The Irish fighters are on their way to Omaha!

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Notre Dame Athletic Communications) — The Notre Dame baseball team (40-15) staged a furious late-inning rally to knock out No. 1 Tennessee (57-9), 7-3, and advance to the College World Series for the third time in the program’s history. The Irish hit back-to-back homers in the seventh inning to take their first lead of the game and never looked back.

“They’re exceptional guys,” said head coach Link Jarrett. “When you have great character and makeup and focus on what they’re doing, you can see baseball talent firsthand. When you combine that – and I told him today – there’s no team I’ve ever coached that’s more built for that moment than those guys.

At least one ACC team has reached the Men’s College World Series each of the past 16 years the event has been held. The ACC placed a total of 29 teams in the MCWS during this period. The 14 current ACC teams have a total of 99 MCWS appearances.

Trailing 3-1 heading into the seventh, David LaManna tied the game with a two-run homer into the opposite field and tied the game at 3-3. The next batter, the Irish took the lead as Jack Brannigan launched a solo shot over the wall to center right.

“As Coach Jarrett said, it’s the last hour on Sunday,” third baseman Jack Brannigan said. “We got in the dugout at the top of the seventh and we were talking about ‘last hour Sunday.’

“Yeah, I totally agree with (Jack) Brannigan,” catcher David LaManna said. “We talked about the last hour on Sunday since our first Sunday practice with Coach Jarrett, and it all kind of came together and came together today.”

Jack Findlay came back in his third relief run with a lead he would never relinquish. He didn’t allow a hit the last three innings and the Irishman added three insurance runs in the eighth. With a runner in the ninth, the Irish turned a 5-4-3 double play to end the game and clinch their ticket to Omaha.

This will be the program’s third trip to Omaha in school history and the first in 20 years, as the 2002 team was the last Irish team to do so. They knocked out top-ranked Florida State in three games to book their ticket to Omaha and the team was honored at Frank Eck Stadium earlier this season. The Irish become the first program in NCAA Tournament history to win four super regional games against the No. 1 national seeds in school history.

HOW DID IT HAPPEN

Tennessee jumped ahead for the second straight game on Sunday. Luc Lipcius hit his third home run in two days, a solo shot to right center, to give the Volunteers a 1-0 lead after the first period.

The Irish tied it after making a run at the start of the second. Jack Zyska beat a field single, then stole second and third base. David LaManna failed at shortstop but Zyska scored on the play to make it 1-1.

Late in the second, Tennessee regained the lead with a two-out RBI single to the left. After two sets, the Volunteers led 2-1.

Tennessee extended its lead with another run late in the fifth. Jack Findlay came out of the bullpen for the second time this weekend and limited the damage to just one point and the Vols led 3-1 after five.

The Irish turned the game around in the seventh inning and it all started with a double from Carter Putz. LaManna entered the box with two outs and took a fastball the other way that cleared the wall to the right to tie the game. It was only his second home run of the year and he tied it 3-3. Brannigan was the next batter and after hitting a foul ball, he smashed a fastball into the wall to left center to give the Irish the lead. His 12th homer of the season gave Notre Dame a 4-3 lead heading into the seventh.

The Irish added three more points at the start of the eighth to breathe a little. With two outs once again, Putz doubled the gap to right center to score two runs. Putz scored later in the inning on Jack Zyska’s RBI single. After another scoreless frame from Findlay, the Irish led 7-3 going into the ninth.

In the ninth, the Vols got a one-out base runner and the Irish defense had one last play in them to close it out. Brannigan lined up Evan Russell’s grounder cleanly, threw it to Miller who finished it off with Putz for the double play to end the game and send the Irish to Omaha.

NEXT

Notre Dame’s season will continue at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska next week. Final College World Series dates and times will be announced Monday evening, June 13, after 7 p.m. ET. The Irish will face the winner of the Greenville Super Regional in their first game in Omaha.


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