The Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team entered their weekend series against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons coming off of an up and down few games. Their nine game win streak was snapped last weekend when they were swept by the Duke Blue Devils in a three game series. They returned home this week and won two games against the Valparaiso Beacons and Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons. Wake Forest then came into South Bend for a conference series and Notre Dame swept all three games. With the series sweep, and with the Louisville Cardinals losing a game to the NC State Wolfpack, Notre Dame moved into first place in the ACC Atlantic division.
Game 1: Notre Dame 8 (24-8, 9-7) - Wake Forest 3 (28-10, 10-9)
Win: John Michael Bertrand, ND (6-0)
Loss: Rhett Lowder, WF (7-2)
John Michael Bertrand started the game for Notre Dame and had another excellent outing. He threw six innings and allowed only one run while striking out four to earn the win, his sixth of the year without a loss. Notre Dame’s offense backed him in the second inning. They loaded the bases and Jack Brannigan hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Jack Zyska. That was followed up by a ground ball from Zack Prajzner that drove in David LaManna and the Irish had the early 2-0 lead.
Notre Dame added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning when a Wake error allowed Zyska to score his second run of the game. Brannigan earned his second RBI when a ground out allowed LaManna to score to double the Irish lead. Wake scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning but Notre Dame followed it up with three in the bottom of the inning. Nick Juarie tripled to drive in Ryan Cole, followed by sacrifice fly from Brooks Coetzee and a single by Jack Zyska.
The Irish added another run in the eighth inning on a bases loaded walk. Wake was able to scratch across a run in the ninth inning before Jackson Dennies came into the game to pitch for Notre Dame and record the final two outs to close out the win after 2.1 relief innings from Alex Rao.
Game 2: Notre Dame 21 (25-8, 10-7) - Wake Forest 3 (28-11, 10-10)
Win: Jack Findlay, ND (4-0)
Loss: Josh Hartle, WF (4-4)
From start to finish, game two was all about Notre Dame’s offense, as they scored in each of the first four innings and totaled 21 runs on the day. That total is the most of the season for Notre Dame and the most they have ever scored in an ACC game.
They got things started right away in the bottom of the first inning, scoring four runs led by a three run home run from David LaManna. Jack Brannigan hit a home run in the third inning and Zack Prajzner and Brady Gumpf both homered in the sixth. It was the first home run of Gumpf’s career.
Wake Forest managed three runs, two of them against starter Austin Temple which knocked him out of the game in the fifth inning before he could pitch long enough to earn the win. Jack Findlay threw 3.1 innings in relief to earn the win, allowing only one unearned run with three strikeouts and only three hits.
Game 3: Notre Dame 13 (26-8, 11-7) - Wake Forest 12 (28-12, 10-11)
Win: Aidan Tyrell, ND (5-0)
Loss: Camden Minacci, WF (2-2)
Wake Forest came out on the offensive in game three looking to avoid the sweep. They scored two runs in the first inning and another one in the third before Notre Dame could get on the board. The Irish plated their first runs in the fourth inning, scoring two to cut the lead to one run. Jack Penney drove in both runs with a double, but the celebration was short lived as Wake Forest scored five in the top half of the fifth inning.
Notre Dame answered right back in the bottom half of the inning with five runs of their own. Danny Neri hit a two run home run and Zack Prajzner drove in two and one runs respectively, each with singles. After Wake hit a three run home run in the top of the sixth Jack Zyska answered for Notre Dame with a solo home run in the bottom half before the Demon Deacons added one more of their own in the top of the seventh for a 12-8 lead.
Down by four Notre Dame got to work to tie the game. Carter Putz struck first, with a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to cut the lead to three. Zyska followed with his second home run, a three run shot to tie the game. The score stayed tied until the bottom of the ninth. Brooks Coetzee led off for Notre Dame with a single and advanced to second on an error. Carter Putz followed with a single that brought Coetzee home ahead of the throw to the plate for a walk off win for the Irish.
Notre Dame travels to Detroit on Tuesday for a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. After that they return home for a series against the Boston College Eagles on April 29-May 1.