The Miami Hurricanes did what they could to earn themselves an Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division championship on the regular season’s final day Saturday.
Unable to control their own destiny in the series finale at the Louisville Cardinals, UM (32-17, 20-15 ACC) rallied behind quality pitching and some timely hits in spite of allowing a key run on an unclear umpiring review, and held on to beat UL 3-2 to complete a three-game road sweep.
It was Miami’s only sweep on the road in 2021, and its first series sweep away from South Florida since April 2019.
Playing in front of a crowd of 1,269 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium, Adrian Del Castillo tied the game at 1 with an RBI single before being driven in by Jordan Lala four batters later. Lala’s two-run single made it 3-1 Canes in the fourth inning.
The Cards made it 3-2 in the sixth on a controversial fielder’s choice, when it was ruled that Anthony Vilar bobbled the ball while trying to transfer it from his glove hand at second base.
But Daniel Federman earned his first save of the season with two and 2/3 frames and 43 total pitches of two-hit scoreless work. The senior was one strike away from securing a Hurricane win eight separate times over two plate appearances. Jake Garland earned the win with five innings thrown and one run surrendered, with Alex McFarlane and Andrew Walters holding leads for UM on the front end of the bullpen.
“It means the world to me,” Federman said in a Miami Athletics release. “It’s been four unreal years here. I’ve pitched in basically every situation up to this point and just to be able to go out there and give the team the chance to win, it means the world to me. Especially with it being the last game of the season, closing out a sweep against a top team like that took everybody. It literally takes everybody to win all three games, and I’m just glad I was able to come through for the guys.”
It wasn’t a perfect Saturday for the Canes, who finish second in the Coastal Division and take a No. 4 seed into the ACC Tournament by virtue of Georgia Tech’s 10-6 win over North Carolina.
But despite not bringing a division pennant back to Coral Gables, Miami can feel good about its past week of play. Going 5-2 over its past nine days, the Hurricanes bring much-needed momentum into the postseason after finding little of it for most of the campaign.
“We’ve been riding the roller coaster a little bit this year and we’ve had our ups-and-downs, but we never quit,” Garland said through Miami Athletics. “Going into the playoffs, if you can get hot at the right moment and continue that into the ACC tournament with another win, it would be huge for us.”
Miami outscored Louisville 11-3 over the weekend as the Cardinals absorbed their first home sweep since 2005. Closer Carson Palmquist wasn’t used after pitching 3 and 2/3 frames across Friday and Saturday, allowing no runs and grabbing his 13th save of 2021.
As the No. 4 seed, the Canes are placed in a three-team pool alongside No. 5 seed Florida State and No. 9 seed Duke. The top team in the round robin—held Tuesday through Friday—will advance to the tournament semifinal May 29. The conference championship is set for May 30.
The tournament will be held at Truist Field in Charlotte, N.C.