This past weekend, the Irish took the field against the Purdue Boilermakers looking to settle unfinished business from the fall, when CBND tied Purdue in a tournament game. Now with a record of 7-1-1, the Irish were ready to prove that they were the better team.
Game 1 got off to a rocky start when the Boilermakers put up 3 runs in the top of the 1st inning on starter Dom Nunag (6 IP, 3 ER, 6 K). The Irish got on the board in the 3rd inning with 2 runs, including a CBI (Corcoran Batted In) single to left field by catcher Jens Rataczak (1-4, 2 RBI). Nunag, reliever Andrew Conces (W, 1 IP, 2K), and an error-free Irish defense kept the game at this score heading into the bottom of the 7th inning. The Irish started a rally in the last frame when pinch-hitter Andrew Turzai walked to lead off the inning. After two singles and a Purdue error, Matt Babuskow came to the plate with one out, the score tied, and the bases loaded. Babuskow—who entered the game in the 4th inning when Mike Massaro was injured on a HBP—came out swinging and singled to right on the first pitch of the at-bat for a walkoff victory. Irish win 4-3!
Game 2 got started in similar fashion, when Purdue scored 1 in the top of the 1st. However, this one proved to be a back and forth affair. The Irish responded in the bottom of the 2nd when Jack Corcoran (2-3, 2 RBI) singled on a line drive to center field. The tied ballgame did not last long, as the Boilermakers tallied 1 run in the top of the 3rd on starter Sean Hager (W, 6 IP, 7 K, 2 ER), but this was the last time Purdue would cross the plate. The Irish took the lead for good in the bottom of the 4th after the first three batters reached base, a Jack Corcoran sac-fly, and an RBI-walk by Tony Kestel. The Irish tacked on 1 more run later in the inning on another RBI-walk by Andrew Rockamann. This 4-2 lead was all that Hager needed as he shut down the Boilermaker bats for the rest of his outing. Reliever Tim Eiden (SV, 1 IP, 2 K) closed the door in the 7th, picking up the save. Irish win 4-2!
In the 9-inning Game 3, the Irish again struggled to keep Purdue off the board in the top of the 1st, but the Irish quickly responded this time with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the 1st, taking the lead 3-1. Purdue struck again in the 3rd inning and the Irish went to their bullpen in the 4th when Conor Fitzgerald (W, 2.2 IP, 0 H, 2 ER) replaced starter Danny Bicknell (3 IP, 5 ER, 1 K). The Irish trailed 5-3 heading into the 5th inning, when they put 5 runs in each of the next two frames. The Irish’s two long innings were a result of consecutive tough at-bats, in which the Irish refused to make an out. The rallies included 9 singles, 5 walks, and a sacrifice fly. The team had no problems hanging on to this 13-7 lead for the remainder of the game. Tim Eiden closed this one out with 2 IP, 4 K, and 0 BB. Highlight performers at the dish for the Irish include Nick Gron (2-4, 3 R, 1 BB), Joe Corcoran (2-5, 3 RBI), and Jack Corcoran (1-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB).
Not only did the Irish sweep Purdue this weekend, but they captured their first D1 wins against the Boilermakers. The Irish improve to 10-1-1 on the season and 6-0 in the conference. Easter break is this coming weekend but the team is gearing up for a 3-game set at the University of Illinois on Saturday 4/7 and Sunday 4/8. This series will have serious post-season implications, as the winning team will be in the driver’s seat in the Great Lakes South Conference. Stay tuned!
Full stats available: https://gc.com/t/fall-2017/notre-dame-club-baseball-59b94610ed7f03f55c000001