March 31, 2017
By Michael Scholl
NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The Notre Dame baseball team saw pitchers Brandon Bielak and Sean Guenther combine to hold NC State to one run as the Irish took a 4-1 victory in the first of a three-game set on a chilly, misty Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium.
Bielak started on the mound, battling through 5.2 innings while conceding the one run on five hits. The starter worked out of a couple jams to keep the Wolfpack at bay. Guenther pitched the final 3.1 innings, earning his second save of the year. He gave up just two hits while striking out five and issuing no walks.
NC State’s first hit came with two outs, as Stephen Pitarra singled to right, then Will Wilson dumped a double into left-center to set up runners on second and third. Bielak kept the game scoreless, inducing Josh McLain to ground out to Daniel Jung at first for the third out.
Johnson opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth, drilling a dinger to right for his first career home run.
The Irish couldn’t get the shutdown inning in the fifth, as the Wolfpack came back to tie the game. Andy Cosgrove singled to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Brock Deatherage. Pitarra grounded out to first, moving Cosgrove to third, setting up a two-out single by Wilson to make it 1-1. Bielak got McLain to bounce right back to the mound to end the frame.
The big inning for the Irish started with a one-out walk to Ryan Lidge. Cole Daily singled, with Lidge hustling to beat the throw to third and Daily following up to second on the throw. NC State went to the pen, bringing in Joe O’Donnell to replace Sean Adler. O’Donnell then walked Jake Shepski to load the bases and followed with a walk of Podkul to score Lidge and put the Irish ahead. Johnson struck again, singling through the right side to score Daily before Fiala drew a walk to plate the third run of the inning. Matt Vierling went down on strikes before Daniel Jung flew out to end the inning with Notre Dame on top, 4-1.
Bielak continued to battle into the sixth, getting a lineout before walking a pair and getting a pop-up for the second out. With two on and two out, Mik Aoki made the call for Guenther. The southpaw got Andy Cosgrove to ground into a fielder’s choice, slamming the door and keeping the Irish lead at 4-1.
The Irish and Wolfpack will play the second game of the three-game series on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. The game can be seen live on ACC Network Extra and heard live on WatchND, as well as on 103.1 FM in South Bend.