Sunday was a pretty raw day for a baseball game. Our previous attempt to get out to Frank Eck Stadium and see the Irish was postponed due to rain. Under gray clouds and a threat of rain, the trip was made anyway. The Fightin’ Irish who were pre-season cellar dwellers according to some prognosticator’s, having been on a winning streak of sorts. There is a saying, “you can’t win them all.” Especially in baseball when you play three games on a weekend.
The Irish opened their season late and their first series was a two out of three series win against Wake Forest. Clemson was next with two a out of three series win, a sweep at Virginia. The Duke series was two out of three series win. A split with Louisville (postponed Sunday game in South Bend). A two out of three series win against Pitt on the road. A two out of three series win against Georgia Tech. That’s how the Irish hold a first place standing in the ACC over Louisville by half a game.
Friday April 9
To preface Sunday’s game is to understand what happened in the previous two games. Friday night, the Irish were down 7-0 going into the bottom of the fourth. They scored six unanswered runs for a 7-6 score. GT added two insurance runs (9-6) but they were not enough. The Irish scored four runs in the bottom of the eight to seal a 10-9 win.
Saturday April 10
Saturday was a polar opposite of Friday night. The Fightin’ Irish came out on fire. Scoring in the first, third, fourth, seventh and eighth inning for a 7-0 shutout against the Yellow Jackets. Irish starter, Aidan Tyrell threw six innings of near perfect baseball. Two hits, three walks and two strikeouts. While Alex Rao came in for the clean up and allowed three hits, one walk and eight strike outs. That’s a very tiring endeavor in two days of baseball.
Sunday April 11
On the hill for the Fightin’ Irish was Sophomore Dominic Cancellieri. Cancellieri came into the contest with a 0-0 record and an ERA 10.13. The Irish were going to have to muster up some energy after the previous two games.
Cancellieri was having a little bit of trouble with the command of his pitches early. After giving up a lead-off single to Tres Gonzalez of GT, his teamamates picked him up with a double play and a show string catch by Ryan Cole in Right Field. But in the Irish half of the inning, the Irish bats were silenced by GT Pitcher Sam Crawford.
The second inning started by Cancellieri giving up a double to Justyn Henry-Malloy to right-center. A strikeout, followed by single that put runners on first and second base. Cancellieri recorded a second strike out, but the following batter singled to left field to score Malloy. After giving up a walk, Head Coach Link Jarrett didn’t want to get ugly. After pitching 1 2/3 innings, Cancellieri came out of the game after 34 pitches. Coach Jarrett went to his bullpen for the RHP Tanner Koehlhepp. Koehlhepp froze the GT batter for a strike three looking to end the inning.
In the Irish half of the inning, Carter Putz led off with a pop fly to RF for the first out. Jack Zyska got the Irish bats going with a single up the middle. Jack Brannigan, popped out to LF for the second out. David LaManna singled through the right side for a single advancing Zyska to second. Zack Prajzner takes his first pitch to LF for an RBI double to tie the game 1-1.
The top of the fourth was pretty exciting for Koehlhepp as he walked the first batter of the inning, then he proceeds to strike out the next three batters he faced on ten pitches. Sam Crawford threw just nine pitches against three Irish batters. The top of the fifth inning saw Koehlhepp throw eleven pitches to three GT batters.
Once again, Koehlhepp worked efficiently in his portion of the inning. After a lead off single by Gonzalez of GT, Koehlhepp only threw another eleven pitches to the GT offense. In the bottom half of the fifth inning the Irish came alive. After a lead off walk to Prajzner, Kyle Hess gave up the sacrifice bunt to move Prajzner to second base. Next Spencer Myers grounded out to the GT first basemen and advanced Prajzner to third base with two outs. Ryan Cole takes the 1-1 pitch and doubles down the RF line and picked up an RBI as Prajzner scored easily from third base to put the Irish up 2-1 after 5 innings of play.
After coming in for relief in the second inning, Kohlhepp’s day was over and coming in for him to start the inning would be Grad Student LHP Joe Sheridan. Sheridan had a rocky start to the inning. After giving up a single to Austin Wilhite, Wilhite stole second base. Sheridan got a ground out and a strike out, prior to giving up a single to Luke Waddell and collecting an RBI as Wilhite came home to tie the game at 2-2. Josiah Siegel came on in relief for GT and was he efficient. After a single to Prajzner to LF, he collected a strike out and forced Myers into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Sheridan got in trouble early once again. Drew Compton was HBP, S Reid homered to the deepest part of the field and collected two RBI’s to put the the Yellow Jackets up 4-2 with no outs. Sheridan delivered another HBP and gave up a double to Wilhite, setting up runners on first and third. Sheridan got Gonzalez to pop up for the first out. Coach Jarrett again goes to his bullpen. This time he calls in Liam Simon with two outs. Simon ultimately gets the batter to ground out to third base for the third out.
GT brings in Dawson Brown to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning. R Cole grounded out to a 6-3 put out. Nick Kavadas doubled to LF, Putz flied out to RF on a 1-2 pitch. Daniel Jung was sent in to PH for T J Williams. GT countered with a pitching change and Coach Jarrett counters again with Brooks Coetzee for Jung. Coetzee ends up striking out to end the inning. The Irish fall to GT 4-2. But still win the weekend series 2-1. The Irish are now 15-6 overall, 14-6 in the ACC.
Next Up For The Irish
The Fightin’ Irish will play a non conference game against Central Michigan on April 13th at 5 P.M. EST.
Cheers and Go Irish! ☘⚾🌩