Brant Hurter (1-2, 3.42) faced junior RHP Cameron Junker (1-2, 3.38) in Sunday’s rubber game. It was a wild one where Tech jumped out strong, went cold and clumsy as ND fought back to lead, then won dramatically to take the series with a final score of 8-7. The wind – hard from left field, played a role all day with fly balls.
Tech pounded Junker in the 1st with a two RBI single by McCann, an RBI double by Serratos, and an RBI sac fly by Austin Wilhite. After Serratos went to third on a wild pitch and Webb walked, Nick Wilhite hit a grounder to short and Jackson Webb beat the throw to second, scoring Serratos and it was 5-0 with Junker done. Freshman lefty Alden Tyrell came in. Tyrell got out of the first, but was pulled for junior righty Andrew Belcik with two out and one on in the second.
The Irish got on the board in their 3rd without a hit when Hurter walked the first two batters, and a bunt and groundout scored one run to make it 5-1.
In the Irish 5th , Colin Hall misjudged a high fly in the wind, allowing the batter to reach second. The first Irish hit then scored him to make it 5-2. Next, a grounder that should have been a double play got past Wilhite to put runners on the corners. Next, nobody covered first on a bunt, scoring another run and putting two on.
Hurter pitched out of further trouble, but the lead was down to 5-3 entirely due to poor defense. There was more entirely unnecessary drama in the 6th, when the Irish loaded the bases on a single, walk, and yet another error before getting out three on a grounder to keep it 5-3. Anthony Holubecki, a junior righty, relieved Belcik for the Tech half of the 6th. Belcik had stymied the Jackets totally.
Holubecki didn’t last long, and was relieved by Joe Boyle, a sophomore righty fast ball pitcher, after two walks and a sac bunt. Boyle struck out McCann and English with heat to extinguish the Jackets. Hugh Chapman relieved Hurter for the seventh and got two quick outs before a single and a two run homer to right by Kavadas tied the game at five.
English pitched the 8th, and the entirely predictable happened. He walked two and a two out single scored one. An error on McCann (Tech’s fourth) allowed another run to score when he threw wide trying to get a runner at second. ND had come all the way back to lead 7-5.
Flame throwing Boyle, who threw almost nothing but upper 90’s fastballs, loaded the bases with Jackets on two walks and a bloop single by English, but looked likely to get out of it by striking out McCann and Radcliff. But, Oscar Serratos turned one around all the way to the left field wall, clearing the bases with a double. Senior righty Shane Combs came in to pitch, Tech up 8-7.
The top of the 9th takes some explaining. After one out, English walked Kavadas and seemed to be having some physical discomfort which I later understood to be his old pulled leg muscle. Anyway, the next batter hit a dribbler down the first base line that appeared to result in Tech’s fifth error and runners at 1st and 2nd . However, Coach Hall won yet another video review and it became two outs with a runner on second (potential tying run). English got the final batter to fly out to right center and the Jackets had come back from blowing a big lead to win the game and series. They improved to 19-9 (7-5) and ND fell to 11-14 (6-6). English got the win, Boyle the loss. Oscar Serratos was the definite hero of the game with his clutch two out bases clearing double in the 8th.