Notre Dame’s pitching quiets Miami bats, Irish take game one 6-2

Redshirt sophomore Lorenzo Carrier hits the ball against FIU in Miami's 4-3 win on March 20, 2024 at Cobb Stadium. Photo credit: Sophia Metzner

On a 43-degree Fahrenheit afternoon in South Bend, Indiana, the coldest game for the Hurricanes by far this season, Notre Dame pitching stifled the Miami offense, leading it to a 6-2 victory in the series opener on Friday afternoon.

The bulk of Notre Dame’s scoring occurred with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Miami starter Gage Ziehl was so close to making it through seven solid innings of two-run ball. Unfortunately, an RBI single followed by an RBI triple knocked Ziehl out of the game and gave the Irish some good insurance runs before the late innings.

Miami’s offense racked up nine hits, matching Notre Dame’s total, but could never deliver at the right time. The Canes were a poor 2-12 with runners in scoring position and could not come up with any multi-hit innings.

The back-of-the-orderback-of-the-order struggles continued, which have plagued UM all season long and are a big part of the offensive inconsistency. The back three in the lineup Friday, Lorenzo Carrier, Lucas Costello, and J.D. Urso, went a combined 0-9. Notably, Costello is batting under .200 even though he was an everyday starter batting .288 for the runner-up Wake Forest Demon Deacons last season.

That said, the heavy hitters did not come to play on Friday, and Daniel Cuvet, Jason Torres, and Dorian Gonzalez Jr., the best’ Cane hitters to start the season, combined to go 2-12 with five strikeouts. Overall, it was a rough day at the plate for UM.

The one major positive at the plate was catcher Jack Scanlon’s continued success. Scanlon has been emerging over the last few weeks as the everyday catcher replacing Carlos Perez. Scanlon is now hitting .375 on the season, including a 3-4 afternoon with two doubles on Friday.

Moving over to the mound, Ziehl followed up an excellent start against North Carolina last week with another solid outing. His final line was 6.2 innings, five earned runs, and four strikeouts, although that line does not do him justice.

Ziehl was putting together a quality outing, having only given up two runs through 6.2 innings, when everything collapsed as Ziehl began his fourth trip through the lineup. Seeing a pitcher four times is a massive advantage for hitters, leading to the blowup with two outs in the seventh.

Scinta got the last out in that seventh inning, but not before he gave up another single, which led to another Irish run credited to Ziehl. Julian Hernandez came on for the eighth and pitched a shaky but scoreless inning.

On the bright side, there was no need to use high-leverage relievers like Nick Robert and Brian Walters, who should be available to throw on Saturday and Sunday if needed.

Adjusting to the cold will be another key to the Hurricane’s success on Saturday, as some players looked slightly uncomfortable in the weather. Most notably, Cuvet, who has lived in south Florida his whole life, is likely not accustomed to playing in temperatures near 43 degrees Fahrenheit and looked bothered by it Friday. He made one error on a routine bunt and let a few other plays that he would typically make get the better of him.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, red-hot Rafe Schlessinger takes the mound after a dominant outing against UNC. He is looking to even the series against the Irish. The first pitch is at 2 p.m. at Frank Eck Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.