STARKVILLE, Miss. — With the season on the line Sunday night at Dudy Noble Field, the 10-seed Notre Dame baseball team (34-12) responded in a big way with a 9-1 win over No. 7 Mississippi State (44-16) to force a decisive game three Monday night.
The bats continued to stay hot for the Irish in the second game of the Super Regional, scoring at least eight runs for the fifth time this postseason. The long ball was key for the Irish once again and it was the bottom of the order that produced on Sunday night. David LaManna in the nine-hole and Jack Brannigan in the seven-hole both hit home runs to extend the Irish lead in the middle innings. The Irish have totaled 19 home runs across their five postseason games and have had two in each of the games in Starkville.
Aidan Tyrell put together another incredible start on the mound, coming off his career best start in the Regional Final win over Central Michigan. After giving up a run in the first inning, he settled in and the Irish spotted him the early lead. He tossed 7.1 innings of one-run ball, including six straight scoreless frames from the second into the eighth. He tied a career high with six strikeouts and was two outs shy of his career high in innings.
With the win, the Irish snapped a nine-game postseason winning streak at Dudy Noble Field for the Bulldogs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Bulldogs jumped out in front after the first two batters of the game. Rowdy Jordan tripled into the gap in left field and scored on the sacrifice fly from Tanner Allen. After the first half inning, Mississippi State led 1-0.
The lead did not last long as the Irish got in front in the bottom of the first. The bases were loaded with two outs for Zack Prajzner and he beat out an infield single to score Ryan Cole from third. Jared Miller kept running from second and beat the throw home to give the Irish a 2-1 lead.
The Irish put a crooked number on the scoreboard in the fourth and it started with some small ball. Brooks Coetzee put down a sacrifice with runners on first and second and forced an errant throw to reach base. Carter Putz made it home from second for the first run of the inning. The very next batter, LaManna crushed a three-run blast into the seats in left to extend the Irish lead to 6-1.
The long ball continued in the sixth for the Irish. After trying to get a sacrifice bunt down earlier in the at-bat, Brannigan lifted a breaking ball over the wall in left for a two-run home run. It was his first home run of the postseason and grew the Irish lead to 8-1.
The final run came home in the seventh as Ryan Cole scored his second run of the game on a fielder’s choice from Putz.
The Irish and Bulldogs will meet Monday night for a pivotal game three and the winner will advance to Omaha. Monday’s game is set for a 7 p.m. ET start and will be aired on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.