The #12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team continued their strong run of form this week, winning 2 of 3 games played. They started with a midweek game against the Valparaiso Crusaders before hosting the #6 Louisville Cardinals for the first ever top 15 series at Frank Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame 6 (10-3, 9-3) - Valparaiso 3 (4-10)
Win: Will Mercer, ND (1-0)
Loss: Easton Roadhouse, Valpo (1-1)
Save: Liam Simon, ND (1)
The early game on Tuesday was quiet, with both teams going scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning. Niko Kavadas led off the inning for Notre Dame by hitting an opposite field home run to score the first of the game. Later in the inning, Ryan Cole scored on a single from Zack Prajzner. Valparaiso answered back in the top of the fifth, scoring three runs and taking the lead. They were the only three runs scored by Valpo in the game.
In the sixth inning Notre Dame regained the lead. Jack Brannigan laid down a sacrifice bunt that allowed Ryan Cole to score from third. Carter Putz then singled to bring Brooks Coetzee home for the Irish lead. Notre Dame added to the lead in the seventh inning, again with a leadoff home run from Niko Kavadas. Later in the seventh Ryan Cole scored his third run of the game, this time on a sacrifice fly from Prajzner.
1️⃣ Oppo- is good but 2️⃣ is better!!@nikkavadas22 tallied his second multi-home run game of the season in the 6-3 win over Valpo!!— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) March 24, 2021
He now ranks tied for eighth all-time in program history with 3️⃣3️⃣ career home runs!!#GoIrish x #Rally pic.twitter.com/fmV90cmSQb
Game 1: Notre Dame 4 (10-4, 9-4) - Louisville 7 (16-5, 8-2)
Win: Adam Elliott, UL (3-1)
Loss: Joe Sheridan, ND (0-1)
Save: Kaleb Corbett, UL (4)
Notre Dame was able to jump on Louisville first on Friday night in the first inning. Spencer Myers led off the bottom of the inning with a single before Carter Putz doubled to bring him home. In the fourth inning Louisville got on the scoreboard after a string of hits and an Irish error allowed three runs to score. They added two more runs the next inning for a 5-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth Notre dame scored two more to narrow the Cardinals lead. With the bases loaded Niko Kavadas and David LaManna both walked to score Myers and Putz. In the eighth inning Kavadas led off with a home run to score another run for the Irish. It wasn’t enough though, and Louisville added two more runs in the ninth to put the game away.
Game 2: Notre Dame 5 (11-4, 10-4) - Louisville 3 (16-6, 8-3)
Win: Jack Brannigan, ND (1-0)
Loss: Tate Kuehner, UL (1-3)
Louisville scored first on Saturday, getting a run each in the fifth and sixth innings. Notre Dame answered in the seventh inning with three runs of their own to take the lead. Jared Miller led off the inning with a single before scoring on a single from Brooks Coetzee. Jack Brannigan then doubled to score Coetzee and Ryan Cole. From that point on the crowd at Frank Eck Stadium, nearly full with students, really got behind the Irish.
BOT 7 | Irish take the lead!!!!!!!!!!@JBrannigan06 doubles to center and @br00ks23 scores from third!!!!!— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) March 27, 2021
ND 3, UL 2
https://t.co/cxBUS0BFPw#GoIrish x #Rally pic.twitter.com/ahcbsLz6iR
Notre Dame took the 3-2 lead into the ninth inning but it didn’t last. Alex Binelas hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth to tie the game. Brannigan then moved from third to pitch for Notre Dame and he retired the final two batters of the inning to keep the game tied. In the bottom of the inning David LaManna singled with one out to put the winning run on base. Ultimately it didn’t matter though, as the next batter, Ryan Cole, hit a two run walk off home run for the 5-3 win. It was Cole’s second walk off home run of the season after hitting his first last weekend.
The two teams were set to meet again on Sunday, but the game was postponed due to inclement weather, so both teams had to settle for a two game split. No makeup date was announced yet.
Notre Dame is back on the road for their next series as they travel to Pittsburgh for a series with the Pittsburgh Panthers. The two teams will play three games April 1-3.