May 11, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The bats came alive for the University of Notre Dame baseball team Sunday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium as the Irish pounded out 13 hits – including three home runs in the fifth inning – to convincingly win the rubber game against No. 22 Clemson, 11-3, and claim their second Atlantic Coast Conference series win of the season.
It looked like the Irish could be in for a battle after the Tigers (31-21, 13-13 ACC) plated three runs in the first inning. However, the Irish quickly answered with three runs of their own and didn’t look back. They scored one run in the second, two in the third, four in the fifth and one in the eighth in putting up their most runs since scoring 11 against Valparaiso April 1.
“Any time you beat a good team like Clemson and everyone is swinging the bat well and hitting it around the yard it’s fun,” said junior Robert Youngdahl, who had monster day at the plate. “Especially with Scotty (Kerrigan) bouncing back and throwing so many great innings. Today was a great team win.
“I definitely feel like the new turf gave everyone a bit of a boost and I think we all wanted to ‘Protect the Eck’ as the saying goes. Just being at home finally gave us some energy to play well.”
The three Irish runs in the first inning settled down starter Scott Kerrigan (3-1), who continued his remarkable last month and a half with another ridiculous performance against the Tigers. After giving up three hits and three runs in the first, the Saugus, Calif., native didn’t allow another Clemson hit the rest of the day as he finished with 102 pitches in eight innings of work. From the second inning on, the only Tiger runners reached on two walks, an error and a hit by pitch.
Clemson, meanwhile, went through six pitchers trying to get out the hot Notre Dame bats. Starter Zack Erwin allowed four runs in 1.2 innings and then was relieved by Garrett Lovorn (1.0 IP, 2 ER), Jake Long (2.0 IP, 4 ER), Drew Moyer (1.1 IP, 0 ER), Clay Bates (1.0 IP, 0 ER) and Alex Bostic (1.0 IP, 1 ER).
In the second inning, sophomore Kyle Richardson hit a grounder right back to the pitcher that plated Youngdahl and in the third Youngdahl turned in his second double of the game to plate two more and up the score to 6-3.
The big inning for the Irish though came in the fifth. Notre Dame entered the game with only seven homers on the season but cracked not one, not two, but three round trippers in the frame. Mosey opened the homer onslaught with a lead-off dinger to left field. After one out, Youngdahl blasted a solo shot, his third of the year, over the right-field fence to make the score 8-3. Later in the frame, freshman Cavan Biggio turned in his second home run of the season as he bashed a two-run shot over the right-field fence. It was the first time the Irish have hit three homers in one inning since at least 2006. Notre Dame last hit three homers in a game February 16, 2013 against Ohio State in Sarasota, Fla.
A Mosey sac fly in the eighth closed out the Irish scoring. The Fishers, Ind., native tied his career high with four RBI on the day to go along with two hits and a run scored.
Elsewhere in the Irish lineup, Youngdahl came a triple away from hitting for the cycle as he had two doubles, a homer, a single, three RBI and two runs scored. Junior Ryan Bull and Lezynski recorded two hits, while Richardson, Biggio and Lezynski scored two runs each. Seven of Notre Dame’s nine batters had hits and scored runs while five produced RBI.
“I thought I had some good lengthy at-bats, which really helped,” said Youngdahl. “I saw a lot of pitches and got to see every pitch that each pitcher had and then finally got some good pitches to swing at on 3-2 counts.”
The win clinched a ranked ACC series win for the first time in program history and improved their record to 19-31 overall and 6-21 in the league. Notre Dame improved to 3-1 all-time against the Tigers and put a cap on a spectacular weekend for baseball at Frank Eck Stadium where the Irish were breaking in their new FieldTurf while temperatures routinely sat in the 60’s and 70’s. Over 2,000 fans made their way to Jake Kline Field this weekend in the first true home series of the year.
Notre Dame closes out the non-conference and road portion of its schedule at 6 p.m. Tuesday when the Irish travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., for a game against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Fans can follow online with WatchND’s audio broadcast (WHME 103.1 FM in South Bend) or through live stats. Links for both are on UND.com.
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director