Miami falls 6-3 to Florida State in final game of ACC Baseball Championship

Dominic Pitelli bats for the Miami Hurricanes during Miami's 3-2 loss to Florida State in the ACC tournament at Truist Park in North Carolina.
Dominic Pitelli bats for the Hurricanes during Miami's 6-3 loss to Florida State in the ACC tournament at Truist Park in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo credit: UM Athletics

Though a conference championship was unattainable, the Hurricanes failed to complete a ninth-inning rally on Friday and defeat the Seminoles for the first time this season.

A lack of hitting with runners in scoring position haunted Miami (32-19, 20-15 Atlantic Coast Conference) late, while Florida State (30-22, 20-16 ACC) secured a 6-3 victory in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Baseball Championship at Truist Field in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“We gotta find a way to score more runs, we gotta find a way to get our lineup going,” Hurricanes coach Gino DiMare said. “Not enough pressure we’re putting on the pitchers, not enough pressure we’re putting on their defense, and we gotta make some adjustments.”

An offensive spark came about in the fourth inning, though did not carry all the way through the ninth.

Designated hitter Raymond Gil sliced into the 3-1 deficit with a solo home run to center field, and first baseman Alex Toral was then hit by a pitch. Catcher Carlos Perez grounded into a double play and Dominic Pitelli’s swinging strikeout ceased the momentum, however.

“I think we just all have to be better one through nine, everyone including myself, too,” Gil said of the lineup’s inconsistency. “We have to be locked in for every at-bat for nine innings, and not take innings or at-bats off…doing what the situation calls for.”

With still a one-run advantage, Florida State regained control in the fifth as its first five batters reached base without an out.

Two consecutive singles to start the inning set up leadoff hitter Tyler Martin as the first baseman laid down an RBI bunt to third base, forcing DiMare to signal for freshman right-handed pitcher Alejandro Rosario to fill in for freshman starter Jake Garland (6-3, 5.4 ERA).

“For us, we’ve been playing good defense but didn’t do that today,” DiMare said. “That one inning costed us a couple errors, it was played a sac bunt and there were able to capitalize on that with a few runs. They started out of the gate with a three-spot there, too, which is not good.”

The Seminoles weren’t exactly finished yet, either. A sacrifice fly to center field from catcher Matheu Nelson put FSU ahead 5-2 for the Hurricanes’ largest deficit of the tournament.

With FSU starting pitcher Parker Messick lifted after a one-hour-and-10-minute rain delay, Miami still grappled to drive in runs. A first-pitch base hit placed catcher Adrian Del Castillo on first base, though a Christian Del Castillo fly-out to left field and two following strikeouts kept the Hurricanes silent.

Seminoles reliever Clayton Kwiatkowski forced a pair of ground outs to begin the seventh and struck out center fielder Tony Jenkins on a full count to hold Miami off the base paths. The southpaw followed by sitting down three additional Miami batters in the eighth.

FSU added a knock-out blow in the ninth behind center fielder Logan Lacey’s home run to left off closer Carson Palmquist to keep the Seminoles ahead for good in the ninth.

An answer came in the bottom of the inning due to a single to left field from pinch hitter CJ Kayfus that filled the bases. Third baseman Jose Izarra then reached first on a fielder’s choice to score Christian Del Castillo, though Kayfus was out at second base.

Jenkins worked an eight-pitch walk to keep UM alive, but second baseman Anthony Vilar could not carry the momentum as the sophomore struck out looking.

Garland allowed all five earned runs on six hits and one walk and was tagged with the loss, while Seminoles starter Parker Messick (7-2, 3.32 ERA) garnered his second win against Miami this season, having surrendered two runs on five hits and struck out seven batters.

“At the end of the day, we got to get ready for the NCAA Tournament and everybody’s gonna be 0-0 and we have to find a way to be at our best when we start on Friday,” DiMare said.

Miami awaits a decision on its NCAA Regional location, having recently been projected to compete in Gainesville, Florida as of Thursday.