Irish series victory over Clemson propels team to No. 25 national ranking
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, March 9, 2021
With a big series win this past weekend at Clemson, the Notre Dame baseball team improved to 4-2 both on the season and against ACC opponents and earned the No. 25 national ranking.
On Friday night, Notre Dame dropped the first game of the series 13-7 in an offensive showdown. RBIs from senior center fielder Spencer Myers, senior second baseman Jared Miller and senior first baseman Niko Kavadas weren’t enough for the Irish against Clemson’s bats, which put up seven runs in the fifth inning alone.
Both offenses cooled down in the second game of the series, and the Irish rallied to beat the Tigers 3-1 on Saturday. Kavadas gave Notre Dame an early lead in the top of the first with a two-run home run that was crushed to dead center to bring junior infielder Carter Putz home. Graduate student left-handed pitcher John Michael Bertrand had a quality start, striking out eight batters over seven innings of work to hold Clemson to a single run. In the eighth, the Irish reached for the bullpen for the first time all game, and Will Mercer earned his first career save with a scoreless final two innings.
Notre Dame carried this defensive dominance over to the Sunday matinee. The Irish defense and relief pitching shined to drive the team to a 3-2 victory and series win. After Clemson jumped ahead with a run in the second inning, the Irish went to the bullpen early bringing out graduate student Joe Sheridan in relief. Sheridan and sophomore Liam Simon combined for an impressive seven innings of relief, one earned run, and nine strikeouts.
In the sixth, designated hitter Carter Putz doubled deep to left field to drive in two runners and give the Irish a 3-1 lead. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jack Brannigan faced the final Clemson batter with the tying run on third and forced a pop-up to the infield to end the game at a final score of 3-2 and secure another Irish victory over the Tigers.
The Irish return to action this Friday afternoon in Charlottesville to face the Virginia Cavaliers (6-5, 2-4 ACC) in a three-game ACC series this weekend. Friday’s game starts at 3 p.m., and the matchups Saturday and Sunday begin at 1 p.m. All the games will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra. Notre Dame’s home opener is the following weekend against Duke (6-5, 3-3 ACC).