Feb. 23, 2017
By Michael Scholl
SAN DIEGO -- The University of Notre Dame baseball team suffered an 18-4 setback to UC Irvine to open play at the Tony Gwynn Classic on Thursday, Feb. 23.
Connor Power recorded his first collegiate RBI in the effort for the Irish (1-4), knocking in three runs. UC Irvine's Sean Sparling held the Irish at bay, allowing two runs in 5.2 innings, to earn the victory.
After conceding a run in the top of the first, the Irish rebounded to tie the game in the second. Nick Podkul drilled a one-out double down the left field line. Power followed with a single up the middle to plate Podkul and tie the game 1-1.
After the teams traded early runs with the Anteaters scoring in the first and Irish in the second, UC Irvine jumped out to a lead thanks to a three-run bomb to center by Keston Hiura. After Bass had retired five straight Irvine batters, Evan Cassolato singled through the left side and Mikey Duarte reached on a fielding error by Cole Daily. Hiura followed with a shot that cleared the 410-foot mark in dead center to build the lead.
The Anteaters added three more runs in the fourth. Cole Kreuter started the frame with a single to right center. That was followed by a throwing error which allowed Parker Coss to reach. Christian Koss and Matt Reitano followed with consecutive walks, scoring Kreuter. Cassolato singled home Coss and Duarte added a sacrifice fly to bring it to 7-1 UC Irvine.
- UC Irvine won against Notre Dame for the first time. The only previous meeting came in the 2004 NCAA South Bend Regional, with the Irish taking a 6-5 victory at Frank Eck Stadium for their 50th victory of that campaign.
- The last Notre Dame team to start 1-4 was the 1999 squad, which went on to win the BIG EAST Conference title and host an NCAA Regional.
The Tony Gwynn Classic continues on Friday when the Irish move to Fowler Park to take on co-host San Diego. First pitch is set for 9 p.m. ET. The game can be heard on 103.1 FM in South Bend and on WatchND. Live video is available via Campus Insiders.
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.