No. 9 Miami failed to clinch its last series of the regular season on Friday, losing to No. 14 Notre Dame, 5-0, on a cloudy night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
“We got to turn the page,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “Notre Dame is a good team. To sweep a team like that, it’s a tough task.”
Notre Dame’s fireworks lit off in the second, as outfielder Jack Zysca sent a solo shot to left field on a fastball from right-handed pitcher Karson Ligon, catapulting the Fighting Irish to a 1-0 lead.
In five innings, Ligon surrendered three earned runs and four hits on 82 pitches.
“I thought [Ligon] threw good,” DiMare said. “I’d like to see him right out of the gate be sharp and on point.
Right-hander Ronaldo Gallo relieved Ligon in the fifth, pitching two scoreless innings for the Canes (38-16, 19-10 Atlantic Coast Conference).
“Lately I’ve been pitching with a lot of confidence,” Gallo said. “Tomorrow, when [the game] gets here, it gets here, when they call my number I got to go.”
Following Gallo’s 28-pitch performance, Notre Dame (33-12, 16-10 ACC), tacked on an insurance run in the eighth and ninth, respectively, to extend its lead to five.
Four of Notre Dame’s five runs were the result of three separate homers to left field.
“They’re an aggressive offensive team,” Gallo said. “Our main focus on our staff and on our team is to get that lead-off guy out.”
Freshman outfielder Gaby Gutierrez continued his hot streak, connecting on a pair of hits to follow up his two home runs and five RBI outing against the Irish on Thursday.
“Whatever helps out the team is the best so I’m glad I’m getting hot now,” the Miami native said.
With the loss, the Hurricanes will need to win Saturday’s rubber match, and Virginia Tech will need to lose its Saturday contest against Duke for UM to win the ACC regular-season title.
“It could only benefit us winning this series whether we’re the No. 1 seed or the No. 3 seed in the [ACC] Coastal,” DiMare said.