Virginia bashes Notre Dame to eliminate Irish from ACC baseball tournament

Tyler James
ND Insider
Virginia celebrates Jake Gelof’s three-run home run in the second inning of its 14-1 win over Notre Dame in Friday’s pool play for the ACC Baseball Championship in Charlotte, N.C.

Top-seeded Notre Dame saved ace pitcher John Michael Bertrand for Friday’s elimination game against eight-seed Virginia. 

The Cavaliers responded by teeing off on the left-handed Bertrand with three home runs in the second inning and knocking him out of the game after recording only three outs.  

The onslaught continued for Virginia as it carried out a 14-1 victory at Truist Field in Charlotte, N.C. to advance to Saturday’s semifinals for the ACC Baseball Championship. 

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Shortstop Nic Kent, left fielder Alex Tappen and first baseman Jake Gelof each homered off Bertrand in the top of the second to put five runs on the board. That was more than enough run support for Virginia’s pitching staff. The Cavaliers allowed nine hits and struck out 15. 

Starting pitcher Andrew Abbott (8-5) scattered five hits and nine strikeouts across 6 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win for Cavaliers. 

“We had a sporadic good at bats and hit a few balls hard,” Notre Dame head coach Link Jarrett said, “but obviously didn’t match what they did today offensively.” 

Alex Brait scored the lone Notre Dame run in the bottom of the ninth when Danny Neri knocked him in with an RBI single. 

Bertrand, who entered the game with a 2.77 ERA, suffered just his second loss of the season in his 12th start. Before Friday, only four home runs were hit off Bertrand through 74 2/3 innings. 

“Bertrand was trying to feel his way through (the strike zone),” Jarrett said, “and he left balls in the middle of the plate and up.” 

Lefty Tanner Kohlhepp replaced him in the second inning and allowed three earned runs of his own in 3 2/3 innings of work. Lefty Aidan Tyrell allowed only one run in 3 2/3 innings. 

Virginia tacked on five runs in the ninth off Jack Brannigan (four earned runs, one out) and Joe Sheridan (one unearned run and one out). 

Virginia (29-22) will play against No. 9 seed Duke (30-10) on Saturday in one of the ACC semifinals. Duke emerged from Pool D by beating No. 4 Miami and No. 5 Florida State. No. 2 Georgia Tech (29-22) and No. 3 N.C. State (29-15) will play in the other semifinal. 

Notre Dame (30-11) will learn if it will host an NCAA regional when the tournament field is announced Monday at noon EDT on ESPN2. 

“It’s a tough one to shake off,” Jarrett said, “but there are worse ones to shake off if this ends your season. So that’s the silver lining in the mess that was today.”

Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.