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Irish win two of three at Hatter Classic

| Monday, February 21, 2022

Competing in the Hatter Classic to kickstart their season, the Notre Dame baseball squad went 2-1 against three different opponents. The Irish blasted Manhattan 17-2 on Friday night to start the year off on the right foot. They followed that up with a 5-3 victory over Stetson. However, Notre Dame couldn’t sweep the weekend, falling victim to Delaware via walk-off. 

Irish rout Jaspers 

Notre Dame had no issues in their season opener, ripping into Manhattan pitching. A two-run first inning set the stage, and Notre Dame scored 11 runs over the third and fourth innings. Six Irish hitters notched multiple hits, and every starter reached base. Senior right fielder Brooks Coetzee led the way with a 4-5 effort at the plate, blasting two home runs. Junior third baseman Jack Brannigan tied Coetzee for the team lead with four RBI. 

The Irish scored twice in the first, courtesy of a sacrifice fly from senior left fielder Ryan Cole. Freshman designated hitter DM Jefferson drilled a single into right field to score a second run later in the frame. Brannigan and Coetzee helped break the game open in the third. The former lashed a two-run single, and Coetzee hammered his first home run of the game for a 7-0 advantage. Brannigan added a two-run triple in the six-run fourth inning that saw Notre Dame boost their lead to 13-0. Coetzee and senior pinch-hitter and left-fielder Jack Zyska added solo blasts, while freshmen infielders Joey Spence and Jack Penney also notched their first career RBI. 

On the mound, senior captain Aidan Tyrell fired four innings of shutout ball. With the game well in hand, he departed early. Junior right-hander Liam Simon added three innings of hitless relief. The pitching staff struck out 14 Jaspers and allowed just five hits and two ninth-inning runs in the victory. 

Notre Dame hold off Stetson

In their second game, Notre Dame battled the hosts of the Hatter Classic, Stetson. Early offense and a gem of a start from graduate student John Michael Bertrand were the keys in this one. After going down 1-0 early, the Irish tied it in the third and put four runs across in the fourth to take a 5-1 lead. 

Senior centerfielder Spencer Myers perfectly executed a sacrifice bunt to score a run in the third inning and knot the score at one run apiece. Senior catcher David LaManna roped a two-run single in the biggest blow of the inning. Cole also knocked in a run, and Notre Dame also scored on a wild pitch. Cole and LaManna led the squad with two hits apiece.

Meanwhile, on the mound, Bertrand cruised. He gave up an unearned run in his first inning of work but settled in. He allowed five hits, no walks and struck out eight over six sparkling innings of work. Graduate student Ryan McKlinskey, a transfer from Seton Hall, struck out six over three innings of relief for a save. 

Irish fall in Hatter Classic Finale

Notre Dame was unable to escape the weekend unscathed, as bullpen woes saw them blow leads of 3-0 and 4-2, ultimately dropping a 5-4 decision to Delaware. Notre Dame’s offense chipped away but never landed any decisive blows, marking up the box score with single tallies in four different frames. Brannigan brought home the first run of the day with an RBI double in the second inning. Senior first baseman Carter Putz punched home two runs in a 2-4 day at the plate. 

Graduate student transfer Austin Temple started on the mound for the Irish and dazzled through four innings of scoreless baseball, striking out seven. He struck out two more in the fifth, but he also gave up two runs that lessened Delaware’s deficit to one run. The Irish notched a run on a Putz single in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 4-2. However, Delaware tied the game in the sixth on two runs. The Irish went to freshman Caden Aoki to escape the jam in his first collegiate appearance. He did so and went on to fire perfect innings in the seventh and eighth. However, his magic ran out in the ninth, as Delaware struck for a walk-off home run. It was one of just two hits Aoki allowed in 3 ⅓ innings of work. 

The Irish head to Greenville, South Carolina next weekend for four games with Marist and Monmouth. The first pitch against Marist is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

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About Aidan Thomas

A senior marketing and ACMS major at Notre Dame, I've countered the success I've enjoyed as a New England sports fan with the painful existence of a Notre Dame football fan.

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