Notre Dame hands LSU first opening weekend series loss since 1999

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BATON ROUGE, La. – Notre Dame rightfielder Eric Gilgenbach collected two homers and seven RBI Sunday to lead the Irish to an 11-3 win over ninth-ranked LSU in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

With the loss, the Tigers fall to 1-2 on the season. Notre Dame moves to 2-1 on the year.

LSU will return to action on Wednesday when it plays host to New Orleans at 6:30 p.m. The game will be available on SECNetwork+, which is accessible through WatchESPN or the WatchESPN app.

“Notre Dame played great this weekend,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “They played tremendous baseball in every phase of the game. We didn’t coach our team well enough, and there wasn’t one aspect of the series that I could point to and call an outstanding part of our game.

“We just have to get back to work and keep our confidence. We need to be very positive and know that this is a work in progress. We’ve got a lot of new guys, and there’s going to be some speed bumps along the way. Our guys just have to keep working through those moments, and we’ll get better.”

Notre Dame starter Cameron Junker went 3.1 innings, allowing one earned run on one hit and two walks with two strikeouts. The Irish used six relief pitchers who combined to throw 5.2 innings and allow two runs on three hits with four walks.

Right-hander Joe Boyle (1-0), who recorded the final out of the fifth inning, was credited with the win, and right-hander Andrew Belcik, who worked the final 2.1 innings, earned his first save of the  year.

LSU pitcher Todd Peterson (0-1) worked four innings in his season debut and was charged with the loss. Peterson allowed four hits, walked four, struck out two and gave up three earned runs.

LSU scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly from shortstop Josh Smith. The inning began with a single by catcher Bryce Jordan, followed by a walk from leftfielder Beau Jordan. Second baseman Brandt Broussard got a bunt down to sacrifice the runners on second and third with one out. Smith hit a deep fly to left field which allowed Bryce Jordan to cross the plate and give the Tigers and early lead.

The next half inning, Notre Dame answered. Second baseman Nick Podkul and designated hitter Niko Kavadas walked to set the stage for inning. On a 1-0 count, right fielder Eric Gilgenbach hit a three-run home run to right-centerfield to give Notre Dame a 3-1 lead.

Bryce Jordan led off the fifth inning with a double down the left field line and that was followed by a single from Broussard that squeezed under the outstretched glove of the third baseman. Cameron Brown then replaced Brian Morell on the mound and on his first pitch, Brown plunked Smith to load the bases for the Tigers. Nick Webre grounded into a double play, but that allowed Jordan to score and decrease the Tiger deficit to one run.

In the top of the sixth, Gilgenbach got a base hit and LSU reliever Daniel Cabrera walked the following batter, Daniel Jung. Devin Fontenot replaced Cabrera and, after a sacrifice which put runners on second and third for the Irish, centerfielder Spencer Myers drove them in with a single to right field.

Cole Daily doubled down the left field line in the following plate appearance which allowed Myers to score and extended the Irish lead to 6-2.

Beau Jordan led off the seventh inning for the Tigers and on the first pitch that he saw, he sent the ball into the left field bleachers for his second homer of the season, decreasing the Tigers’ deficit to three runs.

In the top of the ninth, Notre Dame loaded the bases for Gilgenbach, who hit a grand slam to left field to give him seven RBI on the day and his third homer of the weekend series.

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