The Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team returned to the field this weekend after a week off, welcoming the Pittsburgh Panthers to South Bend for their final home series of the season. Notre Dame won the first two games before falling in game three before heading out on the road for the final four games of the regular season. With the two wins, Notre Dame remains on top of the ACC Atlantic Division with a tough road trip ahead.
Game 1: Notre Dame 8 (30-10, 14-8) - Pittsburgh 3 (26-21, 12-12)
Win: John Michael Bertrand, ND (7-1)
Loss: Matt Gilbertson, Pitt (8-3)
Coming off his worst start of the season, John Michael Bertrand returned to form right away for Notre Dame, striking out the side in the first inning. He finished the game with seven innings pitched and nine strikeouts in the win.
After Bertrand started the first inning strong Notre Dame’s offense ended it even better. Ryan Cole and Brooks Coetzee got things started, both scoring on misplayed balls in the outfield for a 2-0 lead. Jack Zyska followed by driving in Carter Putz with a double before coming around to score himself on a single from Jack Brannigan. Brannigan scored after a mental error from Pittsburgh, when the first baseman threw the ball away after the second out thinking the inning was over.
Brooks Coetzee extended the Irish lead in the fourth inning, hitting a two run home run with Cole on base. It was Coetzee’s team leading tenth home run of the season and his second straight game with a home run. Pittsburgh got two runs of their own in the sixth inning top cut into the Irish lead. They then added another run in the top of the eighth inning to make it a 7-3 game. Notre Dame got their eighth and final run in the bottom half of the inning on a wild pitch and Pittsburgh was unable to get anything else in the ninth.
Game 2: Notre Dame 8 (31-10, 15-8) - Pittsburgh 1 (26-22, 12-13)
Win: Will Mercer, ND (1-1)
Loss: Billy Corcoran, Pitt (7-4)
Notre Dame waited until the second inning of game two to get the scoring started, bringing home two runs on three straight hits. David LaManna led off with a single before doubles from Jack Brannigan and Jared Miller. Pittsburgh answered with a run to cut the lead in half in the top of the third.
In the fifth the Irish extended their lead, again stringing together consistent offense. With runners on the corners Spencer Myers beat out an infield single to bring home the first run. A sacrifice fly brought home Zack Prajzner before a single from Carter Putz drove in Myers.
The Irish followed their three run fifth inning by scoring a run each in the next three. In the sixth it was a double from Prajzner to score LaManna. A LaManna single in the seventh scored Jack Zyska and in the eighth a sacrifice fly from Prajzner drove in TJ Williams.
Game 3: Notre Dame 2 (31-11, 15-9) - Pittsburgh 5 (27-22, 13-13)
Win: Logan Evans, Pitt (4-6)
Loss: Jack Findlay, ND (5-1)
Save: Baron Stuart, Pitt (7)
After two strong games, the Notre Dame offense went quiet in game three. Pittsburgh started the scoring in the third inning by taking a 1-0 lead. That was all anybody got until the Panthers extended that lead with four more runs in the seventh inning.
Notre Dame answered immediately in the bottom half of the seventh, but it turned it wasn’t enough. Jack Penney hit a two run home run to make it a 5-2 game. Notre Dame tried to rally in the ninth inning, bringing the tying run to the plate, but they were unable to get anybody across.
Notre Dame travels to Evanston, IL for a midweek game against the Northwestern Wildcats. They then close out the regular season in Florida with a three game series against the ACC leading Miami Hurricanes.