March 1, 2013
Cary, N.C. - University of Notre Dame sophomore Ryan Bull's walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning gave the Irish a thrilling 3-2 victory over Tennessee and capped a perfect opening day from the 2013 USA Baseball-Irish Classic Friday. Notre Dame opened the tournament with a 9-4 rout of Massachusetts earlier in the afternoon. The Irish, now 7-1 on the year, have not posted a better record over their first eight games of a season since 1960.
Junior RHP Dan Slania picked up the victory in relief in the nightcap and improved to 1-0 on the season. He tossed a perfect 3.1 innings of relief. Slania retired all 10 Tennessee batters he faced and struck out three.
Senior 2B Frank Desico and senior CF Charlie Markson each collected three hits. The freshman tandem of RF Zak Kutsulis and SS Lane Richards each added two hits. Richards tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the ninth with a two-out RBI single.
Junior RHP Sean Fitzgerald did not factor in the decision, but collected his second straight quality. The right-handed hurler struck out a career-best eight in 8.0 dominant innings of work. Fitzgerald limited the Volunteers to just five hits and one earned run. He has now made two starts in his career against SEC foes and picked up the victory in each outing. Fitzgerald allowed an earned run in 8.0 innings of work against No. 11 LSU in 2012.
Trevor Bettencourt took the loss for the Volunteers and dropped to 0-1 on the campaign. He yielded an earned run on four hits in 1.2 innings. Tennessee starting pitcher Zack Godley matched Fitzgerald pitch for pitch and also failed to render in the decision. He allowed two runs, only one earned, on eight hits in 8.1 innings of work. Godley fanned four and walked one.
After the Volunteers took a 2-1 lead following Will Maddox's two-out RBI triple in the top of the ninth inning, the Irish rallied in the bottom half of the frame.
Notre Dame caught a break to open the home half of the ninth. Junior Eric Jagielo reached base when Maddox dropped a routine pop up. After Bull grounded out to first base, Jagielo moved into scoring position. Markson followed with a single back up the middle to put runners on the corners, which ended the night for Godley.
Drake Owenby then replaced Godley and struck out Irish pinch hitter Ricky Sanchez. The Volunteers went to the bullpen again and Nick Williams was not as fortunate. Richards laced a first-pitch fastball into left field to tie the score, 2-2.
Notre Dame loaded the bases with one out in the 10th and had runners on second and third with one out in the 11th, but failed to score either time.
The Irish finally came through in the 12th.
Sophomore Matt Ternowchek picked up the victory over UMass and improved to 1-0 on the season. He tossed 5.0 scoreless innings out of the bullpen and struck out eight. Ternowchek allowed just one hit.
Bull paced the Irish attack with three hits.
Junior RHP Donnie Hissa, making his first career start, did not factor in the decision. He was charged with four runs, three earned, on eight hits in 4.0 innings of work. Hissa struck out six and walked one.
The Irish return to action Saturday night at 6 p.m. with a top-25 showdown against No. 25 Virginia Tech.