Monday, June 13, 2022 6:53 PM
Notre Dame players celebrate after defeating Tennessee in an NCAA College Baseball Super Regional game, Sunday, June 12, 2022, in Knoxville, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Randy Sartin)
Knoxville, Tenn. (AP) — Rookie Jack Findlay pitched five shutout innings in relief and back-to-back homers from catcher David LaManna and Jack Brannigan in the seventh spurred Notre Dame to a stunning 7-3 victory over the No. 1 overall leader Tennessee series during Sunday’s Knoxville Super Regional championship game.
Notre Dame (40-15) will make just its third College World Series appearance. Further Fighting Irish voyages were in 1957 and 2002.
Findlay (6-2) worked on a block after entering the game late in the fifth inning with no outs, a run and a runner at second, trailing 3-1. Findlay held the Volunteers in check from there, allowing a single and two walks while striking out four. He ended the match with a double play.
Findlay’s efforts on the mound gave Notre Dame an opportunity to rally.
Carter Putz doubled Volunteers starter Chase Burns (8-2) with one out in the top of the seventh and scored on LaManna’s two-out shot to right field to tie the game at 3-3. Brannigan followed with a free kick to left center at 1-2.
Findlay retired the team in order and Notre Dame added three big insurance runs in the eighth.
Camden Sewell hit Brooks Coetzee with a pitch to open the inning. Spencer Myers’ sacrifice bunt moved Coetzee to second overall. Ryan Cole reached first and Coetzee held on a throw error from Vols third baseman Trey Lipscomb. Kirby Connell replaced Sewell and the runners advanced on a sack bunt by Jared Miller. Putz hit the first pitch he saw for a two-run brace and Jack Zyska singled Putz to cap the score. The three points were not earned.
Luc Lipcius homered in the first to give the Vols a 1-0 lead. LeManna tied it with an RBI pitch in the second. Seth Stephenson’s RBI single in the bottom of the inning and a fifth-inning brace put Tennessee up 3-1.
Notre Dame head coach Link Jarrett touted Tennessee as “the No. 1 best team in all of college sports this year” entering the super regional. Instead, for the first time in 20 years, the Irish will be playing in the CWS.
Tennessee (57-9) was chasing its second-straight CWS spot and sixth-place finish overall. Notre Dame beat the Volunteers 8-6 on Friday. Tennessee won Game 2 12-4. The Volunteers led the nation in home runs and earned run average entering super regional play. Tennessee entered the game 49-0 leading after six innings.
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