Following one of the most successful season in program history, one of the biggest questions facing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team this season is how they follow that up with a new head coach. The first answer to that question, not so good, as Notre Dame opened travelling for a series with the Lipscomb Bisons, losing two of their first three games.
Game 1: Notre Dame 4 (0-1) - Lipscomb 5 (1-0)
Win: Alex Brewer, LU (1-0)
Loss: Blake Hely, ND (0-1)
Save: Matthrew Bonnert, LU (1)
Lipscomb started things early, scoring one run in the first and two more in the third inning, chasing Irish starter Blake Hely from the game. Notre Dame got their first runs of the game in the fifth with TJ Williams hitting a two run home run. Lipscomb was back again in the sixth inning though with two more runs for a 5-2 lead.
Notre Dame tried for a rally in the ninth inning and came close. Jack Penney and Nick DeMarco scored on a passed ball and wild pitch respectively. With nobody out it was a one run game, but that was all Notre Dame would score and the Bisons finished with a 5-4 win.
Game 2: Notre Dame 8 (1-1) - Lipscomb 4 (1-1)
Win: Aidan Tyrell, ND (1-0)
Loss: Logan van Treeck, LU (0-1)
After a quiet game one Notre Dame’s bats started the same way. They finally struck first in the fourth inning though, with Brooks Coetzee scoring on a wild pitch. Lipscomb quickly took the lead though, scoring three runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning and one more in the fifth. They took that 4-1 lead to the seventh inning when the Irish bats blew the game open.
Notre Dame loaded the bases and brought home their first run on another wild pitch. Next up was Jack Zyska who drove in two more runs with a double to tie the game. Zyska scored on a sacrifice bunt before Notre Dame loaded the bases again and scored three more runs on a wild pitch and two hits by pitch. Lipscomb couldn’t find any offense in the final three innings and the Irish won 8-4, earning the first win at the helm for new head coach Shawn Stiffler.
Game 3: Notre Dame 2 (1-2) - Lipscomb 4 (2-1)
Win: Noah Thompson, LU (1-0)
Loss: Rory Fox, ND (0-1)
Save: Collin Witzke, LU (1)
On offense, Notre Dame did all of their damage in the sixth inning. With the game still scoreless Jack Penney hit a two run home run for the lead. Lipscomb got one back in the bottom half of the inning and it stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth. Lipscomb rallied for three runs for the lead and Notre Dame could not find an answer in the ninth.
Notre Dame stays on the road next weekend, travelling to North Carolina for a three game series with the UNC Greensboro Spartans. The Irish will be looking for more success as they try to get the season headed in the right direction early.