After another weather delay, this time before the game started, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Georgia Southern Eagles finally got going Saturday night in the winner’s bracket of the Statesboro Regional. After Notre Dame beat the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Friday and Georgia Southern beat the UNC Greensboro Spartans earlier Saturday, the two winners were looking to punch their ticket to the Regional Final on Sunday.
Notre Dame 6 - Georgia Southern 4
Win: Matt Bedford, ND (1-0)
Loss: Jay Thompson, GS (7-4)
Save: Jack Findlay, ND (1)
Georgia Southern started off the scoring in the third inning with an absolutely mammoth home run from Noah Ledford. Like yesterday, Austin Temple worked in and out of trouble early for Notre Dame, so it was a win that he made it through five innings only allowing the single run.
In the fourth inning Notre Dame got the offense going with the power bats, taking the lead on solo home runs from Jack Zyska and Jack Brannigan. The fifth inning went by scoreless but in the sixth the Eagles took the lead back. Temple managed to get two outs, but this time couldn’t work his way out of the jam. Georgia Southern was able to string together a series of soft hits that managed to find holes, chasing Temple and scoring three runs before the inning was over.
The home run ball was good to Notre Dame again in the sixth inning though, when Zack Prajzner hit a no doubt two run home run to left field to tie the game at four. Georgia Southern threatened in the seventh, but Matt Bedford came out of the bullpen for Notre Dame and got a huge strikeout to end the inning. In the bottom half of the inning Notre Dame loaded the bases with two outs with Prajzner at the plate again. Prajzner took a pitch off the hip that brought home Carter Putz for the leading run. Jack Penney followed for the Irish and he too was hit with a pitch, this time in the knee, bringing home the second run of the inning and giving Notre Dame a two run lead.
Jack Findlay came into the game from the bullpen for Notre Dame to pitch the eighth and ninth innings. He struck out four over those two innings, including one to end the game and give Notre Dame the 6-4 win. The two shutout innings were good enough to earn Findlay his first save of the season.
Thanks to their 2-0 record Notre Dame finds themselves in the Regional Final tomorrow and now needs only one more win to advance to a Super Regional. Texas Tech, who beat UNC Greensboro in an elimination game today, will play Georgia Southern in the first game of the day tomorrow. Notre Dame will then play the winner. An Irish win sends them to the Super Regional while an Irish loss tomorrow will set up a winner take all game on Monday.