The Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team began postseason play today, with a pool play ACC Tournament game against the Pittsburgh Panthers. The 8th seeded Irish won two of three games against the 12th seeded Panthers, so they were in a good position to win a needed game with a matchup against #1 Wake Forest looming. Pittsburgh had other thoughts though and their offense jumped on starter Aidan Tyrell early. Notre Dame’s offense was chasing the game all day and was unable to keep up, ultimately losing the opener 9-5.
Notre Dame 5 (30-23) - Pittsburgh 9 (24-30)
Win: Dylan Simmons, PITT (2-2)
Loss: Aidan Tyrell, ND (8-3)
Save: Nash Bryan, PITT (8)
Pittsburgh got things started in the first inning, scoring two runs off of Irish started Aidan Tyrell. Their two runs came off a solo home run and RBI double, and from the very beginning Notre Dame was trailing the Panthers. Notre Dame got a run back though in the bottom half of the first inning to half the deficit. Notre Dame had four hits in the first inning and their run came across when Brooks Coetzee drove in Carter Putz with a single.
Pitt went right back to work on offense in the second inning, scoring another run to put the lead back up to 2. Notre Dame answered again in the third inning, scoring twice to tie the game. Vinny Martinez hit his first triple of the season to score Carter Putz and make it a one run game. DM Jefferson was then hit by a pitch and with runners on the corners a double steal allowed Martinez to score from third.
In the fourth inning Pittsburgh started to pull away, scoring three runs to take the lead again. Those three runs chased Tyrell from the game after the fourth inning and made the Irish reach into their bullpen early. Notre Dame again answered in the bottom half of the inning but only with one run this time, with TJ Williams scoring on a groundout from Carter Putz. Pittsburgh didn’t let up though, scoring another run in the fifth inning and two more in the seventh. In the eighth inning Carter Putz drove in another run with a double but Notre Dame wasn’t able to score any more to complete the comeback.
Notre Dame has their second and final game of pool play on Friday, when they play the top ACC seed and #1 ranked team in the country, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Having lost to lower seeded Pittsburgh, Notre Dame will not be able to advance out of pool play in the ACC Tournament, but beating Wake Forest will go a long way to helping their cause as an at large bid for the NCAA Tournament, as Notre Dame currently sits firmly on the bubble.