The past two seasons the Miami Hurricanes missed out on the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament, snapping a record-setting 44-year postseason streak.
Miami has not only cemented itself into the 64-team field, but the Hurricanes pulled themselves one step closer to being named one of 16 regional host sites.
Sophomore right-hander Chris McMahon tossed five scoreless innings, leading No. 17 Miami to a 5-1 victory over the Duke Blue Devils Saturday at Mark Light Field.
“We heard if we won this series there was not a 100-percent chance but a very good chance that we would host,’’ McMahon said, who allowed just one hit and struck out six to record his first victory since April 6. “I think it was a bigger game than a lot of people realized.”
The win secured the Hurricanes’ 10th series victory, capping off their first regular season under head coach Gino DiMare.
“I’m just happy we got the series win,’’ DiMare said. “Good way to finish the regular season. I’m happy with where we’re at. I told the guys we don’t have to worry about watching the TV and seeing if we’re in the NCAA tournament or not. Miami should never have to ever worry about that.’’
Miami (38-17, 18-12 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned the No. 4 seed in Pool D for the ACC Tournament, which begins May 21 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham North Carolina. Pool D will also include No. 5 seed North Carolina (38-17, 17-13 ACC) and No. 9 seed Virginia (32-22, 14-16 ACC).
“We’re looking to win it,’’ McMahon said. “We have a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum going into that. It was a good series win and hopefully, we can go and do some damage.”
Miami manufactured three runs in the bottom half, capitalizing on two Duke errors.
Raymond Gil drove in the game’s opening run with an RBI single, pushing across Jordan Lala from third. On the play, Adrian Del Castillo scored on a throwing error by Blue Devils’ shortstop Ethan Murray. JP Gates plated Gil with a ground-rule double to right.
“After that first inning, I kind of went into the dugout trying to get them hyped,” McMahon said.
Freddy Zamora extended the Hurricanes’ lead to 4-0 with an RBI base hit in the fourth. Two innings later, Lala lined a one-run single into right field to put Miami ahead, 5-0.
The Canes committed a season-high five errors, three of which were charged to Zamora, but Tyler Keysor and Daniel Federman held Duke to just one unearned run over the last four innings.
The Blue Devils (30-24, 15-15 ACC) notched their lone run in the eighth on an error by UM catcher Michael Amditis, allowing Duke’s Joey Loperfido to score.
Blue Devils’ starter Cooper Stinson (1-4) picked up the loss.
The ACC tournament schedule will be announced Sunday morning.
The 12 teams that qualify for the tournament are divided among four pools. Each team will play the other two opponents in its pool Tuesday through Friday. The four teams with the best records within their respective pools will advance to Saturday’s semifinals, with the winners playing Sunday in the ACC Championship Game.