NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 12th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team had a flair for the dramatics Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium as it overcame a seven-run deficit to win 10-9 over No. 14 Georgia Tech. The Irish (14-5, 13-5 ACC) trailed 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth and 9-6 in the bottom of the eighth but scored eight runs in the final two innings to come back and win.
“That is one of the greatest team wins I have ever been a part of,” said head coach Link Jarrett. “I have coached for a while and played for a while, I can’t remember anything like that.”
Heading into the bottom of the seventh with the Yellow Jackets (14-11, 11-8 ACC) holding a 7-2 lead, the Irish scored four runs in the inning to get within one. Jack Brannigan hit a solo shot to begin the inning and Niko Kavadas hit a two-run homer with two outs to pull within one.
“The number of guys we had in this game, I think we used 22 players and eight pitchers,” stated Jarrett. “Some of those guys pitched for the first time and some pitched for the first time this season and position players got in for the first time. You are juggling everything that you possibly can to have a chance at the end.”
After giving up two runs in the top of the eighth, the Irish took their first lead of the game in the bottom half of the inning. A double from Zack Prajzner scored David LaManna for the first run of the inning and Spencer Myers came up with runners on the corners. He hit a single to right that cleared the bases after an error to tie the game at 9-9. Then with the bases loaded, Carter Putz worked a walk to bring in the game-winning run in Myers.
“I can’t say enough about how the guys responded,” said Jarrett. “Like I have said numerous times, this is the toughest team I have ever been around and they find ways to stay in games. Just can’t say enough about our guys, I can’t.”
After coming on in the top of the eighth, Joe Sheridan nailed down the final three outs to put the cap on the comeback win to open the series. Sheridan was one of eight pitchers the Irish used on the night.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Georgia Tech started off swinging in the top of the first and plated three runs to take an early lead on the Irish. They continued their hot streak at the plate in the third inning by scoring two more runs. After three innings of play, Georgia Tech held a 5-0 advantage.
Tech added two more runs in the top of the fourth but the Irish broke through in the bottom half of the inning. Brannigan doubled to the wall in right and with two outs, Jack Zyska scored all the way from first. The very next batter, Prajzner singled through the left side and scored Brannigan from second.
Notre Dame went to the pen early but got a strong relief performance from graduate student Jack Sheehan. Making his first appearance since the 2019 season, he tossed 2.2 innings of work and allowed just one hit and no runs to keep the Irish within striking distance.
The Irish comeback began in the seventh with the solo homer from Brannigan to lead the inning off. After a two-out RBI single from Ryan Cole, Niko blasted his 12th home run of the season to pull the Irish within one at 7-6.
The Irish continued to fight after allowing two runs in the top of the eighth. LaManna led off the bottom of the inning with a double and then scored on the double from Prajzner. Brooks Coetzee singled to the pitcher to put runners on the corners with just one away. Myers’ single to right scored Prajzner and then Coetzee after the ball got past the right fielder and Myers advanced to third. Two straight walks loaded the bases for Putz and he took four straight balls to reach base and bring home Myers as the go-ahead run.
Sheridan allowed a base runner in the ninth but closed the door to pick up his first win in an Irish uniform.
The Irish will be back on the field in a short time on Saturday in hopes of clinching the series. The start time has been pushed up to 11 a.m. due to the threat of inclement weather later in the day. The game will still be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra and the Irish will send LHP Aidan Tyrell to the mound.