After splitting a two-game midweek series with the Kent State Golden Flashes, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team traveled to Durham over the weekend to take on the #19 Duke Blue Devils. Despite a stellar performance on the mound Friday by Scott Tully, Notre Dame was swept by the Blue Devils, losing all three on the road.
Game 1: Duke 5 (22-5, 7-3) - Notre Dame 4 (11-14, 4-6)
Notre Dame opened the scoring in the fourth inning. Nick Podkul walked and stole second base before Matt Vierling singled off the left field wall, driving in Podkul and giving Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
In the sixth inning, with two runners on, Duke’s Jimmy Herron hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1. It would be the only run Duke would score off of Irish starter Scott Tully.
Notre Dame answered back in the top of the seventh. Nick Podkul led off the inning with a triple, followed by a Matt Vierling double that drove in Podkul and an Eric Gilgenbach single to drive in Vierling. Later in the inning, after walks to Daniel Jung and David LaManna, Jared Miller reached on a throwing error that scored Jung and gave the Irish a 4-1 lead.
Things fell apart for the Notre Dame bullpen in the ninth inning. Cole Kmet started the inning and allowed five singles to the Blue Devils, tying the game. Andrew Belcik came in and loaded the bases before Tommy Vail hit a batter, scoring Duke’s fifth run of the game and securing a walk-off win for the Blue Devils.
Scott Tully threw 8.0 innings of one run baseball, allowing only two hits and striking out two. Despite the performance from the Friday night starter it wasn’t enough, as the struggles for Notre Dame’s bullpen continued and cost the Irish the game.
W: Matt Mervis, Duke (3-0)
L: Cole Kmet, ND (0-3)
Game 2: Duke 6 (23-5, 8-3) - Notre Dame 3 (11-15, 4-7)
Duke jumped out in front in the third inning on Saturday. Three Notre Dame errors allowed the Blue Devils to score two unearned runs and take a 2-0 lead early.
Notre Dame struck back quick in the fourth. Nick Podkul doubled and Matt Vierling drove him in with a single to make it a 2-1 game. The combination of Podkul and Vierling continued its hot streak and is becoming a potent one in the middle of the Notre Dame lineup.
In the sixth inning Notre Dame took the lead. Niko Kavadas was hit by a pitch before Eric Gilgenbach hit his fifth home run of the season, putting Notre Dame up 3-2.
Irish starter Tommy Sheehan came out for the bottom of the seventh but was relieved after hitting a batter and allowing a walk. Anthony Holubecki came in for Notre Dame and allowed a three run home run to give Duke a 5-3 lead.
Duke added another in the eighth and held on for a 6-3 win.
W: Ethan DeCaster, Duke (3-0)
L: Tommy Sheehan, ND (1-2)
S: Jack Labosky, Duke (5)
Game 3: Duke 16 (24-5, 9-3) - Notre Dame 4 (11-16, 4-8)
Matt Vierling struck again for Notre Dame in the fourth inning. Vierling hit a solo home run to center field to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. A Griffin Conine home run in the bottom half of the inning for Duke tied the game at 1.
In the fifth inning, Eric Gilgenbach led off with a single, his second of the day. Daniel Jung followed with his second home run of the season, giving Notre Dame back the lead at 3-1.
Duke grabbed the lead in the sixth inning off of the Irish bullpen. Charlie Vorsheck gave up a single and double that made it a 3-2 game. Cole Kmet entered the game and allowed a single and groundout that each scored one and gave Duke a 4-3 lead.
Notre Dame tied the game in the seventh. Eric Gilgenbach was hit by a pitch before Cole Daily drove him in with a single that knotted the game at 4.
In the eighth inning the Irish bullpen fell apart. When it was finished, Duke scored 12 runs and held on for a 16-4 win, the third late lead blown by Notre Dame in the series.
W: Bryce Jarvis, Duke (2-0)
L: Cole Kmet, ND (0-4)
Notre Dame returns home for a Tuesday game against the Chicago State Cougars followed by a Wednesday exhibition against the South Bend Cubs. They close the stretch with a weekend series at home against the Clemson Tigers.