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Notre Dame Baseball

Pushed To The Brink: Oklahoma stymies Notre Dame in World Series

June 19, 2022
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OMAHA, Neb. – Austin Temple had not pitched in nine days, since he helped Notre Dame steal Game 1 June 10 in the Knoxville Super Regional.

The extra rest didn’t matter Sunday night in the Fighting Irish’s second game of the College World Series, and red-hot Oklahoma continued its torrid hitting in an 6-2 Sooners win in front of 24,934 inside Charles Schwab Stadium that sent Notre Dame to the precipice of its season.

“They outplayed us in essentially every phase of the game,” said ND coach Link Jarrett.

The Fighting Irish (41-16) face Texas A&M, which earlier in the afternoon staved off elimination when it bounced Texas, 10-2, Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET/1 CT (ESPN).

“I think you just have to take it one game at a time,” said Carter Putz, who had a four-for-four day at the plate. “I think this group is really good at that, realizing the importance of all these games late in the year.”

Added David LaManna, responsible for the Irish’s only runs, “We preach 1-0 every single day. We’ll kind of sit on this one and when we come out on Tuesday, try to go 1-0 there.”

Temple lasted only into the second inning, struggling with command, but it was left-handed senior Aiden Tyrell who absorbed the loss after he was charged with five runs – only two of them earned – in three-plus innings of relief.

Despite its uncharacteristic issues in the field that spurred the Sooners’ pivotal three-run fifth, when a Carter Putz error on a sacrifice-squeeze bunt allowed Jimmy Crooks to score and Wallace Clark to advance all the way to third, the Irish also got sensational defensive plays from left fielder Ryan Cole, right fielder Brooks Coetzee and third baseman Jack Brannigan. Clark scored the Sooners’ third unearned-run when he coasted home on Jackson Nicklaus’ single to left.

Jarrett utilized seven pitchers across the eight innings, with the hurlers throwing just 96 of their 169 pitches for strikes – 56.8 %.

“They used all phases of their game, they ran bases,” Jarrett said. “We knew this was something that was in play for them. The bunt, we had planned for a little bit, they executed it. They played a really complete game.”

Meanwhile, the Irish did not little at the plate to lift up their pitchers. OU starter Cade Horton recorded nine of his first 16 outs via strikeout; he had entered the contest with an ERA of 5.58 and just 40 strikeouts in 40.1 innings.

When Notre Dame did muster traffic on the bases, it was unable to get its running game going and also stranded five men through its first five trips to the plate.

Horton eventually yielded David LaManna’s two-run blast into the Sooners’ bullpen in the top of the sixth, but he closed his night with a career-high 11 strikeouts and threw 69 of his 100 pitches for strikes. OU had 12 hits, drew six walks and also had one batter plunked by reliever Radek Birkholz.

Irish center fielder Spencer Myers did have a bounce-back day at the plate. Myers twice turned 1-2 counts into a single and walk in consecutive at-bats in the middle of the game. He then in the ninth inning faced a 1-2 count before he fouled off a pitch and then was hit by Sooners closer Trevin Michael.

Putz scored a run and accounted for four of Notre Dame’s seven hits with singles in each of his appearances. But Notre Dame batters fanned 14 times and ended with eight men left on base.

“At end of the day, when you strike out 14 times,” Jarrett said, “you’re not forcing them into enough and they beat us.”

The Aggies (43-19), the tournament’s No. 5 overall seed, spotted Texas a two-run edge Sunday afternoon and then proceeded to pick apart their archrivals with 10 unanswered runs.

A&M, victimized by poor defense in its CWS-opening 13-8 loss to these same Sooners, used six pitchers in that Friday afternoon contest an additional three hurlers as it kept alive its season against the Longhorns.

Notre Dame noticeably kept out veteran hurlers Liam Simon and Alex Rao from the loss to the Sooners, keeping in line both pitchers – who have had star turns during this postseason run – for Tuesday’s elimination game. Freshman All-America selection and postseason pitching hero Jack Findlay, he of four saves and a win in the NCAA Tournament, also was held out of the loss.

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