The Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team just didn't have any luck against the visiting Sequatchie County Indians Tuesday afternoon.
Less than 24 hours after coming out on the short end of a 3-2 final in Dunlap, the Irish just didn't have an answer for right-hander Dakota Hudson, who earned his first win of the season with a two-hitter. The hard-throwing junior also had a dozen strikeouts while allowing five walks and one hit batter.
Nick Chambers and Pat Ward had back-to-back singles in Notre Dame's first at-bat.
Chambers eventually scored on a Sequatchie error, but those were the only two hits and the only run the Irish generated the rest of the game.
It's not like Notre Dame didn't have more than its share of chances. They left at least one man stranded in each of the first six innings, including two in the first and third, but Hudson buckled down and got key outs when he had to.
Meanwhile, Hudson didn't need a whole lot of offensive support, although his teammates put single runs on the board in the second and seventh innings. Hudson helped himself with a towering solo homer into the net in right-center with two outs in the fourth.
The Indians' starter was relieved after getting the first out in the sixth and throwing some 111 pitches. Tyler Kilgore, who had played third base up to that point, came on with a runner on and one out, but escaped further damage by getting Austin Coombes to hit into a fielder's choice before he struck out Jackson Bostain swinging.
Then in the bottom of the seventh with an extra run as insurance, Kilgore needed just six pitches to retire the side and end the game.
"These last two days have been fun, but it's been two well-played games," said Sequatchie County coach Aaron Simmons after his team had improved to 10-4 overall and 4-0 in District 7-AA.
"Pitching and defense were the keys for us today. Dakota started off kind of rough as it wasn't his best outing, but I saw that his pitch count was getting on up there and I knew I'd have to replace him. Tyler Kilgore is my go-to guy and he's a bulldog on the mound. He just goes out and throws strikes and gets guys out. The kids have a lot of confidence in him," Simmons continued.
"That third run was huge as it allowed us to relax just a little bit. A little insurance never hurts anyone, but we seem to be doing the small things a lot better. We aren't playing scared like we did last year," he added, noting that his team was only 4-20 a year ago.
Hudson felt pretty good about his performance, but he too knew he wasn't going all the way.
"I still need to work on my location as I had too many walks, but I just wanted to throw as many strikes as I could. I was comfortable out there today, but it was a good call when coach pulled me. Notre Dame has a great team, so this was a big win for us," Hudson added.
Notre Dame coach George Oleksik really wasn't upset with his team's performance other than their inability to get clutch hits with runners in scoring position.
"We had a lot of chances early, but just could never put the ball in play," he began after his team fell to 9-4 overall and 2-2 in 7-AA.
"It seemed like we had men on third with less than two outs a bunch of times, but we were never able to take advantage of our opportunities.
"Their guy threw well, but we just didn't adjust at the plate. Nick Chambers did a great job of keeping us in the game, but we have to get hits with runners on third. A hit here or there and the whole outcome changes, but these two teams are a lot alike," Oleksik added.
Chambers certainly deserved a better fate as he pitched six and two-thirds innings before being replaced by Matt Roueche in the seventh.
Chambers allowed all three runs on six hits. He finished with nine strikeouts while walking three and hitting four.
While Chambers and Ward had the only hits for the Irish, Sequatchie countered with six.
A.J. Houk was the only player with two while Thomas Willoughby, Kegan Frederick, Logan Wells and Hudson all had one apiece.
Houk led off the Sequatchie second with a single and later scored the Indians' first run on a sacrifice fly to center by Hunter Hudson.
Dakota Hudson's second homer of the season made it 2-1 in the fourth while the Indians added a third in the seventh when Dakota Hudson scored on a dropped fly in center.
SEQUATCHIE CO. 010 100 1 -- 3 6 2
NOTRE DAME 100 000 0 -- 1 2 2
Hudson, Kilgore (6) and Wells; Chambers, Roueche (7) and Swartout.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)