Notre Dame's pitching staff stymies Florida State's offense to take series
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Behind freshman Brandon Bielak's third consecutive quality start, Notre Dame limited a powerful No. 8 Florida State offense for the second game in a row to clinch the series win with a 4-1 victory against the Seminoles in front of a season-high 1,109 fans at Frank Eck Stadium.
With the win, the Irish handed FSU its first Atlantic Coast Conference series loss since a late-April setback to Virginia in 2014 and clinched its first series win against a top-10 team since taking two-of-three from the Seminoles in Tallahassee, Florida, in the 2002 Super Regionals to clinch a spot at Notre Dame's most recent College World Series appearance. Notre Dame has also won more games than it did in 2014 (22).
Bielak (4-1) continued his stellar pitching of late, limiting the Seminole offense to one run, four hits and two walks while striking out five in 7.1 innings of work. In his past two starts, he has a 0.63 ERA in 14.1 innings on the hill. He has allowed just one run and eight hits while striking out 13.
"He's getting more polished with every outing as he gets more experience," Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki said. "Earlier in the year he struggled a little bit with runners on base, but that part has essentially gone away. He is able to throw the breaking ball and the changeup for a strike a little more frequently than he was early. He has a great fastball. It has a lot of life on it and he was in the strike zone like Ryan [Smoyer] was last night. The key is not contributing to their offense by limiting the free 90's you give them."
Once Bielak handed the ball to LHP Sean Guenther, it was all over, as Guenther struck out two in a perfect 1.2 innings of relief to earn his second save of the weekend. In two outings this weekend, Guenther has struck out seven in hurling a perfect 3.2 innings in relief.