Baseball team goes 2-1 in Alamo Irish Classic
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, February 24, 2020
The Notre Dame baseball team traveled to San Antonio, Texas, to play in the Alamo Irish Classic at Nelson Wolff Stadium. The Irish were originally scheduled to play four games in three days with two against Incarnate Word and one apiece against Toledo and UTSA.
The Irish (4-2) started the tournament against Incarnate Word (4-2) in what would have been the second game in the tournament for the Irish after their first scheduled game against the Cardinals was canceled due to inclement weather. Notre Dame’s bats started hot with junior second baseman Jared Miller putting two runs on the board in the first inning with a two-run double. Junior infielder Spencer Myers kept the runs coming with an RBI single up the middle to make it a 3-0 lead with just two innings in the books.
The Irish took advantage of Incarnate Word’s mistakes in the fourth inning when sophomore outfielder Brooks Coetzee scored on a throwing error, making it a 4-0 Irish lead going into the fifth. Coetzee made another scoring play in the bottom of the fifth when he sent a double down the infield line, scoring two and increasing the lead to six. ACC Pitcher of the Week junior Tommy Sheehan gave up his only run of the game when Cardinals senior infielder Chance Medina hit an RBI double into right field in the top of the sixth.
Notre Dame quickly got that run back in the bottom of the sixth when sophomore infielder Carter Putz drove in junior outfielder Ryan Cole on a single. Notre Dame had an 8-1 lead after six innings of play.
The bottom of the seventh proved to be the most lucrative for the Irish offense, starting with an RBI double to right field by junior outfielder John Arndorfer that drove in Coetzee. Graduate student pinch hitter Eric Gilgenbach landed the final blow to the Cardinals as he hit a three-RBI shot over the left field fence, propelling Notre Dame to a dominant 12-1 victory. Sheehan was credited with the win, improving his record to 2-0, and freshman pitcher Dominic Cancellieri was credited with his first save of the season.
Notre Dame’s offense prevailed early in their second tournament game against Toledo (1-6), with Myers leading off the bottom of the first with a single and later giving the Irish an early 1-0 lead after scoring on a wild pitch.
Toledo didn’t let the Notre Dame lead last long, however, as Rockets sophomore second baseman Darryn Davis hit an RBI single to left field and freshman infielder Trey Wright scored on a bases-loaded walk. After three innings of play, the Irish were down by a score of 2-1.
The Notre Dame bats wasted no time getting those runs back with Miller leading the scoring campaign by hitting a sacrifice fly to allow sophomore outfielder Jack Zyska to score, making it a 2-2 tie heading into the fifth inning.
The Irish retook the lead in the fifth inning after freshman infielder Jack Brannigan launched a double into left center field, advancing junior catcher David LaManna to third and allowing Gilgenbach to score. LaManna quickly scored when Myers grounded out to first, giving Myers the RBI and increasing the Irish lead to two at a score of 4-2.
The Irish added five more runs throughout the rest of the game, with two coming in the sixth off a throwing error and a sacrifice fly. Myers cemented the game in the bottom of the eighth with a two RBI single to second base, increasing the Irish lead to seven in what would become the final score of 9-2.
None of this would have been possible without the pitching efforts of junior lefty Tommy Vail who recorded his first win of the season after pitching 5.1 innings of relief in which he allowed one hit, zero runs and stuck out nine batters.
Notre Dame’s third tournament game against the UTSA Roadrunners (6-1) proved to be a defensive battle with both teams going scoreless through five innings of play. Irish sophomore pitcher Alex Rao allowed only two hits through his 4.2 innings pitched for the Irish, while Roadrunners senior pitcher Shane Daughety only allowed four hits through his six innings pitched.
UTSA was the first to score in this defensive dual, with Roadrunners catcher Nick Thornquist scoring on a wild pitch in the top of the sixth. The Roadrunners added two more unearned runs in the sixth inning, as well as another unearned run in the seventh inning, to establish a comfortable four score lead. Notre Dame’s lone run of the game came off a left side single by sophomore catcher Jack Alexander in the bottom of the ninth that scored Ryan Cole.
Notre Dame left Texas with a 4-2 overall record, going 2-1 in the Irish San Antonio Classic with wins against Incarnate Word and Toledo and a loss against UTSA. Next up, the Irish will travel to Clinton, South Carolina for a three game series against Presbyterian (2-5).