Irish Earn Comeback Victory

The Notre Dame baseball team was one out away on Monday afternoon from another defeat. The loss to Webber International would have sent the Irish to 4-9 on the season heading into the FGCU Classic in Fort Myers, Florida. Instead, they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and staged a remarkable victorious comeback.

Notre Dame scored four runs in the ninth inning to tie it and then plated three more in the tenth to beat WIU 11-8 in Babson Park, FL. The win moves the Irish to 5-8 on the year and they now have an off day after playing three consecutive days. Notre Dame will go to Fort Myers at Swanson Field to battle Dayton, New York Tech, Florida Gulf Coast and Harvard in four days before heading back to South Bend for the March 20th opener against Cleveland State.

WIU appeared to have this contest wrapped up in the ninth inning. Ross Westdrop got Notre Dame's Mike Dury to ground out for the second out of the frame. WIU was up 8-4 at the time with only one Irish runner one base. But Ryan Smith drew a walk and then Ryne Intlekofer singled to plate Brett Lilley, making it 8-5 WIU. Evan Sharpley cut the deficit to 8-7 when he doubled to score Smith and Intlekofer. The comeback was complete when Danny Dressman singled home the tying home to make it 8-8. Kyle Weiland come on in the ninth inning with no outs and one on but got the first, second and third outs to send the game into extra innings.

The Notre Dame offense continued its surge. Lilley lined a one-out single to get the ball rolling. A.J. Pollock followed that up with another base hit to send Lilley to second. After Dury flied out, the Irish struck again with two outs. Smith's single to left field scored Lilley to give Notre Dame a 9-8 advantage. It was the team's first lead since the fifth inning. Intlekofer provided some valuable insurance runs when he singled to center field to score Pollock and Smith. Weiland (1-0) shut down WIU in the tenth to earn his first win of the season. The sophomore pitched two innings of scoreless ball.

Offensively, there were four Notre Dame players with multiple hits. In total, the Irish pounded out 14 hits on the afternoon. At the top of the lineup, Lilley was 3-for-5 on the day and scored three runs. Intlekofer came off the bench and was 2-for-2 with three crucial RBI's, all in the ninth and tenth innings. Dressman was 3-for-4 against WIU while Billy Boockford added a pair of hits. Pitching-wise, starter Brett Graffy lasted 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories