By Jonathan Gurley
The 2022 College World Series got underway yesterday in Omaha with the second game of the day being the Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs #9 Texas Longhorns. The Irish got off to a hot start knocking around Longhorns starter Pete Hansen who only lasted 4.1 innings giving up 9 hits, 6 earned runs, and struck out 5. Evidently his struggles from the Greenville Super Regional continue when East Carolina got to him for 5 runs in only 4 innings of work. Notre Dame quickly got off to a 1-0 lead in the first when second base man Jarred Miller hit a solo homer in the top of the 1st. The Irish added another run in the 3rd on a Carter Putz fielder’s choice. Texas Finally got on the board in the 3rd when left fielder Eric Kenndy sacrificed into a fielder’s choice scoring right fielder Dylan Campbell cutting the lead to 2-1. Notre Dame bats just kept getting to Hansen when Spencer Myers sacrificed a fielder’s choice to Pete Hansen who made an amazing effort to try and get runner Jack Brannigan who was originally called out on the field was later ruled safe after a Notre Dame challenge making it a 3-1 game. Going into the fifth Texas fans were hoping this could be the turn around and Hansen could keep it close and that was not the case after a single by shortstop Zack Prajzner drove in catcher David LaManna that was all for Pete Hansen who was relieved by Tristian Stevens who did his best keeping the horns in the game. A balk that scored Jack Brannigan followed up by a single from Spencer Myers scored Zack Prajzer capping off a 3 run fifth inning for the Irish giving them a 6-1 lead. Texas tried their best climb back in with an RBI single from center fielder Douglas Hodo lll drove in Dylan Campbell to make it 6-2 Notre Dame. Texas added a 3rd run when Second baseman Murphy Stehly scored on a wild pitch from Notre Dame pitcher Alex Rao making it 6-3 Irish that was all Texas scored the whole game witch was the story of the game for the Horns quiet offense. Notre Dame finally got to Tristian Stevens in the 9th inning with a solo homer from Carter Putz making 7-3 witch was the final score. Every Time Texas tried get a rally or anything going offensively, Notre Dame found away to stop it and respond with there own and just kept capitalizing with every Texas failure.
Everything that could have possibly went wrong for the Horns did whether it was Pete Hansen’s bad performance or the Texas offense going cold. Texas just couldn’t get anything going. The Texas offense was the biggest issue friday night as the Horns only managed going 6/32 at the plate scoring only 3 runs also going 1-5 with runners in scoring position. For a lineup that has arguably the best hitter in the country Ivan Melandez who is a potential golden spikes winner but he is not the only good hitter in the line up 1-9 they have good hitters. Guys like Doug Hodo, Eric Kennedy and Trey Faltine there is no reason for the amount of struggles offensively the Horns had on friday. The only bright spot was Tristian Stevens dominate relief appearance he went 4.2 innings only allowing 2 hits and 1 earned run striking out 2 batters.
Now when it comes to went right for the Irish the correct answer is everything nothing went wrong for this team. Dominant pitching from starter John Micheal Bertrand who gave the Irish 5.1 innings 6 hits and 3 runs Bertrand was able to stop every Texas rally and keep his team in the lead. When Notre Dame had to go to the bullpen in the 5th pitchers Alex Rao and Jack Findley combined for 3.2 scoreless and hit less innings of work. There Pitching stept up when they needed them to in a big way. Notre Dame’s bats played a huge role in the win scoring 7 runs on 11 hits and capitalizing when they needed to going 3-9 with runners in scoring position. Carter Putz and Spencer Myers did a bulk of the damage driving in 4 of the Irish 7 runs.
The Fighting Irish move on to take on the Okalohamoma Sooners on Sunday at 6:00 pm and the Longhorns will face off against the Texas A&M Aggies at 1:00 pm on Sunday.