NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 10th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team’s hot bats continued into the Regional Final as they defeated Central Michigan 14-2 to clinch the South Bend Regional. With the win, the Irish (33-11) advanced to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2002.
Nothing changed at the plate for Notre Dame as the long ball was still a weapon for the Irish sluggers. After trailing for the first time this weekend, Niko Kavadas was at it again as he moved up in the Notre Dame record book. Kavadas hit a solo blast to tie the game in the fourth and set a program record with his 21st home run of the season. The very next inning, Carter Putz cleared the bases with a grand slam to increase the Notre Dame lead.
Later in the game, Ryan Cole hit his third home run of the weekend, a three-run blast, to blow the game open for the Irish. Then Putz doubled up for his second home run, a solo homer, in the eighth inning for his first career multi-home run game. Also in the eighth, Brooks Coetzee hit a two-run homer to give the Irish 15 for the weekend. The Irish ended the weekend with a 50-5 run advantage over the course of the regional.
Aidan Tyrell was steady on the mound for the Irish and had plenty of help from his defense. He set a career high with eight innings pitched and allowed just two runs. The defense was strong behind Tyrell as they turned four double plays during his time on the mound. For the entire weekend, all three Irish starters went seven innings or longer.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After three scoreless frames from both sides to start the game, the Irish faced their first deficit of the weekend. With two outs and nobody on, Griffin Lockwood-Powell launched a solo blast to left to give Central Michigan the lead. After three and a half innings from Eck, the Chippewas led 1-0.
The lead did not last long as the Irish tied the game on the first pitch in the bottom of the fourth. Kavadas was at it again with his fifth home run of the weekend to tie the game at 1-1. Later in the inning, David LaManna reached on an error to score Putz and give the Irish a 2-1 lead after four frames.
The offense continued to heat up in the fifth as the bases were loaded with no outs for Putz. He absolutely clobbered a fastball over the wall in left center for the second grand slam of the weekend for the Irish. It was the team’s 12th home run of the regional and Putz’s second as the Irish led 6-1 after the fifth.
Central got a run back in the sixth but the Irish had more long balls coming in the final innings.
Cole blasted his third home run of the weekend in the seventh and Putz hit his second home run of the game in the eighth to put the game out of reach. Coetzee put the final stamp of the weekend for the Irish with a two run shot for his second of the weekend and the 15th of the regional for the Irish.
ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM
The Irish were well represented on the All Tournament Team for the South Bend Regional.
Niko Kavadas was one of six Irish that made the team and he was the Most Outstanding Player of the Regional. Ryan Cole, Carter Putz, Brooks Coetzee, Jack Brannigan and John Michael Bertrand were also named to the South Bend Regional All-Tournament Team.
The Irish will await the winner of the Starkville Regional on Monday to find out their opponent for the Super Regionals. It will be the first trip to the Super Regional round since 2002, which was the last time Notre Dame advanced to Omaha. The Super Regionals will start either Friday, June 11th or Saturday, June 12th.