A week after officially winning the ACC regular season title and clinching the top spot in the ACC Tournament, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team was on the field to close out the regular season schedule with a series against the Virginia Tech Hokies. Notre Dame finished things off with a sweep of the Hokies and now begin the conference tournament, as they still look to host an NCAA Tournament Regional.
Game 1: Notre Dame 8 (27-10, 23-10) - Virginia Tech 2 (27-21, 16-18)
Win: John Michael Bertrand, ND (7-1)
Loss: Peyton Alford, VT (2-5)
The story of game, as it has been for most of his starts this season, was Notre Dame ace John Michael Bertrand. Bertrand threw a complete game on Friday, allowing just two runs (one earned) and striking out eight while walking none. Bertrand closed out his regular season record with a 7-1 record and seven starts of seven innings or longer.
Notre Dame was also the first to get on the scoreboard in the top of the opening inning. Spencer Myers doubled to lead things off before advancing to third. Carter Putz then walked, but ball four got behind catcher allowing Myers to score after replay review overturned the initial out call. Notre Dame was back to work in the fifth inning, scoring two runs early off of wild pitches. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Jared Miller tripled to score all three runners and give Notre Dame the 7-0 lead.
Virginia Tech was able to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning and again in the sixth, scoring a run in each. Notre Dame wasn’t finished though and they added one more in the eighth. Brooks Coetzee led things off with a double and two batters later was driven in on another double from Zack Prajzner. Bertrand kept the Hokies off the board in the eighth and ninth innings and Notre Dame held on for the win.
Another night game means plenty of time to catch up with all the highlights from last night!— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) May 21, 2021
Check out all the top plays from another complete team win in the 8-2 victory over Virginia Tech!#GoIrish x #Rally pic.twitter.com/OjUKm9eABT
Game 2: Notre Dame 4 (28-10, 24-10) - Virginia Tech 0 (27-22, 16-19)
Win: Aidan Tyrell, ND (3-1)
Loss: Anthony Simonelli, VT (5-2)
Save: Jack Brannigan, ND (3)
Notre Dame’s pitching was again the driving force in winning game two, this time in a combined effort for a shutout. Aidan Tyrell started the game for Notre Dame and threw 5.2 innings with three strikeouts. He was followed by Tanner Kohlhepp who kept the Hokies off the board for 2.1 innings before Jack Brannigan came in to close things out by striking out the side in the ninth inning.
The offense got things going in the third inning for Notre Dame this time when Ryan Cole hit a two run home run. In the sixth inning Spencer Myers led off with a double before later coming around to score on a sacrifice fly to add to the Irish lead. The Irish added one more run in the ninth when Niko Kavadas scored on a ground rule double from Jared Miller.
Game 3: Notre Dame 7 (29-10, 25-10) - Virginia Tech 1 (27-23, 16-20)
Win: Alex Rao, ND (2-1)
Loss: Ryan Okuda, VT (2-3)
Save: Will Mercer, ND (2)
Virginia Tech got out to the lead in game three, scoring their only run in the bottom of the third inning. Notre Dame didn’t get on the board until the fifth but they took the lead as soon as they did. With two runners on in the fifth Spencer Myers doubled to drive in Jared Miller and Zack Prajzner. Later in the fifth inning Niko Kavadas singled home Myers for the 3-1 lead.
Notre Dame was back at it in the sixth when David LaManna singled home Brooks Coetzee. In the ninth inning they tacked on three more runs. LaManna hit a solo home run to lead off the inning before Niko Kavadas hit a two run home run later in the ninth. When it was all done it was a 7-1 Irish win.
Notre Dame now heads into the ACC Tournament as the one overall seed. They are joined in their round robin pool by the 12 seed Virginia Tech Hokies, who they play Wednesday May 26 at 3pm ET, and the 8 seed Virginia Cavaliers, who they play Friday May 28 at 11am ET. The team with the best record in pool play advances to the semifinals to be held Saturday May 29, with the tiebreaker going to the higher seed, which would be Notre Dame. The final will take place Sunday May 30 and all games will take place at Truist Field in Charlotte, NC.
Pool Schedule is set!— Notre Dame Baseball (@NDBaseball) May 23, 2021
The top-seeded Irish begin the ACC Championship Wednesday afternoon at 3pm against the 12-seed Virginia Tech!
The second pool game will be Friday at 11am against the 8-seed Virginia!
https://t.co/vJyABNwphf#GoIrish x #Rally pic.twitter.com/jnWbqkX9cz