Notre Dame Baseball: No. 20 Irish Fall to No. 6 Miami in Crazy Finish


Irish fall in crazy finish to Miami in ACC Tourney

With Notre Dame down to their final strike, trailing Miami 4-3 the Irish got a clutch RBI double from senior Ryan Bull to score pinch runner Connor Biggio, followed by an RBI single that plated pinch runner Torii Hunter Jr. as the Irish jumped ahead of the Canes 5-4 (No. 1 RPI) heading into the bottom of the inning. But it wouldn’t be enough as Miami would rally for a 6-5 win.

Freshman Brad Bass, the outstanding freshman headed out to the mound for his second inning of work, looking to improve to 4-0 on the season. Miami first baseman Christopher Barr ended that bid with the first home run of his career to tie the game 5-5. After inducing a groundout, then a walk and hit by pitch the Irish turned the ball over to Scott Tully to try and close out the game. A single by Garrett Kennedy loaded the bases, and Brandon Lopez followed with a walk-off single to give the Canes the 6-5 win.

Notre Dame (36-21) finished ACC pool play in their first conference tourney at 1-2, and will now have to wait till Monday afternoon to see if they’ve done enough to make their first NCAA Regional since 2006. Considering the tough ACC schedule that they’ve played, you would think the Irish are in good shape to return to the regionals. They carry an RPI of 35, and are 21-10 away from home. They’re 7-7 against teams in the top-25 RPI, and swept series from No. 10 Florida State and No. 24 North Carolina. They finished third in the ACC in the regular season, an impressive feat for a midwest team in the conference.

Head coach Mik Aoki says he hopes the run for this team isn’t over as well:

"I think the thing I’ve been most proud of with our kids all year long is just the compete factor. I think they just grind it out. I think they work hard. They come to the ballpark every day ready to play. I can say that for, I don’t know, today was what like our 58th game or 57th game or whatever it was. And I think they show up to play virtually every day. And they enjoy being around one another, they enjoy competing for and with one another. And this doesn’t change any of that. Hopefully we have an opportunity to play on and continue to stay together as a group because they’ve been a really, really fun group to be around all year long."

“Good losses” don’t exist in baseball like they do in basketball, but the Irish played very against top-25 teams all season, including in this tournament against Miami and N.C. State. While this last loss to the Canes can’t feel good, the Irish showed they can go toe-to-toe with some of the best.

The selection show will be at 12 p.m. ET on ESPNU on Monday.

Next: Irish LAX Falls in OT in National Semi