NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The seventh-ranked Notre Dame baseball team scored early and often en route to an 8-4 midweek win over Central Michigan Tuesday night at Frank Eck Stadium.
“I felt like our guys were ready to play today,” said head coach Link Jarrett. “That was a 17-9 team and they know what they are doing. Being able to jump on the scoreboard early is always ideal but in today’s game, that was the sense of what we wanted to do and we did it.”
Notre Dame (16-6) scored in each of the first four innings to take an 8-2 lead. Alex Rao came on from the pen and kept the Chippewas (17-10) hitless over 4.1 innings to help the Irish get into the later innings.
“Rao was really good again,” stated Jarrett. “Very good fastball command and got some swings-and-misses with the changeup. Good solid win and very happy to see some guys hit well at the plate in (Carter) Putz and (Kyle) Hess.
Carter Putz was stellar at the plate on the day, finishing 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Kyle Hess also had a strong day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish jumped out in front in the first inning with a little bit of everything at the plate. Putz tripled to the gap in right center to score Ryan Cole for the game’s first run. Then Putz was part of a double steal and came home after the throw went to second for Jack Zyska. Zyska moved to third on a throwing error and came home on an RBI-single from Jack Brannigan. After the first frame, the Irish led 3-0.
The Chippewas got two runs back in the top of the second to get the game within one but the Irish scored again in the bottom of the inning. A single by Danny Neri and a double from Hess got two runners in scoring position. Neri came home on a sacrifice fly and the Irish held a 4-2 lead.
Three more runs scored for the Irish in the third as the Irish loaded the bases with just one out. Kavadas came home on a passed ball and then Hess scored two on a double to the wall in right.
The offense kept rolling in the fourth as the Irish loaded the bases once again. Putz sent a high fly ball to right field that was deep enough for Myers to score on the sacrifice fly and increase the lead to 8-2 after four innings.
The score would stay that way all the way until the ninth inning as the Irish bullpen kept their bats at bay. The Irish only allowed two hits going into the eighth inning after 4.1 innings from Rao. He struck out five during his relief appearance and did not allow a hit.
The Chippewas scored two runs in the top of the ninth but Jackson Dennies was able to get the final out and clinch the 8-4 win.
The Irish will continue their eight-game homestand this weekend with a conference series against NC State. The Irish and Wolfpack kick off their series Friday night from Frank Eck Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m. ET and the entire series will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.