After winning their first two games in the Statesboro Regional, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team earned the right to sit back and watch the first game of the day, awaiting the winner of Texas Tech and Georgia Southern. Texas Tech won their second in a row, setting up a rematch of the first game of the Regional between the Irish and Red Raiders. Much like the first game, this one was a pitcher’s duel and was ultimately decided by only one run.
Notre Dame 2 - Texas Tech 1
Win: John Michael Bertrand, ND (9-2)
Loss: Jamie Hitt, TT (0-2)
Save: Jack Findlay, ND (2)
After pitching only one inning in the opener on Friday, John Michael Bertrand came back to start again for Notre Dame. He was stellar from the very first inning, keeping the potent Red Raiders offense off the board until he was chased from the game in the eighth inning. Bertrand finished the game with 7.2 innings while striking out seven and allowing only one run.
In the third inning Notre Dame broke through on offense. Spencer Myers led off with a double down the left field line. Ryan Cole followed with a single that brought home Myers for the 1-0 lead. In the fourth inning they were right back at it. This time Zack Prajzner doubled to get things started before moving over to third. Ryan Cole was at it again, legging out an infield single that allowed Prajzner to score.
Things were quiet until the eighth inning. Bertrand managed to get two outs before giving up a long single to Jace Jung that brought home the first run of the game for the Red Raiders. In fact, Notre Dame lucked out as the height of the right field wall was the only thing that kept the game from being tied. Bertrand left the game with two outs and two on base and was replaced by Alex Rao. Rao walked the only batter he faced on four pitches to load the bases and was replaced by Jack Findlay. Findlay ended the threat with a huge strikeout to keep the Irish ahead.
Findlay came back out for the ninth inning. He recorded one out before allowing to base runners. The second out of the inning put runners on the corners and a hit batter loaded the bases for Jung, the best hitter in the Red Raiders lineup. Findlay managed to induce a high chopper to first baseman Carter Putz who take care out the out himself to end the game with a Notre Dame win.
With the win Notre Dame advances to their second consecutive Super Regional. As the winner of the Statesboro Regional they are matched up with the winner of the Knoxville Regional. After their win tonight, that is the top ranked Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee currently holds a 55-7 record and led the country in both home runs and ERA during the season, so it won’t be an easy matchup for Notre Dame at all. The Super Regional will take place in Knoxville, TN next weekend.