LOS ANGELES — No. 22 Notre Dame rallied for the tying run in the ninth inning and the game-winning run in the 11th inning to defeat No. 17 Oklahoma in walk-off fashion Sunday afternoon in the Dodgertown Classic at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The Fighting Irish (10-3) fell behind 4-2 after Garrettt Carey hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning, but as they did all day, the Irish fought back. Eric Jagielo responded to Carey’s blast with his own two-run no-doubter to even the score.
Oklahoma (12-4) got on top once again after Hector Lorenzana hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, but reliever junior college transfer Billy Waltrip couldn’t nail down his first career save in the final frame. He allowed a pinch hit double, couldn’t catch a popped up bunt with a diving attempt and then walked a batter to load the bases with no outs for Notre Dame’s 3-4-5 hitters.
Waltrip got Jagielo to pop out, but Trey Mancini hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game and send it to extra innings after Waltrip got a groundout to end the inning.
The Game Changer:
Ryan Bull led off the 11th inning with a walk, advanced on a passed ball and moved to third on a deep fly ball. After an intentional walk to Trey Mancini, Oklahoma went to closer Robert Tasin, who had been warming up in the pen since the ninth inning. With closer Dan Slania due up after a double switch, Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki countered Tasin’s entry by calling on DeFilippis.
DeFilippis had yet to bat this season, but attacked the first pitch he saw from Tasin. He laced a long fly that one-hopped the wall, bouncing off the 330 sign just inside the left field line as Bull strolled home with the winning run. DeFilippis made it to the second base area before he was swarmed by his teammates and a dogpile ensued.
Check out the celebration:
Best Defensive Play: Oklahoma centerfielder Craig Aikin misread a couple of balls off the bat, but he has the speed to make up for it. In the sixth inning, Trey Mancini took a big hack on a ball and Aikin initially took two steps backward before realizing Mancini hadn’t made great contact.
The ball flailed through the air toward right-centerfield where Aikin charged hard. Right fielder Max White didn’t have a shot, so it was up to Aikin. With the ball slicing toward the grass, he dove to his left and made a back-handed stab for the sliding catch that sent him rolling over to his stomach, but didn’t stop him from holding his glove up so the umpires knew for certain he had made the catch.
Best Pitch/Pitcher: If Notre Dame closer Dan Slania told you he was a pitcher, you would probably think he meant in a beer league for 40-year-olds. That’s where Slania looks like he should be…that is until he unleashes a 90-91 fastball and a dirty low 80s slider that effectively breaks down and away from right-handed hitters. Slania also mixed in a curveball effectively as he pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He only gave up one hit while striking out two.
Slania threw 30 pitches on Sunday. Of those, 27 were strikes. This comes a day after throwing two innings and 17 strikes on 19 pitches. That’s a remarkable 90 percent strike-to-pitch ratio.
Notre Dame hero Kevin DeFilippis’ thought process when his number was called:
Oklahoma head coach Sunny Golloway was disappointed with the weekend, particularly the back end of the bullpen:
Fighting Irish pitching coach Chuck Ristano after the walk-off win:
- Kolbey Carpenter – 3-for-5
- Hector Lorenzana – 2-for-3, 2 R, 2B, RBI, HBP
- Jacob Evans – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K
- Dan Slania – 3.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
- Ricky Sanchez – 3-for-5, R, 2B
- Kevin DeFilippis – 1-for-1, GW RBI
The Bottom Line:
After starting the season 10-0, Oklahoma has lost four of six. While Sunday’s loss was a highly competitive game against a top 25 opponent, the Sooners should not have lost to UT-Arlington or a young USC squad. It was a bad week for the Sooners, but they have to shake it off and get ready for back-to-back weeks with five games scheduled.
Head coach Sunny Golloway was rightfully disappointed in the bullpen being unable to hold the lead late, but he is hoping when Corey Copping returns to the weekend rotation soon, everyone will be able to slot back one position on the pitching depth chart. Oklahoma will then have more options.
Another concern for the Sooners is the left side of the infield. Third baseman Garrett Carey hit a home run on Sunday, but it isn’t the offense that is the concern. Carey and shortstop Jack Mayfield have already combined for 14 errors in the first 16 games. Mayfield had a pair of errors against USC and another against UT-Arlington. He received a long lecture after the very long team lecture on Friday night after the Sooners fell 5-3 to USC. But he has yet to make an error since the post-game discussion between he and the coaching staff.
The Fighting Irish showed again this weekend they are a team to be reckoned with. They played two top 25 teams down to the wire and on past the wire, splitting a pair of extra inning games with No. 12 UCLA and No. 17 Oklahoma.
Notre Dame pitched well on Friday and Saturday, but are still struggling with pitching depth. There is a drop off from the top two starters, Sean Fitgerald and Adam Norton, and top two relievers, Dan Slania and Nick McCarty, to the rest of the rotation. Someone needs to step up and take command of some roles, at least until the return of ace Pat Connaughton after basketball season concludes.
The middle of the lineup can hit a ton with Jagielo and Mancini leading the way. They need some protection though. Ryan Bull has been one of the team’s best hitters both in front and behind Jagielo and Mancini, but Charlie Markson and Lane Richards haven’t done much with the bat to this point.
Expect Notre Dame to compete with Louisville for the top heavy Big East conference. The Irish have all the pieces. They just need to get them all rolling (and off the basketball court). Notre Dame has four more games remaining on its California swing before heading home for the first home games of the season. The Irish travel to UC Santa Barbara for a game at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Also check out the 25-shot photo gallery from Saturday’s afternoon game.