Notre Dame victim of Pittsburgh power surge in ACC Tournament opener
Notre Dame entered the ACC Tournament badly needing to pad its NCAA Tournament resume. Getting to the elimination bracket in Durham requires winning the assigned pool. Wednesday’s tournament opener will not help matters as Pittsburgh went deep early and often in a 9-5 win over the Irish.
The Panthers (24-30) hit five home runs, including one from Sky Duff to lead off the game. While the Irish (30-23) battled back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game, that relief was short-lived. With two on and two outs in the fourth inning, Noah Martinez hit a three-run homer to right off Aidan Tyrell on a full count. That put the Panthers up, 6-3, and the Irish never mounted a serious threat after that.
Although the Irish outhit the Panthers, 15-13, all but two of those hits were singles. They went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and hit into four double plays. They also struck out 10 times with three hitters fanning at least twice. Carter Putz had the most respectable game by scoring twice and going 3 for 5 with two RBIs, one of them coming on one of two Irish doubles.
The Irish now have lost four of their past five games. They’ll get another chance in this conference tournament against Wake Forest, but the clock is ticking. While most projections currently have them in the NCAA Tournament, they very much are on the bubble. If they come away from Durham empty-handed, there’s going to be a lot of nervousness among the team up until the bracket is revealed.
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