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Irish sweep three games at Fluor Field

| Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Notre Dame flashed big-league power this past weekend at Greenville, South Carolina’s Fluor Field, which has dimensions that closely mirror those of Fenway Park. The No. 2 Irish (5-1) outscored Marist (4-1) and Monmouth (4-3) 45-4 over three games at the home of the Red Sox’s High-A affiliate.

Game 1: Marist 

The Irish were firing on all cylinders Friday, prevailing 20-2 behind a sparkling outing from senior lefty Aidan Tyrell on the bump. Tyrell pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits while striking out five and walking just one. Tyrell notched his second win of the season and has not allowed a run in 18 innings dating back to his final start in the Super Regional last season.

Notre Dame got an early lead and never looked back. The Irish batted and put up eight runs in a messy first inning that saw the Red Foxes commit multiple errors after getting the first two outs. Those miscues kept the inning going and let the Irish jump out to a large lead.

Freshman DH DM Jefferson opened the scoring with a clutch two-run single that snuck underneath the diving first baseman’s glove. That hit was the start to a good day for Jefferson who went two for three on the day and with three RBIs.

The Irish tacked on two more runs in the fourth and then poured it on in the seventh, where they added six more runs. Left fielder Jack Zyska had the highlight of the game with a two-run home run over a replica of the Green Monster to add to the Notre Dame lead.

Sophomore right-hander Sammy Cooper came in to make his Notre Dame debut and close out the game in relief of Tyrell. He struck out three in two innings and allowed two runs.

Game 2: Monmouth

Again, Notre Dame’s starting pitcher shined Saturday. This time, it was graduate student John Michael Bertrand. The left-hander pitched seven innings, allowing just two runs, one unearned, and striking out eleven. Bertrand didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and until the seventh inning had allowed just two baserunners and none further than first base. He picked up his second win of the season and has a 0.69 ERA through two starts.

On offense, the Irish bats were quiet at first, with just one run in the first four innings before they exploded to score 15 from the fifth inning onwards. Graduate student left fielder Ryan Cole was the star in Saturday’s first game, going four for four with four RBIs. This included his first career grand slam, which extended Notre Dame’s lead to 8-0 in the sixth inning.

With the lead at 9-2, Bertrand was relieved by Radek Birkholz who made his debut and pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two, to close out the 16-2 victory.

Game 3: Monmouth

Notre Dame’s pitching prowess was on display in the second game on Saturday as well. Four pitchers combined to shut out the Hawks for a 9-0 win. Graduate transfer Austin Temple got the start and had a nice outing to the tune of five scoreless innings, striking out five and allowing just two hits. The relievers combined to pitch the other four innings, striking out ten and allowing just one hit.

Third baseman Jack Brannigan made his first appearance on the mound this season in the ninth inning. He struck out the side on just 14 pitches to close out the game for Notre Dame. Brannigan also contributed at the plate, going one for three and scoring two runs.

At the plate, backup catcher David Neri had a three-RBI game, including a two-run triple in the eighth inning that put an exclamation point on the weekend sweep for Notre Dame.

Notre Dame was scheduled to play a second game against Marist on Sunday, but it was canceled due to impending inclement weather.

Notre Dame travels next to Minneapolis for games against Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota this weekend at U.S. Bank Stadium. First pitch Friday against the Fighting Illini is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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