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Notre Dame drops opener of two-game series with Kent State

| Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Notre Dame hosted Kent State for the first of a two-game series Tuesday evening. The Irish were unable to generate much offense against the Golden Flashes, and despite being having the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning fell short, 4-1.

Ann Curtis | The Observer
Irish freshman southpaw Tommy Sheehan delivers a pitch during Notre Dame’s 7-6 win over Wake Forest on Saturday at Frank Eck Stadium.

After stranding two runners in the top of the first, the Golden Flashes (12-8, 1-2 MAC) managed to get on the board first in the second inning. Irish senior right-hander Charlie Vorsheck walked Golden Flashes freshman second baseman Greg Lewandoski, the first batter of the inning, before striking out junior designated hitter Pete Schuler and forcing freshman left fielder Nick Elsen into a fielder’s choice, as Lewandoski was called out at second on the play, giving Vorsheck two outs with a runner on first. However, junior shortstop Josh Hollander blasted a double to right field, bringing Elsen home and giving the Golden Flashes a 1-0 lead over Notre Dame (10-13, 4-5 ACC).

Kent State added to its lead in the next inning, this time against Irish sophomore right-hander Zack Martin, who replaced Vorsheck on the mound. Golden Flashes junior third baseman Pavin Parks singled up the left side with one out in the frame, and he then trotted over to second when senior first baseman Brad Hamilton, the batter behind him, took first on a walk. Senior catcher Tim Dalporto then singled to score Parks and move Hamilton over to third. But Martin escaped allowing just the one run, striking out the next batter and forcing a groundout to end the inning.

The Irish cut the margin in half in the bottom of the third, as sophomore first baseman Daniel Jung led off with a double to right field. A single courtesy of freshman third baseman Jared Miller advanced Jung to third, and another single — this time from junior shortstop Cole Daily — plated Jung, making it a 2-1 game.

The score remained 2-1 until the sixth inning, when Hollander did the damage once again. Elsen singled up the middle with two outs, and his timely hitting was reward almost immediately when Hollander swung on a 2-0 count and crushed a home run off Martin, hitting the right field foul pole and extending the Kent State lead to 4-1.

In the eighth inning, the Irish appeared poised to close in on the lead the Golden Flashes had built. After Miller struck out swinging to open the inning, Daily was able to lay down a successful bunt and race his way to first base. Senior designated hitter Alex Kerschner singled up the middle to move Daily into scoring position, prompting Kent State to make a move on the mound, switching out redshirt senior southpaw and starter Jared Skolnicki for freshman left-hander Collin Romel. And with one out and runners on first and second, Irish junior second baseman Nick Podkul flied out to left field and junior center fielder Matt Vierling popped out to second base to end the inning.

The final frame did not yield many chances for the Irish, as they left one runner on after a walk, ending the game with a final score of 4-1 in favor of the visitors.

Next up for Notre Dame is the second game of the Kent State series, which will be Wednesday at Frank Eck Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

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