Sooners shake the Irish fairytale
With Notre Dame first knocking of the national number one, Tennessee, then delivering a body blow to Texas, Oklahoma rudely wakes them from their dream season
Both of these teams in the winners bracket have had a somewhat blessed post season. The Oklahoma Sooners shook off an iffy May to sail through the Big 12 tournament unscathed, moved on to Gainesville where they upended the Florida Gators, before upsetting national number four Virginia Tech to get to Omaha. Their first opponent in the CWS was another team on a late run, the Texas A&M Aggies, who they took apart methodically.
For the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the trip to Omaha was even more dream-like, narrowly missing out on a national ranking, they dealt with Texas Tech in the regionals, before pulling off the seeming impossible by knocking the national number one Tennessee Volunteers out of the competition. In their first game in Omaha, they took the Texas Longhorns to pieces.
Now the sweet dream of the Irish has been rudely interrupted by the Sooners.
In a match that was evenly contested, the Irish never looked to be out of contention. The scoreless game was opened up in the third inning by the Sooners, when Tanner Tredaway poked a single through coverage to push Peyton Graham across the dish. Wallace Clark followed up with a single that was enough to get Tredaway in.
Notre Dame had their own successes on the base paths, but simply could not get any runs scored, which was a testament to the quality of Oklahoma’s pitching.
In the fifth inning, a fielding error by Notre Dame’s Carter Putz allowed two runs to score, in what turned out to be a three-run inning for the Sooners. It all started with a walk and a single, then Oklahoma put on the squeeze play, with the fielded bunt being thrown into right field.
The Irish bounced back in the sixth, scoring two on a David LaManna home run, but with Oklahoma posting an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning, that was as close as they could get. The game finished 5-2 in the Sooners’ favor.
Notre Dame now bounce down to the losers’ bracket, though they will have a second bite at Oklahoma if they can get past Texas A&M. For both of these teams, it is a do-or-die situation. The Fighting Irish cannot afford any more wobbles, but having said that, they have been in that situation before. Tennessee had them one loss away from a flight back to South Bend, and look how that turned out.
The Irish face the Aggies on Tuesday, at 2 p.m. ET with the winner facing Oklahoma on Wednesday.