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Bats stay hot as No. 6 Irish sweep Tar Heels, 19-5

Published: May. 2, 2021 at 7:12 PM EDT
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NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The sixth-ranked Notre Dame baseball team continued its hot streak at the plate as the Irish defeated North Carolina 19-5 to sweep the series Sunday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish picked up their second sweep of the season and the first home ACC sweep since 2017 against Georgia Tech.

“Our at-bats and pitch selection was great all day long,” said head coach Link Jarrett. “The guys really came out prepared, it was our best pregame routine we have ever had. The guys were on it and I can’t say enough about all phases of the entire weekend.”

The offense started hot from the opening inning when they scored five runs in the inning, thanks to three RBI doubles from Niko Kavadas, Jack Brannigan and David LaManna. After the Tar Heels (20-21, 14-16 ACC) tied it in the top of the third, the Irish got the lead back in the bottom of the inning. Carter Putz hit a solo home run to regain the lead for the Irish.

Then the Irish (24-8, 21-8 ACC) put the game out of reach in the fourth with a six-run inning. LaManna led the inning off with a solo home run, Brooks Coetzee hit a three-run homer and Kavadas and Putz also drove in runs during the inning. With the big inning, the Irish scored in double digits for the second straight game and the fourth time in their last eight games.

The Irish tallied another six-run inning in the eighth to put the final run tally at 19. It is the most runs scored ever in an ACC game for the Irish since joining the league in 2014.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Tar Heels jumped out to an early lead after plating two runs in the first. Dallas Tessar led the game off with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly from Angel Zarate. Then Danny Serretti hit a solo home run to left for the second run of the inning.

Notre Dame responded with a big inning of their own in the bottom of the first. After back-to-back walks by Spencer Myers and Ryan Cole, Kavadas sent them home with a double down the right field line to tie the game. Later in the inning, Brannigan doubled to right center to score Kavadas and Carter Putz. LaManna tallied the third double in the inning to score Brannigan and give the Irish a 5-2 lead after the first frame.

The Tar Heels bounced back with one run in the second and two in the third to tie the game at 5-5.

Just like the first inning, Notre Dame came right back in the bottom half of the inning. On the first pitch of the inning, Putz turned on a fastball and easily cleared the wall in left center for a solo home run. His third home run of the season gave the Irish a 6-5 lead after three innings.

The Irish broke the game open in the fourth with their biggest inning of the afternoon. LaManna hit his first home run of the season to open the inning. Later in the inning, Putz drove in a pair of runs with a single through the left side. Coetzee broke the game open when he smashed a three-run home run to dead center to extend the lead. The Irish weren’t done in the inning as Kavadas singled to right with the bases loaded to drive in LaManna. Once the inning concluded, the Irish held a 13-5 lead.

The Irish bullpen was able to keep the Tar Heels off the scoreboard over the final six innings thanks to strong performances from Tanner Kohlhepp, Aidan Tyrell and Jack Sheehan. Kohlhepp picked up his team-high seventh win of the season and Tyrell set a career high with six strikeouts.

In the eighth, the Irish bats continued the strong day with another six-run inning. LaManna drove in two more runs with a single. Prajzner followed it up with a two-run home run, his fifth of the season. Kavadas and Putz drove in the final runs of the inning to seal the 19-5 win.

STATS OF THE GAME

  • The Irish scored 19 runs in the win, the most runs ever in an ACC game.
  • It is the most runs scored in a game since May 15, 2018 in a 19-10 win over Northwestern.
  • The Irish racked up 21 hits, the most in a game since they had 21 against Virginia Tech on March 24, 2016 in a 16-4 win.
  • The Irish swept an ACC opponent at home for the first time since 2017.
  • Notre Dame hit four home runs in the game for the second time this season.

UP NEXT

The Irish will be back in action next weekend for the final home series of the regular season. The Irish will welcome Florida State to South Bend for a three game series starting Friday night. The entire three game series will be aired nationally on the ACC Network with the opener beginning at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, May 7.