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Notre Dame wins first ACC Baseball Championship game
DURHAM, N.C. (theACC.com) – Notre Dame made a bit of history Friday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Cavan Biggio and Kyle Fiala each had two hits and a pair of RBIs, as the third-seeded Fighting Irish downed seventh-seeded Virginia 8-2 to claim their first-ever win in the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship.
Notre Dame, in its second year as the ACC member, broke through after missing out on qualifying for the 2014 Championship and dropping a 3-0 decision to NC State in its first appearance in this year’s tournament on Thursday afternoon. The Irish (36-20) enhanced their NCAA Tournament resume with Friday’s win in addition to squaring their 2015 ACC Championship round-robin pool play record at 1-1.
Ryan Smoyer (9-0) picked up the win on the mound. The All-ACC third-team righthander pitched six innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs while walking four and striking out two. Brandon Bielak came on to work the final three innings to earn his first save of the year.
Brandon Waddell (3-5) started and took the loss for Virginia (34-21, 0-2 Pool B). He allowed seven hits and six runs (four earned) while walking five and striking out nine.
Notre Dame scored its first-ever ACC Baseball Championship run in the top of the first when Biggio led off with an infield single and was eventually forced home on Lane Richards’ bases-loaded walk.
The Fighting Irish picked up a pair of unearned runs in the top of third. With runners on second and third, Waddell struck out Richards on a breaking pitch for the apparent third out of the half-inning. Virginia catcher Robbie Coman scrambled to retrieve the ball in the dirt, but then threw wildly to first in an attempt to force out Richards. The ball wound up in right field, and Fiala and Ryan Bull both scored to up Notre Dame’s lead to 3-0.
Virginia scored its two runs in the bottom of the third. Two walks set the table for Matt Thaiss, who doubled down the right field line to score both runners. But the Fighting Irish countered in the top of the fourth with Fiala’s two-out RBI double, which left them in front by a 4-2 score.
Biggio delivered the big hit for Notre Dame in the sixth. Following a one-out walk to Jake Shepski and a single by Mac Hudgins, Biggio sliced a triple to the corner in right field that scored both runners and pushed the Fighting Irish in front 6-2.
Fiala brought home another Notre Dame run with an RBI groundout in the top of the eighth, and Richards’ ninth-inning sacrifice fly capped the scoring.
Notre Dame now faces second-seeded Miami on Saturday at 3 p.m., while Virginia wraps up ACC Championship play against NC State in Saturday’s 7 p.m. game.