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Notre Dame 4, Boston College 1: Irish Take Series With Identical Results

Eagles will look to avoid a sweep with Sunday afternoon game out in South Bend.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As quickly as the series began on Friday, that's how quickly it seemingly has gotten away from Boston College.

After opening the series with a 4-1 victory in the first game at Frank Eck Stadium, Notre Dame faced Boston College's Justin Dunn on Saturday, hoping to break through and clinch the series victory against a second elite arm. They did exactly that, scoring three runs in the fifth before coasting home with an identical result from Friday.

The series hasn't been BC being overpowered by Notre Dame or the Fighting Irish being that much better. It's just been a case of one inning keeping the Eagles out of the game. After letting the game get away in the seventh against Notre Dame on Friday, Saturday's game featured a three run inning that put the Irish stamp on the final result.

Notre Dame scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth, thanks in part to a two-out, two-run homer after Boston College committed an error. With one out, Zak Kutsulis hit a sacrifice fly to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. But with a runner on second and Matt Vierling at the plate, a foul ball for Jake Palomaki was dropped, letting the inning continue. On the very next pitch from Bobby Skogsbergh, Vierling sent a Justin Dunn offering deep to left, putting two runs across and giving NOtre Dame a 3-0 lead.

It was an inning that doomed the Eagles. Dunn stretched to 80 pitches in his second start, but he was only able to last into the fifth. In that inning, he induced Ryan Lidge to a fly ball and walked Cavan Biggio. When Jake Shepski singled to put two on with one out, Dunn was pulled due to the pitch count in favor of Skogsbergh. The runners advanced via a wild pitch before the runs came home.

Dunn wasn't perfect against Notre Dame, but he was still solid. He allowed only a double through the first two innings, then pitched out of a jam with two on in the third. In the fourth, he allowed a runner to reach second after getting two quick outs thanks to a fielding error at third by Gabe Hernandez and a wild pitch. When a walk put two on, he got out of the inning with a fly ball.

Boston College, meanwhile, managed to get runners on against Notre Dame starter Sean Guenther, but they couldn't break through on the scoreboard. In the third inning, a double by Logan Hoggarth and an error by Notre Dame put runners on the corners with one out, but Guenther pitched out of the jam by inducing a foul out to Nick Sciortino and a fly ball by Michael Strem.

It wasn't until the sixth when Guenther finally allowed a run. After Palomaki fouled out to start the inning, Sciortino blasted a homer, the first of his career, to left center, pulling the Eagles back within one. But that was all BC could muster in the frame.

In the seventh, they continued to knock Guenther for base hits, getting two singles - one from pinch hitter Gian Martellini to lead off the inning and one from Johnny Adams with two outs. That brought Mik Aoki out of the dugout in favor of Brandon Bielak, who got pinch hitter Scott Braren to ground to third baseman Kyle Fiala, who touched the bag for the forced third out.

Following the stretch, Notre Dame got another insurance run against Skogsbergh, again from Kutsulis. With one out, Cavan Biggio singled to right, moving up to second when Shepski bunted for a single down the third base line. Kutsulis singled up the middle on an 0-1 count, scoring Biggio from second to make it 4-1.

Despite a leadoff walk in the eighth, Bielak shut down BC for nothing doing in either the eighth or ninth, and ND walked away with the series victory.

Dunn (1-1) absorbed the loss, charged with two runs, including one earned, despite not being the pitcher on the mound when any of the runs scored. He allowed only three hits, striking out four and walking three in 4.1 innings of work. Keeping in line with the plans to stretch him out, his pitch count increased to 80 a week after it was around the 65-pitch mark.

Bobby Skogsbergh gave up two runs, one earned, in 2.2 innings of work, surrendering four hits. Skogsbergh did not walk anyone and struck out two. Brian Rapp pitched a perfect eighth, striking out one on nine pitches.

Guenther (3-3) earned the win for Notre Dame by giving his team 6.2 innings of yeoman's work. He allowed six hits but only one run, striking out five and walking none. Bielak (1) earned the save by pitching 2.1 innings of work, striking out one and walking one on 33 pitches. He faced one over the minimum.

With two quick victories in the books, Notre Dame, who improved to 14-4 against BC in South Bend with the win, will go for the sweep with a 1:05 start on Sunday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 as part of the ACC's broadcast package.