On a hot and humid spring day, the Hurricanes wrapped up their season with a decisive victory against Notre Dame, winning 16-7 on Saturday afternoon at Mark Light Field.
Miami (39-16, 20-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) put the pressure on the Irish early, something it hadn’t done on Friday when not scoring runs in a game for the first time this season.
Junior catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. hit a home run in the bottom of the first inning for a 2-0 lead.
“I was just hoping to get Kayfus in, no matter what I did,” Romero Jr. said.
Miami wasn’t done with the power surge, though.
With another two-run home run from freshman Zach Levenson, Miami went up 4-0. Then, a two-out single by freshman Gaby Gutierrez led to a score as he advanced on a passed ball. Sophomore shortstop Dominic Pitelli scored Gutierrez on his 44th RBI of the season.
With the score at 5-0, Notre Dame (33-13, 16-11 ACC) pulled starter Jack Findlay, ending his day with 2/3 of an inning pitched as he allowed six runs. Its reliever Roman Kimball didn’t have too much luck, either, allowing freshman infielder Ariel Garcia to hit the third home run of the inning, stretching the lead to 7-0.
After a scoreless second, freshman Gaby Gutierrez hit his third home run of the weekend and notched his second hit of the day.
“I think this team is a very hitting contagious team,” Levenson said. “Everyone is just trying to have good at bats.”
After three innings, Miami led 9-0.
Needing to respond, Notre Dame scored in the top of the fourth. With two runners on base, second baseman Jack Brannigan cut the deficit to 9-3 with a home run.
Continuing its power surge, Miami would get one of the runs back when Romero Jr. hit his second homer of the day in the bottom of the fourth.
“Most of the guys swung the bat good today,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said.
Right after, Jacob Burke hit Miami’s sixth home run of the day over the left field wall, a season-most for the Hurricanes.
After four, Miami held the lead 11-3.
In the fifth, Notre Dame had runners on the corners, as a passed ball allowed Cole to score for its fourth run.
After another hit batter put a runner in scoring position, Notre Dame right fielder Brooks Coetzee singled to left, and the Irish sliced UM’s lead to 11-5.
Miami sophomore starter Alejandro Rosario ended his day in the fifth when sophomore Ronaldo Gallo came to the mound. Rosario finished with five runs surrendered in 4 2/3 innings pitched while walking a batter and striking out three.
“I thought he pitched better than okay,” DiMare said. “He’s a guy that’s battling through a lot of things, I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him.”
After both teams went quiet entering the late innings, the Miami offense surged again in the seventh.
Levenson was hit by a pitch and then replaced by Jacoby Long. Second baseman Dorian Gonzalez singled and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. A walk to Gutierrez and Pitelli forced a run to cross for Miami’s 12-5 advantage.
A single from Kayfus and back-to-back wild pitches scored Gutierrez and Pitelli. Rounding out the scoring, third baseman Yohandy Morales hit a sac fly and scored Kayfus for the Canes’ final run.
With a home run from Penney, Notre Dame’s deficit moved to 16-6 in the eighth inning.
In the ninth, third baseman Nick DeMarco’s first home run of his career gave the Irish their final run.
“I think we all knew what the task was at hand, and we just took care of business the way we needed to,” Romero Jr. said.
Notre Dame used seven total relievers to get through the afternoon, while Miami needed four.
Gallo (3-0) got the win while Findlay (5-2) got the loss.
Miami now travels to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the ACC Tournament as the third seed, with Virginia Tech having swept Duke. The Hokies took first place in the ACC Coastal Saturday with their ninth straight ACC series win.