If you haven’t been paying attention to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team, now is the time to start. The Irish came into the weekend ranked #25 in the country, fresh off two conference series wins, both on the road. They traveled to Virginia this weekend for a series with the Virginia Cavaliers, who came into the weekend ranked #21, and came away with all three wins.
Game 1: Notre Dame 10 (5-2, 5-2) - Virginia 5 (7-6, 2-5)
Win: Liam Simon, ND (3-0)
Loss: Andrew Abbott, UVA (1-3)
Save: Joe Sheridan, ND (1)
With two outs in the third inning, Carter Putz reached base on a dropped third strike. Next up was Jared Miller for the Irish and he made Virginia pay for the mistake with a two run home run. Virginia answered right back though, scoring four runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead.
In the top of the fourth, Notre Dame had two runners in scoring position when Jack Zyska scored on a sacrifice fly from Zack Prajzner. Jack Brannigan then singled to bring in another run and tie the game, followed by a single from Carter Putz to take the 5-4 lead. In the top of the fifth Niko Kavadas hit a home run for a 6-4 lead before Virginia scored their fifth run in the bottom half of the inning.
Notre Dame was able to put the game away in the eighth inning though when Brooks Coetzee hit a three run home run for the 9-5 lead. Notre Dame added another run in the ninth on an RBI double by Niko Kavadas. Joe Sheridan pitched 5 innings in relief for Notre Dame, allowing no runs and striking out 7 to earn his first save of the season.
Game 2: Notre Dame 12 (6-2, 6-2) - Virginia 4 (7-7, 2-6)
Win: John Michael Bertrand, ND (2-0)
Loss: Paul Kosanovich, UVA (0-1)
Notre Dame was able to score first in game 2, again in the third inning. Notre Dame loaded the bases with nobody out before two runs scored on a sacrifice fly and a groundout. In the fourth inning an RBI single from Jack Brannigan scored a third run for Notre Dame. Virginia came back to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth with three runs of their own.
Notre Dame took the lead right back in the fifth inning though, scoring 5 runs for the 8-3 lead. Three straight hits from Carter Putz, Jared Miller, and Niko Kavadas. Putz scored on a double from Miller before a groundout and an error brought home Miller and Kavadas. Brooks Coetzee capped off the rally with a two run home run. The Irish added 2 more runs in each of the seventh and ninth innings before Virginia scored one in the bottom of the ninth for the final score.
John Michael Bertrand threw 7 innings for Notre Dame as the starting pitcher. He allowed 3 runs but only gave up 5 hits while striking out 4. Alex Rao threw two innings of relief to finish the game.
Game 3: Notre Dame 8 (7-2, 7-2) - Virginia 3 (7-8, 2-7)
Win: Aidan Tyrell, ND
Loss: Mike Vasil, UVA
Save: Tanner Kohlhepp, ND
Notre Dame took the early lead in the third game again, when Niko Kavadas hit a three-run home run in the top of the first. In the third inning Virginia got 2 runs back to cut the Irish lead. With runners on the corners in the fifth, Kavadas came up again, this time hitting a sacrifice fly to the wall to add to Notre Dame’s lead. Later in the fifth Brooks Coetzee singled to bring in a fifth run. Virginia managed a run of their own in the bottom of the inning but wouldn’t score again.
In the seventh inning Jared Miller led off with a home run to stretch Notre Dame’s lead. Zack Prajzner did the same in the eighth inning for another Irish run. Brooks Coetzee drove in another run in the ninth inning and Notre Dame held on for the 8-3 win. Tanner Kohlhepp threw 4.2 innings for Notre Dame in relief, shutting out Virginia to keep the Irish in front.
Notre Dame finally comes home next weekend, as they host the Duke Blue Devils for the first series in Frank Eck Stadium this season. Notre Dame will be looking to keep their hot start moving with home field advantage.