You would not have known it was May if you had to go by the weather. The opening game of the series against FSU was in the low 50’s and a wind that was blowing in from left field. That wind was going to make scoring runs very difficult. All that you can do is play a tight ball game and see how it shakes out. The weather has not been great in the South Bend area this Spring. It’s just very cold for May.
Innings One Through Three
Will Mercer got the start for the Fightin’ Irish. Mercer had a rough start to the game. After throwing a Hit By Pitch, Mercer was able to get the next two batters for FSU to fly out to left field and the next batter hit into a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the inning. In the Irish half of the first inning Spencer Myers wasted no time getting the Irish going. His first pitch was a double down the right field line. Ryan Cole walked, Niko Kavadas singled advancing Myers and Cole. Jack Branningan, hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield scoring Myers from third, to give the Fightin’ Irish a 1-0 lead after one inning of play.
Mercer’s second inning made quick work of FSU. The first batter for FSU lined out and then struck out the next two batters. Three up and three down is what you want to do on a cold night at the ballpark. The same thing could be said for the Fightin’ Irish portion of the inning. Jared Miller grounded out to the shortstop, David LaManna flied out to right field and Zack Prajzner lined out to the shortstop. Both pitchers found a groove in the second inning.
Mercer again pitches a gem of an inning as he put down the three batters he faced to three up and three down in the third inning. The Bottom of the third saw the Irish juice the bases. Myers started it off with a walk, Cole doubled to right field for a double and runners on second and third. Kavadas struck out swinging, Carter Putz was Hit By Pitch to load the bases with Irishmen with one out. That’s where it ended. Two consecutive outs by FSU, got them out of the bases loaded jam.
Innings Four Through Six
The fourth inning was pretty rough for Mercer. After getting the first two batters to ground out and fly out, the next four batters really did some damage. Mercer walked Matheu Nelson, gave up a single to Robby Martin, a walk to Elijah Cabell loading the bases with two out. Dare singled, scoring Nelson and Martin, for a 2-1 lead. Cabell got caught in a rundown in a 2-1-5 put out caught stealing to end the FSU fourth inning. FSU took care of the Irish with another three up and three down inning.
The fifth inning saw Mercer get back on track and made fast work of FSU. He got a three up and three down inning from his defense. The same thing for FSU as they had another three up and three down from their pitcher as well.
The sixth inning saw a pitching change for the Irish. Tanner Kohlhepp came on in relief of Mercer. Kohlhepp faced four batters in the inning. The first two FSU batters lined out and struck out, third batter was Hit By Pitch and the third batter struck out. The Irish batters Putz and Brannigan struck out looking. Brooks Coetzee walked and then got caught stealing to end the inning.
Innings Seven Through Nine
Seventh and Eighth Innings
The seventh and eight innings did not generate any offense from either team. Both teams playing it close to the cuff in a 2-1 game till the ninth inning.
In the ninth inning, FSU took command of the game. Kohlhepp struck out Logan Lacey. He hit Nelson, then Nelson stole second base. He walked Martin and the Cabell cleared the bases with a three run homerun to right field. Bringing the score to 5-1 in the ninth inning.
The Irish portion of the inning saw a glimmer of hope off the bat of Brannigan. Brannigan doubled to right center to start the bottom half of the frame. Coetzee with a sacrifice fly to right field advanced Brannigan to third base. Jared Miller grounded out to the shortstop, scoring Brannigan for a score of 5-2. That ultimately ends up being the final score. The series opener goes to FSU.