The #12 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team was back on the road this weekend, where they played three games against the #17 Pittsburgh Panthers. Notre Dame won two of the three games for their fifth series win of the season.
Game 1: Notre Dame 4 (12-4, 11-4) - Pittsburgh 1 (12-9, 8-8)
Win: Tanner Kohlhepp, ND (2-1)
Loss: Mitch Myers, PITT (2-4)
Save: Joe Sheridan (2)
The first game of the series was scoreless early on before Notre Dame opened the scoring in the fourth inning. Carter Putz started things off with his first home run of the season, a solo home run. Later in the inning Niko Kavadas hit his 11th home run of the season, also a solo home run, for the 2-0 Irish lead.
Notre Dame doubled their lead in the top of the ninth with RBI hits from David LaManna and Brooks Coetzee. Pittsburgh managed a run in the bottom of the ninth inning but that was all they would get before Notre Dame shut the door for the win.
The Irish pitching was the story of game one. Will Mercer started the game and threw four scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Tanner Kohlhepp threw three scoreless innings in relief to earn the win. Joe Sheridan threw the final two innings of the game, allowing one run and earning the save.
Game 2: Notre Dame 2 (12-5, 11-5) - Pittsburgh 3 (13-9, 9-8)
Win: Jordan McCrum, PITT (2-1)
Loss: Liam Simon, ND (3-1)
Pitching was the story of game two of the season just as much as it was game one. This time the game stayed scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when Ron Washington Jr. hit a solo home run to take the lead. Notre Dame managed to tie it up in the seventh. Spencer Myers singled before advancing on a sacrifice bunt and scoring on an RBI single from Ryan Cole.
The tie game didn’t last long though, as Pittsburgh scored two runs in the eighth inning to take a 3-1 lead on a two-run home run from Nico Popa. Myers scored again for Notre Dame in the ninth, this time on a sacrifice fly from Zack Prajzner, but it was all the Irish could manage and the Panthers held on for the 3-2 win to even the series.
John Michael Bertrand got the start for Notre Dame and continued his strong season so far. He threw 7.1 innings while allowing just 3 hits and striking out 7 batters. Liam Simon came in for the final two outs of the eighth inning and allowed what ultimately turned out to be the game winning run.
Game 3: Notre Dame 11 (13-5, 12-5) - Pittsburgh 5 (13-10, 9-9)
Win: Tanner Kohlhepp, ND (3-1)
Loss: Stephen Hansen, PITT (1-1)
The offenses got things started a little earlier in the rubber matchup of the series, with Notre Dame striking first in the second inning with a Jack Brannigan home run, his first of the season. Notre Dame added a second run in the third inning when Niko Kavadas scored on a groundout off the bat of Brooks Coetzee. Pittsburgh added a run of their own in the bottom of the third.
Notre Dame was right back to work in the fourth inning though, adding three runs to their lead. Zack Prajzner led off the inning with a home run before Danny Neri scored on a passed ball and Spencer Myers scored on an RBI double from Ryan Cole. Notre Dame then managed to break the game open in the fifth inning with another five runs. Niko Kavadas drove in two runs with a single before Carter Putz hit a three run home run.
Pittsburgh cut into the Irish lead with two runs in the sixth inning, but Notre Dame wasn’t done scoring yet either. In the seventh inning Spencer Myers hit the fourth home run of the game for the Irish to take an 11-3 lead. Pittsburgh added a run in each of the seventh and eighth innings but it wasn’t enough to close the gap.
Putting the exclamation point on the series‼️@spencermyers21 tallied the 4th home run of the game for the Irish!— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) April 6, 2021
It is the first time the Irish have hit 4 in a game since 2018!#GoIrish x #Rally pic.twitter.com/IjcWAeBHs1
Notre Dame returns home next weekend for their third straight ranked series when they welcome the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Notre Dame and Georgia Tech will play three games from April 9-11 at Frank Eck Stadium.