Feb. 22, 2018
By Megan Golden
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- In the 20th installment of the Alamo Irish Classic, the No. 30 University of Notre Dame baseball team split its doubleheader at Nelson Wolff Stadium.
In Thursday’s game one, the Irish (3-2) defeated Saint Louis (2-3), 7-3, courtesy of an incredible relief outing from Andrew Belcik and the second grand slam in as many days from Eric Gilgenbach. With many players sporting long sleeves in the 50-degree, misty weather all afternoon, Notre Dame fell, 5-3, in game two against Incarnate Word (3-2).
How It Happened: Game One
Scott Tully started for the Irish and held the Billikens scoreless through the first two innings, allowing a combined two walks in those frames.
In the third inning, the graduate student allowed his first hit to Saint Louis’ Aaron Case, who singled through the left side of the field. Case’s knock was followed by a bunt hit and three consecutive walks, the third of which brought home the first run of the game and gave Saint Louis a 1-0 lead.
Tully exited the game with two on and one out in the fourth, handing the ball over to Belcik. Belcik quickly got Case to ground out, despite adding a run for the Billikens to make it 2-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, Cole Daily led off with a swinging bunt single to the pitcher. Spencer Myers knocked his first hit of the game into right field, advancing Daily to second. Nick Podkul came up to bat, laid down a sacrifice bunt and ultimately reached on an error by the pitcher. Matt Vierling connected on a hard-hit ball to third base, driving in his first RBI of the season and cutting the Billikens lead to 2-1.
Eric Gilgenbach, who hit a grand slam his last time up with the bases loaded, came up to the plate in an all-too-familiar situation. With one out and the bases loaded, Gilgenbach hit his second grand slam of the year over the left field fence. Gilgenbach’s fourth homer of the season put the Irish ahead of Saint Louis, 5-2.
Notre Dame came right back and added to its lead in the seventh. Jared Miller was hit by a pitch to open the frame, and fellow freshman Myers drove him in with his second hit of the day. Vierling extended the inning by reaching on an error, and Niko Kavadas gave Notre Dame another insurance run with an RBI-single.
Belcik continued to shut down Saint Louis, working 4.2 innings with four strikeouts and ultimately earning the win for Notre Dame.
How It Happened: Game Two
Incarnate Word opened the game with a quick double from Mark Whitehead, who eventually scored on David Anaya’s sacrifice fly, which put the Cardinals up 1-0 in the first inning.
The Cardinals added to their lead in the third, when Sam Gutierrez doubled and Anaya came through with an RBI-single, recording his second RBI of the game and putting Incarnate Word ahead 2-0.
In the fifth inning, Cole Daily hustled for an infield single hit to the shortstop. Daily stole second base, and Spencer Myers drove him home with a double down the left field line. Niko Kavadas came up to bat with runners on the corners and knocked in an RBI-single on the first pitch, evening the score at two apiece.
Daniel Jung led off the sixth inning with a cannon of a double to right-center. It was Daily again who came through with a two-out base hit that plated Jung and gave the Irish their first lead, 3-2.
Cameron Brown and Tommy Vail combined to throw 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Cole Kmet relieved Vail and worked 2.1 scoreless innings before allowing three runs in the top of the ninth. The Cardinals connected for an RBI-single to tie the game and a home run by Anaya to take a 5-3 lead, which was too much for the Irish to overcome.
Player of the Game(s)
Andrew Belcik relieved Scott Tully with one out in the fourth and two runners in scoring position. Belcik forced the next batter to ground out, yielding one Saint Louis run and ultimately limiting the damage.
The sophomore finished the day with 4.2 innings of hitless baseball, allowing one walk and striking out four.
Stat of the Day
Eric Gilgenbach’s grand slam in game one gave him grand slams in back-to-back games and four home runs in the last three games. The last time an Irish player accomplished the feat was in 2002, when Joe Thaman hit grand slams in back-to-back games versus Boston College.
- The Irish own an advantage over Saint Louis with a 14-6 record, and Notre Dame has gone 3-4 at a neutral site.
- Notre Dame moves to 6-3 all-time against Incarnate Word.
- Notre Dame ended a streak of three straight errorless games with an error in the fifth inning against Saint Louis. The streak was the longest to open a season since 1984.
- Notre Dame has gone 86-42-1 all-time in San Antonio.
- Junior Nick Podkul is in control of an 11-game hitting streak, dating back to 2017.
- Junior Eric Gilgenbach's four homers this season surpass his 2017 season total of three.
Notre Dame will face Purdue at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday. The matchup will be available on 103.1 FM and WatchND.
For a behind-the-scenes look at the Irish baseball program, follow @NDBaseball on Twitter and @NotreDameBaseball on Instagram. For tickets to an Irish baseball game, click here.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame baseball and women's soccer programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary's College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.