Irish Win in the 13th

The Notre Dame baseball team needed 13 innings and an impressive pitching performance by sophomore Jeff Samardzija to finish off a pesky Cleveland State team on Friday night.

The Irish collected just 10 hits on the night, but they were able to manufacture a run in the bottom of the 13th to pick up the 7-6 victory.

Junior Tom Thornton started the game for the Irish on the mound but struggled after pitching three straight complete games prior.

Thornton lasted just five innings, allowing six runs on nine hits, but only three of the runs were earned.

Samardzija entered the game in the top of the sixth and silenced the Cleveland State bats for seven impressive innings.

The Valparaiso, Ind. native allowed zero runs, four hits, and struck out eight to keep the Irish in the game.

Unfortunately for Notre Dame, the Irish bats also were silenced for seven innings as the Irish couldn't find the big hit to end the game.

Finally, lead-off hitter Alex Nettey got a lead-off hit in the bottom of the 13th to kickstart the Irish. Freshman Brett Lilley was then hit by a pitch sending Nettey to second. Both runners advanced to third on a wild pitch, and Nettey push across the winning run on a passed ball to secure the 7-6 win.

The Irish were led by their 2-5 hitters on Friday with Brett Lilley (3-for-6, R), Matt Edwards (2-for-4, 3B, R), Craig Cooper (3-for-4, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI) and Matt Bransfield (1-for-5, 2 RBI) collecting nine out of the 10 hits on the day.

"You always look for positives," said Irish coach Paul Mainieri after Friday's game. "Obviously the very positive thing was how Jeff Samardzija pitched. Once again Tony Langford did a great job.

"It wasn't a day filled with a lot of hitting. It was kind of an ugly rally. I wish we would've won it earlier on a big hit. You just take them any way you can get them at this point."

The Irish return to action again on Saturday (1:35) for another game against Cleveland State at Frank Eck Stadium. Sophomore Dan Kapala is the likely starter for Saturday's game.


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