Bowling Green scored seven runs in the second inning and Notre Dame was unable to rally back from the huge early deficit as the Falcons snapped the Irish's 23-game win streak with a 11-8 victory. The 11 runs allowed were the second most surrendered by Notre Dame this season. The nation's longest winning streak came to an end but the Irish (32-9) did create a new mark for the school record books, besting the previous one set by the 1906-07 team by two contests.
"It just wasn't our day," head coach Paul Mainieri said. "You'll have games like this. Unfortunately, our day was today. That's taking nothing away from Bowling Green. They outplayed out. They deserved to win.
"We weren't focused. We didn't get a good pitching start. We didn't swing the bats particularly well. But we have been for a good majority of the season."
On Wednesday, Bowling Green's early surge was too much to overcome but Notre Dame did try to rally late. Two consecutive groundouts in the bottom of the seventh scored Ross Brezovsky and Alex Nettey to cut the Bowling Green lead to 9-7.
An inning later, Brezovsky came to the plate with the tying runs on base but a beautiful diving stop by Falcon shortstop Ryan Shay and flip to second base got the runner for the third out to doom the comeback hopes. Bowling Green added two important insurance runs in the ninth when Brandon McFarland drove in Tyler Wasserman with an RBI double and scored on Shay's infield single. In the bottom of the inning, an RBI double by Craig Cooper cut the lead to 11-8 and a walk to Danny Dressman set the stage for Jeremy Barnes as he presented the tying run at the plate with two outs. But reliever Brett Browning struck him out looking to end the contest.
"It's a nice one for us," Falcon head coach Danny Schmitz said. "It's Notre Dame. They're a top-10 team, no doubt about it. They scared the heck out of me. They can really swing the bats. But it's a nice victory for us because we let a few games get away from us over the weekend. To be able to hold on to this one was nice."
Irish starting pitcher David Gruener's rough outing only lasted an inning and a third. In the top of the second, Bowling Green pounded out seven runs on six hits to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead. Gruener's day ended when Kurt Wells doubled down the left field line to score Chris Gacom and Kevin Leady to make it 6-0 Bowling Green. Wells killed the Irish pitching, going 4-for-5 with 2 RBI's.
"He didn't pitch very well today," Mainieri said of Gruener. "He wasn't hitting his spots. He was getting balls up in the zone. You have to tip your hat to Bowling Green. They hit them. We needed to get a better start out of him and we didn't get it. It put us in a big hole right out of the gate."
David Phelps came in to relieve Gruener (1-1) and immediately the Notre Dame defense let him down. Errors by Barnes and Nettey on the same play allowed Wells to score. The 7-0 deficit was the biggest faced by the Irish in the 23-game win streak. Another interesting stat: coming into the contest, Notre Dame had outscored opponents 23-4 in the second inning during the streak.
Notre Dame tried to claw back. After the Irish loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the fourth, Matt Bransfield scored on a Cody Rizzo fielder's choice for the first Irish run of the day. Rizzo was the batting star of the day for Notre Dame, going 2-for-5 with three RBI's. Two batters later, Brezovsky scored on another groundout and the next hitter, Dressman, drove in Cooper to cut the Bowling Green lead to 7-3.
The Falcons (22-17) struck back in the next half inning. Pinch hitter Brian Hangbers singled to left field off of Phelps to score Wasserman and three batters later, Gacom lined a base knock to center field to increase the Bowling Green lead back to a comfortable 9-3 margin. Gacom ended the day 2-for-5 with three RBI's.