By TIGER RAG NEWS SERVICES
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Junior right-hander Riley Smithfired six scoreless innings Wednesday night to earn his first LSU win as the 11th-ranked Tigers completed a doubleheader sweep of Notre Dame with a 3-2 win in Game 2 at Frank Eck Stadium.
Centerfielder Jake Fraley launched a solo homer in the top of the 11th inning of Game 1 to lift the Tigers to a 1-0 win over the Irish in the first game of the twin bill.
LSU, which has won five straight games, improved to 33-16, while Notre Dame dropped to 26-22.
LSU will travel to Knoxville, Tenn., on Thursday and begin a three-game SEC series at Tennessee on Friday at 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. CT).
“I’m very proud of our guys for coming here and earning two hard-fought victories,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, who served as the Notre Dame coach from 1995-2006. “Notre Dame has a very tough team, and they made it very difficult on us throughout the entire day. Our pitching was tremendous in both games, and it set us up nicely for this weekend at Tennessee. All of our pitchers should be fresh and ready to go, and hopefully we’ll take the momentum from these wins with us to Knoxville.”
Smith (1-0), making his first career LSU start, blanked the Irish through the first six innings of the seven-inning nightcap. He fired 65 pitches and allowed just four singles with no walks and four strikeouts.
The Tigers broke a scoreless tie in the top of the seventh against Notre Dame reliever Peter Solomon, who loaded the bases with nobody out on two hit batsmen and a walk. First baseman Bryce Jordan then delivered a two-run single up the middle to score pinch runner Brennan Breaux and left fielder Beau Jordan.
LSU added a third run in the frame when third baseman Chris Reid scored from third on a Solomon wild pitch.
Notre Dame, however, scored two runs – one earned — in the bottom of the seventh that were charged to LSU reliever Doug Norman, who left the game with the bases loaded and two out.
Norman yielded the mound to right-hander Jesse Stallings, who walked first baseman Nick Podkul to reduce the LSU lead to 3-1. Notre Dame catcher Ryan Lidge narrowed the gap to 3-2 when he scored on a passed ball charged to LSU catcher Michael Papierski.
Stallings, who earned his first save of the season, ended the game when he caught designated hitter Ricky Sanchez looking on a 3-2 pitch with Notre Dame runners at second and third.
Solomon (3-6) took the loss, as he surrendered three runs on one hit in 0.1 inning with one walk and no strikeouts.
Fraley finally broke the 0-0 tie in the opener with a solo homer to lead off the top of the 11th inning against Notre Dame reliever Evy Ruibal. The dinger was the second of the season for Fraley and his first since March 5 versus Fordham.
Right-hander Austin Bain, the fifth of six LSU pitchers in Game 1, was credited with the win as he tossed two scoreless innings, allowing one hit with two walks and one strikeout.
Right-hander Hunter Newman picked up his fourth save of the season as he blanked Notre Dame in the bottom of the 11th. LSU catcher Jordan Romero threw out Irish centerfielder Kyle Richardson as he attempted to steal second base for the final out of the contest.
Ruibal (0-1) was charged with the loss, as he allowed one run on one hit in two innings with three walks and two strikeouts.
LSU starter John Valek III worked 4.1 shutout innings in the opener, allowing three hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Intersectional wins are always good in any sport. Kudos to the Tigers for their sweep of Motre Dame in South Bend.