Ninth-Inning Rally Clinches 6-5 Comeback Win
DURHAM, N.C. – Second-seeded Miami fought back from a ninth-inning deficit to walk off in its ACC Baseball Championship finale against third-seeded Notre Dame Saturday afternoon, capturing a 6-5 victory at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Trailing 5-4 and with Miami down to its final three outs, redshirt sophomore Christopher Barr cracked the first home run of his career off Fighting Irish reliever Brad Bass to tie the game 5-5.
From there, Miami loaded the bases on a walk from Zack Collins, a hit-by-pitch from David Thompson and a single from Garrett Kennedy. Junior Brandon Lopez played the hero in the win, connecting on a one-out RBI single to the right-center gap off reliever Scott Tully to complete the comeback.
Miami’s extra-innings loss to NC State on Friday night eliminated the Hurricanes (44-14) from contention for Sunday’s ACC Championship Game.
No. 20 Notre Dame (36-20) scored two runs in the ninth inning to take a late lead. With the Hurricanes ahead 4-3 in the ninth, Miami closer Bryan Garcia surrendered a game-tying two-out double to Ryan Bull and the ensuing go-ahead RBI single to Ryan Lidge.
But the Hurricanes would not be denied, as sophomore Cooper Hammond (5-1) entered in relief of Garcia and kept Miami down just one run to set up the late theatrics.
Collins, who reached base four times on the day, finished the game 2-for-2 with three RBI and two runs scored. He recorded a game-tying hit on a solo home run in the fifth and scored the game-winning run on Lopez hit.
The sophomore, who also connected on a sacrifice fly in the third that tied the game 2-2, helped Miami overcome early deficits of 2-0 and 3-2, as the Hurricanes finished Pool play with a 2-1 record in front of 4,249.
Notre Dame (36-21) plated a pair of runs in the second, chasing Miami starter Enrique Sosa after just 1.2 innings of work. After a walk and a single put two runners on base in the second, an errant throw from third on a sacrifice bunt attempt made its way towards the first base dugout to score the game’s first run.
Notre Dame’s Jake Shepski followed with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Fighting Irish an early 2-0 lead.
Sosa struggled with command in the outing, walking three batters on 33 pitches before giving way to sophomore lefthander Danny Garcia.
The Hurricanes tied the game in the third, jumpstarted by a two-on, no-out situation after a walk from sophomore Jacob Heyward and a single from junior Ricky Eusebio. A sacrifice fly from redshirt sophomore Christopher Barr halved the Notre Dame lead, while a second sacrifice fly – this one from sophomore Zack Collins – tied the game 2-2.
Garcia was effective in relief, allowing just one earned run with three strikeouts and exiting in the fifth with his team facing a 3-2 deficit.
A solo home run from Collins belted into the rightfield grandstands tied the game up 3-3 in the bottom half of the fifth. The home run was the 15th of the season for the sophomore and second of Miami’s stay at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Notre Dame threatened to take the lead in the seventh when Cavan Biggio led off the inning with a double down the first base line and took third on a sacrifice bunt. But freshman lefthander Michael Mediavilla entered and promptly struck out the Irish No. 3-hole and cleanup hitters to avoid any damage.
Mediavilla struck out a career high-tying four batters, throwing 2.1 strong innings.
Miami will look to extend its postseason streak to 43 consecutive years when the 16 host sites for NCAA Regionals are announced Sunday, May 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET. ESPNU will reveal the entire NCAA field of 64 in the Division I Baseball Selection Show “The Road to Omaha” on Monday, May 25. The one-hour long special begins at noon.