A week after winning a series on the road against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team continued their conference road trip against the #12 ranked Clemson Tigers.
The two teams split the first two games of the series before Notre Dame on game three in extra innings after blowing a late lead. The win on St. Patrick’s Day meant that the Irish have now opened conference play with two straight series wins before even playing a game at home. They’ll do that this weekend as they go for three straight series wins.
All around it was an impressive weekend for the Irish. They won two games on the road against the #12 team in the country coming into the weekend and their pitching staff managed to keep a potent Clemson offense relatively in check. If they can maintain some of this early conference success moving forward the Irish can surprise a lot of people this year.
Game 1: Notre Dame 9 (7-9, 3-1) - Clemson 2 (13-4, 3-1)
Notre Dame started the scoring early in the opener on Friday night. In the top of the second, Niko Kavadas reached on an error before David LaManna singled to center. Jared Miller then singled down the right field line to score Kavadas. LaManna and Miller would both come around to score on a wild pitch and a Clemson error to put Notre Dame up 3-0.
TOP 2 | Irish strike first!!— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) March 15, 2019
Jared Miller drops one in on the right field line and Niko Kavadas comes around to score!#GoIrish #PassTheShillelagh
ND 1, CU 0 pic.twitter.com/WgSaEkO6WI
After Clemson cut the lead to two in the third, Notre Dame came back and added a run in the sixth inning. Jared Miller picked up his second RBI of the night on an infield single that scored Eric Gilgenbach. In the eighth inning, Miller drove in Ryan Cole for his career high third RBI of the night.
Notre Dame added a few insurance runs in the ninth inning, including a home run by Gilgenbach, his sixth of the season. Clemson added one more run in the ninth but it wasn’t enough for the comeback and the Irish held on for the 9-2 win.
TOP 9 | BYE-BYE BASEBALL!!— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) March 16, 2019
Eric Gilgenbach blows the game open with his sixth #GilgenBOMB of the season!!!#GoIrish #PassTheShillelagh
ND 9, CU 1 pic.twitter.com/JjvqaKX9pJ
Notre Dame starter Tommy Sheehan went the distance for his first career complete game. The two runs that Sheehan allowed were a season low offensive output for Clemson.
W: Tommy Sheehan, ND (3-1)
L: Davis Sharpe, CLEM (2-1)
Game 2: Notre Dame 1 (7-10, 3-2) - Clemson 5 (14-4, 4-1)
Clemson got things started in game two, and the early lead turned out to be all they would need. In the bottom of the second they managed to string together a series of hits that brought home four runs.
The Tigers added another run in the fourth before Notre Dame finally got on the board in the eighth. With the bases loaded, Jack Zyska hit a sacrifice fly to score the only Irish run of the game.
Cameron Brown pitched well for Notre Dame in the loss, throwing 7 innings and striking out 6. It was his fourth consecutive outing with 6 or more strikeouts. Outside of the second inning, the Notre Dame pitching staff did well to hold the Clemson offense in check for the second consecutive game.
W: Mat Clark, CLEM (4-0)
L: Cameron Brown, ND (0-2)
S: Holy Jones, CLEM (2)
Game 3: Notre Dame 4 (8-10, 4-2) - Clemson 2 (14-5, 4-2)
Niko Kavadas got things started in the second again for Notre Dame, driving a home run to right center for the 1-0 lead. Kavadas struck again in the sixth, driving in Eric Gilgenbach with a single for a 2-0 lead.
TOP 2 | IT IS HIGH, IT IS FAR, IT IS GONE!!!— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) March 17, 2019
Niko Kavadas blasts his sixth home run of the season to give the Irish the lead!!!#GoIrish #PassTheShillelagh
ND 1, CU 0 pic.twitter.com/lLUkjCk9HM
Clemson came back to tie the game in the eighth inning when Grayson Bird drove in two runs with a double. The two teams went scoreless in the ninth inning and the game went to extra innings tied at two.
In the tenth inning, Notre Dame loaded the bases with Brooks Coetzee at the plate. Coetzee reached on an error that allowed on run to score. Jared Miller then grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed a second Irish run to score for the 4-2 lead. Clemson threatened in the bottom half of the inning with the tying run on base, but Mitch Megias was able to work his way out of trouble for his first career save.
TOP 10 | IRISH TAKE THE LEAD!!!— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) March 17, 2019
Brooks Coetzee gets it by the pitcher and Carter Putz comes home to score!!#GoIrish #PassTheShillelagh
ND 3, CU 2 pic.twitter.com/SCgw7rOjLi
Cameron Junker went 7.1 innings with 8 strikeouts for Notre Dame, meaning all three of their starters pitched at least 7 innings during the series. Joe Boyle also earned his first career win in the victory.
W: Joe Boyle, ND (1-0)
L: Carson Spiers, CLEM (1-1)
S: Mitch Megias, ND (1)
The Irish open their home slate this coming weekend as they welcome the Florida State Seminoles to Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame will be looking to stretch their streak to three straight series wins for an early leg up in the conference standings.
Notre Dame will follow up their series against Florida State with a midweek game at home against the Chicago State Cougars before returning to the road.