The Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team hosted a series at Frank Eck Stadium for the final time this season, with the Akron Zips visiting South Bend for three games. Despite three close games, Notre Dame was able to come out on top in all three and sweep the series, clinching a berth to the ACC Tournament in the process.
Game 1: Notre Dame 5 (27-19) - Akron 2 (18-31)
Win: Will Mercer, ND (3-0)
Loss: Joe Roth, AU (1-7)
Things started slow in game one, with both teams scoreless through the first four innings before scoring a run each in the fifth. Notre Dame’s first run came when Carter Putz doubled to score Estevan Moreno. In the sixth inning, with the weather worsening, the game was suspended to be completed on Saturday.
When the teams returned to action Notre Dame broke the game open with a four run seventh inning. RBI hits from TJ Williams and Zack Prajzner started things off and made it a 3-1 Irish lead. Later in the inning, with two runners on base, Vinny Martinez doubled to bring them both home to finish the Irish scoring. Akron added one more run in the ninth inning but Notre Dame held on for the win.
Game 2: Notre Dame 5 (28-19) - Akron 4 (18-32)
Win: Caden Spivey, ND (4-1)
Loss: Emmett Gillies, AU (3-4)
Save: Ryan Lynch, ND (1)
Notre Dame opened the scoring right away in the first inning of game two, with two runs both scoring via sacrifice fly. Akron got one back in the third and Notre Dame responded with one of their own in the fourth on a Zack Prajzner single.
Akron took the lead in the fifth inning with a three run home run but Notre Dame went back to work on offense quickly. Carter Putz drove in Estevan Moreno with an RBI hit in the sixth inning to tie the game at 4. They took the lead in the eighth inning thanks to Putz again, who scored on a wild pitch. The bullpen again was able to hold on for the win in the ninth inning.
Game 3: Notre Dame 2 (29-19) - Akron 1 (18-33)
Win: Radek Birkholz, ND (2-3)
Loss: Sammy Tortorella, AU (4-4)
Game three saw little offense overall, with the first run of the game coming from Akron in the sixth inning. They took that one run lead through the seventh inning before Notre Dame scored a run in each of the eighth and ninth innings to win the game 2-1.
In the eighth inning Zack Prajzner hit a solo home run to tie the game. The winning run scored in the ninth inning when TJ Williams was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Radek Birkholz earned the win for Notre Dame after pitching the final three innings of the game without allowing a hit and striking out four Zips batters.
Notre Dame has a midweek game against the Northwestern Wildcats in Wrigley Field. They finish the regular season next weekend by visiting the Boston College Eagles. That series will include one game played at Fenway Park.