their spring break road trip where they will play eight games in ten days, beginning with a March 9-11 weekend series at the University of Miami Hurricanes.