Feb. 18, 2017
By Michael Scholl
SAN ANTONIO -- The University of Notre Dame baseball team saw a rally fall short on Saturday afternoon at the Alamo Irish Classic and fell to Saint Louis, 8-6.
The Irish (0-2) fell down 5-1 and cut the deficit to one run, 7-6, before falling to the Billikens (3-0). Matt Vierling and Eric Gilgenbach each knocked in a pair for Notre Dame, while Cameron Brown and Brad Bass combined on 8.1 innings of relief work, allowing just four earned runs.
The Billkens took advantage as Ryan Smoyer struggled with his control in his season debut. SLU drew four walks in the first to plate three runs and end Smoyer's day prematurely.
The Irish were able to answer back in the bottom of the frame, cutting the deficit to 3-1. Kyle Fiala tripled to the wall in center before Vierling plated him with a single up the middle. The rally was cut short as Jake Shepski grounded into a double play to end the inning.
After the Billikens extended their lead to 7-2, the Irish failed to capitalize on a chance to get back in the game. The frame started when Nick Neville was hit by a pitch and after Fiala flew out, Vierling doubled to set-up runners on second and third with one out. The inning came to a close without an Irish run when Shepski struck out and Connor Power grounded out to end the frame.
The Irish used a four-run seventh to pull within a run. Nick Podkul opened with a single before Gilgenbach walked and Ryan Lidge drilled a two-run double to left. Following a Connor Daily walk, Neville recorded an RBI groundout and Vierling collected a single to score Daily, making it 7-6 Saint Louis after seven innings.
SLU added a big insurance run in the top of the eighth. James Morisano drew a one-out walk, followed by a single by Trent Leimkuehler. Carter Hanford sent a high pop fly into right and Neville made a diving effort put couldn't come up with the ball. The double scored Morisano to make it 8-6 Saint Louis. Bass worked out of the jam by fielding a squeeze bunt by Alex King and retiring Leimhuehler at the plate and striking out Nick Mehlin.
The Irish play the second game of a doubleheader at the Alamo Irish Classic, taking on Incarnate Word. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Nelson Wolff Stadium and the game can be heard live on WatchND.
Michael Scholl joined Fighting Irish Media in August 2016, coordinating communications for the baseball program and assisting with the football team at his alma mater. The South Bend native earned a degree in political science from the College of Arts & Letters in 2009 before going on to work in athletics communications at Providence College, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati.