Bats lift No. 6 Irish to 13-12 win over North Carolina
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The sixth-ranked Notre Dame baseball team had a big day at the plate in the 13-12 win over North Carolina Saturday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. With the win, the Irish clinched their ninth conference series win this season, the most since the 2000 season. The Irish (23-8, 20-8 ACC) continue to be the only team in the ACC that have not dropped a conference series this season.
Top to bottom, the entire Irish lineup produced in the win as they scored in double digits for the eighth time this season. Everybody in the Irish lineup either scored a run or drove in a run and a number of players hit or surpassed career bests. Ryan Cole tallied a career-high four RBI and tied a career high with three hits. Brooks Coetzee also tied a career high with three hits. The Irish scored in six of the eight innings and tallied two or more runs in four innings against the Tar Heels (20-20, 14-15 ACC).
HOW IT HAPPENED
Irish jumped out in front in the bottom of the first and the inning got started with a one-out single from Cole. He advanced to second on a passed ball and then to third on a fly out to right. Carter Putz hit one back up the middle to score Cole and some heady base-running got Putz to second for a double before the throw came in.
The Tar Heels tied it up quickly in the next half inning. A single and double to start the inning put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Bertrand did not allow another hit in the inning but Angel Zarate scored on a ground out to tie the score at 1-1.
The tie did not last long as the Irish bats got hot in the bottom of the inning. Coetzee led the inning off with a single and David LaManna reached on a hit-by-pitch. They moved into scoring position after a sacrifice bunt from Zack Prajzner and Jared Miller stepped to the plate. He singled right up the middle to score both runners and regain the lead for the Irish. They weren’t done in the inning as Miller and Spencer Myers got into scoring position for Cole. Cole also singled up the middle to score both runners and the Irish led 5-1 after two frames.
The Irish offense kept it going in the fourth with two more runs scored. Niko Kavadas ripped a single to center to easily score Miller who was running on the full count. Kavadas retreated back to first on the relay throw that caught the attention of the first baseman and during that time, Cole broke home and beat the throw to add another Irish run.
North Carolina got a run back in the fifth but that was all they could muster as John Michael Bertrand made a great play on a liner right back to him that started a double play to end the threat. In the bottom of the inning, the Irish got the run right back plus a little more.
Back-to-back singles by Jack Brannigan and Coetzee got runners on the corners for LaManna. He executed the suicide squeeze to score Brannigan on the play. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Cole singled to right and scored two runs on the play to put the Irish up 10-2.
Two more runs came across in the sixth as the Irish scored on back-to-back sacrifice flies. Coetzee’s fly out to center scored Putz and LaManna’s fly out to right scored Brannigan and the Irish led 12-2 after six innings.
The Tar Heels put on a rally late but the deficit was too much to overcome and the Irish bullpen held on for the 13-12 win. The insurance run in the eighth sealed the win after Putz scored on an error by the catcher on strike three.
STATS OF THE GAME
- With the single in the first inning, Ryan Cole extended his reached base streak to 22 games.
- With the single in the fourth inning, Niko Kavadas extended his reached base streak to 16 games.
- With the single in the fifth inning, Jack Brannigan extended his reached base streak to 10 games.
- With the single in the second inning, Spencer Myers extended his hitting streak to seven games.
The Irish will take the field on Sunday looking for the series sweep as the two teams meet for the final time. The matinee is set for a 1 p.m. ET first pitch and will be aired on the ACC Network Extra. Neither team has named a starter for the game.