Notre Dame forces a third game in Starkville Super Regional

 Chris Lee   in Baseball

Notre Dame's hot hitting continues, as the Fighting Irish take Mississippi State to Monday.

Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics.

Notre Dame entered the Starkville Super Regional as perhaps the hottest-hitting team in the country, and the Fighting Irish continued that with a pair of home runs in a 9-1 romp over Mississippi State at Dudy-Noble Field on Sunday afternoon. 

The Irish erupted for four in the fourth off MSU starter Christian MacLeod, taking a 6-1 lead that held.

State's talented lefty struggled for the third-straight start, though perhaps a bit of bad fortune--seven of the eight runners he allowed scored, though one run was unearned--was involved.

All eyes will be on Monday's pitching. The good news for the Bulldogs: They're not used lefty swingman Houston Harding, who went five innings against Campbell last week, and 5 2/3 against Alabama the last weekend of the regular season.

MSU should also have ace reliever Landon Sims, who threw 29 pitches on Friday, available.

State could start freshman Jackson Fristoe, who's been in that spot of late, though that seems unlikely as Fristoe has struggled in five of his last six appearances, a stretch that spans back to mid-April

Notre Dame will likely start Will Mercer, who allowed two runs in seven innings in a blowout win over Connecticut last week and has a 4.53 ERA, with 44 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings this year.

On Sunday, Notre Dame burned just two arms: starter Aidan Tyrell and Alex Rao. 

The Bulldogs threw Brandon Smith for 29 pitches and Cade Smith for five on Sunday.