Notre Dame continued its red hot start to the season this weekend by crushing Virginia in a three-game series sweep, which has vaulted the Irish from unranked to No. 15 in the Baseball America rankings.
Notre Dame beat the previously ranked Cavaliers by a 30-12, winning each game by at least five runs. The Irish offense pounded out seven home runs, with second baseman Jared Miller (3), first baseman Niko Kavadas (2) and right fielder Brooks Coetzee (2) all going yard on multiple occasions. That trio drove in 18 of Notre Dame's 30 runs during the weekend series.
Grad transfer pitcher John Michael Bertrand had his second straight outstanding during in the 12-4 Saturday victory. Bertrand went seven innings and allowed just three runs on five hits. Another grad transfer - reliever Joe Sheridan - came out of the pen and pitched five scoreless innings in the Friday series opener that Notre Dame won 10-5. Sheridan struck out seven batters in the victory.
Notre Dame is now 7-2 on the season and has won three straight ACC road series to start the season, which included a pair of series wins over previously ranked opponents (Wake Forest, Virginia).
Here is what Baseball America wrote about Notre Dame's big jump in the rankings:
"Notre Dame won a third straight ACC series to begin the season, this time sweeping Virginia in impressive fashion. Against a talented Cavaliers pitching staff, the Irish had no trouble putting up runs in bunches. Second baseman Jared Miller had a nice weekend, going 8-for-15 with four doubles and a pair of home runs. Niko Kavadas and Brooks Coetzee also had two home runs over the course of the series. The two best pitching performances for Notre Dame might have both been out of the bullpen. In game 1, Joe Sheridan threw five scoreless innings in relief, giving up one hit and two walks with seven strikeouts. And in Sunday’s finale, Tanner Kohlhepp tossed 4.2 scoreless innings with two hits allowed. ACC results have been wild this season, but Notre Dame has been as consistent as any team so far."
Notre Dame hosts Duke this weekend for a three-game series, and it will be the first home series of the season for the Fighting Irish and head coach Link Jarrett. Jarrett is in his second season, and he's accumulated an 18-4 record thus far. The impressive part is Notre Dame has yet to play a home game during his 22-game tenure. He's also 4-0 in ACC series matchups, which includes a three-game sweep of North Carolina last season.
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