Clemson dropped the second game of its series with Notre Dame 3-1 on Saturday after an exceptional pitching performance by John Bertrand.
The Furman graduate transfer pitched seven innings, allowed just three hits, he struck out eight and walked two to earn his first win of the season.
Ty Olenchuk suffered the loss for the Tigers in four innings of work. Mat Clarke allowed one run in five innings of relief with two strikeouts and one walk.
But, Clemson (5-3, 1-1 ACC) struggled to get hits and produce runs as it stranded six runners.
Clemson head coach Monte Lee credited the Irish pitching for the win and felt like his staff gave the Tigers a chance to win.
“I give Notre Dame credit their pitching staff and John Bertrand and Will Mercer threw very well for them today,” Lee told The Clemson Insider after the game. “I thought our pitchers did a nice job too keeping us in the ball game and we played a great defensive ball game. But offensively we just couldn’t get anything going.”
Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-run home run to dead center by Niko Kavadas. Clemson cut the lead in half with a run in the fourth, but the Irish added some insurance in the next frame and shut down the Tigers for the remainder of the contest.
In the top of the first, Carter Putz got the ball rolling for Notre Dame with a one out single to center field. He advanced to second on a fielders choice after Regan Reid bobbled a potential double play ball. Then with two outs Kavada homered to center and gave the Irish a 2-0 lead.
In the second, Clemson threatened with a leadoff single by James Parker and an error that put Regan Reid on and gave it two runners with no outs. Cooper Ingle laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position with one away.
But, Bertrand responded with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning and strand the runners.
Clemson got a run back after a leadoff double by Parker in the bottom of fourth when he scored on a groundout by Ingle to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Irish (3-2, 3-2 ACC) responded with a run in the top of the fifth with an RBI double off the bat of Carter Putz that scored Jack Brannigan and pushed their lead to 3-1.
In the bottom of the ninth Johnathan French drew a two out walk but Caden Grice grounded out to second to end the game.
Parker led the Tigers at the plate and finished the game 2-4 with a run. He said after the game the message was to flush this one and move forward.
“We have to go get them tomorrow and put it behind us, learn from it and make a few adjustments to our approach,” Parker said.
Clemson hopes to salvage the series in the rubber match at noon on Sunday at Doug Kingsmore. Carter Raffield will get the start on the mound for the Tigers.