Baseball defeats Fighting Irish twice to win Alamo Irish Classic


SLU baseball has started their season with a perfect 4-0, winning the Alamo Irish Classic over Notre Dame for the final win. SLU baseball’s offense has started strong, and the team will hope to continue their offensive prowess as the season continues.

SLU’s offensive firepower was evident early on, with the Billikens pouring in 24 runs against a shell-shocked Lafayette team that scored only six. The 24 runs were the most the Billikens scored since 1992, when SLU defeated Missouri Baptist 30-8 in the first game of the 1992 season. Sophomore pitcher Miller Hogan picked up the win, while redshirt senior outfielder Trent Liemkuehler finished 3-for-4 with three doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. His three doubles equaled the SLU record for doubles in a game.

Meanwhile, junior infielder Carter Hanford went 3-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and a double in his first game as a Billiken, and freshman infielder/outfielder Jake Garella entered the game off the bench to go a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. In the game, freshman catcher Ryan Hernandez gathered his first hit as a college athlete, a home run, which was also SLU’s first home run of the season, while recording four RBIs. In addition to the team hits-in-a-game record, SLU set the record in single game RBIs with 22 and matched the record for single-game doubles with 10.

On the mound, Hogan responded to three straight walks to start the game by retiring the next eight batters. He threw 5.0 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and four walks while registering eight strikeouts.

The second game saw SLU take on Incarnate Word, and defeat them 6-3. Much of the offense came from the long ball, with the Billikens recording four home runs. Junior shortstop Alex King recorded two home runs in the contest, his first home runs in approximately two years. Junior outfielder Aaron Case and junior catcher James Morisano also added homers to the tally. Morisano went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Liemkuehler hit another double, for his fourth double of the season, and also went 3-for-4 to up his season mark to 6-for-8. Junior outfielder Parker Sniatynski has now gone nine games with at least one hit, as he recorded two hits against Incarnate Word.

Sophomore Jackson Wark recorded the win, his first as a Billiken, allowing only five hits and two earned runs. Junior Luke Sommerfeld allowed only one earned run in relief, earning his second career save.

SLU then played against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and defeated them 8-6 to move to 3-0 overall, the first time they have reached that mark since 2002. Case went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI. Meanwhile, Hanford went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Junior infielder Nick Reeser went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Freshman designated hitter Nick Mehlin led the Billikens with two RBIs in the game, and SLU drew eight walks as a team against the Fighting Irish. SLU then defeated Notre Dame again in the final, 8-3, to win the Alamo Irish Classic tournament crown.

Case had one run scored and four RBIs in the game, while strong pitching held Notre Dame down to only three runs. Morisano also had a strong bat this game, going 2-for-5. Senior pitcher/designated hitter Devin Mahoney and King each had three runs in the game.

As a team, the Billikens are on fire offensively. They are hitting .363 with a .581 slugging percentage and a .455 on-base percentage this season. Meanwhile, on the hill, freshman pitcher Josh Garner made his first collegiate start, allowing three runs in four innings while striking out three. Junior pitcher Aaron Patton earned the win coming out of the bullpen, throwing 3.2 shutout innings for his first SLU win.

Next up for the Billikens will be a trip to Santa Clara, Calif. There, they will take on Michigan, Santa Clara and Creighton from Feb. 24 to Feb. 26. Those games will make up the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament. After the tournament, SLU baseball will begin their regular season. The Billikens will first travel to Stillwater, Okla., to take on Oklahoma State. Then, they will come back to St. Louis for three games against Farleigh Dickinson, all of which will take place at the Billiken Sports Center. Atlantic 10 Conference play will begin on March 24 with three games at home against St. Bonaventure. The final games of the regular season will take place in Fairfax, Va., against George Mason. The postseason begins on May 24, and will take place at the Billiken Sports Center.

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